Of all the things a mom has to do, teaching kids to drive is one of my least favorites. I would rather potty train ten children than teach one to drive! Plus, there is so much risk involved with our teenagers driving, not to mention the self-control our kids must have to not use their phones while doing it.
Driving is also a giant step forward to independence. We have to be able to trust that our child is where he says he is and that he is committed to abiding by our rules. Here are three things you can do to get your child ready to drive and relieve some of your mom fears that come with it.
Talk about it.
Long before its time to get a learner’s permit, talk about your expectations for the privilege of driving. Ask your child these questions: (1) Can we trust you to do the right thing when we’re not around? (2) Are you being responsible in all other areas of your life, such as grades? (3) Is your attitude respectful?
If the answer to any of these is no, driving gets put on hold.
Take every opportunity during the permit phase to train for responsibility. This your time to be heard. Your child wants her license, so she will listen. Once she has it, you won’t be in the car and your opportunity to be heard is gone.
During this time you’ll want to let your child drive in all conditions—rain, heavy traffic, busy interstates—even if it’s scary for both of you. It’s better for her to face these challenges with you beside her.
In my book, The Passionate Mom, I included this short prayer in the section on letting our kids drive: Lord, keep my child safe from all harm—watch over her life; watch over her coming and going both now and forevermore. (Based on Psalm 121: 7-8)
You can also use an app like Life 360 for peace of mind. It shows the routes your child takes and the speed he drove to get there.
Have your child sign a contract before he is allowed to drive on his own. iMOM has one for driving and a driving under the influence contract. Go over it with him so that he understands your expectations and the consequences that come when those are not met. If your child knows ahead of time what will happen if he breaks the contract, he will think twice. If he does break the contract, the consequences are already spelled out so there will be less drama.
What’s worked for you in teaching your child to drive?