Supporting Your Teen Driver

Parent of a new driver? Congrats on reaching this exciting milestone with your teen! As they embark on their journey behind the wheel, it’s natural for you to want to support and guide them along the way. However, navigating the parent-teen dynamic when it comes to driving can sometimes be a bit tricky. Good thing we’ve put together this guide to help you communicate effectively with your new teen driver and ensure a positive experience for both of you.

  1. Be a Positive Passenger:

When riding as the front passenger with your teen driver, actively focus on being a calm and supportive presence. Avoid the temptation to micromanage or criticize their driving – instead, offer constructive feedback in a respectful and encouraging manner. Compliment them on what they are doing well at as they’re doing it, and for the little adjustments you notice – mention it to them once the drive session is over. It might be beneficial to establish a “Recap Session” as a habit for both of you to quickly (2-3 minutes) talk about that day’s road performance to go over adjustments for the next drive. Then, if you notice them doing better at what you talked about the previous Recap Session, be sure to praise them for it. Remember, your teen is still learning, and your role is to help them build confidence behind the wheel.

  1. Practice Active Listening:

Take the time to listen to your teen’s concerns, questions, and experiences as they navigate the road. Validate their feelings and offer reassurance when needed. By fostering open communication, you’ll strengthen your bond and create a safe space for discussing any challenges or anxieties they may encounter while driving. If they say, “I’m scared!”, don’t respond, “Don’t be! Just merge!”. Because that’s not helpful or constructive. Try something like, “I know it can be scary, but I believe in you. I know you can do this.” This is in general. Sometimes we know there’s simply no time for anything but immediate course correction. But even then, afterwards recap what happened and how it can be avoided next time in a positively reinforced manner. It doesn’t do anyone any good to make the student even more nervous the next time they try to get on the road. 

  1. Lead by Example:

As a parent, you are your teen’s first and most influential role model when it comes to driving behavior. Practice what you preach by following traffic laws, wearing your seatbelt, and avoiding distractions behind the wheel. Your actions speak louder than words, and modeling safe driving habits will reinforce the importance of responsible behavior on the road.

  1. Set Clear Expectations:

Establish clear guidelines and expectations for your teen’s driving privileges, including rules for using electronic devices while driving. Be firm but fair, and emphasize the importance of safety above all else. By setting boundaries and enforcing consequences for rule violations, you’ll help instill a sense of accountability in your new driver.

  1. Stay Informed and Involved:

Stay actively involved in your teen’s driving education journey by staying informed about their progress, and staying up-to-date on the latest driving laws and safety tips. By staying informed and involved, you’ll be better equipped to support your teen and address any challenges or concerns that may arise along the way.

Parenting a new teen driver absolutely comes with its own set of challenges, but with patience, communication, and support, you can help your teen become a safe and confident driver. Remember, it’s a journey – not a destination – so be patient with yourself and your teen as you navigate this exciting new chapter together.

At Official Driving School, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Enroll your teen in our comprehensive In-Car Lessons and help them sharpen the skills and knowledge they need to thrive on the road. Together, let’s empower the next generation of safe and responsible drivers!