How to Deal With the Stress of a Parent Teaching You to Drive
Getting your driver's license is a process, and one sometimes painful—but totally necessary—step is supervised driving with a parent.
When your parent is an opinionated backseat driver, it's easy to get turned off entirely from the prospect of getting your license, but it doesn't have to be that way. Follow these steps to make the difficult process a little easier for everyone involved.
1. First and foremost, have an open conversation with your parent. Ask them what stresses them out when you're in the driver's seat and address their concerns. Also be honest about what they do that stresses you out. The next time you drive together, you'll both be more aware and things won't get too heated.
2. Do whatever you can to stay calm. It can seem like your parent is shouting when they've barely raised their voice, so do what you can to think about things rationally. Avoid raising your voice yourself and the situation will simmer down faster.
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3. Set a schedule so that you do your driver's training with your parent at the same time every week. It'll get easier with time, especially if you keep it up consistently. It also eliminates any surprises, which can add to a tense situation.
4. Ditch any distractions. Leave your phone at home altogether (or keep it in the backseat if you're headed to a destination) and don't be tempted by the radio. As much as you might want to be anywhere else, driver's training should be a quiet time. You want to focus and hear everything happening on the road.
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5. Set some guidelines. This is driving time, so ask your parent not to bring up anything outside the current driving situation when you're at the wheel. Your grades or how you acted at dinner the night before have nothing to do with staying safe on the road.
6. Unless there's immediate danger, ask your parent to reserve any criticisms until after the drive, so you can stay focused during it.
7. Do listen to your parent, but assert yourself, too. Let them know when you're doing what they're asking, but if what you've learned in driver's ed conflicts with what they're saying, tell them.
8. Some parents stress out because they have no control when you're driving. Let them know that just because they're not steering doesn't mean anything bad will happen.
9. No matter what happens, safe driving is always your priority. Focus!
10. If all else fails, realize that your parents stress out during your driver's training because they care about you, and that stress might be unavoidable. See if someone who's not your parent, like a licensed older sibling or an aunt or uncle can drive with you. Paid driving coaches are available, too.
If you're learning to drive, click HERE to find out the expectations vs. reality of getting your first car.