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My Teenager Is Driving: Tips For Parents

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie McCoy Images

This summer I’m spending a lot of my free time teaching my son to drive. We are currently in the “Level 1″ stage and have many hours yet to log. There have been good days and umm…well, slightly stressful days with this whole process. See, I’m the type of person that doesn’t like it when anyone else drives so sitting in the passenger seat (somewhat quietly) while instructing is not very easy for me. It’s not that he’s a bad driver (he’s actually doing pretty well) it’s just that I’m kind of a control freak.

I’ve also been doing a lot of research on what we have to do to get ready for the next level-“Level 2″ and in my research, I’ve found many different tips for parents. This list is from and I thought I would share them in case you’re going through the same thing. It’s always a good reminder on what we truly are supposed to be doing while we anxiously sit in the passenger seat:

  • Provide lots of in-car, “passenger seat” supervision.
  • Start off with small trips – less then five miles away – to build up their confidence.
  • Provide a safe car for teens to drive: easy to maneuver, with airbags and good tires.
  • Give your teen gentle, constructive critiques of their driving, and keep your temper in check.
  • Set realistic goals, expectations, and consequences for your teen driver. If you make rules, stick to them.
  • Make sure your teen knows exactly what to do in the event of an accident.
  • Pick up a current driver’s guide from your DMV. Study it with your teen and point out when they are obeying these rules on the road. If they aren’t, gently point that out to correct them.
  • Set a good example.  If you run red and yellow lights, speed down the highway at 75 MPH, weave in and out of traffic, take chances on the road, ride the bumper of the car in front of you, scream at other drivers, or exhibit other signs of road rage, you’re showing your teen that the rules don’t count – and this can be fatal.

There are many other resources out there that can help. You might want to check out the Michigan Teen Driver website provided by It’s got a ton of useful information. Good luck! Try and stay calm! And please let me know how it goes for your family!

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