Being A Good Listener
How to Stay Sane While Teaching Teens to Drive
Preparing to Drive Together
Be aware of your own bad habits.Before your kid gets behind the wheel, your teen will be watching you drive; even if you don't realize it. Once the child has an image in their head of how the parents drive they'll start to model the same behavior. So if you've got any bad habits like running red lights, rolling through stop signs, or speeding, this would be the time to stop.
- Most parents don't find their own bad habits stressful. It drives them crazy their teen does the same thing. When they start repeating your bad habits, you will naturally ask them to stop. Next, you will likely hear "but mom/dad, you do it." The easiest way to avoid this correctyour ownbad habits.
Be aware of what you're doing.Seasoned drivers are "unconsciously competent" when they drive; you drive and react without really thinking about it. When you are teaching driving to your teen, you have be prepared to answer their questions.
- When you're driving around, make little "mental notes" about when you start braking, how fast you're driving in different situations, and where you're looking. When you have an idea of when, where, and what you're doing on the road, it's easier to recognize and avoid mistakes that your teen makes and be able to explain it in a way they understand. This will give you the confidence to teach your child, as well as ample time to deal with potential situations ahead.
Become emotionally prepared for your kid's mistakes.Driving with your kids is not going to be perfect all the time. In the beginning things are going to be rocky, but there is hope. Research has shown that a driver has as little as 10 seconds notice before something bad happens. It is necessary to come up with coping strategies that make us feel less stressed out.
- For example: if you're approaching a turn onto a side street, ask yourself "how could this go wrong?" The biggest problem in this type of situation is driving too fast, so you decide on an "if-then" scenario. "If" my kid is going over 20kph/12mph within a few moments of starting the turn, "then" I'll hold the wheel and tell them to keep driving straight. Practice mentally going through different "if-then" scenarios to feel ready for anything (and preserve your sanity) on the road.
Use student driver signs.Some people hate the idea of having these, but learn to LOVE that people know your kid is learning. It is also mandatory in some cities or countries. It can put your mind at ease and help you stay calm when you know that other drivers will attribute mistakes to someone learning rather than being a bad driver.
- You can get your own signs made at many sign shops, order them online, tape a handwritten note in the back window or use a government issued "L" (learner) sign.
Staying Calm In The Passenger Seat
Feeling loss of control.Anything a parent can do to increase the feeling of control will usually help you and your teen drive more calmly together. As the parent of a new driver, one of the most important things you can do is increase your teen's feeling of safety and control. Let them know you're there for them, and want to help them, even if it sounds like you're upset.
- Their sanity is your sanity. If the kids feel like you're micromanaging them, they don't feel in control, which stresses them out, which makes them drive worse, which stresses you out... and then the vicious cycle repeats itself.
Breathe.Many people hold their breath when they're nervous. This depletes the oxygen in your blood and is sure to leave you feeling stressed out. Whenever you feel stressed, take a few deep breaths; 2 seconds in, 2 second pause, 2 seconds out. Do that a couple of times and you'll feel your blood pressure start to drop. It almost seems too simple, but it can be incredibly effective.
Drink water.We all know drinking water is important to our health, but in times of stress it also helps calm us down. Think about it. If you were being chased by a hungry animal and feeling stressed out, you wouldn't stop to take a drink of water until you're out of harm's way. Water helps send signals to our bodies that the danger has passed.
Know when to open your mouth.If you're not helping your teen, you're distracting them. Only speak when they're doing something wrong or to give them simple praise or advice. Try not to speak in the middle of a turn or intersection, unless it's absolutely necessary.
- If kids are going to have trouble anywhere it's usually in a turn so if you don't have something driving related to say, don't say anything at all. As well, if you feel the need to give advice regarding the upcoming turn or intersection, do it well in advance of the event.
Understand that your tone is critical.You've probably heard "it's not what you said, it's how you said it." In the car your voice needs to be the security blanket that lets them know you've got their backs. Often, the words you're saying aren't as helpful as the way you say them. If you speak in a calm and relaxing tone, your teen feels reassured and supported, which helps them stay calm and drive better.
- If they respond, sounding annoyed, they need to be reassured, and receive calm, supportive language. If they sound mad, they're probably feeling embarrassed, insecure, or perhaps criticized.
Be clear and specific.Parents often find it hard to remain calm when their kids and driving. This is because when they try to say something, their child potentially misinterprets the words and it seems like they're not listening. The parent might say something like, "You aren't listening to me. I told you to slow down. Why didn't you slow down?"
Anticipate your teen's actions.When you are out driving, decide well in advance what they should do when they reach upcoming situations. When they reach the situation, if their foot is over the brake then they are thinking about stopping. If their foot is over the gas, they're thinking about going. If they're looking at the lane they need to turn into, but not at the car that's coming towards the intersection, don't yell at them. Just say something like "Do you see that white car?" and usually that's enough to imply there's a problem. Remember when you talk, they will usually assume there's a problem.
Exude confidence.When you drive, having options is critical to your sanity. You need to be thinking about problems before they happen. All it takes is a little foresight, and you can be ready for almost anything your teen or traffic can throw at you. Remember, your child will respond to your body language, as well as your words.
- While it is important to teach your child to be a safe driver, it is just as important to give them confidence. When your young driver performs well, give them a pat on the back, a good job. It will do their self-confidence a world of good.
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- The average person takes somewhere around 4,000 hours of doing something before they're fully competent. Driving is one of those things. It takes time to get comfortable as a driver or the parent of a new teen driver.
- Feedback should be short and sweet: "good" or "bad" immediately when something good or bad happens is often all the help a new driver needs. Anything more is just distracting. When you're talking about something that just happened, people often miss what's about to happen next.
- Stress is normal, and can be good. A small amount of stress helps increase focus, concentration, and performance; too much will cause a nervous meltdown. If you're feeling stressed out driving with your teen, realize that it may actually be helping you perform better at the task.
- It doesn't matter what you think you told them. It only matters what they hear. If they seem angry and defensive, you probably sound mad or they think you're attacking them, even if that's not what you meant. Be very aware of the tone of your voice.
- Speed is one of the biggest issues in driving. It underlies almost every problem with new drivers and it factors into a majority of accidents. Get the speed right and you'll drive calm together from day one.
- Always separate the child from the problem. "I like you, I'm here for you and I support you, but I don't like what you did back there." Your teen wants to do the right thing, but sometimes nerves, fear, insecurity, peer pressure lead to actions we don't like. Address the actions, support the child.
- Just as your kids are learning to drive, you are learning how to be in the passenger seat. Treat it as a learning experience for the both of you. Be realistic when it comes to progress and your time together will be much calmer and pleasant.
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Date: 03.12.2018, 23:03 / Views: 64341