Driving is a huge milestone in a teenager’s life. It represents a sense of freedom and makes them feel as if they are one step closer to becoming an adult. For the adult who is charged with the job of teaching a teenager how to drive this milestone means grey hairs, anxiety attacks, a drastic jump in insurance payments, oh, and some positive things too. I never imagined at the age of 30 that I would be teaching a teenager to drive, but I lived through it, and have some tips to hopefully help you get through it too.
- Buy adult diapers and whatever it is that you like to drink/eat after experiencing extreme amounts of stress. Seriously. You will literally feel a little bit like you are going to poop your pants because you are so nervous for the first month or so that you drive with your teenager. This is totally normal. Grab whatever handle you can reach, try not to scream, and feel confident that although it does not seem like it, you will make it out in one piece. When the driving lesson is over go home and indulge. You’ve earned it. Food/drinks have no calories when you have just survived a near death experience.
- Do not count on the driving instructor to actually teach your teen how to drive. I was under the impression that because driver’s ed is stupid expensive the instructor would actually set the foundation for my foster son’s driving future while they were out on the road together. Wrong. Every time a lesson ended I was told that I had not done enough to prepare him and that we would need to work harder before the next lesson. I probably should have just paid myself $500.00, but you know, whatever.
- Avoid making plans to have a social life. You’re required to put in 40 hours of driving with your teen between their permit test and license test. Although this does not seem like much, it is. You will drive for what you are sure has been 10 hours and will look at the clock and realize it has only been 10 minutes.
- Start saving money now. Your insurance rates are going to go through the roof once you add your new driver and a car for him/her to your insurance plan. Stock up on cereal and Ramen because that’s all you’ll be able to afford to eat for awhile.
- Look for the light at the end of the tunnel. After all of the pain staking hours of ripping your hair out, trying to give directions in a tone that is not overly aggressive, and restraining yourself from poking your child’s eyes out after they roll them at you for the tenth time, there is a happy ending. You will be sitting on the couch one night binge watching some ridiculous tv show, and will realize that you do not have anywhere you need to be. You will not have to drive to practice, or the gym, or to a party. You will be able to just sit and relax. That, my friend, is when all of the heartache becomes worth it. Revel in this moment. You will have earned it.
As you embark on this journey in your life please know that you are not alone. We have been there too, and understand your pain. You will make it through. God speed, my friend, God speed.