If you’re thinking about teaching your teenager to drive, most of the time that means they’ve already been asking you about it. However, you may still wonder if they’re mentally ready to take on the responsibility of driving. If you have been observing your teenager and still aren’t sure, then the best way to feel out if your teen is ready to learn to drive is to start with a conversation and gauge the maturity they show in their responses.
Proposing a conversation
You can learn about your teen’s maturity level simply by mentioning that you want to have a conversation in the future and asking them to coordinate a date or time. Ask your teen when they would like to sit down to talk about learning to drive and what that will look like. Tell them that the two of you will need some time to think about questions and concerns before jumping into the conversation. How does your teenager respond?
Is your teen ready to learn to drive?
When you sit down with your teen, be sure to bring a pen and paper to demonstrate that you value their time and will take their comments to heart. If you put your best foot forward and show your teenager the same respect you’d show another adult right now, you give them an opportunity to respond as an adult would in turn.
Ask them questions like “What are you most looking forward to about getting your license?” and “What are some things you fear about learning to drive?” Then, move on to more practical questions like how much time they want to spend learning, who do they want to teach them, whether they want to attend a nearby driving school, and which vehicle they’d like to use.
While talking to your teen, gauge whether you think they have put thought into driving. Do they know that learning to drive will take time and commitment? Are they ready to take that on? This will help you determine if your teen is ready to learn to drive.
You need to be ready, too
Remember, your teen may be ready, but you need to make sure you’re ready too! If you’re feeling nervous, try sharing a lesson plan with your teenager so you both have a solid outline of what’s ahead. Tell your teen what your deal-breakers are and consider using a Parent-Teen Driving Contract.
Not ready yet? What now?
If you go through this conversation and are still feeling doubtful, have no fear. You can begin the teaching process early without putting your teenager behind the wheel. In fact, you can build trust with your teen by starting small: start describing your actions as you drive and why you’re doing them. Pull over every now and then to point out and discuss road hazards. Walk them through pumping gas, checking the oil, naming engine parts and reviewing the instrument panel. With time, we hope you’ll feel more confident that your teen is ready to take his or her first driving lesson.