teenager at the wheel learning to drive

Teen driver: is there a way to curb the insanity?

I’m about to have another licensed driver in the house. My son, who turned 16 last January, has been practicing for months, and is just about ready to take his test.

The big question is whether I’m ready to have him out on the road.

For some reason, I found it much more stressful teaching the second to drive than the first. It may have been the fact that other than her first time out, I rarely schooled my daughter in the fine art of motoring.  My husband took her, my sister took her, I even paid for 5 extra driving lessons. As long as it wasn’t me hammering on the invisible second brake, I was happy. Somehow she learned to drive and managed to pass on the first try.  And her road to driving was a piece of cake.

Not so much this time. I’m not sure how it happened, but I seem to have been nominated my son’s driving teacher and my husband seems to make himself scarce when it’s time to go out for a practice run. My nerves are shot. I scream, I slam my foot on the dashboard, I get out of the car shaking and reaching for an imaginary drink.  I pre-warn my boy that if he wants me to take him driving there’s a good chance I’ll overreact (read yell.) He says it’s ok, but I can see the look on his face when my shriek threatens to shatter glass. I can’t help it. We set out with the best of intentions, but one lane change, one left hand turn on a yellow, and I’m out-of-control.

My own coping strategy of crawling out of the car shaking and crying while my son, white-faced, hands the keys back is not one I’d recommend.  Nor is drinking, the taking of valium or total avoidance.

I’m pretty sure I’m scarring him for life.  I need help. So, as usual, I take my troubles to social media.

Have you taught a teenager to drive?  Please share your tips here.

The community answered.

I let my husband take over on this. I’m too chicken to get in the car with my kids behind the wheel in the beginning. Now, since my daughter has her license, I let her drive my other kids but very rarely do I sit in her passenger seat!!  ~Melissa Steinberg Brodsky  (Looks like you’re in the same boat as me.  Thankfully I’m not alone.)

Do as I say, not as I do. ~ Whitney Scharf Noble (I hear that from the teen all the time.)

I just promised to bring mine out on the road in two weeks time. Really early on a weekend morning. In our quiet subdivision. I’m hoping we survive.  ~Deborah Coombs  (Bookmark this page.)

Having lived through 2 who are licensed and 3 more to go 2 of whom are in training now. I can only say that yes it has probably taken years off my life, but the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. If you are a ball of nerves it will not end well, but if you are calm or pretent to be calm your child will not be as nervous. Also, and this is very important do not, I repeat do not take them into a busy traffric area until your are sure they can drive inside the lines, and dont ask them to drive around a lake with no guard rails ( I don’t know what I was thinking) ~ Debra Berger (My sister-in-law and the mother of five. Listen to her. She knows. Also, I’m breaking all those rules. Except for the lake. And that’s only because I don’t have a lake.)

They have a hard time judging space/distance at the beginning. Have them picture the garbage cans/recycling bins at the side of the road as people, then they won’t drive so close that the passenger side mirror is almost touching the bins!  ~@cincoencasa aka Cindy Cocquyt Cervantes

My tip – I let my husband do it! Less stress for me. ~ Catherine Burden (I tried that. It worked once.)

Talk to your teen before she gets behind the wheel. Let her know you’ll offer guidance, but not criticism. And stick to that! ~ @karenandwendi1 (Oops. Did the first. And the second. Apparently I’m unable to control my emotions.)

Also, try to avoid freaking out when she makes a mistake. Talk about it afterward, rather than screaming, “We’re all going to die!” ~@karenandwendi1 (Oops. I wasn’t supposed to say that?)

When I was a teen, my dad took me to a snowy parking lot to learn how a car reacts on ice & how to maintain control! ~ @JamieLeighTO (I let the driving instructor do that for the daughter. For the boy, I was lucky enough to take him to a winter driving clinic given by Ford Canada)

Looks like I’ve got a bit of work to do on my drivers ed equilibrium before it’s time for my 13-year-old to take the wheel.  But now, I’ve got to go. The boy is waving the car keys at me.  Save. Me.


  1. I was too much of a chicken to teach my daughter so Hubby got the job. She has been driving over a year and honestly, it still makes me nervous!

  2. I’ll send mine to driver training and then he can practise with his dad. My waistline can’t handle the chocolate I’d have to eat to soothe my nerves.

  3. I’ll follow up after our first drive and let you know how it went. How many trees he took out. That kind of thing. So not looking forward to it, but I’m way more capable of this than his dad, so there you go.

    • I guess one of the parents has to be geared up for driver’s ed. Personally, I wish I never had to do it. It’s a nail biting experience.

  4. I loved it when my son learned to drive. It gave us both more independence. He could drive himself to his soccer practices 4 x a week and help me with car pool his two sisters! And, of course, I initially worried but practicality won! Plus, it boosted his confidence with this add responsibility.

  5. I survived by letting my husband teach the kids and then they had to be driving for at least a year before I would get in the car with any of them. Granted I have been in four accidents so I am so what paranoid as a passenger.

  6. I’m not allowing Teen1 to drive (my car) right now because he is too angry, violent, impulsive, disrespectful, and impetuous to be behind the wheel of a car. He has his learner’s permit but will not have enough hours to get his license later this fall, and that’s fine with me. Plus, the kid never, ever knows where he is. Teen1 will likely be 17 — or older — before he gets his license.

    • It sounds like you’re having some trouble with your teen, and I’m sorry for that. I’m glad you recognize he’s struggling right now. Is it typical teen or are you looking further for the source of his moods and frustration?


  1. […] And, my teenagers hate driving it. They say it’s embarrassing. They’re lucky to have access to a car, but making them realize that is a whole other […]

  2. […] A necessary evaluation of driving skills and some pointers and tips to identify and remove bad habits, and to strengthen the areas that may need improvement, […]

Speak Your Mind