It is scary handing the keys over to your 16 year old teen driver and letting them go off on their own. You know that once they’re on their own they have a whole new set of freedoms and distractions. So, how do you know when your child is truly ready to hit the roads on their own? Follow these guidelines to help you feel more comfortable handing over the keys.
Set expectations early on. Before your child even receives their permit and gets behind the wheel, talk with them. Make it clear that just because they go through driving school and complete all the state requirements leading up to receiving their license does not mean they get to take their driver’s test. This is a privilege that comes with maturity and the demonstration of a high competency and skill level. Include them as part of this conversation and listen to their input.
Be clear and encouraging. If you are telling your child they need to practice more under adult supervision, make the time to guide them. Encourage them and remind them that learning to drive doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and practice. Be clear that the answer is not “no you can not take the driving test” but rather “not yet.”
Continue to monitor. Once you are confident that your teen is ready to drive on their own, try to remain aware of the situations they are driving in. Heavy traffic, bad weather, multiple passengers, and emotional periods are times you may want to restrict your child from driving. As these situations arise, you can guide them as they learn to drive under these new circumstances.
Open communication. The best way to make sure your teen is ready for the road is to participate in open communication. Check up on them and make sure they know that you are there to answer any questions or concerns they have.