Take It On Tuesday: First Ride With Teen Driver

You read that right.

I have a teen driver.

Granted, he doesn’t have his license yet and needs far more Driving Lessons, but HE IS DRIVING.

I took video of my first ride with my teen driver because 1) I took video of him eating his first birthday cake… hitherhencetofore I took video of our first drive with him behind the wheel and 2) To show other parents that such an event does not guarantee a heart attack – not matter how convinced you are.

My son will have a solid 11 months to get some experience with his Automatic driving lessons before he can get his official license. Which means, my husband and I have lots more drives with our son, which means the next 11 months will not be our most stress-free.

Now, I feel the need to note – Joel is doing an excellent job.

But the thing is, I have been driving since I was 15.5.. the day I got my license I took off to my 45 minutes away school in THICK FOG.

Neither my dad nor I can believe he let me do that, yet I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley (Central Cali) and if you know SJV, you know fog in the Fall is a sure as sun in the summer.

Fastforward a lifetime and now my own child is taking the wheel, and I am in the seat my dad once sat and realize… to be a good driver… you have to drive.

To date, this is the biggest act of letting go in my parenting history, and I am still in the car with him.

Many have gone before me… many will come after.

Going through this experience should leave me with some advice or insight for those who are witnessing this with babes in arms who will blink and one day find themselves in the passenger seat.

My advice:

• If it takes YOU 10 minutes to get to a location, it will take junior 20 minutes. This is actually a GOOD thing. You don’t want junior going straight in a turn lane going at the maximum legal limit, anyways.

• Talk about the rules of the road months before. Drive is pretty-much a habit at our age. The simplest of things (like yielding) is a new concept to our new drivers. You’d think after 15 years of passengering they’d pick up some of the details. I’m here to say, they don’t.

• Tell your kid, “It’s not YOU, it’s OTHER drivers.” when you don’t let them drive at rush hour. It might be them, but they don’t need to know that. Whether they are confident or not, they need to feel your support. They get plenty of correction while behind the wheel.

• Get practice in empty parking lots. We didn’t do that. I wish we had made the time. It would have helped with not only Joel’s confidence, but our own confidence in him.

• During the drives with your teen, there is a lot of correction and many levels of panic one might, shall we say, emote… so make sure AFTER the keys have been returned, the young driver gets praise for the good decisions made on the road. It’s easy to reminisce those near-death experiences.

•Don’t text/share socially while YOUR TEEN is driving. It is just as dangerous as when YOU YOURSELF is driving. ALL EYES ON THE ROAD. ALL.

• Think about your times with your parents while behind the wheel during those learning days. Just think about what helped you. And what didn’t. But don’t be too hard on yourself. It is truly, truly, truly hard to keep one’s cool when coasting through a stale red light. *ahem*

• Have your go-to beverage chilling at home. Or a bowl of ice cream. You are a good parent. You are a brave parent. Reward yourself. And get to bed early. You worked hard too.

The picture below might prove I didn’t follow my own advice about mobile devices, but I took it when we were going down, down, down our very long drive and I couldn’t NOT get a picture of this moment because this shot is SOOOOOOO going to be shown during his cheesy wedding slideshow someday…


The end.

Or rather, another beginning.

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One Response to “Take It On Tuesday: First Ride With Teen Driver”

  1. Jenn says:

    OMG I love you.
    And that boy. BLESS HIM.

    My mom has been taking my nephew out driving (his dad has ZERO patience) and she confesses that she does not remember going out driving with us AT ALL.
    I think we got our licenses and were in the car on our own and that is that.

    I think his checklist is an awesome idea.
    And he is a saint for letting you film it. HA!

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