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Teaching your Teen to drive Blog

Say what? Effective in-car communication with your teen.

Say what? Effective in-car communication with your teen.

 

This mini how-to guide is intended to help you more effectively communicate with your teen during your first few weeks of behind-the-wheel practice.
Don’ts:Don’t engage in distracting conversations.
When your teen is first learning to drive, you need to restrict what you say to commenting about the current driving environment or to give instructions for what you want your teen to do. If your teen makes some sort of driving error, it can be tempting to bombard them with information about why what they just did was wrong. Restrict your instructions to what is necessary to safely navigate through the current situation. Wait until the lesson is over or for a break in the lesson to discuss the matter in more detail.
Don’t make “I’m-really-scared” noises.
Gasping as your teen begins to change lanes or starts to brake at an intersection is not a good idea. It’s distracting, vague, and frustrating for your teen. If you’re worried your teen isn’t braking quickly enough, simply state, “More brake.” It’s quick, effective, and helpful.
Don’t slam your foot on the floor as if you’re trying to brake the car.
Not only will this distract your teen, but it may frustrate them. They may not know why you’re worried or they may feel that you’re not confident in their abilities. If you’d like them to brake, simply say, “Use your brake. You’re approaching this car too quickly.” That will be much more effective and faster-acting than slamming an imaginary brake with your foot.
Don’t block their view of the passenger side mirror.
When your teen is first practicing how to change lanes, it’s a great idea to double-check that the lane they’re moving into is clear of other cars. Communicating this to your teen can help them build confidence. However, don’t block their view of the passenger-side rearview mirror. This will undermine their learning, not to mention that it’s dangerous.
Do’s:Give driving instructions “location first”.
What this means is that if you want your teen to make a left turn at the next intersection, first tell them where you want their action to take place followed by what action to perform. So, instead of saying “turn left at the next intersection” say, “at the next intersection, please turn left.” Although the difference may not seem significant, it can have a profound difference on the actions your teen takes. If you say, “turn left at the next intersection”, they may act upon the “turn left” immediately. And this could be really bad depending on the driving environment.
Remain calm.
We know that this is easier said than done. But, raising your voice to your teen is not going to help a precarious situation. If your teen does something dangerous with the vehicle, your primary concern is to ensure their safety. Calmly instruct them on how to regain a safe driving environment. Very few people react well when they’re subjected to a scream-storm.
Reward good decision-making.
Everyone, even your teen, appreciates being told “job well done”. While they may not respond to your positive reinforcement with a boisterous “thank you”, rest assured that it won’t go unnoticed.
Summary
You know your teen better than anyone else. You know when to push your child and when to back off. Use this knowledge to help teach them one of the most dangerous tasks they’ll ever engage in.

37 Comments to Say what? Effective in-car communication with your teen.:

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sheranne on Friday, July 03, 2015 3:52 PM
Excellent advice all-around! If a mistake is made; calmly redirect (discuss later). No manifestations of "I'm scared", and I especially appreciated the language processing examples. Thanks for posting :-)
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Andy Alloy on Monday, September 18, 2017 10:33 AM
Good luck with teaching a teen to drive, not an easy task - Andy Alloy


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Communication is very important in all aspects of life. Nowadays, teenagers are hard to approach because their generation are different from us. They are all involved in a fast paced life, where modern technology is there that will make their life easier. This is also the cause of teenagers being impatient, they think that they can get things all they want in just one snap. It's not like in the early generation that you really have to work everything for the things you need.


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Driving is a milestone for most of us, parents giving their teens a driving lesson is something to look forward to. It is important for parents to be calm and collected during the lesson, since they are still learning it is expected that they will be making a lot of mistakes, it will be helpful in the process if parents will guide them properly. Learning to drive is an exciting feeling, most teens look forward to it because of being able to go anywhere and feel independent. Communicating well during the lesson is important, handling the situation well will result in more proper driving outcomes. The driving skills of teens will depend on the proper guidance and communication of parents, if it was handled well the possibility of being a good driver will be high.
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