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Are You and Your Coparent Teaching Your Teen to Drive? Keep These Things in Mind

Will you and your coparent be teaching your teenager to drive? If so, there are numerous elements to consider, including who will teach your teen when, what specific skills you need to teach, and how to manage custody throughout the process. Parenting teens can be stressful, and involving automobiles can make it more so.Keeping these issues in mind can help make it easier and less stressful to teach your teen to drive.

As you begin to teach your teenager to drive, consider the following tips:

Prioritize safety first

As you get ready to teach your teenager to drive, it's important that you focus on safety first. Operating a motor vehicle can be dangerous if you're not careful, and millions of people are injured in car accidents on U.S. roads every year. Both parents should work to teach the teen about road safety, including essential car maintenance, distracted driving, and the dangers of combining alcohol and driving. Keeping safety as a priority can limit the odds of an accident.

Be patient

While you work out the details of teaching your teenager to drive, such as who will teach them on which days, it's important to stay patient with both them and your coparent. In addition, you'll need to rely on your stores of patience when your teenager is behind the wheel. Focus on giving calm instruction and avoid shouting or surprising your teen. Staying calm and being patient can help them learn more effectively while limiting the chances that they'll make a sudden error due to being startled or anxious.

Work driving lessons into your schedules

Learning to drive takes regular practice, and it's important that you and your coparent spend the necessary time in the vehicle with your teen. Nearly half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce or separation, so this type of schedule juggling is common throughout the country. With careful planning, clear communication, and a shared digital calendar, you can work driving lessons for your teen into your schedule so that both of you have equal time teaching your teenager to drive.

Focus on clear instructions

As you work to teach your teenager to drive, do your best to focus on giving clear directions and make sure that they know how all the vehicle's controls work. It's often easier to tell them what you want them to do than what you want them to stop doing, so 'Stop!' or 'Brake!' may be more effective than 'Don't go so fast!' Be sure to give them warning before turns and lane changes, and make sure they understand where they'll be going and the speed limit on all the roads you'll be using. Keep your voice and tone level and avoid shouting or making hurtful comments about their driving ability.

Agree on major driving related decisions

Work with your coparent to come to an agreement about major driving decisions, such as when your teen will be able to drive on their own, when they can have a passenger in the car, and when they'll be allowed to drive themselves to and from school. If you can't work these details out on your own, reach out to a local family attorney or therapist. However, in 29% of custody cases, these decisions are made without third-party involvement, and custody is clearly delineated in the documents from the divorce. In these situations, you can simply follow these documents with regard to driving, as well.

Teaching your teenager to drive doesn't have to be an overwhelming event. With a little preparation and patience, you and your ex-partner can work together to make sure that your teen has the skills that they'll need.


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