Parents Versus Professional Driving Instructors: Who Should Teach Children To Drive?
It’s natural for parents to want to start teaching their children to drive when they turn 16. After all, that’s probably the way they were taught when they got their drivers licence all those years ago.
This approach can work well if:
- The child listens to everything they say (and never argues)
- The parent is a superb driver, who has never broken any road rules (ever)
- The parent has read the Driver’s Handbook back to front, and can quote from the Road Traffic Act (1961)
Obviously we’re being a little tongue in cheek. But when looked at from a practical standpoint, the vast majority of us are not anywhere near qualified to be able to teach our children how to drive in a stress-free, calm and competent manner. It is also amazing to think that parents pay for a professional to teach their children skills such as swimming, ballet and karate, but insist on teaching their children how to drive themselves, without really considering the consequences, or, indeed, the alternatives.
Anxiety, Stress and Anger: Sound Familiar?
Teaching children can be difficult at the best of times, but teaching your own children can and make you wonder why you offered to help in the first place. Combine these normal parental feelings of frustration with the apprehension of handing the keys of your pride and joy over to your child – who may not have quite mastered the brake pedal – and you’ll have a recipe for disaster (driving instructors cleverly avoid this kind of stress by equipping their cars with dual controls and dual mirrors).
Every Saturday morning you see cars with L plates being driven by nervous looking children with their equally nervous looking parents in the passenger seat. A survey conducted a few years ago found that, of the 1250 parents who were teaching their children to drive, almost half felt nervous or apprehensive when the lesson began.
Professional, accredited driving instructors are trained to teach your children in the calmest, most professional manner possible. The best instructors have years of experience in dealing with teenagers, teaching them the right skills to not only pass their test, but also set them up for a life of safe and responsible driving.
Parents Can Pass On Bad Habits
Need another reason to book your child in for driving lessons? Worryingly, 40 per cent of participants in the survey struggled with many of the road rules that were applied in the driving test. This means that without some sort of professional guidance, those children would most likely learn the wrong thing from their parents and fail the driving test.
Kids may not always listen to you, but they’re always watching and learning from your example. This is especially the case when you’re teaching them something as important as driving habits. We all think we’re great drivers, but ask yourself this: would you pass a driving test today based on your driving from the past few days?
The most sensible course of action is to use an accredited instructor for you driving lessons, find a reputable and experienced driving instructor and enrol your child as early as you can. Parents shouldn’t be out of the loop altogether however, and should offer to help as a Qualified Supervising Driver so that the child can easily acheive the 75 hours of supervised driving required for a P1 licence.
Kim – 0421 083 097