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Make the Car A 'Nag-Free' Zone

Learning to drive isn’t easy. That’s why it takes commitment – from you and your parents (or another trusted adult). Even after the supervised behind-the-wheel practice is logged and you get your probationary license, your parents will need to monitor your driving activities for the first year and help you practice new skills. With their help, you will become an experienced, skilled driver.

To help reduce the stress and arguing that develop during the permit period, we propose making the car a ‘nag-free’ zone, one where you can concentrate on learning to drive, not other issues.

What’s important: Keeping the lines of communication open. To be successful, it’s crucial to create the right learning environment. In the past the car may have seemed like the right place to discuss a wide range of topics with your parents. It still can be but not when you’re behind the wheel. Heavy topics are best left for around the dinner table. In the car try to restrict the talk to driving-related topics. Keep this in mind when you and your family develop house rules for driving.

  • Establish a “safe space” to talk outside the car. Agree to discuss anything sensitive or important somewhere calm outside the car—the front step, living room, or backyard swing—the choice is yours. Be sure to follow through. You’ll have to talk about it sometime. Don’t put it off.
  • It’s okay to tell your parent to ‘chill out.’ An angry parent is one of the worst distractions. Politely encourage your mom or dad to count to 10, save the criticism for later, and stay focused on teaching.
  • Learn to accept constructive criticism. When your parent gives you focused and specific feedback on your driving performance, accept it and learn from it. 

parent and teen driving together

Watch this video with your parents to improve communication

Further reading:

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