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Learning to drive is an exciting time in your child’s life and a special time for you and your teen to reconnect and even bond. As an involved parent, you can share the gift of smart driving skills that will protect and change your teen’s life. You’ll also value the opportunity to help your child achieve an important developmental milestone. Best of all: Your teen will savor the independence gained with your respect and love.

To your teen, driving represents freedom and an important step toward adulthood. Your job is to help your child understand that earning the keys is a privilege and a great responsibility. Focus on safety rather than control. This can be accomplished by getting the conversation started early, setting driving rules together, and then enforcing them.

Rules can feel like “too much parental control” to teens, so let them know that your house rules are for their safety. Explain that limits are in place to help them through the most dangerous driving phase: the first 6 to 12 months after receiving their full license and that new privileges will be granted as time on the road (experience) is gained.

In addition to being hands-on driving teachers, parents need to continue monitoring their teens’ driving activities well after they begin driving alone. Ask where they’re going, who they’ll be with, and when they’ll be home. Don’t expect them to tell you everything that happens on the road. (That’s what they tell their friends.) If you’re involved and supportive while teaching them to drive, they’ll be more likely to share this information with you. Close monitoring shows you care and reduces crash risk.

For more helpful tips, download TeenDrivingPlan: The Intermediate Period and watch a video for tips on communicating with your teen.

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Download the TeenDrivingPlan
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Download the TeenDrivingPlan Goal Guide

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