A Look Inside: Do you have a child about to get a driver’s license? Here you will find tips for parents of new drivers, some family rules for teen drivers, and a printable driving contract available for your personal use to help you and your teen get started on the right foot.
It seems like just yesterday we were teaching our kids to ride a bike. Years go by like weeks and we find ourselves sitting in the passenger seat while our teen gets to hold the steering wheel.
According to the CDC Website, the number 1 cause of teenage deaths is motor vehicle accidents. In fact, teens ages 16-19 are 3 times more likely to get into an accident over peers ages 20 and older per mile driven.
Studies also show that many of these accidents can be prevented. Distracted driving isn’t a new concern. It can be a problem for teens and adults alike.
We as parents want our children to be successful and safe. Unfortunately, we can’t control what happens when our children are driving but we can educate them, put boundaries in place for safety, and give consequences if boundaries are broken in order to provide learning opportunities for our (continually learning) teens.
Keep reading for tips for parents of new drivers, our family rules for teen drivers, and an example of our Parent-Child Driving Contract that you can edit and print for your own use.
Table of Contents
Tips For Parents Of New Drivers
1| Chill out.
This is so hard to do. The magnitude of your child putting their own life, your life, and the lives of others in his or her hands is hard to wrap your brain around.
If you are tense, your child will be tense.
Remind yourself that you function best when people around you are calm and chances are, so will your child.
2| Set a good example.
Whenever you are driving, make sure to respect the rules of the road.
Remind your child that safe drivers know the rules and follow them to protect each and every driver, passenger, and pedestrian.
Wear your seatbelt. Look over your shoulder every single time you change lanes. Follow the speed limit. Don’t critique other drivers.
3| Give play-by-plays when you drive.
I started doing this when our oldest was close to driving on his own.
“The light has been green for a while, there’s a good chance it will be yellow or red by the time we get to it.”
“There are usually a lot of deer around here this time of day.”
“It’s raining today. Wet leaves can be slippery like ice if you have to brake quickly on them.”
“My gas tank is getting low. I think I will fill up today before the weather gets colder tomorrow.”
It seems silly at times but hopefully it builds awareness for our new driver.
4| Keep phones put away.
Your child’s phone and yours. Your new driver should be watching and learning, not scrolling through his or her phone while you are driving.
5| Ask lots of questions.
Asking your child what to do in certain situations forces his brain to make decisions rather than just letting them observe everything.
“We both just got to the 4 way stop at the same time, who should go first?”
“An ambulance is coming up behind me, what should I do right now?”
Now that we have gone over tips to help us be good role models for our teens, we will take a look at a few rules for our teen drivers to help encourage responsibility and accountability.
Family Rules For Teen Driver
Obviously, rules will vary between families, but here is a list to get you started!
1| Read, agree, and sign contract.
This is a great way to set the groundwork for your new driver. She knows what is expected and what will happen if those expectations are not met.
You can also put this agreement in place even if your driver has already been driving for a while.
Your teen will probably give you push-back but you are the parent and have her best interest in mind!
2| Help contribute to gas/insurance expenses.
This can be determined based on expenses and the ability of your teen to contribute.
If your child doesn’t have a lot of outside time to earn income, maybe he/she can complete extra chores around the home to lighten the load for parents.
Maybe your teen works hard over the summer to help with expenses throughout the school year.
3| Keep grades up to maintain good student insurance discount.
Getting good grades in school does help lower your insurance premium. Many insurance companies offer good students driving discounts.
Those discounts vary based on insurance companies and may range from 10-25 %. The usual requirements are for the student to be a full time student, be between the ages of 16-25, maintain a B average GPA, and be in the upper 20 percent of his class.
4| If you break the contract, you will lose your driving privilege and experience the natural consequences that follow.
Follow through is important here.
Now that we have covered family rules, it’s time to figure out if you would like to use a driving contract with your child and if so, what you want to include in it.
Parent Child Driving Contract
I feel like I need to share a disclaimer here. My husband and I prefer not to parent in an “If you ______, then ________ will happen as a result.”
More often than not when we parent that way, it just makes our kids mad at us and doesn’t usually encourage changed behavior.
If it does, it’s done with walls being built up between us.
Let me explain. Our kids have boundaries, and consequences, but we are trying to focus on how their behavior shows respect or disrespect to another person.
Whether that person is us or somebody else.
When those times come, and they do, we are trying to focus on how they need to work on that relationship.
The consequence will be directly related to the person they disrespected.
I’m sure there are times when they would prefer it to be a simple grounding!
All that to say, we believe kids need boundaries, but they might look a little different for us now than they would have if we were parenting this same age a few years ago.
Our parent-teen driving contract is very simple, but we feel it’s important to have it as a reference.
The contract is composed of 2 short sections to be read and initialed by our child.
The first section covers a few law-based rules. The second section covers a few rules we felt important to include.
>>>To get this Parent Teen Driving Contract, simply click here!
Wrapping Up Tips For Parents Of New Drivers
I hope this post was helpful for you as you navigate parenting a teenage driver.
Having our children behind the wheel can be stressful. Clear expectations and consequences help us to be more prepared to deal with the difficulties when they arise.
Do you have a new driver? Please leave your thoughts and comments below to share what tips for parents of new drivers have worked well for your family.