Teaching my son….part one
As parents we tend to teach our kids many things as they’re growing up. We teach our kids manners, how to speak, how to dress themselves and many other things. To some parents they also feel it’s their duty to teach their kids how to drive. That’s always a bit of a concern in most and a lot of concern with others. There’s always a risk of teaching your kids our own bad habits. Is that what you really want?
I now have a dilemma. I have a teenage son with his beginner’s license who wants to learn how to drive, but I’m also a driving instructor. Do I teach him or do I let one of my co-workers from Young Drivers of Canada teach him? I decided to go against the grain and teach him myself. Besides, who would want to teach my son how to drive? We had to set up ground rules though if I was going to teach him. When he’s learning to drive, I’m his instructor. When we are at home then I’m his dad. The other ground rule was that if he didn’t do what I asked, I would tell mom. No one wants the wrath of mom! So far he’s stayed within the ground rules.
As the classroom teacher for my son as well, I realize he does have a solid base of knowledge about driving. I’m not surprised since he’s lived his entire life learning about driving. He got the information by watching and listening for over 16 years even though he may not have realized it. His test results are excellent so far and it’s interesting to see how he analyzes driving situations before answering questions. It’s also a relief for me that he’s taking this seriously.
Once I started to teach him in the car I realized, as his dad AND as his driving instructor, I’ve got a bit of an advantage. For all of the other students I’ve taught I could not control what they practiced or how often they practiced. But now I can. Not only is he able to practice the skills that I personally know he’s weak with, but I can also help provide tips on improvement that I know are correct. Sometimes, with no offence to parents, advice from parents isn’t always in the best interest of the novice driver. Things get forgotten over time.
I’ve also been thinking about this for a while lately, but who has the most pressure here; him or me? I want my son to become a safe driver like all parents want, but since I know a little bit more about safe driving because of my profession, I may try a little harder. It could be similar to that of a parent coaching their child in a sport. They can be a little harder on their own child than the others. Since I’ve coached him in sports, I’ve already experienced that feeling and have been able to avoid putting added pressure on him. Those are also his words and not just mine.
My son does feel a little bit of pressure in a way. As a lot of teens do, they want their parents to be pleased with what they’re doing. In his case, he knows the high standards that I have as a driver. He’s starting to realize that he’s been able to build upon his newly learned skill through solid practice. We’re practicing the skills he and I know that are weaker. Why practice something you know you’re good at…other than to make yourself feel good of course.
I think this will be a good experience for both of us. I know he’ll tell me the truth about my teaching skills, especially after 25 years as a driving instructor and he knows I want him to be the best he can be. It’ll be fun to see him progress during his lessons and his practice sessions. I’ll let you know if he hates me afterwards.