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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Editor’s note: Back when the boys were very small, I informed Hubby that he was going to have to take sole responsibility for working with the boys during their driving education, because I was just too much of a control freak to do it right. The good news is I’ve grown enough in the intervening 15 years to be able to teach them patiently and without freaking out at every mistake. Although I have gotten scared a few times. Anyway. Advice like this from today’s contributor is priceless. If you have teens or pre-teens, this is for you.

Having a son or daughter who gets their drivers license can be a pretty overwhelming time in a parents life. On one hand, you’re likely to be excited at the fact that you no longer have to drive your kids to the movies or a friends house to hang out every weekend. On the other hand, it can be quite scary to imagine the recklessness that takes place behind the wheel of a car on the open road. However, as a parent, there are certain things to keep in mind for your student driver. Here are five things to know about having a student driver that may help ease the tension you have.

They Are Beginners

People have a tendency of forgetting what it’s like to be new at something or what its like to have to learn something from scratch. Just because you have been driving for years shouldn’t effect the way that your child drives. You’re likely to have been in plenty of situations that have molded you into the driver you are, none of which has any bearing on your child. Keep this in mind when your child is learning to drive, as they will need to make their own mistakes along the way. Don’t take it too hard on them when they mess up, but be sure to remind them of how they can make their driving habits better.

Accidents Happen

Speaking of messing up, keep in mind that accidents happen. Even if your child is the best driver behind the wheel, there are a lot of people out there who aren’t so skilled. Things happen on the open road that you can’t really control, so it’s only best to be prepared. Your child’s first accident is likely to be an overwhelming experience, so be sure to be there in support of them and understand that accidents happen. Prepare your child for accidents before they start driving—tell them what the procedure is if they get in an accident so they know what to do when you aren’t there. Explain to them what will happen after the accident—calling the police, dealing with the insurance, etc.

Freedom Is A Beautiful Thing

Some children can’t wait to get that set of keys and get out on the open road. For some, it’s the first symbol of freedom that allows them to get out from under their parents rules and take off. It’s important to remain in slight control of this, without pressuring your student driver. If they feel as if they can’t utilize their driving as they want, they’ll only get more frustrated. Be sure that they enjoy the freedom of driving, but are safe with it as well.

They Have Friends

If your student driver is lucky enough to drive, it doesn’t mean that all of their friends will. And even those that do drive, don’t necessarily have the same lessons that your child does. Just like you can’t choose your child’s friends, you can’t choose the friends driving habits. Your child is likely to want to take off with their friends and drive them around wherever they want to go. At the same time, its important that your student driver knows the increased dangers of riding in a car full of wild teenagers. An experienced jeep dealer in Utah suggests that parents don’t allow their teens to drive with their friends at night, at least for the first few months of having the license. These Utah Jeep Dealers have seen that far too many accidents happen when a car full of teens is driving around at night.

They’ll Listen If You Talk

The last tip is to remember to simply talk to your children. Sure, no child wants to get an overwhelming lecture the moment they get their keys. Instead, talk to them in the months leading up to getting the license and be sure that they are ready for the moment they can be free on their own. However, if you never talk to them to begin with, you can’t expect them to know the lessons that you want them to.

Getting a drivers license is a magnificent time for young drivers. And if approached correctly, it doesn’t have to be as confusing for the parents. Consider the tips on this list to keep your child safe, as well as reassure your own personal hesitations while they are on the road.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of new drivers. ‘Nuff said.