Maturity and Drivers Training

Lilacs4Me

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
DD15 just finished the classroom portion of drivers training. She has her permit (can drive with DH or I in the car only, until she turns 16). I have not scheduled the driving portion of the class yet.

DD is very mature for her age - very responsible, good head on her shoulders, independent, clear-minded. So, imagine my surprise when she freaked out the first time she got behind the wheel. I had her drive in the neighborhood only, 20 MPH roads, to the grocery store. We didn't go on any main roads at all. She freaked herself out to the point where she cried when she parked at the store, and refused to drive us home.

OK, no big deal. I thought she did a great job for her first time behind the wheel, but I wasn't going to push her. She refused to drive for about a week, then yes we bribed her with money for a t-shirt that she wanted to buy at an upcoming concert. She drove to Target, about 2 miles away through side streets, and did great.

After that she did little trips here and there around the neighborhood, just to gain confidence and a little more experience. But I want her to start driving with her instructor, who will make her drive on the main roads in our urban Chicago suburb with crazy traffic and aggressive drivers, so DH and I took her WAAAAYYYY out west into the country and had her practice on some of the back roads so she could get the feel for a speed limit higher than 25 lol. She was willing to get on/off the freeway out there too, so we did it. She got a little scared, but did great and wanted to do it again. So I had her make a left, go down a road so we could turn around. As we approached an intersection (country road, nobody around, 45 mph) she got startled by a car approaching to her right. The car had a stop sign and was stopping - literally zero threat that it was going to hit us. But it scared DD and she swerved into the oncoming lane through the intersection and then jerked back into our lane and started to cry hysterically. I had her pull over immediately and let her go into the backseat, then talked her through it. She said she hated me, lol and would never drive again. I didn't take it personally :rotfl2:

She drove again today, back on the little neighborhood streets, and is still freaking herself out. She keeps asking if the car behind us is going to hit her, or if the car coming toward us can see us...etc.etc...completely irrational concerns.

At this point, I feel like she just isn't ready to drive. What would you do if this was your kid? I am torn between just letting it go for a few months and trying again, or keeping her driving at least in the neighborhood so she doesn't psyche herself out more thinking it is terrifying and never wanting to do it again. She has 10 months before she turns 16 and is eligible for her license, so we do have some time on our side if we are to take a break for a while. I just don't want it to get to the point where she flat out refuses to drive at all. if you have been through this with teens already, do you think driving with the instructor would be better for her than driving with me?

ETA: as luck would have it, I think she is freaking out more because we have had three car incidents this summer, which I keep telling her is NOT normal! DS19 totaled his car in June when a deer ran out in front of him and hit his front end, then I was rear-ended on the freeway by a car two cars back hitting the one behind me pushing the car behind me into my car ($2200 worth of damage!) and DS19 drove over a tie-down strap with a metal winch at the end that looks like it broke off from a truck and it got stuck under the car and did some damage. DD was in the car for the rear-end accident and the strap incident and was witness to the havoc the totaled car has caused. She is thinking about all of the above every time she gets behind the wheel!
 
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mjkacmom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Make her. Lucky for us, in NJ (where the traffic and highways are a nightmare compared to Chicago) they need 6 hours of professional instruction before they can drive with parents. My niece lives in Indiana, she’s 20, still hasn’t gotten her license, my SIL is so mad she didn’t make her. She’s off at college, so can’t even learn. Dd23 was a reluctant driver, but drives all of the time now (hundreds of miles a week).
 

whatname

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
DD got her permit about a month ago. We are still going about 30mph lol She did reach 50mph for a brief moment the last time she drove We have only driven back roads with very little traffic, but I can tell you that she freaks out if she has to turn anywhere. Not to the point of crying but asking and asking what she should do in an almost panicked sort of way. She refuses to attempt to drive on the highway. Or around much traffic. Or where there may be a busy intersection. She is worried that one day she will have to turn into our driveway when there is no car coming from the opposite direction and she will have to make the turn without coming to a complete stop. I'm o.k. with her worries. She's learning. I tell you this just to let you know that we have one with some anxiety too. I think that is normal to some extent. Your DD sounds a little more scared though.

Maybe just go back to driving where she is comfortable and letting her get really comfortable with that before moving on. In our state, the permit is good for 2 years, so there is no hurry. We have no intention of DD even trying for her license at 16. I know a lot of kids who are older and just getting theirs. I have a friend whose DD did not want to drive at all and still is very anxious driving, even though she has been practicing and just turned 18. I would encourage your DD to continue but wouldn't push beyond what she feels good doing. She'll get there.
 
  • Luv Bunnies

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2006
    I would book her with a professional instructor and let them teach her. They are experienced in assessing the student driver's abilities, teaching the necessary skills and dealing with nerves and fearfulness. Plus, kids act totally different with teachers than with parents. Ask around and get recommendations for a good instructor. Some are a lot better than others.
     

    whatname

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2010
    And just to add - DD is currently taking the classroom portion. The instructor told the class that he wouldn't drive with them until they had a lot of practice with their parents because his job was not to teach them to drive but to make them better drivers.:confused3
     

    NAB

    <font color=green>That first page just got too hea
    Joined
    May 31, 2006
    Well here they have to be 16 to drive at all , even to write.

    So 15 seems young to me. Instructors can really help . I remember when I first started out I would look just in front of the car , instructor told me look as far as you can ahead...easy than. Or talk and tell him what you see so you know where they are looking.

    Here you also drive with some else for a whole year. Then second year you can drive on your own after passing a driving test but you have to go back again for a highway test and regular stuff parking, 3 point turns... to get your full license.
     

    Lilacs4Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2015
    And just to add - DD is currently taking the classroom portion. The instructor told the class that he wouldn't drive with them until they had a lot of practice with their parents because his job was not to teach them to drive but to make them better drivers.:confused3
    Isn't that what we are paying $450 for!!! Geesh!

    This is our 2nd kid that we have gone through DT with, but DS was older. He was almost 17 by the time he started due to injuries/surgery, but again, they got their permits the 2nd day of classroom instruction and the instructor said to start practicing with your parents! He didn't even take the driving portion until 3 months later. Insane.
     
  • RUDisney

    Mom to Ivan & Kristina
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2002
    My DD would freak out whenever we wanted her to drive. She didn't decide to really do it until she was 20 and her brother was sick. She didn't want to be home alone with him if he had to go to the hospital and she wasn't able to take him. (She never had to, BTW.)

    Part of her unease was driving with my DH or I in the car. She had the local driving instructor teach her and then she practiced with my father until she was ready for her test.

    Now, she has her own car and goes everywhere in it, like it's nothing. She still won't drive with me in the car. But, then again, most people won't because I'm a control freak and want to be in charge, behind the wheel.
     

    Lilacs4Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2015
    I would book her with a professional instructor and let them teach her. They are experienced in assessing the student driver's abilities, teaching the necessary skills and dealing with nerves and fearfulness. Plus, kids act totally different with teachers than with parents. Ask around and get recommendations for a good instructor. Some are a lot better than others.
    She has an instructor that she will be driving with that we have already paid for, I just haven't booked the times yet. And yes, that is what I am thinking - she might get her act together with the instructor, plus he has a foot brake on his side lol
     

    Moliphino

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2016
    I got my permit at 16, but didn't get my license until I was 22. Hit a snowbank my first time out when I hit the gas instead of the brake (no damage as I was crawling in a parking lot, but it still freaked me out). I went away to college and would not have had a car even if I could drive, so it didn't matter too much.
     

    Lilacs4Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2015
    Well here they have to be 16 to drive at all , even to write.

    So 15 seems young to me. Instructors can really help . I remember when I first started out I would look just in front of the car , instructor told me look as far as you can ahead...easy than. Or talk and tell him what you see so you know where they are looking.

    Here you also drive with some else for a whole year. Then second year you can drive on your own after passing a driving test but you have to go back again for a highway test and regular stuff parking, 3 point turns... to get your full license.
    In IL, you can be 14 at the beginning of your drivers training session, as long as the last class ends after you turn 15! DD just turned 15, but we wanted her to get her permit asap because I wanted her to have as much time as possible to practice before she turned 16. They have to log a total of 50+ hours of driving with a parent (and at least 10 have to be nighttime hours) before they can get their license, and only 6 hours with an instructor. So, parents do have to take on the majority of the responsibility of teaching the kids to drive. I think that's crazy!
     
  • DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    She doesn't sound ready and I do not agree with people suggesting that you make her do it anyway. A car is a huge responsibility and can be a huge danger in the wrong hands. An overly anxious driver is one of the worst kinds. If getting a license is not absolutely mandatory for her at this time, step back and reassess the situation every 6 months or so, or until she comes to you on her own and is ready to try again. 15 is still really young and not everyone is ready at the same age to drive a car.

    Honestly, if she is having THAT much anxiety about driving, perhaps you should consider finding her a therapist that she can talk things through with, and who can help her learn how to control her body's reactions to stressors. If she has this level of anxiety about driving, chances are she has anxieties about other things as well that may be manifesting with this demand. I have a 15 year old son who has anxiety, and has been under medical and mental health care for 2 years. He will be able to earn his permit in 6 months, but he has not even begun puberty yet, and although he knows and understands the rules of the road very well, I think we are going to hold off for a year or 2 on this whole process. His anxiety is likely to manifest when he gets behind the wheel and that scares me quite a lot. He needs more time to mature and learn how to manage his stress reactions before I will feel comfortable putting him behind the wheel.
     

    iivye

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2013
    DD has had a permit for 11 months and has only driven twice...in a parking lot. The second time she ran over one of those islands and popped a tire. I wish her school had driver's ed because at this rate she won't be driving for a long time. I'm seriously considering a driving instructor since she says I make her too nervous. I will admit that when she popped the tire I was none too happy.
     

    TAX GUY

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 25, 2014
    My son is learning to drive now (16 years old). One of the things I found to be very helpful, was to have him watch us drive. I'd narrate too, so he understood what I was doing, and why. He was able to get the basic concepts using our riding mower, riding dirt bikes/ ATV's, go carts, etc. He's done fine, and actually got a little to confident to where I told him he would need to take road lessons before he drove with me more since he didn't want to listen to me anymore. Now that he's taken about half of his required lessons with the driving school, his skills have greatly improved, and he even admitted the instructor said/did the same things I told him. Perhaps that's because I actually taught drivers ed about 25 years ago!!! Perhaps try to have her observe a bit more, and actually pay attention to what you're doing and saying, so when she does it, she has a better understanding that she's doing it right, and what the normal expectations are.
     

    RamblingMad

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    I learned to drive in Chicago. I did all of the driving stuff in high school, but I didn’t get my license until I was in university. The public transportation is really good. I couldn’t afford to buy a car and pay for insurance, so that’s why I delayed. Insurance is ridiculously expensive in Chicago.

    Now, I did take off the side mirrors twice. Accidents do happen.

    What I don’t get is your kid’s emotional response. I’d expect that out of a tween, not a teen.

    I’d give her more responsibility and let her fail more often. It looks like your kid can’t handle failure. This is a huge problem that will only get worse.

    You want the inventor that fails a hundred times and then succeeds, rather than the inventor that gives up if they fail a couple of times.
     

    Lilacs4Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2015
    She doesn't sound ready and I do not agree with people suggesting that you make her do it anyway. A car is a huge responsibility and can be a huge danger in the wrong hands. An overly anxious driver is one of the worst kinds. If getting a license is not absolutely mandatory for her at this time, step back and reassess the situation every 6 months or so, or until she comes to you on her own and is ready to try again. 15 is still really young and not everyone is ready at the same age to drive a car.

    Honestly, if she is having THAT much anxiety about driving, perhaps you should consider finding her a therapist that she can talk things through with, and who can help her learn how to control her body's reactions to stressors. If she has this level of anxiety about driving, chances are she has anxieties about other things as well that may be manifesting with this demand. I have a 15 year old son who has anxiety, and has been under medical and mental health care for 2 years. He will be able to earn his permit in 6 months, but he has not even begun puberty yet, and although he knows and understands the rules of the road very well, I think we are going to hold off for a year or 2 on this whole process. His anxiety is likely to manifest when he gets behind the wheel and that scares me quite a lot. He needs more time to mature and learn how to manage his stress reactions before I will feel comfortable putting him behind the wheel.
    That's exactly what worried me - her completely instinctual reaction to the car approaching to the right of us. She didn't even take a second to THINK - she flinched and swerved like it was bearing down on us.
     

    yoopermom

    Come join Bravo by the fire...
    Joined
    Sep 27, 2000
    Here in MI, at least when DS (now 25) was that age, they started with their temps at 14. He had been driving farm vehicles, four wheelers, etc for years, and so was an aggressive driver, if anything. (It was kind of funny though that we had to drive over an hour away to find a four lane road, not to mention a roundabout for him to practice on!).

    Personally, as a teacher and a parent, I would continue with what you are doing, make her keep practicing, and increase her discomfort level a little at a time. If one adult driver has more patience than the other, send him/her out with your daughter. Honestly, you can "talk her through" 90% of what the instructor can (even if you don't have a foot pedal!). An empty parking lot can be your friend (even have someone with another vehicle there so you can run some scenarios, if/then.)

    I also know a few that were allowed to stress their way out of getting their licenses at the appropriate age, and it's caused many problems now that they are in their twenties. Fears grow!

    Terri
     

    yoopermom

    Come join Bravo by the fire...
    Joined
    Sep 27, 2000
    I would also add that, depending on her temperament/personality before these three accidents, possibly consider having her see a mental health professional. Involvement in a few accidents for a teen with a stable personality means they can learn from it and grow, but for a teen who already has anxiety or depression or ??, it may take some sessions with a trained professional to sort through those reactions and feelings.

    (I was in an accident where I was t-boned, with DS in the back seat, and even though I was a good, solid driver, and had been driving for fifteen years, still went in for counselling, because I was TERRIFIED that every other driver was out to kill my baby, for awhile. Not logical, but understandable.)

    Terri
     

    Lilacs4Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2015
    I learned to drive in Chicago. I did all of the driving stuff in high school, but I didn’t get my license until I was in university. The public transportation is really good. I couldn’t afford to buy a car and pay for insurance, so that’s why I delayed. Insurance is ridiculously expensive in Chicago.

    Now, I did take off the side mirrors twice. Accidents do happen.

    What I don’t get is your kid’s emotional response. I’d expect that out of a tween, not a teen.

    I’d give her more responsibility and let her fail more often. It looks like your kid can’t handle failure. This is a huge problem that will only get worse.

    You want the inventor that fails a hundred times and then succeeds, rather than the inventor that gives up if they fail a couple of times.
    Believe me, I let her fail all the time. I don't baby my kids nor have I ever treated them like they are superstars. We push them to go out of their comfort zones and not give up. She does tend to have the "type A" personality of wanting to be perfect the second she tries something new for the first time, and wanting to give up when she's not. Crazy how intense it's manifested itself here.

    I don't get her emotional response either, because this is a kid that normally REFUSES to cry - ever.

    LOL about the side mirrors. Happens all the time in our neighborhood. Some of the streets are so narrow!
     

    RamblingMad

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    Believe me, I let her fail all the time. I don't baby my kids nor have I ever treated them like they are superstars. We push them to go out of their comfort zones and not give up. She does tend to have the "type A" personality of wanting to be perfect the second she tries something new for the first time, and wanting to give up when she's not. Crazy how intense it's manifested itself here.

    I don't get her emotional response either, because this is a kid that normally REFUSES to cry - ever.

    LOL about the side mirrors. Happens all the time in our neighborhood. Some of the streets are so narrow!
    Does she do her own laundry? Mow the lawn? Cook dinner? Maybe you can find things that she can fail at to build some grit that doesn’t involve a car crash. Cooking takes failure to get right.
     

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