By Jackie Burrell
Thursday, February 28th, 2008 at 8:12 am in Teens.
If you’ve got a teen nearing driving age, you know the feeling … the white knuckles, the cold sweats… and that’s just the parents. The kid’s a little freaked out too. But our favorite parenting expert, Rona Renner, and her now-grown son Matt were on “View from the Bay” the other day to share their wisdom and practical “driver training” survival tips.
Part of the parental angst and emotion, says Rona, is because “it’s a rite of passage. You’re letting go. You’re saying, ‘I trust you enough to go behind the wheel.'”
It’s a frightening process for teens too, says Matt, particularly when parents freak out mid-drive. Stay calm, he says, don’t yell, and go easy on the “fake brake.” Your kid sees you frantically stomping the carpet on the passenger side of the car and he’ll get panicky too.
Keep those lines of trust and communication open, say the Renners, and sign a driving contract that lays out all the specific family rules – no drinking and driving, no driving while sleep deprived, no gabbing on the cell phone while driving, etc. – and posting it on the refrigerator. Watch a video of the interview here. You’ll find a sample contract on the same page. (And tune in to Rona’s radio show, Childhood Matters, every Sunday at 9 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and 105.1 KOCN-FM. This Sunday’s show focuses on children and the power of books.)