It can be a little nerve-wracking when your child gets old enough to start learning how to drive – after all, this step not only puts them in the path of other drivers but also signifies that they're nearly grown adults. But when it comes to the actual learning process, you may be torn between teaching your child yourself or leaving the job to the professionals. It's a personal decision, but there are decided pros and cons to both approaches – so if you're stuck choosing between sitting with your child the whole way through or having them learn from a driving school, then here's what you need to know:
Laws and Regulations
No matter who teaches your child how to drive, at the end of the day they're going to have to take (and pass) both the written and practical driving tests given by the government – and a large part of those tests is knowing the laws and regulations particular to your state. If you've lived in the state all your life and/or have a license from the state you currently live in, it's probable that you're up to date on those laws and regulations and, with a quick brush-up from your state's DMV website, could teach your child no problem. If you're not from the state, however, and sitting in front of a computer to learn minute laws you've never thought about sounds like an enormous hassle and waste of energy, it might be best to leave the little details to a person or school who specializes them.
Driving school teachers generally get into the business for a little extra cash, but successful teachers stay in the business because they have the temperament for it. Getting into a car with a jumpy teenager takes not only bravery but also a calm demeanor and the ability to let the child make mistakes (albeit helping when those mistakes become dangerous to themselves and others) rather than grabbing the wheel every time they drift towards the edge of their lane. If you're calm and steady and able to correct without yelling or getting too excited, then you'll probably be a good teacher for your child; if you're a little less calm, however, or tend to argue with your child when one of you makes a mistake, you may want to rely on a driving school to teach Junior the ways of the wheel.
Think of Yourself
This is probably a reminder you need as a parent: you have to think about yourself too when considering a driving school versus training your child yourself. Will it be too much of a drain on your time to spend hours (and hours, and hours) in the car with your child? Would taking the time to train your child take away from time needed for your spouse and/or other children? Will you be the safest and most knowledgeable teacher if this becomes just another after-work responsibility? If you don't think you're up to the task and can't face it with a smile and energy, you might want to cheer your child on from the sidelines, rather than from the seat next to them. But either way you choose, your child will be grateful for your help in this milestone in their life.
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