teens

Just 10 thoughts literally every parent has while teaching their kid to drive.

Becoming a driving instructor was never part of my career plan when I left school. But fast forward 20-plus years and throw in a tribe of four teen boys with licenses and I might just have clocked up enough experience for a genuine side hustle.

Teaching kids to drive, particularly the first time, is such a momentous mind blow. It was just yesterday that we were teaching them to read and tie their shoelaces, and now they are behind the wheel of a car with completely ridiculous amounts of horsepower at their fingertips.

There’s nothing quite like the look of delight when a 16-year-old passes their L’s. They grow about a foot taller, develop a "swagger" and can’t wipe the smile off their faces. When I accompanied my first son to the Motor Registry, and he passed the test, I was thrilled for him. 

'Wonderful, darling! Yes – so proud!' 

But as soon as we started 'lessons' – in a deserted carpark on a Sunday afternoon – the reality set in. How the actual hell was I going to do this?

Watch: Andrew Daddo is teaching his daughter to drive. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

If you’ve ever taught a teen to drive, then I bet you’ve had at least a few of these thoughts while bracing yourself in the passenger seat. Here’s how my internal thought process has played out each time. 

120 hours is crazy. It should be at least 200.

15 minutes into the first lesson and I’m convinced that 120 hours of driving experience will never be enough. And don’t think for a minute I’ll be rounding up any time in the logbook. NO WAY. How will you ever be safe in 120 hours?

Did you even study for the test?

Did you really pass? Are you sure it wasn’t your doppelganger? Have you read the handbook? Are you sure? Yes, you need a blinker every time you turn and please don’t forget that red lights mean stop oh my god.

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Are you sure that was only 15 minutes?

Why does time go sooooooo slowly? I’m sweating like a pig and my hands are cramping from holding on so tightly to the car door – I need a coffee break. Surely that was an hour?

Is it normal for my heart to beat so loudly that I can feel it in my head?

Surely there is something I can take? Extensive deep breaths? Chamomile tea? Valium?

I’m going to get a part-time job to fund driving lessons.

That’s it! I’m out. Driving instructors are expensive but clearly worth every cent. I am so happy to eat Vegemite sandwiches for a month.

Do you really need to indicate at roundabouts?

Surely I can use my mobile to answer a call via bluetooth? Might be time to brush up on the road rules. (Enter teen’s name) seems to have a better handle of this stuff than I do. Secretly starting to feel a little more confident about their driving career.

Do NOT lose that log book.

Your brother did, and it was extremely complicated! Note to self – take photos of completed pages and record each drive in the notes section on your smartphone.

Okay, all the hard work is paying off.

I’m starting to see some progress! They're getting it – I don’t think I need to investigate Botox for my underarm sweating after all.

I’m actually... pretty good at this?

Main roads, merging, three-point turns – they’ve got it! I’m clearly a natural teacher. They’ve obviously been absorbing my A1 driving for years.

Can we do more than 120 hours?

Even though they don’t need me anymore and can parallel park like a pro, can’t we extend it? I don’t want to give this one-on-one time up. 

In just a few months, my time as a driving instructor will be done. And if I’m being honest – that makes me feel really sad. Having to spend 120 hours in a car with your teen where all you can do it talk is one of the best gifts ever. 

Yes, you’ll want to swear, invest in a super-duper deodorant or visit the chiropractor with a strained neck but it’s all worth it. Because once they get their P's...

Alex Merton-McCann is a mum to four boys. She is the founder of The Grown-Up Girls Report, a blog and podcast dedicated to supporting women as they take on life with multiple balls in the air. She is also McAfee’s Australian Cybermum, helping to guide parents and their kids through the ins and outs of online life. You can find her on Instagram.

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