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The internal monologue of a parent teaching their child to drive.

teaching your child to drive

I was looking forward to teaching my son how to drive. I’d taught my little brother and both of my stepsons years earlier. All of them had commented that I was a much better teacher than their parents, whom they had said were nervous and panicked, causing my brother and stepsons to drive badly.

When they got in the car with me, I was totally chilled – gentle, supportive and encouraging. This caused them to drive better than they’d ever driven before, and then start asking me to take them for lessons instead of their parents.

I was quite smug about what an awesome older sister and step-mother I’d become. Really bloody smug.

Getting into the car next to my son was exciting at first. My beautiful boy was 16, had passed his learner driver test and was anxious to learn how to drive. I wanted to take him for the first time myself, before alternating between myself, my husband and formal lessons. But that first drive belonged to me.

We drove to a vacant estate nearby, pulled over and swapped seats.

We were both giggling excitedly and grinning from ear to ear as we put on our seatbelts and he turned the car on.

Then my stomach flipped, somersaulted and dead-fainted.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Nissan Pathfinder. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

My son, my precious boy, my BABY was operating a vehicle and would, in approximately one year’s time, be driving BY HIMSELF, without me sitting next to him.

And I’d never sleep again.

I concentrated on keeping the smile on my face as he gingerly moved the car forward, slowly at first, and then a little faster.

“Good job,” I said, wanting to vomit. “You really are a natural,” I added.

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“Thanks Mum,” he said in delight, lost in his own little world of excitement while I sank into complete despair.

teaching your child to drive

My thought process was going a bit like this…

Look how big he is…

How great is he at driving?

He’s grown up too fast…I’m not ready for him to be a grown up, I’m not ready…

Oh, this feels very different from teaching my brother and stepsons. It’s scarier when it’s your own child…

I must call my mother and apologise to her for judging her feelings when she was teaching my brother how to drive…

I must call my husband and apologise to him from judging him for his feelings when he was teaching his boys how to drive…

I managed to keep the stupid grin on my face until we were faced with a roundabout. I gave him some instructions as he slowly made his way around it. He did it really well. We went up and down the road a few more times and then he said, “Want me to drive us home?”

“No,” I yelped, before I could restrain myself. He rolled his eyes. The jig was up. I’d outed myself as yet another parent feeling terrified while teaching my child to drive. But it wasn’t because I didn’t think he was doing well or that he wouldn’t be a good driver. It was because one day he was going to get his provisional licence, hop in his car and drive away from me. All of a sudden, he seemed to be growing up too fast.

We swapped seats and I did some slow, deep breaths as he fiddled with the radio which I had insisted we keep off so he could concentrate during his driving lesson.

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teen-male-driving-a-car shot from the back seat

“When can we go again?” he asked as I pulled into our driveway.

“Ask Dad,” I said brightly. “It’s his turn.”

We walked inside and my husband looked at me with raised eyebrows. I gestured with my hand on my chest in the universal parenting signal communicating that I might have been given a child-induced heart attack. I then sat down with my phone and booked formal lessons for my son.

I’m happy I got to take him for his first drive. I was feeling a little freaked out but incredibly proud of this amazing young man I had created. And now he was learning to drive.

At least I had a four-year gap between my three children so I’d have time to recover before having to go through it all again. But with them, as with my oldest child, that first driving lesson was always going to belong to me. No matter how much it terrified me.

Have you taught your child to drive yet? Do you have any advice for other parents? 

Here’s some other thoughts all parents will relate to.

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