This week’s coaching tip is a simple one, yet it’s something that’s too often overlooked by parents (and instructors. Praise your student, parents! Learning to drive is a daunting and intimidating endeavor for most, if not all, new drivers. Never before have they had such an awesome responsibility as piloting a several-hundred pound object, and sometimes even at high speeds! It is an awesome responsibility, which is why it is necessary for your student to become confident in her abilities as a driver as her training progresses. That’s the importance of praising your student when she does something well. Build your teen’s confidence; let her know that she is in fact progressing towards becoming a safe and collision-free driver.
Now, I’m not talking about building up a false sense of confidence in your teen. Don’t tell them they’re doing well when they need a LOT of improvement. Too often, though, (and I’m guilty of this myself, sometimes), we parents tend to focus too much on what our kids are doing wrong. It’s not because we don’t love them, it’s just that they’re our kids and we EXPECT good things from them, so when they do well, it’s kind of like “whatever, that’s just what’s supposed to happen.”! I’m not asking you to ignore what your teen driver is doing wrong, just remember to also put some focus on what she’s doing right. Praise builds confidence, and confidence means composure, which is definitely something you want your teen to have when she’s behind the wheel of the vehicle.
Watch this video for some specific tips on praising your teen driver.