The 3 Best Reasons to Apply Driver’s Ed to Teen Dating
Josh was not a straight “A” student but he studied hard to get good grades. He was well liked by his teachers and other students: polite, smart, funny and respectful. He played soccer, hung out with friends and did all the things most 14-year-old boys like to do – including drinking with his girlfriend and hooking up.
Dating has been around for centuries, driving, just over 100 years. Yet, driving and dating share many things in common: the thrill, risk and the inevitable desire that begins to emerge in the peak of adolescence. So why do so do very few teens fail Driver’s Ed, but millions fail in dating? Let’s shift our thinking and apply three successful driver’s training models to teen dating.
We all agree that kids, especially teens need structure. They need to know exactly where the line is drawn and what happens if they cross it. They will obey, test and even break the rules. A million factors will influence the outcome but without specific guidelines, teens don’t stand a chance.
To minimize the risk and help teenagers it is important for them to define expectations with clear, concise boundary lines including:
I learned a long time ago that if teens say it, they own it; if you say it, you own it. Ask open-ended questions that prompt the use of your teen’s brilliant mind and override the emotions that steer them in the wrong direction. Boundary lines should be drawn in permanent paint, not sidewalk chalk.
You enrolled your child in school, hired a piano teacher, and signed up for soccer camp. You trust third party educators to come along side you to teach your children everything from math to manners. Without intentional direction and guidance, it’s like sending a 13-year-old down the freeway in a two-ton vehicle with no steering wheel, no brakes, no GPS and no airbag.
Here are some ways to keep ahead of the curve:
- Have your teen teach you about the latest apps targeting teens
- Set Google alerts for anything “teen” and read one a day.
- Research the latest drugs teens are using and how to recognize the red flags before it’s too late
- Require a relational book or course for your teen before he or she speeds down the dating highway blindfolded.
As parents, we understand the value of education and how it impacts future success. Why not give our kids the best chance to form healthy relationships so they don’t end up in the junkyard of broken hearts?
- Parental Involvement:
This is the hinge point of Driver’s Ed. Logging hours with your teen may invoke eye-rolling but it is not optional. Parent’s eyes, ears and fully developed pre-frontal cortex keep novice teens off the curb and in their own lane. Your teen needs you to show them how it’s done. Relationships are about quality time and quantity time; both are necessary for a loving relationship. Log hours with your teen so they know how much you care.
- Cook with them. There is something about being in the kitchen together that opens avenues for dialog and teaches a great life skill at the same time!
- Clean with them. Chores can be a drag but teamwork drives home the importance of cooperation – a vital relational skill.
- Volunteer with them. Teens feel a great sense of worth when they personally experience how their own contribution makes a difference. Be there to support their efforts.
Every minute you spend with your teen matters. This is where you will have the opportunity to engage and guide your teen by building trust and respect. Learn from Driver’s Ed – Get in the car and buckle up. Safe teen dating does not happen by accident.
Lisa Jander, the Teen Dating Mechanic,” is a Speaker, Relationship Coach and the Author of, “Dater’s Ed: Driver’s Ed Model for Dating.” For more information on how to stop reckless dating before it begins, visit www.TeenDatingLicense.com.