Being a full-time caregiver of two teenagers with driving ambitions and Alberta learner’s licences can be nerve-wracking, anxiety-causing, downright stressful — but, also a proud moment in a parent’s life. Not only does a parent have to nurture and raise a child, parents also need to teach teens the rules of the road (to the best of their abilities) and it can be a wee bit daunting of a task. Anything could happen. One can’t predict the hazards and the other aspects out of one’s control, but that is true for all drivers and driving, it would seem. As parents have said many times throughout the years, “You’ve got to have eyes on the back of your head.”
Today’s new drivers are expected to follow new rules and regulations of a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. But, there seems to be so many more distractions out there on the road, including Tommy and Tina Texters. Maybe, there’s always been a whole gamut of distractions since the dawn of the automobile age (that are often forgotten or ignored). Things like the Inter-web, social media, Smartphones have made a teenager’s attention span even more troublesome. But, maybe young drivers, in general, have always been more prone to the odd distraction behind the wheel and elsewhere in life.
Not only is it challenging to be in the passenger’s seat, your teen is the driver — after receiving their actual Class 5 licence, your beloved teen will be out on the roads flying solo, without any parental nagging or constant backseat driver-like shoulder checks. What is a parent to do? Well, a parent needs to take a chill pill for starters (easier said, than done though). Your teen with a licence is growing up. Learning and evolving, as a human being. Wow, who would have thunk it? Now what?
A licensed teen might want to borrow a parent’s ride and/or save up money to buy their very own starter vehicle (most likely a beater). And then there’s the insurance.
For those teens without Driver’s Ed, that might be a little costly. Yet again, a parent is left anxious, stressed and wanting the best to work out for their child. And I’m sure said teenager has their very own anxiousness, stress and so on — a parent could never imagine, or maybe a parent remembers how it was when they first got their licence and behind the wheel for the very first time, solo.
It’s inevitable your teen is going to grow up and take on the world, with or without you. Cue the crying sequence. A parent’s little baby is about to venture out on their own in the big, bad world with crazy drivers and insane bad habits. But, it is best to digress and bury feelings — not really. Talk to other parents about teens getting their driver’s licences. Perhaps, ask for some advice and/or words of wisdom, to help navigate those bumpy roads ahead. Then there’s graduation, but that’s a whole other story.
Teens, no doubt, are bombarded with so many things being thrown at them at an almost alarming rate.
Graduating from high school and figuring out what they want to do with their lives has to be incredibly mind-blowing, as it was for parents, when they took the initial plunge into adulthood. Wowsers, life is a constant state of worry, isn’t it? Just when a parent thinks they are out of the woods and can relax a little, something else comes up. One never stops being a parent.
A parent’s job is tough, rough, unpredictable, uncertain and unbelievable at times. That’s just part of the package one signs onto when they decide to be a parent. Sure, a parent can decide how that will play out. The thing is, being unsure as a parent is what makes it real. There will be ups, downs, curves, detours, road construction and bridges along the way. The metaphor of driving is perfect when discussing a teen evolving into a driver, adult, graduate and incredible human being.
Teens are the future of humanity — it’s best we love them, continue to nurture them and be their cheerleader and number one fan in anything they decide to do in life. Good luck teens in all your future endeavours, trials and tribulations.