Are you the type of chronic worrier who finds it impossible to relax when your teen’s on the road? If so, here are some tips that might help you reduce some of this stress and anxiety:
- Don’t confuse a lack of control for danger
Recognize that most of these feelings are driven by the sense that you’re helpless and lack control over what happens, which is what causes anxiety. But a lack of control doesn’t automatically equate to danger. Tell yourself that children are seriously injured and killed in cars that are driven by their parents, too. Who knows, your teen may even turn out to be a safer driver than you. If stressful thoughts start creeping in, repeat this phrase: “My teen can be safe even when I’m not in control.”
- Put the odds in perspective
Teens certainly have more auto accidents than others, but most do not result in serious injury. For example, teens have a fatal crash rate four-times that of older drivers, which sounds really scary. This equates to 26.70 teen deaths per 100,000 teens each year, which is certainly nothing trivial. Yet this still means only a 1 in 3,745 chance of something tragic happening in any given year. So while the danger exists, the odds are still slanted in your teen’s favor.
- Manage your stress
If you’re really anxious, then when he goes out on his own, do a little mind exercise to visualize him driving as a competent and cautious driver. If you’re the type of parent who worries a lot about safety, you’re also probably the type of parent who did a lot to prepare him or her for this task. So have faith in your preparation.
Learn some of the focused breathing techniques contained in our general recovery handbook to reduce stress if need be. But most of all, recognize that being an anxious parent is not going to help your child learn or make them drive any safer. It may hinder their performance.
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