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New Teen Drivers

By Jodie Lynn


Our son is planning on getting his learner's permit this summer. This means he will be able to drive with an adult in the car. What are some easy guidelines to make him feel more comfortable about driving that we could set up for him so we don't constantly nag him or make him feel uncomfortable?


Unfortunately, I just could not muster up enough of the patience needed to help my 16-year-old daughter become a better driver. She drove me crazy and she only became more nervous each time we went out. Instead of both of us becoming frustrated and stressed out, I finally enrolled her in a summer driving class with one of the coaches from her high school. He held all of the required qualifications and certainly had the patience that I lacked. He easily gained her trust and after four weeks of instruction, she was a great driver. - Paula B. in Minneapolis, MN


When our teenagers got their permits, we had already let them drive around our neighborhood high school parking lot when there were no other cars around. Even after they got their permits, we practiced parallel parking, backing up, going around soccer cones, and in and out of them. However, when it came time for driving in real traffic, even though they knew most of the traffic signs and procedures, it was clear that they simply needed more experience with real-life driving situations. They needed to understand what was required of them while driving in rain, sleet, snow and ice. They also needed to become comfortable with busy streets, highways, overpasses, etc. The Sears Driving School, which has locations nationwide, pretty much met the requirements needed to give them the confidence that they lacked in these specific areas. They actually come to your home to pick up the teens and teach and instruct them while they are learning. It's sort of what they had already done with the school Driver's Education program, but for longer and with less pressure. The one-on-one attention with an adult who wasn't going to be grading them was exactly what was missing.

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My children, six and eight, are expected to do certain chores around the house. Their cousins, who are seven and nine, do not. They will be coming to stay with us for two weeks this summer while their parents go on a cruise. My kids are very excited. However, I would like to have them pitch in and also help with chores, meals, and etc. How is the best way to try to motivate these two kids to help with our household during their visit without making them upset or angry?

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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