Top 10 Tips for Parenting Teens


Encourage Drive Time

In the United States, vehicle crashes are the main single cause of teenage deaths [source: NHTSA].

Learning safe driving skills could save a teen's life. In many states, before being issued a learner's permit, teenagers are required to take a driver's education course that combines classroom and driving time. If there isn't a driver's education program nearby, you can order instructional DVDs, streaming videos and mock testing materials online [source: Teen Driving Course].

If you've decided to teach your teen how to drive, he should ride shotgun and narrate all your actions. Then, tell your teen to do the same from behind the wheel. Narrating actions as they happen -- like "checking rearview mirror" or "activating left turn signal 200 yards (182 meters) before intersection" -- ingrain the driving process. Your teen is creating a collection of automatic responses, much like an athlete creates "muscle memory" by practicing the same moves again and again [source: Kuczmarski].

Teaching your teen basic mechanics may save you money. A teenager who understands an engine needs oil to operate is less likely to drive around with flashing warning indicators. Your teen should also know how to change a tire (not just in theory, but in practice).

Increase your teen's survival odds by enacting a strict "don't call/don't text" policy during drive time and by insisting stereo levels stay low enough to hear ambient traffic noise. You should limit the number of ride-alongs, too; the risk of fatal injury for teenage drivers increases with each passenger [source: Chen].