Monday, February 18, 2008
My son is 16, and has had his Learner's Permit for awhile now. He has been reluctant to actually learn to drive though, and even unwilling to enroll in a Driver's Ed class.
I've taken a very hands-off approach with him, not wanting to pressure him, or rush him. I have always believed in a more Montessori approach to child rearing. Montessori can be summed up very simply: Follow the child. And that is how I have tried to raise my son. Following him, his needs, at his pace, as he was ready, willing, or able. So, when he wanted to believe in Santa/tooth fairy/easter bunny/etc, we did. When he decided he didn't believe in them anymore I didn't try to persuade him otherwise, I simply told him the truth and allowed him to lead the way. I did the same thing with his ascent into puberty.
So it was with driving. Until tonight. I decided to force him to drive home from the grocery store this evening - 2.5 miles on 30 mile an hour back roads in a very small little town with 1 stop light, which we didn't even encounter.
And as I suspected, he was awesome! He did GREAT!!! I had him move around the back of the parking lot a bit first to get the feel for the brakes, accelerator, steering, and overall feel of the car, and then he was off. And while I calmly talked him through the experience, I made sure to include appropriate encouragement, praise, correction, teaching, and all-around coaching and mentoring.
And while I'm very proud of him, I'm not at all surprised, because I knew he'd do just fabulously, and he did indeed.
Sometimes we can't just sit back and follow the child - even when that has always worked well in the past. I'm grateful I'm still able to learn and adapt as a parent, and able to find a positive approach that works for my son.
And hey, he really can't complain too much, I surely didn't get to learn how to drive in a luxurious (and fast) Mercedes AMG C32!