I am not sure that teaching ones kids to drive comes under ‘enjoyable parenting activities’. Firstly allowing ones child, that one has nurtured for 17 years, to get into a potential killing machine is a hard pill to swallow however under the instruction of a qualified instructor in a car with dual controls is one thing but with an unqualified parent (no exams to test whether you are a suitable candidate to be a parent let alone a driving instructor) in a car with the only dual control being the handbrake or grabbing the steering wheel is quite another. At £25 per hour for instruction it is advisable to give your child as much practise as possible to save money, everyone says, and if you have sons then the insurance is probably going to be more than the cost of a car so donning the driving instructor hat is inevitable. With the hat should come a prescription for Valium and a hip flask – can one be breathalysed when sitting in the passenger seat albeit as a driving supervisor?
I have 4 children so this has been a regular activity for me over the past 13 years and it does not get any easier. I am learning not to let out a scream when heading for a bus however I cannot control my body from flinching when about to have a near death experience. Youngest son seems to know immediately when I am flinching and yet the approaching bus we are about to hit or the hedge that we are hugging and which, in turn, is taking off all the paintwork from my side of the car seems less apparent.
Eldest son had definite spacial awareness issues, eldest daughter (still not taken her test) hates driving, youngest daughter knew it all before setting foot in a car so it was hard to give any instruction and I learnt that it was best to just sit and pray. Youngest son seems, at this stage, to be the most capable but maybe time has mellowed me!
I have to admit that I never took eldest daughter out as she selected husband to be her driving partner however this was a short lived role as, at the first roundabout, with no check in speed, and turning sharp right so, clearly unaware that it was a roundabout, husband baled and decided she should only have qualified instructors to accompany her on trips. So far she has had more lessons than the other 3 combined so we have decided this may not be an activity for her and she should concentrate on finding a rich husband with a chauffeur.
This weekend youngest son took both parents for first ever trip which happened to be to visit a goddaughter in hospital which prompted our son to say as we departed, “well whatever happens we will end up at the hospital one way or another” – this filled us with confidence!