As a parent, we tend to take it for granted that our kids will want to drive as soon as they are legally old enough to apply for a provisional licence. Of course this is true in most cases. The average teenager really can’t wait to learn to drive. They eye up your Audi every time you take them somewhere and frequently drop heavy hints about a cheap run-around they have seen on the Auto Trader website.
Despite this, it is fair to say not all teenagers are desperate to have a driving licence. A small minority are not keen on the idea at all and when asked if they want driving lessons for their 17th birthday, they shrug and change the subject. So should you force your teenager to learn to drive – or should you respect their wishes and let them do it in their own time?
Driving and Careers
Learning to drive is an essential skill for career flexibility. A driving licence may be unimportant to a 17 year old preparing to go to university, but once they enter adult life, being able to drive will take them a lot further than the Number 9 bus. Most employers place a degree of importance on job candidates having a clean driving licence. It might not be essential for the role, but if your boss needs you to collect a client from the station or travel to a different branch office, you will be a bit stuck if you can’t drive.
Getting from A to B
For some teenagers, it won’t matter in the slightest if they can’t drive because they live in a large city like London. In larger cities, public transport is always an easier transport option than driving. It usually operates from very early in the morning until late at night and with car parking difficult to find in city centres, catching the tube or bus is cheaper and more convenient.
If you live in a rural area, however, not being able to drive will seriously limit your teenager’s ability to go out and be sociable. In this instance, it is sensible for parents to push the issue a bit harder. If they don’t, they could end up playing taxi for a very long time, which is not always very convenient.
How to Force a Teen to Drive
Kids can be immensely stubborn, but so can parents. One way to force a teenager to start learning to drive is to make it highly inconvenient for them not to. Since teens often rely on parents to take them to places they can’t reach on foot or via public transport, refusing to be a taxi service might persuade your teenager it is time to learn to drive.
Driving lessons are expensive, so offer to pay for lessons if the cost is a big issue (which it probably will be, as how many teenagers have lots of spare cash?). You could also encourage them to take a free practice theory test at toptests.co.uk so they can get that out of the way first.