Driver’s Permit Day is Coming! Any Advice For This Anxious Mom?

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Manic:  The sheer number of miles and wear and tear I put on my car with the never-ending rides my kids need to school, practice, rehearsal, appointments, games and more.

Managed:  In just 4 days, my first-born gets his driver’s permit.  Then in November, he will have his driver’s license.  I have to admit that I have mixed feelings, of both joy and anxiety.  So please give me some advice about how to best guide and teach him with his permit.

He is ready to drive me around starting next Wednesday when he gets his permit.  Am I ready?!

He is ready to drive me around starting next Wednesday when he gets his permit. Am I ready?!

Here are my questions….

1.  Did you hire a professional driving school?  I plan to for sure.  Suggestions on who to call?

2.  Did you let your child drive you on the freeway before or after the professional driving lessons occurred?

3. Do you have any rules in place while your child drives you around with the permit?  Like no radio turned on?

4.  Here in Arizona, we get six months to teach our kids how to drive, which seemed fine to me in the past, but now that our six months is starting, it doesn’ t seem so fine anymore.  Now it feels like a massive responsibility that is placed squarely on the shoulders of myself and my husband.  For those of you that have been down this road (literally), did six months seem like enough time to let your child free behind the wheel?

5.  How about advice on what types of driving skills to teach.  Defensive driving comes to my mind as well as the right-away, yielding, pedestrians rules, etc.  What additional skills did you find were helpful to teach?  How about what to do in a skid?

6.  Did you let your kid drive you around every single day during the 6-month period to get the utmost experience?

7.  When did you let your child drive you around at night?

8.  Some of you have advised that we do this in stages.  First let junior drive us around parking lots.  Then the neighborhood.  Then the side streets, main streets, followed by freeways.  Your thoughts on this?

9.  And last but not least, advice for how to manage my own Mama stress as I sit next to him teaching and guiding, but without the comfort of having my own steering wheel and brake pedal?  I will take advice in this area, too!

So as you can see, this Type A mom isn’t so sure that I’m going to be a good driving teacher, but I have no choice.  That time has arrived and it is my responsibility to get him as experienced as possible before that scary and exciting day arrives on his 16th birthday.  On that day that he so anticipates in November, I have to step back and wave goodbye to him as he drives away on his own, for the first time.  Boy, that is getting here fast now and in some ways, I’m ready and in some ways, I’m not.  Here we go.   The teenage driving journey begins!


  1. Melissa says:

    You can do this! But, as my oldest has had his license for just under a month, I totally understand where you are coming from! Here are my answers:
    1. We used Institute for Drivers Safety. Before he got his permit he went to a 6 hour class to learn the rules. Then, over the course of six months, they take students out on 2 3-hour drives. They picked him up at home and dropped him back off. Fabulous! The instructors are all retired police officers. After the first drive, they give the student a report card and tell him what to work on for next time. During the second drive, they give the student a mock driving test so they have an idea of what will happen during the real test.
    2. We were going to wait for our IDS instructor to take him on the freeway, but one Saturday morning on the way to soccer he asked if he could give it a try. I felt he was ready, so we drove about 3 miles on the 101! He stayed in the right lane, and as it was a weekend the traffic was pretty light.
    3. The only rule we had was in regards to his phone. At the beginning he chose to keep the radio off.
    4. There is no rule saying you have to get a license exactly at the six month mark. If you don’t feel he is ready in November, don’t do it. Ours was totally ready.
    5. My husband drives for a living, so he took over in this area!
    6. At first our son didn’t drive much. After a couple of months with his permit, he wanted to drive everywhere…and we let him. The more practice the better!
    7. It was a month or so after our son started driving every day when we let him drive at night. Dusk was the hardest time…we avoided that until the end.
    8. Yup…stages! You’ll know when he is ready. Start with slower times of the day – don’t try and drive down a main street at rush hour for a while!
    9. If you are stressed DO NOT drive with him!! He will feel your stress and be more nervous! If you react to something, it will scare him. The adult with him needs to be super calm and collected…utilize your village if you need to! The school we used had the option of purchasing additional blocks of time with their instructors, which is another good option.
    You have a great boy – I’m not worried at all! Good luck – and call me if you need anything!

    • says:

      Wow! Great advice, Melissa! I really appreciate this. I don’t think we realize what a big deal this is until we are literally put in the passenger seat and become driving instructors. I always say that Moms are nurses, counselors, tutors, event planners, cooks and more….I had never added driving teacher to that phrase because I didn’t think about it until now. The parenting journey continues and it is an exciting ride…pun intended!

      • I would second the recommendation for Institute for Drivers Safety.

        As in all parenting adventures, it is good to know your child’s and your own stressors!

      • says:

        Thanks Karen! I agree!

      • Fran Tillotson says:

        We used N Control Driving School ( ) I highly recommend them.
        They were wonderful and did an excellent job teaching my daughter. They do everything from classroom instruction and issuing the permit through actual driving instruction and issuing the certificate to obtain the license. They also have a skid vehicle and she spent a whole afternoon in this car in a parking lot learning how to react with different road conditions and driving situations. In fact, 7 months after my daughter got her license, another 16 year old driver failed to stop at an intersection with a stop sign and pulled out directly in front of my daughter who had the right of way and was driving the speed limit of 45. Although she was not able to avoid t-boning the car, she said everything she learned came rushing through her mind and she was able to react properly, and it probably saved her life and the life of the other driver. I will always be grateful for that! They teach all the driving rules and laws in the classroom and issue the permit there when they pass the test. Then they will come to your home or school (wherever you want your child picked up) and let them drive on the freeways, through the airport, downtown Phoenix, etc. and then deliver them back home. They will take them out as many times as needed. My daughter was a lot more confident behind the wheel after her first venture out with them. They rate them during each drive and then talk to the parents and let them know what to work on or watch out for when their child is driving. They also administer the real driving test when ready and issue the paperwork/certificate needed to obtain the license. All your child has to do is take the certificate into the DMV on or after their birthday and get the license. It saves a lot of time. We let our daughter drive everywhere we went with her permit. They really do learn by doing. And night time driving is just as important as day time driving although a little more scary for me, but they have to learn. She even drove in the rain and to and from San Diego with her permit. My husband was a lot more calm, patient, and a much better teacher than me. N Control also gives sibling discounts so when your daughter is ready to start driving you will save a little money with her instruction. I have lots of friends who used this company and they all were extremely pleased. Good luck!

      • says:

        Wow Fran! Your story gave me goosebumps. Thank goodness your daughter is OK. I really appreciate your advice and tips and I hope that a lot of our readers see your comment, too. What you shared is invaluable. Thank you!

      • Melissa says:

        Great story and recommendation! Just an FYI though: driving schools are no longer allowed to administer permit or driving tests. Both must be done at the MVD or a third party approved location. Zach’s birthday was on a Saturday, and there is only one place in all of Maricopa county open on Saturday!!

  2. says:

    Good to know, Melissa! Thanks for letting us know!