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So – your child’s 17th birthday is in a month’s time and you still don’t have a gift to mark this momentous occasion. Some children will ask for an expensive laptop or gadget, or some other item. However, the best gift to give them is driving lessons. For starters, if they have been eyeing up a car, they need to be able to operate it in the first place. Secondly, you will be freeing up personal time that you will otherwise use teaching your child to drive, when they ask you. Third, learning to drive is a good teaching opportunity for a variety of lessons they have to learn on their road to adulthood.
Learning to drive a car means mobility—the ability to move, as well as the freedom to do so. The child will be able to go more places with a car, unlike when one still uses the bus. They are no longer hindered by bus routes, train routes, and schedule departures and arrivals. Learning to drive teaches them that the world can be explored and experienced. The UK has the best road trip sceneries anywhere in the world and you have just handed them the keys to embark on that journey!
Learning to drive a car is the first step to owning a car. As the driver, he has to learn that his mobility is subject to certain rules and regulations. That before he can drive a car, he has to get a licence. That before he can drive his first car, he has to get car insurance, pay road tax, as well as other fees. Driving a car requires them to pay for fuel. The car has to be serviced from time to time, and repaired when it breaks down. It has to be cleaned regularly, the tires checked, and oil changed.
The mobility and independence they get from driving their own car is tempered by the knowledge that they must drive carefully or else their licence might be suspended or revoked, and they may have to pay damages. They have to constantly follow traffic rules; otherwise they might get into all sorts of troubles. Learning to drive is the first step to learning how to be responsible in recognising risks and the actions they must take to minimise them.
Finally, learning to drive is the first step to independence. As a parent, it is normal to want to hold on to your child and continue guiding them even as they reach early adulthood. However, as young adults, it is important that they learn to be independent. This is a lesson they won’t learn unless we let them. The very reason they go in a rebellious stage during the early teenage years is to assert their independence. However, such rebellion is often met with parental disapproval instead of recognition. Now when they are on the brink of adulthood, giving them driving lessons is like a nod of approval to the child, a confirmation that you recognise their independence and that you trust them to make good that trust.