Driving Phobia

A mother seeks advice on what to do about her 16-year-old son's driving phobia.

What Would Debbie Do?

Driving Woes

Dear Debbie,

Here is a question for you. My son just turned 16 and DOESN’T want to go for his permit. Unlike his older brothers who wanted to go ON their 16th birthdays. This son tells me the roads are too dangerous and scary! I told him we will do it with baby steps – like step one the permit, step two empty parking lots, etc. What do you think of his fear? What should I do Deb?

Dear _______

I have two teenage boys and one of them drives. He was always the one who was a bit reluctant to try new things, or venture into unfamiliar territory. But I realized early on what his strengths and weaknesses were. And I knew what he was capable of. Therefore, in the areas where he was scared to try, I always gently pushed him, as best I could, knowing full-well that he would be fine once he got his feet wet. Sometimes I pushed harder, sometimes not. It all depended upon timing, his reactions, and his abilities.

I’m sure you know your son very well. Help him take the steps, however quickly, or slowly, you feel they need to progress. We both know that eventually, he’ll drive. And it’s really OK if he chooses to do it slower than his siblings. Because soon enough, he’ll get over his fear, and he’ll conquer it. If you’re there helping him, and caring for his needs, he’ll remember that you were an ally and not a foe. And you’ll have shown him that there’s nothing to fear.

That’s what I would do…


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