Coach for Parents of Teens in Sacramento should be no different than in the rest of the U.S.
I really enjoyed my time on the show and I was able to share some of the analogies from Chapter 10 with Marianne McClary. I thought I would include the excerpts to help expand this concept and give parents some real tools to help them guide their teens.
The following topics discussed on the show are taken directly from my book:
This verbiage is taken directly from the State of Michigan Driver’s Ed Study Guide. Anything you see in bold italics, I didn’t make up.
Our state manual says that “REGULATORY SIGNS” are usually red and white or black and white. They are used to “control moving traffic” but they are, more importantly, “a way to communicate.” So what do they “communicate” to our students? Let’s take a look.
DO NOT PASS and PASS WITH CARE
This is an entire chapter all by itself; in fact, it is discussed in depth in Chapter 11: “BoundaryLines.” For now, we will just skim the surface of the explanation of these posted signs.
What happens when you try to pass when you’re not supposed to? In a word, BOOM! If you can’t see what’s coming around the bend, I hope you enjoy the smell of plaster and the feel of full-body traction. “DO NOT PASS” signs are mounted to warn you: “Hey, don’t even think about it. If you pass and crash into that Chevy pick-up that’s barreling over the hill, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. This is going to hurt.”
DO NOT PASS. Be a “close-talker.” Stand six inches closer to your student than you normally do. How does that make them feel? It is critical to establish physical boundaries at the very beginning of a relationship. Stand firm on your expectations before you are in over your head. Create an obvious “DO NOT PASS” sign from day one.
A “PASS WITH CARE” sign might be mounted on the bride’s door, but it is an unacceptable marker to display during dating. Make it clear to your vulnerable teen: stay in your own lane and “do not make a pass” until you are married. “PASSING" is dangerous business.
(Sticker)“DO NOT PASS” is a crystal clear “NO.” It does not mean: “Well, ok, if you really feel like it.”
Driver’s Ed teachers don’t even let students attempt to PASS WITH CARE while they are in training. Why? A high-level of danger coupled with an abundance of naïveté = crash + ruin. When you are a beginning dater, the same formula should be put into effect. Play it safe. (“I never feel safe around Chip because he always tries to make a pass at me.”) DO NOT PASS. Point out to your student that even on the road, when the state determines that it’s a safe stretch of pavement on which to pass, it is still marked PASS WITH CARE. Why? Because you better take care to look ahead at what’s coming the other way and never take your eyes off the goal of arriving safely. PASS WITH CAREis not a big green light. It does not mean “floor it with disregard.”
PASS WITH CARE. Talk about abstinence from a driver’s point of view. While driving with your teen, point out the places in the road where it is dangerous to pass. Ask your student what is at risk if they pass without knowing what is ahead. Ask them to study the front end of a Mack truck, and then ask them if they’d like the impression of that grill emblazoned on their foreheads. Be clear that a marriage license is the best indicator that you can “PASS WITH CARE.”
When you drive, you constantly monitor your speed. Speed limits can change frequently within short distances. Going less than the speed limit can be annoying and incite others to road rage. (“I have been waiting two years for Josh to ask me out. I feel like we are in neutral going nowhere. Maybe I’ll just go around him.”) Speeding is particularly dangerous for both young drivers and inexperienced daters. Their control system is not yet prepared for rushing down the dating highway. (“Kristine moves way too fast. I want to steer clear of that reputation.”)
(Sticker)Who will take control of the speed and keep their foot on the brake?
In what areas is your student moving too fast or too slowly? Do they call 47 times a day or once a month? Does your student beat their date to their locker between every class? Did they try to plant an unwanted kiss? In the same way that speed limits vary around town, set limits for various environments so that your student knows what is and is not a safe rate of speed. (“I can go to the Dairy Queen but Dad said “no” to the Mosh Pit.”)
SPEED LIMIT. Drive under the speed limit and watch as the tension in the car rises. Point out the reactions from other drivers. Count how many people offer you unwanted gestures. If you were to whip quickly around a blind curve, would your student speak up about how uncomfortable that is? Talk about the “safe speed” in a relationship. Would the Prom be a good first date? (Here’s a subtle hint: NO! NO! Just say no! That’s like driving the Detroit Grand Prix for your first road test.
CURVE AHEAD – “This sign indicates that the road ahead is going to take a turn that is going to limit your visibility and head you in a different direction than the way you have gotten used to. In addition, it will mean you have to slow down.”
Is there an upcoming event in your student’s life that may throw their date a curve? A big exam? A competition? A date with someone else? (“Heather is really stressing over her Trig final.”) (“Justin is so nervous about the audition for the school play that all he does is recite Shakespeare morning till night.”) Part of Driver’s Ed is learning how to handle curves. Step one: slow down as you approach the curve. Staying alert is critical to navigating the new landscape. Your student will face curves on the roads of their relationships many times. Learning to stay calm and stay focused even though the visibility is limited requires practice. Pay attention.
CURVE AHEAD. This is different from road work. Road work comes and goes. Curves are constant and have far fewer and less obvious warning signs. In a curve, visibility will be limited until the straightaway. Discuss the reality that curves occur on every road, in any relationship. Discuss how to proceed with caution.
GUIDE SIGNS – “These signs are blue and show what is available ahead indicating some distance, destination and direction.”
Does your student need to take a break from the relationship? Are they checking all their gauges? Most rest areas have maps and, well, a place to rest. Have your student stop and check their course and desired destination. Are both the student and the date headed in the same direction? Are they on track? Do they need to refuel? (“Michael is suffocating me. I need some time to breathe and think about whether this is what I want.”) (“Paige is so busy with Marching Band and soccer. We just need to chill for a month or so.”)
REST AREA. Pull into a rest area and point out the differences between rest areas and a Mike’s Super Truck Stop. (The rest area is quieter, it offers less distraction.) You don’t stop at a rest area to eat, shop, or look at a big ball of twine. You are there to take a break. Talk about how healthy it is to just stop and rest occasionally. Breathe in some fresh air.
SIGNALS – “Generally used when a sign is not enough. They are typically used in combination with pavement markings indicating a line you do not cross.”
Is that really a green light your student’s date is sending? Green is an invitation to proceed, in both directions.
When you are at an intersection, does the light usually turn green in just one direction? No. Traffic will move forward in both directions. Communication and commitment are far more successful when both parties proceed on the same green light.
Did the signal just change? Did one party just hesitate a little bit? At a yellow light, you must decide whether to go forward or stop. When is a yellow just a yellow, and when is it slightly orange?
At a yellow light, you can either brake or floor it. Discuss which is safer. Be alert and recognize when things might unexpectedly be put on hold for a time or not happen as quickly as expected. Maybe the person they wish to date has already said yes to someone else for Prom. No problem. Wait it out. Their turn will come. Idle in anticipation.
RED LIGHT – Full stop!!!!!!!
Is your student creeping past the line anticipating a green light? Does their nose stick out beyond the safety zone just waiting to get flattened?
Come to a full and complete STOP at a red light. Not rolling, not a tap on the brakes, but DO NOT MAKE A MOVE. Talk about respecting someone’s flashing red light and not going one inch over the mark.
Constantly reading signs is a crucial part of driving safety. It is of no less importance when it comes to dating. Dating signs are not written in large block reflective print, but if we teach our teens some of the obvious things to look for, they are less likely to run off the road onto someone’s lawn. Even if you’ve been driving for 10 years, you still read the signs. Ever been driving on an unfamiliar freeway when the temperature suddenly drops and the rain turns to sleet? Those signs that say “Bridge freezes before road surface” suddenly become crucial to staying alive. Relationships change just like road conditions change. Whether you’ve been dating for 10 days or 10 years, you must still watch for signs so you can arrive safely.
Thoughts on this teen dating advice?
In the book Dater’s Ed, Lisa Jander, the Teen-Whisperer, helps parents teach their teenagers to learn how to “date defensively, navigate safely and steer clear of unhealthy relationships.” www.DatersEd.com