Thoughts on Teaching Driving

I am a control freak. I like control.

I am teaching Hope how to drive, and it’s everything I can do to not freak the hell out every time I let her behind the wheel of my car. She’s not an awful driver; she’s just learning and learning is…challenging. And I feel like some of her daily challenges around self-esteem, impulsiveness, wide swings between detail orientation and oblivion make driving even more challenging. Knowing this on top of my already heightened need for complete and utter control over as much as my life as I can muster sends me into a frenetic emotional tizzy. But I have to hide it because of how I know my freak outs will affect Hope.

I’m committed to supporting her though and to helping her move toward successful achievement of this goal.

But I can’t say I’m thrilled about the process. But her development is more important that my internal freak outs.

That said here’s a quick run down of my internal monologue while Hope is driving.

Please Holy Homeboy, let us get out of this parking space without hitting any of the cars near us.

That speed bump probably busted my muffler.

[Waiting to turn left across traffic from property] Wait, wait, wait, wait. Go, go, go, go.

I mean, I guess the white lines on the road are suggestive. Wait, the YELLOW LINES ARE NOT SUGGESTIVE.

The speed limit is 35mph, we are going 19mph.

Wait, when did we start going 47mph? SLOW DOWN!

I truly believe in the sanctity of life but if she brakes like that again for an already dead squirrel….

I think I briefly fainted from fright.

My hand kind of has a cramp from holding on to the door.

Hope breathes a sigh or relief after every turn she makes. So do I.

Go, go, go, go, go!

Stop, stop, stop, stop.


I’m going to die in the passenger seat of my car.

Did I pay the life insurance? I’m pretty sure I paid the insurance last month.

Do not grab the door; keep your hands in your lap. It freaks her out if you look too scared.

We are on the highway for one mile and I might die from lack of oxygen. I can’t breathe.

Thank heavens there’s the exit.

Is she legit asking for directions to our house? She doesn’t know where we live? Sweet Hey-Zeus in a manger.

Is that a Bentley in our parking lot? #dafaq? Which of my neighbors is rolling like that????

Is she really about to park next to….OHMYHEAVENLYHOMEBOY NO!

We are parking….Please get it right, please get it right, please get it right. I’m not trying to spend my retirement on repairing that dang Bentley. Again, which of my neighbors hangs with folks who have a Bentley?

Did she just try to turn the car off while it was still in gear?


Ok, we made it.

Tomorrow she will take me grocery shopping and I will pray…a lot.

Hope is actually not a bad driver. She’s just learning and it’s a process and I’m a control freak and not being in control is really, really spazzing me out. Soon enough I will be able to just enjoy the ride.


About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

9 responses to “Thoughts on Teaching Driving

  • Beth

    you are doing great! because you’ve kept all those thoughts *inside* your head. My mom actually at one point uttered the words “we’re going to die” from the passenger seat.

  • sciencedino

    I KNOW I don’t have the mental fortitude to teach our son to drive. His intellectual disabilities will also mean he needs more repetition of instructions than my patience can take in a life-or-death situation. We’re lucky that our district has a special needs driving school for kids who can manage to pass the written test – so I think we’ll go with that.

  • TAO

    No advice, dad taught me to drive a stick-shift with a hard clutch, no power-steering when I was 13 on narrow back county roads with big ditches.

    But I can empathise with the need to be in control aspect, that is me. If hubby and I go somewhere, I drive. He’s had his new car for six months now, I still haven’t ridden in it…

    I have no remedy for letting go of the need to be in control, it also seems to get worse with age, so if you find a cure do let me know.

  • marieke

    I am dutch we are only allowed to learn to drive with a drivinginstructor. I am 42 and have my license for 3 months now. My very professional and relaxed intructor gave me the confidence to drive assertive and safe. I can’t imagine learning this from my parents or husband. I know the American system is different but might it be possible to outsource this one?

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      So, in the US, most kids take drivers ed in school to prepare for the written test. After passing the written test they get a permit to learn on the road for a period of time. I plan to eventually outsource her on the road training, but I wanted us to have the right of passage/family experience of my coaching her for a while. I would imagine that my experience is similar to a lot of parents here–terrifying and at the same time really amazing to see your kid learn such an important skill and be a part of it. (Emphasis on the terrifying part! 🙂 )

  • marieke

    that makes much more sense! We have the opposite experience.My kids (13 and 15 have to adjust to me behnd the wheel and not be freaked out 🙂

  • When Teens Start Driving… – Big Family, Bigger Dreams

    […] had an epiphany this morning as I was reading a blog. This post was about teenagers driving, and the mother was talking about how her daughter wasn’t a bad […]

  • HerdingChickens

    Lol. I thought the same thoughts teaching our oldest to drive. Holy Homeboy, it was worth it! Now I’m not the one driving to the store to grab milk at 10:00PM!

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