Learning to Drive can cause Anxiety & Stress in Teens

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We all deal with some level of anxiety and stress in our lives. For some, it’s temporary and doesn’t have much impact on our overall well-being, but for others, it can have a severe impact. According to John Hopkins Medicine, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in the US, with 1 in 10 people suffering from anxiety. Teens account for over 8% of this group as they navigate transitions in their lives during this time. This has worsened during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

One major stressor for teens is learning to drive. Add this to the already daunting list of academic pressure, extracurricular activities, and all the social media drama surrounding their everyday lives, and it can really impact their ability to learn. DrivingMBA takes anxiety very seriously. We train our staff continually on this disorder and how to address it on a variety of levels. When a parent indicates that it is a concern on the enrollment application and/or it is coupled with ADHD, ADD, etc., we may discuss doing a simulator lesson first to ensure that it’s the right time to begin driver training.

Many factors need to be considered, such as the student’s desire to learn to drive, maturity level, workload, and more. If it’s mild, we may decide to put the student with specific instructors based on their experience and teaching style. Our goal is to ensure we make students as comfortable as possible during the process. Our program’s fundamentals simulation component helps ease anxiety by allowing the students to practice and make mistakes without consequences. They build so much skill and confidence in the four 2-hour sessions, making that first drive much less stressful.

Once on-road, our instructors are trained to “check in” with students periodically on their anxiety level. We have a scale that we familiarize them with that indicates 1, I’m doing well all the way to 5, I need to pull off somewhere safe and take a moment. Just knowing that they have options tends to put them at ease.

It can be hard to notice anxiety because teens are good at hiding their feelings, and symptoms can vary from kid to kid.

To see recommendations on what you can do as a parent to help, visit

 

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Mary Albanese
Mary manages enrollment and marketing for DrivingMBA. Mary lost a 20-year-old stepson as a passenger in an accident in 2005. Her passion for being part of a program whose sole goal is to create safe, competent drivers comes through in everything she does for DrivingMBA.

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