Being the parent of a teenage driver can be nerve-wracking on the best of days, but it can get even worse if your child has been in an accident. Aside from having to worry about things like making repairs to a vehicle, you will also have to attend to your child’s well-being. Here are some things that you can do to help them get over their traumatic experience.
Encourage Them to Talk About the Accident
Your teenager might not be willing to talk about what happened to them, but it’s important that they eventually address the situation. You shouldn’t push them to talk before they are ready, but talking through any anxiety they might have will help them. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, ask if they would rather talk to a therapist. Either way, talking about their feelings is a great way for them to start to put what happened to them in the past and safely get back to normal life without making the traumatic experience worse.
Remind Them that Cars Can Be Repaired
It’s very likely that your child will feel ashamed for causing this kind of damage, even if they aren’t at fault. As a parent, you need to make it clear that vehicles can be replaced and repaired. The most important thing is that they are safe. Remind yourself and your young driver that things could be much worse, and don’t let yourself get too upset over what is ultimately just a material possession. Involve them in the repair process to help them see that while it is sometimes time consuming or a bit expensive, it can be repaired and replaced. For example, if your windshield or window was shattered in the collision, take them with you to speak to the auto glass repair service. Your teen will be able to observe the process and realize that sometimes these things happen—and then life goes on.
Don’t Make Your Child Drive if They Feel Like They Can’t
While you might want to encourage your young driver to get back on the road after they’ve been in an accident, you cannot force them to do so. Remember that traffic accidents are stressful and traumatic experiences, and people might not want to get back behind the wheel right away. In fact, they might not want to get back on the road anytime soon. Our society places a lot of emphasis on being able to drive, but it isn’t for everybody. An uncomfortable and unconfident driver is more dangerous than some might realize. Don’t be afraid to tell your child that it’s okay if they want to be a pedestrian or a passenger for a while.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, traffic accidents are a regular occurrence in our society. While there’s no guarantee that everyone will experience an accident in their life, you need to be prepared when it does happen. Encourage your child to remain calm when it happens to them, and remind them that their safety is what really matters.