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Amanda Lamb: Fear of flying

Posted June 22, 2014

This past week, my oldest daughter took her driver's ed class. When we signed up in the winter, I realized this was a milestone moment, but it didn't really hit me until she came home from class that very first day and told me about those awful movies that scare kids about driving.

I remembered these same movies from my driver's ed class back in 1982. But I suspect the ones my daughter and her friends watched didn't include a Country Squire station wagon with wood paneling, and I know for sure no one talked about texting and driving in the 80s.
Still, the sentiment was the same: Driving can be dangerous and you have to take it seriously.

I do believe from what I understand about the laws in North Carolina in reference to the graduated license that driving is taken seriously, and taken in incremental steps to allow young drivers to be prepared. I remember driving off the lot at the DMV in Pennsylvania right after I passed my test with just six measly hours of driving under my belt and thinking that I had no business being on the road. My husband might argue that still holds true today.

But while I have the normal fears about my child getting behind the wheel, I believe that through this process of learning and carefully planned steps she will be well-prepared for the task. Also, knowing her personality, I feel strongly she will be a responsible and careful driver once she gets some experience on the road.

Just like other milestones in life where we are forced to give our children more independence and the freedom to make important choices, this one is not without risk. But it is also part of the path they take to becoming separate from their parents, like a mother bird nudging her children out of the nest. Transportation equals freedom, and freedom is what all young people crave as they journey into adulthood.

"Are you ready for this?" other mothers ask me as I tell them my daughter is taking the class this summer.

"No" is the honest answer. Are we ever truly ready for our children to do anything that can be dangerous? But we have to let them fly. This mama bird intends to do just that ...

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.

4 Comments

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  • mbsheisey Jun 24, 2014

    I don't have any kids, thank goodness! But I believe I remember a remark Detective Chris Morgan made about your driving in one of your books!

  • earnyourownway Jun 23, 2014

    My kids are 24 and 32 years old. From the time they got their driver's license until their early 20's I did not sleep until I heard them come in the door. Then I knew my prayers had been answered. This was one of the most worrisome time of them growing up.

  • JAT Jun 23, 2014

    I never got the bad film for some reason but I still remember the very first time my teacher put me behind the wheel, we were coming up on an elderly gentelmen standing by the road checking his mail. I thought to myself, if he knew this was my first time driving, he would not just be standing there! LOL I never had a real desire to even my license - didn't get my permit till I was 17 and then my license till I was 21. I must have been happy wherever I'd be at the time and not wish to drive somewhere else.

  • TimeWillTell Jun 23, 2014

    WRAL reporter Monica Laliberte aired a segment a few years ago about her daughter's experience at BMW's teen driving school. The web link is too long to post here - search for "BMW performance driving school" and click the link for "Teen school." This is NOT a "racing" school; it is a program which teaches teens invaluable lessons they cannot learn in normal driver education class. My son and his friends talk about how the school gave him the skill to avoid a collision when a driver ran a red light as he entered the intersection. The program is expensive but worth every dime.

    A less expensive alternative is one of the Street Survival courses which are taught in this area a couple of times a year (http://www.streetsurvival.org).

    Please, parents, get your new drivers into one of these programs. It may well save their lives. For that matter, I can tell you from experience the BMW car control course WILL give experienced drivers greatly increased skill in accident avoidance.