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Commercial drivers'ed instruction versus parent taught

It's time for your son or daughter to get behind the wheel of a car. Understandably, you're nervous. Most parents tremble at least a bit at the thought of their children hitting the streets on their own.

But before you son or daughter can qualify for a driver's license, you have an important decision to make: Should you teach your children how to drive on their own or should you sign them up with a commercial service that can handle this job for you?

Of course, you might be lucky. Several high schools across the country provide their own driver's education instruction. That takes the decision out of your hands; you can simply let your son's or daughter's high school driver's ed instructor teach them the basics of three-point turns, lane changes and u-turns.

But if you're not fortunate enough to live in a school district that offers driver's ed, you will have to decide between teaching your son or daughter on your own or sending your children to a commercial driver's ed center.

There are benefits to each approach. Teaching your son or daughter how to drive on your own can be a true bonding experience. It's a rite of passage, another step that your children are taking as they become young adults. By teaching your children safe-driving habits, you are giving them every advantage they need before they take to the highways and side streets of your neighborhood.

Of course, teaching your son or daughter how to drive can also be an incredibly stressful expeience. It's hard for parents not to get overly excited every time their daughter or son presses down too hard on the gas pedal or takes a corner a bit too sharply. But farming driving instruction out to a commercial school, you can avoid these heart-stopping moments.

Driver's ed schools also employ professionals who know exactly what skills your daughter or son will need to be a successful and safe driver. Unfortunately, this expertise isn't free; driver's ed instruction can prove expensive.

There is no one right answer, of course, to this question. You'll have to look closely at your own family dynamics before deciding whether to teach your children how to drive to whether it's best to outsource this important job.

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