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DD15 driving permit - anxious reaction?

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knightsbff posted 7/10/2014 13:42 PM

DD15 just got her permit last week. I'm making her drive as much as possible because she NEEDS experience to become a safe driver. We live in a rural community with no public transportation and she will need to drive sometimes.

We are driving to a nearby city to take our new doggy to the ortho vet. On a deserted rural 4 lane divided highway I asked her to go the speed limit which is 65. I was telling how cruise control works and she started laughing and crying at the same time and kept hitting the breaks. Looked like anxiety to me.

She has always been a very cautious and kind of fearful kid. I have always been the opposite. I'm being patient but I don't get it at all. Why is she freaking out?

Also, she has always had this weird reaction to anxiety. Laughing. Tears will be running down her face and I can tell she's uncomfortable and doesn't usually seem to find the situation funny but she can't seem to stop laughing. Is this a thing? Now that DS10 is soon to be evaluated for ASD I'm looking at all of us with concerns. She has always done the hand flapping thing since she was an infant, still does. But she has friends and does well in school. I'm not trying to label her with anything but knowledge is power and I want to try to understand so I can help her with the anxiety as much as possible. Her laughing at inappropriate times can definitely be a problem. Like when someone gets hurt....or is angry with her...

Anyone seen this?

Also, prayers for driving safety would be much appreciated.

Kalleigh posted 7/10/2014 14:24 PM

Sending my prayers, my daughter can go next week to get her permit, we also live in a rural area, i have let her drive on back roads she goes not more then 35mph. I same as you told her she was going to be driving after she gets her permit. I am afraid she will have the same reaction accept my daughter gets crabby in anxiety situations. GOD help us all

Schadenfreude posted 7/10/2014 14:48 PM

Did she have any formal driver's training? If so, did the instructor notice anything unusual or unsafe? Ask.

Try driving without too many distractions such as dog, Mom talking too much with instructions.

God, I remember driving on my permit with my Mom. Ladies often wore pantyhose back in those days and I can still hear the sound of nylon on nylon as she was applying the imaginary brake from the passenger's seat in her old Chevy. She eventually calmed down, barked out fewer instructions, and I got calmer behind the wheel.

Until she is a comfortable with the car as she is with her computer/cell phone/whatever driving will be nerve wracking.

Make her be the chauffeur. The more she drives, the better she'll get.

But soon, she'll want to go places and do things WITHOUT YOU, so the utility of driving will outweigh its "terror".

IrishGirlVA posted 7/10/2014 15:06 PM

When I used to get extremely anxious in a situation I would shake my hands by my side, pace and I'd breathe so heavy I would almost pass out. Sometimes even cry.

Then there could be people like your daughter who laughs/cries when they are anxious.

I think we all have different ways of behaving when we are stressed/anxious and it doesn't necessarily mean there is anything "wrong". It just means we need to find a technique that helps calm us down. That technique can be different for each person and hopefully your daughter will find the one that suits her best!

For me, my technique is to bend over, place my hands on my top of my knees and breathe slowly. It's my way of "shaking it off". (I don't recommend your daughter do this, however, when driving. )

My mom used to do the air brake thing too when I started driving. Once she even grabbed the wheel. I pulled over and told her to walk home. LOL

[This message edited by IrishGirlVA at 3:07 PM, July 10th (Thursday)]

knightsbff posted 7/10/2014 19:06 PM

She took driver's education. It's required here to get a permit. Nothing unusual, they said she just needs to practice. BUT I don't think she went above 45 mph in drivers ed. She was going 45 in the 55mph speed zones outside of our town. She's not happy with me telling her to drive the speed limit.

I'm googling how to get a car with a real brake on the right....and a steering wheel...

Parenting is terrifying.

Bluebird26 posted 7/11/2014 08:16 AM

My DS also 15 suffers with anxiety. He refuses to admit it. Teachers have noticed as well and tell me they see him freeze up in testing etc. He just goes blank and can't write. He refuses to admit there is a problem so it's hard to help him. Does you daughter acknowledge there is a problem at all?

My DS also laughs at the wrong time, when in pain he laughs as well. It can be embarrassing especially at the doctors when he's in pain but he's laughing. I think it's a nervous anxious thing with him.

They can't get their learners permit till they are 16 here. DS is counting down the days. It terrifies me.

Good luck with the lessons with DD.

tushnurse posted 7/11/2014 08:31 AM

As far as the anxiety reaction, yah I do something similar.... I laugh hysterically when I am in a controlled fearful situation, like a roller coaster, or haunted house.

At least your kiddo is cautious. My 15 year old is planning on taking her test next week, this child is my fearless one, and she likes to go fast. She has crashed every single thing she has ever driven by being over confident, and going to fast, from her power wheels car, to a mini dirt bike, to a real bike, to a riding lawn mower, and last year, did about $3000 worth of damage to my dad's Kubota tractor!!!!
So needless to say I am a bit scared.

tired girl posted 7/11/2014 09:48 AM

Why does she have to drive? My oldest was anxious about learning to drive and didn't do it until he was 17 and ready. I think he was almost closer to 18. My youngest on the other hand was chomping at the bit at 16 and went in on his birthday and got his license. Every kid is different and is ready at different times. She may just need more time to practice where it is quiet and no traffic.

plainsong posted 7/11/2014 17:15 PM

I have an anxious temperament and didn't get my driver's license until I was 19 or twenty. Then I didn't drive on highways for quite a while. Even on a residential street, it felt like the parked cars were converging on me. And I still don't know how to use cruise control.

When you are anxious it is hard to focus, and trying to do two things at once is too difficult. (I do plan to learn how to do the cruise control for a long distance trip soon where my husband and I will be sharing the driving because he has a back problem. Usually he does it all.) But I will still start by studying the manual intensely, not by trying it out when I am driving.

I understand that it is hard in a rural area where your DD may not be able to get places without driving. My suggestion would be to take it slowly. Have her make a graded list of easiest to hardest driving situations, and a schedule for building up her abilities and her confidence. The thing that helped me most was having my father express calm confidence in me as I did harder and harder things. I did learn to drive, and have even done a few long distance trips by myself, but I need to focus more than others, take breaks and pace myself, and not try to change lanes as much or go as fast as others might.

Good luck to you and DD.

solus sto posted 7/12/2014 13:22 PM

Experience brings comfort. You want a combo of caution and comfort--not anxiety.

I'd work up to highway.

Driver's Ed provides little behind the wheel experience here, and very little highway driving. We used a private driving school to get more behind the wheel instructional time, particularly hours on the highway. Both kids did this--and were more comfortable having done it. Especially my son.

Then it was just a matter of letting them chauffeur at every opportunity.

Cars are big and scary! It's good to have a healthy respect for/fear of driving.

And yes---my kids are both anxiety-prone. It took a while to identify that as the culprit. It's tricky to navigate--but I'd start with talking with her about how she's feeling.

[This message edited by solus sto at 1:25 PM, July 12th (Saturday)]

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