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Modeling Appropriate Behavior While Driving: Advice for Moms

Advice from Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl


Remember: You're always a role model

Children are always learning and imbibing from their social environment. There is never time out when you're not influencing your kids by what your do and say. It is human to make mistakes such as swearing, forgetting a promise, or expressing prejudice.

The important thing is to make up for it in an appropriate way. For example, if you get carried away by emotions and call somebody nasty names, you need to undo the hostility by commenting right after: "I shouldn't have said that" or "No, I don't mean that" etc.

Why the back seat is a road rage nursery


Surveys show that moms tend to be aggressive drivers, especially when driving SUVs. Keep in mind that you're teaching your kids to drive the way you drive:

  • They get conditioned to the way you handle the vehicle, how fast you tend to go, whether you take corners abruptly, or pull out of a parking lot fast, or slam your breaks, change lanes frequently, fail to obey road signs.

  • When they start driving as teenagers they automatically begin to drive as they've been habituated for years. You can teach your children to adopt peaceful attitudes towards other drivers by telling them you value supportive rather than aggressive driving styles.

  • Get them involved in driving issues when they are in the car with you. See if they know the way, point out traffic signs to them, and show them how driving depends on teamwork, not competition.

Teaching the difference between acting aggressively and supportively

The road isn’t any different than the playing field. Don't badmouth anyone, whether drivers, coaches, or players. Aggressive behavior encourages habitual violence and anger that is followed by depression, creating a cycle that is harmful to their emotional life and gets them into trouble with others. Instead, teach them the value of civility and the power of compassion. This will encourage them to learn emotionally intelligent alternatives to rage and hostility, which will be better for their health, happiness and success.

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