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Ask Rene: My Teen Keeps Failing Her Road Test! Help!


Ask Rene:
My Teen Keeps Failing Her Road Test! Help!


Hello Rene,

Love the site and all your terrific advice!

My daughter is 19 years old and can’t seem to pass her driving test!

Rachel’s failed 5 times now and each time she has the same problem – she gets totally nervous and stressed out the day of the test and makes silly mistakes.

Rachel is a good driver generally but she’s now so paranoid and scared that she doesn’t want to take the test again. I know how important it is to be able to drive and am trying to convince her to keep trying. I also don’t want her to give up as it sets a bad example for the rest of her life.

What can I do or say to get her back behind the wheel? And how can I calm her nerves so she can finally pass?

I’d appreciate any advice you might be able to offer….


Nicole in Chicago



Hey Nicole:

Thanks for the nice words; glad you like the site. Before we talk strategy, we need to understand how powerful the tapes are that we play for ourselves in our head. I’m talking about those messages that then become self-fulfilling prophecies. I think if you can help Rachel tame those, the battle is nearly won; the question is how do you get there.

Back when I was in TV news, if there was an unfamiliar name in a script, I would go over it again and again, making sure it would just roll off my tongue at the appropriate time. But on air, I would be so nervous and in the stories leading up to it, I would already be thinking about how I was going to SCREW IT UP! Well you can guess what happened. Not only was I not present in the previous stories, by the time I got to the read with the foreign name I would butcher it! Then it would be downhill from there as I kicked copy through the rest of the stories. And you know where it all started? Right there, in my head. Okay, so here’s my advice for Rachel (and you).


1. No More Test Taking

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I don’t care if she has to ride the bus, hitch a lift with friends or pedal her bike to where she’s going, I recommend she not take the driver’s test for a while. Rachel is battle scarred and needs to heal, literally. Sit her down, tell her everyone is going to back WAY off and you’re not even going to think about the test right now. I would make sure she understood that she was in the driver’s seat (no pun intended) with regard to when she decides she’s ready to take it again. In the meantime, you don’t mention another word about it.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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