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Take a deep breath. Now let's teach that teen of yours how to drive.

Wasn't it just last week you were waving a tearful goodbye for your child's first day of preschool?

Take a deep breath. Now let's teach that teen of yours how to drive.
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Hum by Verizon

Somehow, the years have rushed by, and now your kid is ready for another milestone: learning how to drive.

Your son or daughter might be ready, but are you?

Putting a teenager behind the wheel can feel like a scary thing. Not only do you possibly worry about trusting your kid, but also there are a myriad of other drivers on the road who may lack good decision-making skills.


Handing over the keys under these conditions is often stressful even for the most chill parent.

Image via iStock.

Just enter the words "how to teach my teen to drive" into your browser and count how many articles caution you to "not do it" or to "be warned." But for a lot of parents, the experience — while challenging — isn't that terrible. In fact, some even look back on the experience fondly.

Plus, technology makes it easier than ever before for us to stay connected with our kids. It wasn't all that long ago that teenagers would go out for the night with no cellphone or way to get help in an emergency. Parents today also have access to devices like Hum that can help if your teen runs into trouble. The Emergency Assistance feature connects you to an agent if you have an emergency on the road — and can even automatically send help if a collision is detected — and if your teen gets a flat or their battery dies, they can let help know exactly where they are using Pinpoint Roadside Assistance.

But even with all of our technology, parents have lots of worries when it comes to our kids, and driving is a big one.

To that end, we've rounded up nuggets of wisdom from parents around the internet who have been there and have survived the experience:

1. Start "leading by example" early.

2. Customize your teaching style to your kid.

3. Remember that nobody learns without making a few mistakes along the way.

4. Practice responding to an emergency — when there isn't one.

At some point in their life, your teen's going to drive in bad weather or encounter an accident on the road. Having them practice for difficult driving situations ahead of time can help them prepare.

"With the car up to speed, give the order to turn abruptly and keep accelerating; sharp cornering and even skidding in a controlled environment beats doing those things in an emergency," advises Joe Bargmann on Popular Mechanics.

"Teach them to keep their eyes fixed on where they want to go (as opposed to fixating on a curb they don't want to hit)."

5. Enjoy it! This time you'll spend together can be a beautiful memory for you both.

6. Don't take yourself too seriously.

"Stay positive and make it fun. Your teen is going to screw up a lot while learning to drive. You're going to screw up a lot while teaching your teen to drive," writes one father of four teenagers on Boys Town.

"Be willing to laugh at yourself when you overreact to a mistake. Make them comfortable by joking around with them about the things they do wrong. It can be a wonderful bonding experience if you focus on the good things they do and laugh off the bad."

7. Know it is so worth it.

Like most intimidating endeavors, having taught your teenager how to drive is very rewarding for both parties (and not just because of all the free time not driving your teen everywhere will free up).

8. Consider getting your teen invested in the process … literally.

9. Think of it like a crazy trust exercise.

Conquering a challenge together can be lots of fun.

The greatest achievements in life are hard won. While teaching your teenager to drive might trigger some strong emotions, working through those to give your child the gift of independence will be worth it.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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