New Study put parents of Learner drivers in to four personality categories.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


When learning to drive, young people are often influenced by having their parents in the car. A new study has placed these parents in to four different teaching styles which could help the student deal with the oppressive presence caused by their relatives in the passenger seat/s.

Through various research methods and a teaching model devised in 1994 by the academic, Anthony Grasha, Goodyear Tyres have highlighted four different styles that parents typically adopt when sitting next to their child. They are as follows:


  1. The Worshipper. As a worshipper, the parent constantly seeks to motivate their child and they love congratulating them on their efforts, no matter how big or small. Worshippers are often so happy that their offspring is learning to drive that they will go shopping for a first car with them. A big milestone in the process of learning to drive for a young person.


  1.   The Team Mate. The ‘Team Mate’ parent takes the friendly approach to coaching their children, sharing their own personal experiences of learning to drive and taking on the ‘big brother’ role. They believe empowering their child helps to push them forwards and will regularly shower them with praise to boost their confidence, even if the maneuver wasn’t quite right. The ‘Team Mate’ can be found criticising other drivers on the road, even if it was their child who made the mistake. 


  1.  The Skipper. As a Skipper, parents will offer occasional insights in to their driving wisdom, but they often tend to progress down the ‘Self-discovery’ route, giving the responsibility to the child to make their own decisions whilst driving. Skippers will offer support to their child when they are uncertain of something, but when the teaching becomes frustrating or the child’s progress is too slow, then they are more likely to pass the reigns (or wheel) over to somebody else with more knowledge. 


And finally… The Drill Sergeant. These are the oppressive parent figures who believe that they are the driving experts. They often have a lesson planned out in their minds and are likely to set their child mini tests to ensure they are maintaining enough knowledge before moving onto the next lesson/maneuver. 

Goodyear’s PR and corporate communications manager, Kate Rock commented on the study stating that: “Any parent who has been in a car with a child, whether you’re coaching them or not, knows it’s a stressful time for you both, especially as other drivers on the road are so unpredictable. While we may worry about others’ driving, this research suggests that how your act in the car can also have an effect on your child’s own driving experience. Overall, it’s important to remain calm and advise your child to the best of your ability, but always remember if you feel out of your comfort zone, it’s safer for you – and your child – to hand over the coaching to someone else.” 

 The results of the study found that the ‘Drill Sergeants’ were the most common personality category for parents to fall into. This figure accounted to a third of all parents in the UK at a staggering 33%, meanwhile ‘Worshippers’ were less common with only one in 10 parents falling into this group. 

Rock went on to add that “Parents who are supplementing driving lessons with home practice should always try to discuss the do’s and don’ts of helping their child with the official instructor, or even look to join a few lessons with their child as this will Not only create a safer driving environment for ourselves and others on the road but also guide your child to passing their test and becoming a safe road user.” 

The message given by Rock and Goodyear Tyres, encourages parents who wish to coach their children, to take a few lessons themselves beforehand in order to refresh their own skills and minimise any bad habits they have acquired over the years behind the wheel.




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