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  • Kristine Mastronardi

New Driver Alert!


Cookie and Jake at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center

If you know Jake, you know he loves dogs, especially pit bulls. Jake volunteers every week at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Cent in Madison NJ where he walks the shelter dogs, rain or shine. Since Jake is a new driver, he drives to St. Hubert’s with his Dad.


Anyone who has driven with a new driver knows the anxiety the passenger feels due to the driver’s inexperience. This ultimately lead to a breakdown in communication, to put it nicely, the last time Jake and his Dad were out for a ride together to the shelter.


Dad came home upset.

Jake came home upset.

This made me upset.😒


I’m thankful that Jake is driving. Yes, he is older than other new drivers, but he is doing it!

And he can do it! Jake just recently got his drivers license. Jake is on his own timetable and that’s okay. He is progressing and moving forward towards independence.


Jake came to me for guidance on what to do. “How can I deal with Dad, in this situation?”

Distance allowed Jake the ability to take a step back and reflect on what happened while considering his Dad’s perspective. Jake was able to come up with multiple strategies on how to handle his Dad’s criticism.


Jake said something that I loved; that he would be “curious” and not “defensive” in the future. He would ask his Dad what his ”thinking“ was and why he acted the way he did, instead of getting angry and telling him to stop.


Finally, Jake repaired the rift that occurred between him and his Dad. Jake texted him and apologized and Dad did the same.


Maybe it’s time for Dad to loosen up and let him go on his own!


Check out our mindguiding conversation below, where we apply what we have learned from our work doing RDI, Relationship Development Intervention.



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