As Britney Spears drove through the rolling hills of Malibu with her young boys in the backseat of her Mercedes on Oct. 14, they were in noticeably higher spirits than they had been before their mom had lost temporary custody to ex-hubby Kevin Federline.

So what’s behind this turnaround? According to sources close to the beleaguered pop star, the reality of losing her children has finally made her pay attention to her shortcomings as a mother.

“No one has ever trained her or shown her how to look after her boys,” one Britney insider reveals in the next issue of OK!. “She really wants to learn, and she’s going to try really hard. She’s been taking parenting classes and taking them very seriously.”

The source adds that the “Toxic” singer’s limited knowledge of parenting comes from lack of experience, not an absence of love.

“She loves those boys beyond belief,” the source explains. “She just doesn’t know how to be a good mom. She never thought she’d lose those kids; this is her wake-up call.”

For the complete story, pick up the new issue of OK! — on sale everywhere Thursday.

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