Please verify your email address to receive email notifications.

Enter your email address

We have sent you a verification email. Please check your inbox and spam folder.

Unable to send verification, please refresh and try again later.

  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Teenagers and driving safely

    Our oldest daughter has just gotten her driver's license and both my husband and I are extremely worried about her on the road. I have sat with her a couple times and while she seems to be an OK driver, I worry about all the other times she will be driving. Advice?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Clive Jones

    Counselling Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Sport Psychologist

    Dr Clive Jones is a registered psychologist specialising in the assessment and treatment of mental health issues and disorders and High Performance Sport psychology. He … View Profile

    There is an age where we let go as parents and hope our children, who are now adults in the eyes of the world, make choices that are constructive and wise. It is a constant tension through parenting  the teenage years of slowly handing over the control of what happens to our children to their own choices.

    As a psychologist I understand the process of emancipation and individuation all too well. The process of the child becoming an independant adult.

    From doing what they are told to do; to doing what they choose.  

    Thing is though, while I understand this process well, it didn't make the job of letting go any easier as a parent.  

    I taught both my boy's how to drive. One is now on an open license, the other on their green P's. I took every opportunity over the 100 hours of lessons with each of them to tell them every thing I believe I know about keeping safe as a driver on the road. But then when they get their license and drive off down the road on their own… their life is literally in their own hands.

    While this can be, and usually is, nerve racking as a parent to acknowledge the phenomenon of the young adult child's independence, the reality is that it is actually exactly the way it should be.

    In terms of ‘advice’ I often say that parenting should come with a warning sign… I.E. Warning: parenting will often result in chronic feelings of worry and guilt.

    If you would like to talk a little more feel free to email

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    I understand how worried you are. I have been through the letting go process also as I have 3 adult children (aged between 23-19) and my youngest (16) is currently learning to drive. It is a simultaneously exciting and nerve wracking time. On the one hand you want to celebrate their independence and on the other you are afraid to let them take risks. This is normal. What was it like for you when you reached adult milestones? What were the attitudes of yours and your husbands parents? This can help you in recognising whether you both need to do some work around your own differentiation. I would be happy to talk to you further about this. However, ultimately it is my belief that it is healthy to do the emotional work on yourself to be able to let go and trust her providing there is no indication that she is not ready to drive. Anxiety is contagious and when we feel anxious about our children they know it. This has its own negative effect. It can serve to make them doubt themselves and the cycle can be counter-productive. Ultimately it is a great milestone to celebrate when children become adults and allowing this with a fair degree of acceptance is far healthier for your children. Life and parenting is full of uncertainty and of risk. When our children start to take on adult responsibilities like driving we can feel tremendously vulnerable and it is normal to worry a bit. But if your worry is excessive it really is advisable to talk to a professional. Good luck.

  • 1


    Will Dobud

    Social Worker

    I aim to provide adventure therapy programs to adolescents that are transformational and progressive. With True North Expeditions, my aim is to offer a program … View Profile

    Teenagers and risky behaviour is a really tough battle. During this phase of brain development their risk and reward transmitters are going off fairly hecticly. This makes it really hard to “lecture” about safe behaviours as in any moment the reward or acceptance will outweigh insight into the moral or safety inplications of a behaviour. In my programs with teenagers I have found that the students that are engaged in activities that tap into this risk and reward, their behaviours outside of school and home tend to calm down. Teenagers have that need for pushing the boundaries and getting this reward and at times we can help them get it in more appropriate ways (i.e. rock climbing, skateboarding, spots, etc.).

answer this question

You must be a Health Professional to answer this question. Log in or Sign up .

You may also like these related questions

Empowering Australians to make better health choices