Father Teaching Teenage Son To Drive

Private practice

The do’s and dont’s of private practice

Practising driving with your child can be a bit tense. You need to accept that they’re in charge and they need to accept that you know a few things. It’s a weird situation.

So it follows you might need a bit of help on how to approach private practice - some do's and don'ts to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

I can’t promise there won’t be some shouting and tears (probably from you) but hopefully your child will get the most they can from private practice and feel confident when it comes to test time.


  1. Make sure the insurance is sorted

    You can get learner insurance but it’s also possible to add your child onto your own policy so they can practise in your car. They must be insured or they’re breaking the law.

  2. Talk to your child’s driving instructor

    Yup, probably embarrassing parent territory but the right thing to do. Make sure the instructor is happy for you to start private practice - too soon would be unsafe.

    Ask your child what they've learned so far

    They are the person taking the lessons: they know what they know. If they've only learned moving off and turning left, that’s what you should practise.

    Start slowly

    An empty car park is probably the best place to begin so you don’t have to worry about other people. Without dual controls, you want to be sure it’s safe to move onto the road.

    Keep a record of what you've covered

    As you get close to test time, you want to be able to tick off each manoeuvre with confidence. A record makes sure you don’t just keep practising your favourites - ignoring the stinkers is more difficult when they’re staring at you from the fridge!


  1. Try to teach your child new skills

    You’re not trained in explaining complex manoeuvres to stressed teenagers, and attempting it could end in someone getting out of the car and walking home.

  2. Override their driving instructor’s methods

    You may be a really great driver but you don’t have the latest knowledge of what happens in the test. You need to trust that your child’s driving instructor knows what they’re doing and focus on practising that method. Going against it will cause confusion and inhibit the effectiveness of (expensive) driving lessons.

  3. Shout too much

    You probably will shout at some point but it’s to be expected when you’re a little worried they’re about to crash into an HGV. Do your absolute best to stay calm and be kind. Learning to drive is hard and can be frustrating but your child will feel much more confident if you show faith in their ability.

Thinking about that practical test? Find out what it takes to ace the next stage.


Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .