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'The horrific images I want my 13-year-old son to see'

By Letitia Rowlands|

They are images that make me feel sick to the stomach, bring tears to my eyes and make my heart ache in the most physical way. They are also images that I will make sure my 13-year-old son takes a very long look at.

The unrecognisable wreckage of a car strewn for several metres along the side of a road. The vehicle has been ripped apart so badly it is hard to tell where the front or rear of it lie. Much of the ute appears to have incinerated on impact.

Just hours earlier, that car contained six teenagers, three boys and three girls. Five of them will never grow up. Five families have been shattered, countless young friends are devastated and an entire community has been torn apart.

Police investigations into Tuesday night's horrific crash at Buxton, south of Sydney, are continuing and it is too early to say what caused it, but one thing is certain.

READ MORE: Mum's heartfelt warning to fellow parents

The 18-year-old driver has been arrested following the crash in Buxton. (Supplied)

As the names and faces of the five boys and girls, aged 14 to 16, who lost their lives fill our television screens and newspaper pages over the coming days and weeks, parents of teenagers across the country will be wondering what they can do to make sure their child's smiling face is never one featured in heartbreaking news bulletins.

How can they make sure their family is not the next one torn into a million pieces by one unthinkable moment in time?

Children are wired to take risks. It helps them build self-confidence and learn where their limitations lie. Denying kids the opportunity to take risks can hinder their development, says respected parenting authority Maggie Dent.

"They like to test themselves C to climb higher, to explore further and run faster," Dent writes.

As the mother of two boys, I couldn't agree more. I have spent much of the past 13 years seeing the benefits of risk-taking play in skate parks, playgrounds and on sporting fields. We've had countless trips to hospital with suspected broken bones and have winced on the sidelines at tackles that seemed a little more physical than necessary.

But what happens when the consequences of risk-taking gone wrong are not a scraped knee after climbing too high in a tree, or a broken arm from riding a bike off a jump that was just a little too steep?

READ MORE: Dr Justin Coulson reveals how to manage sibling rivalry

Buxton crash
Mourners leaving flowers at the crash site. (9News)

What happens when the risk-taking does not take place under the watchful eye of a caring parent, but in the independent world teenagers are so eager to inhabit but are yet to find their feet in?

What happens when the risk-taking involves friends, fast cars and the teenage need to win peer group approval? What happens when the consequence of risk-taking gone wrong is your child's lifeless body in the wreck of a car?

This is why I will be showing my son photos of the Buxton crash scene. It is why I will be making sure he watches news reports featuring images of the three girls and two boys who lost their lives. It is why I will make sure he sees the pain etched in the faces of their broken parents, if those devastated mum and dads are ever able to find the strength to come forward to share the story of their lost sons and daughters.

I want my son to realise those who lay dead in aftermath of the horrific crash were teenagers with passions, hopes and dreams. Teenagers with families who loved them.

Teenagers who, until that awful moment on Tuesday night, were just like him.

It may seem like a harsh lesson to teach a 13-year-old. However, if it is one that makes him think twice about taking risks with potentially catastrophic consequences, then it is one I want him to learn.

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