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The Hon. Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), yesterday launched the Raising Children Network’s newly expanded site, which now offers a wealth of resources for parents and carers of teenagers.

Responding to the need for credible, quality-assured information on parenting teens, this award-winning, FaHCSIA-supported website now contains resources to help parents of teens make informed choices on a range of topics, including teen depression, cyberbullying, social media, handling disrespectful or risky behaviour, puberty, autonomy and independence.

Warren Cann, Chief Executive Officer of the Parenting Research Centre and Content Director of the Raising Children Network website, said, "The teen years are an exciting and tumultuous time for families – parents want information they can rely on, particularly on issues such as health, development and technology use. We're building on the reputation of the Raising Children Network, which has provided evidence-based information for parents of younger children since 2006."

The launch took place in conjunction with National Families Week 2011, an annual nation-wide celebration of families, supported by FaHCSIA and managed by Families Australia. In addition to the launch, Minister Macklin announced a further $9 million of funding over three years and Raising Children Network acknowledges the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting Australian families through the provision of reliable information.

How old is old enough?

According to a recent online survey conducted by Raising Children Network, surveyed parents thought that children should be allowed to make decisions on the clothes they wear at the age of 12 but should wait until they’re 17 before they can decide when to come home at night.

The online survey asked parents what they thought was an appropriate age for children to make decisions on particular issues. Surveyed parents varied most radically on when children should be allowed to choose their own food; they were more in agreement that children should wait till they are in their early teens (around 14) before making their own decisions on media and technology use. 

"It is not surprising to find variation in when parents think children are old enough to do certain things. Whether a child is ready to be more independent depends on the child, the family environment and the community they live in," said Raising Children Network's Content Director, Warren Cann.

"Parents are an important part of their teenagers' journey towards independence, and they constantly have to balance their children’s growing demands for autonomy with the need to keep them safe."

Interestingly, the average age surveyed parents felt comfortable allowing their children to choose their own school was 15.

"The question of how old is old enough is just one of the many questions parents grapple with – the Raising Children website provides credible information to help parents make informed decisions on  issues they face every day, such as mental health, cyberbullying and technology use." 

For more information or expert comment, contact our senior communications officer, Charissa Feng, at or 03 8660 3594.


  • Last updated or reviewed 17-05-2011