Leaving your family home

As you grow up, it is natural that you won’t always see eye to eye with your parents or guardians. These arguments can often come from a lack of understanding of each others’ lives and behaviour. It may be better if you try and sort things out.

The reality of leaving home

It may help to stop and think of the reality of leaving home first. You may think it means:

  • Your own flat
  • Doing what you want, when you want
  • No rules
  • Nobody telling you what to do.

But the reality is likely to be:

  • May be difficult to find somewhere to live
  • May have to share accommodation
  • There will be house rules
  • You will have lots of new responsibilities, such as paying rent and cooking
  • You will have limited income and may find it hard to afford to do things you enjoy.

Set some ground rules

Rather than leave home maybe you can set some ground rules together that and make decisions that you all find acceptable.

These decisions may be on issues such as:

  • Privacy and personal space
  • When and how often you go out
  • How much you help around the house

Try to negotiate rather than argue, and be prepared to compromise. For example:

  • You could agree that your parents won’t go into your bedroom provided you keep it tidy and put your dirty laundry in the wash
  • You may decide that you won’t go out during the week, but can stay out as late as you like at the weekend.

If your parents are particularly adamant about certain points, ask them why and listen to their reasoning, rather than arguing about it. Chances are, they have your best interests at heart and just want you to be safe and happy.

Top tips

If you want to be treated like an adult, it is important to act like one. You can gain your parents’ respect and trust by:

  • Do your bit around the house - look after younger brothers and sisters, do the washing or cook the family a meal
  • If you want your parents to stay out of your bedroom, keep it tidy - don’t give them an excuse to go poking around
  • Tell them where you are going and when you'll be back - this will stop them worrying and therefore stop them pestering you
  • Don’t exclude your parents from your life - try spending some quality time with them every so often (if they realise you’re not avoiding them, they are more likely to trust you and give you some space)
  • Try to be honest and open - if you lie and get caught out (and chances are you will) it will only make things worse and destroy your parents’ trust in you
  • Don’t argue over every little thing you disagree with (that way, when it comes to the big stuff, you’ll have more force).

Talk it through

If you have a problem with the way your parents are treating you, for example, if they are lecturing you or refusing to compromise on house rules, talk to them about it - they may not even realise they are upsetting you.

Remember when talking it through:

  • Don’t get angry and shout or swear - your parents will just switch off
  • If you are angry, wait until you’ve calmed down, before discussing things
  • Try writing your points down if you think you may get emotional
  • Pick a good moment, when your parents aren’t busy and can pay attention to what you are saying
  • Put forward your side of the story, then ask them to explain theirs
  • Listen to what they have to say, and try to acknowledge their point of view, even if you don’t agree with it

If you argue, don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong and say you are sorry.

Talk to someone else

If you are having problems communicating with your parents, it may help to talk to someone else. This could be an elder brother or sister, your grandparents, aunt or uncle, a friend or teacher. They may be able to act as a go-between, to help smooth things over with your parents.

Mediation

If you feel that you need some 'hands on' help sorting things out with your family, we can arrange for mediation. A mediator is a sort of neutral referee who can help you and your parents sort out your problems. They don’t take sides, they don’t decide ‘who is right’ and they don’t tell you what to do. Instead, they’ll help you work things out for yourselves.

If you are interested in learning more about this, then contact us.

Can my parents kick me out?

Most family disagreements can be sorted out by talking or mediation.

However, sometimes it is not possible to stay at home as you may not feel safe or your parents may have said that you have to leave. Once you are 16, if your parents ask you to leave, you will probably have to go, although they may still be willing to consider mediation.

If you are over 16, we can make referrals to supported accommodation schemes that are placed throughout the borough (you would not normally be offered your own council flat until you are over 18 years of age).

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