Living with parents

You won't always get on well with your parents or carers, but if you're having problems living at home, there are steps you can take to improve your relationships. Moving out is not the only option.

Set some ground rules

It's important that you and your parents begin to set ground rules together, and to make decisions about issues such as privacy and personal space. Try to negotiate rather than argue. Be prepared to compromise and don't be afraid to admit you were wrong and say you're sorry.

Listen to what your parents or carers have to say, and try to see their point of view, even if you don't agree with it.

Talk to someone else

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

You can also call a helpline such as ChildLine on 0800 1111, and talk to an adviser in confidence about problems you're having at home.

Get help from a mediation service

Mediation could help if you feel you need some 'hands on' help sorting things out with your family. 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 help you work things out for yourselves.

Coping with a stepfamily

A new step-parent can be the cause of arguments, and can lead to young people running away from home or moving out before they're ready to cope on their own. But it doesn't have to be this way. Learning to live with a new parent, and possibly also new sisters and brothers, can take a lot of adjustment, but if you work at it, it can be very rewarding.

You may feel that your step-parent has no right to tell you what to do. You may resent them for taking the place of the parent who has left or died, and you may still feel upset, insecure, angry or rejected because your birth parents have split up.

Try to remember that your step-parent probably isn't trying to replace your mum or dad at all. They probably want to support you but don't know how. It can't be easy for them either, especially if you are still angry or grieving.

Talking things through and agreeing on ground rules together can really help. Negotiate calmly, be prepared to compromise, and don't force your 'real' parent into taking sides with you against your step-parent, as this will only cause more trouble.

Coping with the death of a parent

When someone in your close family dies, you can feel isolated and as if no one is listening to you, but rather than getting upset or running away, try telling the people who are still around how you feel.

If you feel you can't do that and there is no-one else to talk to, you can contact Cruse, a charity that provides help and support for people to deal with bereavement. Cruse have a helpline (0844 4777 9400) and information for young people aged 12–18.

If your mum or dad has died, you might feel that your house isn't your home anymore. If you feel that you are going to be pushed out of your home, remember that you might have rights to stay. Don't make any hasty decisions, and contact Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice on your rights.

Can parents kick a 16 year old out of their home?

Once you are 16 years old, if your parents ask you to leave, you will probably have to go. If you're under the age of 16, your parents have a legal responsibility to look after you and make sure you have somewhere safe to stay otherwise you can get help from social services. However, if you have a bad argument, they may make you leave anyway.

Talk to an adviser immediately if  you find yourself in this situation :

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