At 16 you have the right to leave home, but many young people choose to stay, especially because in Oxfordshire housing is expensive and it can be hard to find a nice place to live.
Staying at home
Staying put has lots of advantages:
- You don't have to worry about the stress of house-hunting and moving.
- You’re free to concentrate on education, college, university, or work without additional stress.
- You can save money for the future.
Without the financial stress of living away from home, young people have more money to save for the future or spend on things like cars, holidays and leisure activities. They may also have less freedom to do their own thing if they remain at home, like a curfew if they go out at night, and family rules to live by.
Crucial: Most people find living at home stressful at times, especially when parents still see them as younger than they really are. It is important to focus on common ground and try to see the other person's point of view.
Keeping the peace: helping out
Staying at home doesn't mean saying no to independence. Part of growing up involves taking more responsibility for yourself and your family. This is true whether you stay at home or move out. There are lots of ways young people can contribute to the household:
- Sharing in cooking and chores
- Contributing to bills, household expenses, and paying rent, if you have a job.
- Looking after family members
- If you're not sure how you can help, ask. It's not just helping out, it's an opportunity to start practicing the life skills you’ll need to survive on your own.
Crucial: If you are spending lots of your time and effort caring for another family member, or if you find that household duties are getting in the way of learning, working, and getting on with your life, then you may need some support. Take a look at NHS Choices for more information.
Keeping the peace: coping with arguments
As you grow up and become more independent, there are likely to be arguments. Learn to cope with arguments by negotiating. This helps you find a balance between your need for independence and your parent's or carer's need to protect you and the rest of the family. Finding a compromise everyone is happy with is difficult, but rewarding. Don't let arguments ruin your relationships, stay as calm as you can try to be kind to the other person try to see their point of view
Arguments within families are normal; people have different opinions, and it's OK to disagree. But when arguments involve violence or threats, intimidation, or always putting people down, then there may be an abusive situation in your home.
If your relationship with your parents or carers is breaking down, talking to someone about your parent trouble can help.
Crucial: If you are homeless or about to be homeless: start by contacting Shelter's hotline (0808 800 4444) and your local council.
Find out more about being homeless, and what help is available for you here.
‘I love living at home’
‘Every evening I have somebody to come home to. My mum makes me feel safe and loved. She helps me with anything she can. I only earn a small amount of money as I am working towards a modern apprenticeship so money’s tight. Mum doesn’t charge me too much to live at home so I help her by doing chores. It would be expensive to live alone in Oxford.’ – Chrystal, 16, Oxford