Parent trouble

Living with parents can sometimes be difficult - but help is available to make hard times easier
A girls leans on a table while her parents argue in the background

If a child is 16 or over, parents are allowed by law to make them leave home. But why would they do this?

The most common reasons for family breakdown are:

  • conflict between the young person and a step-parent or new partner
  • substance abuse (e.g. drugs or alcohol)
  • mental-health issues
  • disagreements about friends, including boyfriends and girlfriends
  • disagreements about boundaries

Problems can also happen when parents and children disagree about money, benefits, jobs, education or plans for the future.

Crucial: Young people aged 16-18 are still children. If there is a situation at home which is exposing you to risk then support is always available. Find out more about Abuse and Domestic Abuse.

What you can do

If your parent wants you to leave home, there are things you can do:

  • Talk the problem through with your parent or someone outside the family. A restorative approach might be the best way to help sort things out.
  • Get advice from Shelter, Citizens Advice or your local Children and Family Centre

Living with a teenager can be frustrating and confusing for parents. Everyone can benefit from advice and support. There are organisations just for parents to help them cope.

Instant Expert: Parents can get support from the Family Lives helpline (formerly Parentline Plus) among many others. Gingerbread support single parents. In Oxfordshire, SENDIASS supports parents of children with learning difficulties and disabilities. For many other issues you can find links at the bottom of the pages on this website to organisations that can help.  

Things getting worse? Get help

If the situation at home is very bad, you may feel that you are out of options. But there are support organisations which can help you, and sometimes just talking to someone can be a big help. People you could talk to include:

  • someone who is working with your family, like a family worker or social worker
  • a helpline for young people, like Childline, or The Runaway Helpline
  • a local housing advice group

Local housing advice groups can offer services such as family mediation, temporary accommodation or advice. Family mediation is used to assist in resolving family conflict or difficulties by seeking solutions that will help. Some of the groups are especially for young people, others can help support parents, or help families where alcohol or substance abuse is a problem.

My experience: ‘Dealing with authority’ ‘Some people leave home because they can’t deal with authority but you still have to deal with it one way or another, even if it’s just being told to move along by the police.’ – James Hatch, 33, Oxford


If you are homeless or about to be homeless: start by contacting Shelter's hotline (0808 800 4444) and your local council.

Crucial: Find out more about being homeless, and what help is available for you here.

Find out more

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