Living at home
16 and eager to get out of the family home? Listen to the experiences of other young people
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 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. But they may also have less freedom to do their own thing if they remain at home – eg they may have a curfew if they go out at night and there will be certain rules to live by.
Most people find staying 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.
Find out more: Parent Trouble
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 and other household expenses
- looking after family members
- paying rent (if you have a job)
If you're not sure how to 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.
It's normal to help out around the house. But 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. Help is available from Young Carers.
Find out more: Young Carers
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.
Find out more: Abuse
‘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
‘I tried to avoid being homeless’
‘We spoke to a housing officer, someone who deals with homelessness. I was thinking hopefully they’ll help me. But the interview didn’t go well; they told me that they couldn’t help me because I didn’t meet their criteria. There weren’t funds for me to go back to the B+B, so I had to sleep in a tent. I never thought about sleeping rough, it doesn’t seem like a good situation to be in.’– Ashley, 19
‘I was referred to a hostel’
‘At last my referral went through and I got a phone call asking me to go for an interview. They asked me all sorts of things: name, address, had I been to prison, did I use drugs, things like that. I had no problems answering the questions because I’ve got nothing to hide. Basically, they offered me a bed there, and I accepted. The service assigns you a key worker who can work with you to get what you want, help you get a job or get onto a course. You also agree to do certain things, e.g. if you make appointments at the job centre, you have to turn up for them. There’s always staff there, if you need someone to talk to, 24/7, even if it’s not your key worker. At first it was very intense because I’d never really been in that sort of situation, but gradually over the last few weeks I’ve settled in. I’ve started to make a few friends. Things are going better, and I’m going back to college in the autumn to study hairdressing, I’ve got some voluntary work doing flyering, things like that.’ – Ashley, 19