Leaving the family home

Leaving home in a hurry is never ideal. Even if you are being thrown out this is probably for a reason, and it may be possible to sort out the problems with your family, perhaps with outside help. You might be keen to leave, but think of all the advantages of living at home and what you would miss if living somewhere else.

Young people typically stay with friends when they first leave home, but sofa-surfing is only really a short-term option - your friends will soon get tired of it and so will you.

The hard facts are that there is very little accommodation available to young people, and wherever you live there will always be rules you have to follow; you will have to get along with other people - the landlord, neighbours, people you share with. And there are always bills to pay and problems to worry about.

So it is almost always better to try and work things out with your family. Even if you have already been thrown out or have left, if you and your family have had a break from each other it may be possible to return home for a fresh start.

  • You need to know where you stand, and so do your family, so try and negotiate some ground rules with them - how they will treat you, how you will treat them, and what you each will do and won't do. Try and understand their point of view and help them to understand yours. As with any negotiation both sides will probably need to compromise.
  • If not having your own bedroom is a problem, talk to your family about moving to a larger home. Families who are short of bedrooms get priority on the housing register for social housing.
  • If you have your own bedroom and your family claims housing benefit, they need to know that the amount of housing benefit paid is likely to fall if you leave home.
  • It's probably hard for your parents to know how to relate to you. The Family Lives - Got a Teenager Website could help them and might help you to understand how hard it is being a parent.

If you need help from outside:

  • Speak to someone who knows your family - perhaps an older brother or sister, an uncle or aunt, grandparent, or family friend. They may be able to act as a go-between.
  • If you are still at school ask one of the staff for help from the Local Support Team; it is their job to help families and young people sort out problems.
  • If you are aged under 20 then Burton YMCA can help with mediation between your family and you - call (01283) 547211 and ask for Peter.
  • Talk things through with the Council's Housing Options team who can also talk to your family on your behalf.

If you have nowhere to stay or will shortly be homeless.

More information about setting up a home.