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Can I kick my 16 year old out UK?

Quick Answer

Parents cannot legally kick out a 16-year-old child from their home in the UK. A 16-year-old is still considered a minor under UK law. As the child’s legal guardians, parents have a duty to provide accommodation and care until the child turns 18. However, there may be steps parents can take if having serious difficulties with a 16-year-old, such as seeking help from social services or mediation. Ultimately though, kicking a 16-year-old out would likely be deemed child abandonment.

When Can You Legally Kick Out a Child in the UK?

In the UK, the legal age at which a child becomes an adult is 18 years old. Until a child reaches 18, the child’s parents or legal guardians are legally responsible for providing them with food, clothing, shelter, and general care.

Therefore, a 16-year-old is still legally considered a minor child in the UK. Parents do not have the right to kick out a 16-year-old from the family home or withdraw accommodation and support. Doing so could potentially lead to criminal charges of child abandonment or neglect.

At 16 years old

At 16 years old, a child is typically nearing the end of their compulsory schooling. They are not legally considered an independent adult until age 18. While a 16-year-old may think they are ready to live independently, they are still legally under the care and responsibility of their parents.

At 17 years old

Likewise, 17-year-olds are still minors in the UK. Turning 17 does not grant any additional legal rights or change the parental responsibilities. Parents remain fully responsible for any 17-year-old child living at home.

At 18 years old

The age of 18 is when a child legally becomes an adult in the UK. At this point, parental responsibility ends and the parent-child relationship changes significantly.

Once a child turns 18, parents are no longer legally required to provide financial support, accommodation, or general care. An 18-year-old is considered an independent adult and can be required to move out and live independently if the parent chooses.

Steps if Having Difficulty with a 16-Year-Old

Having a rebellious or difficult 16-year-old can be very stressful and challenging for parents. However, simply kicking the child out is not a legal option. Some steps parents could consider include:

  • Seek family counseling or mediation to resolve conflicts.
  • Establish house rules and enforce appropriate discipline.
  • Consult the child’s school for additional support services.
  • Contact social services if unable to manage the child’s behavior.

Family Counseling and Mediation

Family counseling can help open up communication between parents and a challenging 16-year-old. An outside perspective from a trained counselor or mediator may help identify issues and work towards resolutions. Many community centers and family service organizations offer youth and family counseling.

House Rules and Discipline

Parents can establish reasonable house rules and curfews for a 16-year-old and enforce appropriate discipline when rules are broken, such as grounding or confiscating privileges. However, any discipline should not jeopardize the child’s accommodation, food, or care.

School Support Services

The child’s school may be able to provide counseling, mentoring, or other resources to help a struggling 16-year-old. School counselors, social workers, and teachers can sometimes provide needed guidance or identify any underlying issues impacting the teen’s behavior.

Contact Social Services

If a child becomes violent, engages in risky behaviors like drug or alcohol use, or refuses to follow any house rules, contacting social services may become necessary. They can assess the situation and potentially require counseling, treatment programs, or other interventions to stabilize the household.

Consequences for Kicking Out a 16-Year-Old

While parents have a legal duty to house and care for a 16-year-old child, some may still consider illegally kicking their child out if struggling to manage them. However, there can be serious legal consequences for parents who abandon or neglect their responsibilities.

Child Abandonment

Kicking a 16-year-old child out of the home is essentially child abandonment. Forcibly evicting a child under 18 is illegal in the UK. Parents could face child abandonment charges, an offence under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

If found guilty, consequences range from fines up to imprisonment. Police or social services may get involved to ensure the child’s safety and welfare if a report is made.

Child Neglect

Removing housing and care for a vulnerable 16-year-old unable to fully provide for themselves could also constitute neglect under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. This carries similar potential penalties as abandonment.

Ongoing neglect could result in the child being removed from the home by social services until the parent can demonstrate ability to properly care for them.

Civil Liability

If an abandoned 16-year-old comes to harm because they had to live in an unsafe situation, the parents could potentially face civil lawsuits. For example, if the teen ends up homeless and is assaulted, the parents may be sued for damages.

Impact on the Child

Aside from legal repercussions, kicking out a 16-year-old can severely emotionally damage the teen and permanently destroy the parent-child relationship. A child this age is unlikely to have the skills and resources to independently look after all their needs and welfare. Being kicked out can leave psychological scars, resentment, and other issues that last into adulthood.

When Can a 16-Year-Old Leave Voluntarily?

While parents cannot kick out a 16-year-old child, the child may voluntarily choose to move out in certain circumstances.

To Live with Relatives

A 16-year-old may move out to live with other close adult relatives who agree to take responsibility for them. This could include grandparents, an aunt/uncle, or even older siblings over 18. The new guardian must ensure the child’s needs are still fully met.

To Get Married

In England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, 16 is the legal age to get married with parental consent. In Scotland, 16-year-olds can marry without consent. A married 16-year-old may choose to move in with their spouse and take on adult responsibilities.


It is possible but very rare for a 16-year-old to become legally emancipated, which frees them from parental control before age 18. The teen must prove they are financially self-sufficient, living independently, and mature enough to make adult decisions. Very few minors can demonstrate the criteria for emancipation approval.

Leaving Care

A 16-year-old in foster care may transition out of the foster system to independent living arrangements if considered prepared to self-manage with social services support until adulthood. This is usually a gradual process only done when in the teen’s best interests.

Support Options for Struggling Parents

Raising a 16-year-old can be hard, especially when they exhibit challenging behavior or seem beyond control. Before reaching a breaking point, parents of troubled teens have options for finding help and support:

  • Family counseling: Can help identify issues and improve communication between parent and child.
  • Community youth programs: Offer mentoring, counseling, recreational activities to engage and support at-risk teens.
  • Police youth outreach: Community policing initiatives often have outreach programs to interact positively with struggling teens.
  • Parenting classes and support groups: Help build parenting skills to improve household dynamics.
  • Social services: Can assist with accessing programs and resources aimed at stabilizing challenging family situations.

With help and understanding, even very difficult teens can often make progress before reaching adulthood. Patience and not giving up as a parent is key.


Kicking out a 16-year-old is not legally permissible in the UK. Teens remain in their parents’ care until adulthood at age 18. While defiant behavior can be extremely difficult, parents must find constructive solutions focused on the child’s wellbeing and avoid taking actions that could constitute neglect or abandonment. With extensive support available, parents can avoid reaching any breaking point that makes removing a child from the home seem necessary or justified. Escaping problems at home is also not in the best interests of the teen. Patience and working through issues is ideal, until the 16-year-old matures enough to eventually leave home voluntarily as a responsible young adult at age 18.