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The Government Center: Knowing Your Rights and Responsibilities
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Knowing Your Rights at Home

There’s always a lot of confusion about your rights at home. Can your parents legally ground you? Can they be fined if you get a speeding ticket? What rights do you have if your parents get divorced? Can parents keep you from getting your nose pierced? Some questions like these are legal issues and some others are questions about your values and your parents’ values. Either way, it’s very important that you talk openly with your parents about your questions and about your rights. It’s the best way to make sure everybody is on the same page.

There are some things, we at The Youthhood can add, though. Like, did you know that your parents are technically responsible for you until you reach the age of adulthood? That means they actually can be charged money for things you do wrong. Sound crazy? It’s not. And it might not make your parents too happy!

Seriously, though, the age of majority (when you become an adult) is a big issue when it comes to your rights at home. Everybody has a right to control their own bodies, for example. But until you’re an adult, your right to control your body comes after your parents’ wishes. That means that your parents can keep you from getting a tattoo or piercing in most states. You should check your state’s laws about this.

Your parents also have the right to limit what you say and how you say it. It’s true that you have a right to freedom of speech, but at home, that right is limited by your parents. That means your parents have the right to tell you not to use curse words and as long as their punishments are reasonable, then that’s legal too. The bottom line is that as long as you’re not an adult yet, and as long as your parents are still your primary caretakers, they have the right to limit what you can and can’t do. As always, if you have a question about how far your rights go, you should check with your local state laws.

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Last updated on June 30, 2015

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