As a parent, it’s your responsibility to provide your children with medical care, shelter, clothing, food, and education, as long as they have not reached the majority age. You must also provide protection, discipline, and supervision of whatever they do. Can I kick my 16-year-old out of the house? My answer is you can not abandon or desert your children. 

What about if your child becomes uncontrollable? Can you kick the child out of the house? No parent would wish to reach a level where they are forced to separate from their children. If you are such a parent and still feel some love for your child, you can explore other options rather than kicking your child out. 

Here are some of the things you may consider before asking your teenage child to pack his/her bag and leave.

Listen to Their Needs

Children often become rebellious if they feel no one wants to listen to them. So the first step in lowering the friction between you and your child is to offer them a listening ear. 

You might be surprised at how much has been going on in your child’s life without your knowledge. At the end of it all, you may realize that it’s you who needs to change to be more accommodating.

Be on the Lookout for Warning Symptoms 

A child’s behavior doesn’t change at an instant. A behavior change takes months or even years and is gradual. If you are keen enough, you may start noticing these changes early enough and arrest them before they explode. For example, you may notice changes in your child’s hygiene,  the kinds of friends they keep, and even how they carry themselves in the house. 

Other signs you can look out for include substance abuse and a drop in their academic performance. When you notice any of these warning signs, sit your kid down and have a serious talk. Some of these changes can result from mental health problems and may lead to a total mental breakdown if not dealt with early enough. 

Recognize That Your Child Isn’t an Adult but a Teen

The way you deal with your fellow adult isn’t the same way you should deal with your adolescent child. Even though the child will try to act like a grown-up demanding his freedom, research shows that, at that age, he’s still not an adult. 

His brain will still be developing and will not process information the way an adult’s brain does. The child’s prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for solving problems and controls emotions, and regulates impulse) remains immature until around 25. 

So you need not be so hard on the kid. He may throw tantrums, shout, threaten to do all manner of nasty things, but you have to keep your cool, and as we said, offer a listening ear. 

Help Your Teen

At the age of 16, children have their problems. While some of these can be attributed to adolescence, other problems can be mental or emotional. For instance, the child may be suffering from anxiety, attention disorder, or defiant disorder. 

Your child’s weird behavior could be how he is communicating to you that he needs your help. Rather than throwing him out for that defiant, unbearable behavior, please seek professional help to help him cope with his struggles.  

Seek Professional Help

In most cases, parents tend to blame the child for the child’s disruptive behavior. Has it ever occurred to you that you could be the source of your child’s bad behaviors? For example, the environment in which you bring up the child could be inducing the funny behavior you are observing. 

So before you throw your child out or take him to a counselor, try to get a professional to look into the dynamics of your home. The professional will recommend certain changes in your home that can impact positively on your child.

Establish Boundaries

The fact that you’re trying to help your kid doesn’t mean you should give him all the freedom to do whatever he likes. Your child needs structure and rules. So you have to set boundaries. 

Many times, your child will wear you down so he can get his way. He will try to divert your attention, deceive you, or even manipulate you. He may also set you against one another in the family to cause chaos so he can get a chance to execute his plans. Be careful not to fall into this trap. 

What if Your Child Refuses to Change?

We still go back to the original question but looking at it from a different angle. Is it possible to sever your relationship with your child legally? Yes. If you’ve tried all you can, but things fail to work, you may seek legal redress to relieve you of your parental obligation towards your unruly child. To do this, apply for the emancipation of the child. 

If the court grants you an emancipation petition, you’ll no longer be responsible for the child’s needs like shelter, food, education, protection, etc. Sending your child away without an emancipation petition is regarded as abandonment, which can cause friction between you and the law. 

A child can not apply to be emancipated until he reaches 16. Some states like California allow for 14-year-olds to petition for emancipation. Whichever the case, it’s upon the court to decide whether the petition can be granted. The long and the short of it is that if you are forced to send your 16-year old child packing, follow the legal procedure.

Final Words

It is strongly recommended that you don’t send your kid away. Don’t give up on your child. Try as much as you can to ensure the child changes for the better, even if it means sending him to live with a trusted relative. 

Sending your child packing will make him more rebellious, and he may turn into a hardcore criminal. If you realize that you are also part of the problem, be willing to change. Your child needs love and a listening ear.