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Interracial Relationship

Hi Sam,

My girlfriend lives in the south of England and I live in the Midlands yet she sometimes visits my city when she can because she also has family here - she is 15 and I am 15, soon turning 16.

A few months back, my parents got suspicious of me because I was on my phone a lot (I paid for my phone) because my family are never really supportive and I prefer to talk to my girlfriend and friends. Until I was forced to unlock my phone and let my dad check my phone - bear in mind, I come from a sikh family but my girlfriend is white - my dad wasn't too happy about our relationship as he found out from our messages and he wants me to break up with her - he's done everything he could to discreetly make her break up with me like break my laptop to pieces and confiscate my phone, yet i still talk to her discreetly on my friends old phone.

And now I really really worry about my family's reactions to finding out about my white girlfriend - I did talk to my girlfriend about this and she told me that anything I do is my choice and legally I can move out when Im 18. We both talk about moving in to our house together when we are 18 but I worry a lot because my dad might try to stop me from moving out with her - my parents care more about how they look to other people instead of my happiness. Can my dad legally stop me from moving out when I am 18? My dad is quite abusive and controls my 21 year old sister , and I just want to live a happy life with my girlfriend, but my dad cares too much about what he looks like and he thinks that people would talk about how disrespectful I am for dating a white girl.

So overall, if they try to stop me from moving out , can I call the police?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

When two people care about each other, their ethnicity shouldn't get in the way. It's never okay to say that you can't care about someone because of their race, religion, sexuality, gender, ability or anything else that they can't change about themselves. We are all people and there is more that makes us the same than makes us different. Once you become 18 your parents shouldn't be able to stop you moving out if you wanted to, though there would be a lot of other things to think about.

Racism can come in many different forms and it's always wrong to judge or discriminate against someone because of their ethnicity. The colour of someone's skin should never be something that stops two people from caring about each other. Your dad is wrong to try and stop you being with someone based only on their race. Sometimes parents might have other good reasons to be concerned when their children start dating, and that's natural, but making judgements because of the colour of their skin is wrong.

You can move out when you are 18 without your parents permission - and you can even do this as young as 16 if your situation at home is too much for you to cope with. Deciding to do this is not as easy as packing a bag and leaving - there is a lot to think about.

You would need to think about practical things such as paying rent, buying food and paying for council tax if you plan to work. There are a lot of costs to think about when you live on your own, things your parents may have been paying for this whole time without you realising. It doesn't mean that these things should stop you moving out when you want to, but they are important and need planning.

This time of your life is also often quite crucial in terms of your education. If you wanted to go to college and then university, you would need to think carefully about whether moving away from your parents is going to work out financially. Sometimes going to university might actually help your situation as you may then be able to live away from home whilst still being supported by your parents.

Finally, you would need to think about the consequences it might have on your relationship to your family if you left home. Only you know what your family is like, and it still doesn't mean you shouldn't move out, but you need to prepare yourself for what might happen if you do.

Shelter can be a good place to start for advice on housing and your rights, as well as talking to your local council about what kind of help they may be able to offer, if any.

You have a lot of difficult decisions to make, but you don't have to be alone when you make them. Childline counsellors are also here to help you talk through your options, as well as how you feel about the way things are at home right now.

I hope this helps, thanks for the letter.

Take care,

Sam

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