Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I want to live with my dad but i can't

my mum won't let me stay with my dad and i don't really like my mum but i see him on saturdays and sometimes through the week.

Can i choose who i live with?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter. I can imagine it’s difficult to feel like you’re not being listened to; especially when it’s about something as important as who you are living with. It’s brilliant that you are making sure you are saying how you feel.

There can be a lot of things involved in whether you live with your mum or your dad. Sometimes you don’t know yourself exactly where these decisions are coming from. It’s important to remember though that no matter what’s happening, you have a right to be heard.

You haven’t said what it is that makes you say you don’t really like your mum. It might be useful to think about what you’d most like to be different. Sometimes thinking about how you would like things to be different can help you think about ways that you can get along better with your mum. There is information in Explore about Family relationships and the things that affect families.

You didn’t say a lot about how things are with your dad and what it might be like if you did live with him. The reason I want to mention this is, that if you were to try and move, you would need to have the support of your dad to be able to do that. I’m wondering what might happen if you were to ask your dad for that support, and what he might say if you were to talk to him about you two living together.

An organisation called The Children’s Legal Centre offers children and families free legal advice on exactly what your rights are. They can talk to you about what you can and can’t do in terms of being able to choose where you live. The number for young people to call is 08088 020 008.

Living somewhere where you are not happy can be really difficult. Knowing that you want to leave can almost make it harder to find ways to cope with living where you are, because you might not want to feel like you are giving in.

Sometimes it can be good to consider what things help you when things do get too much at home. These can include simple things like listening to music or being able to spend some time by yourself. Talking to a ChildLine counsellor can help you to express just how you’ve been feeling as well. It can also give you that space to think about what might be best for you in the future and how you feel it’s best to work towards that.

You can contact ChildLine 24 hours a day either online through the 1-2-1 chat (which works like instant messenger), by calling them on 0800 1111 (it’s completely free and won’t show up on the phone bill) or even by writing them an email. Please know that there’s nothing too big or too small to talk to them about.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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