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To Sam

Gap year / university

hi there,

nothing big but i was wondering what happens once im 18 with decision making. i want to go on a gap year after sixth form but my mum wont have any of it she wants me to go straigh to uni but i know im not ready. i want to work full time save and then maybe travel for a month or two. She is saying that her and my dad dont want me to and saying that im not, but surely this should be my choice?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When you turn 18 you are considered an adult and are able to legally do most things. The change from having decisions made for you to making them yourself probably won't be instant but over time you might start to find that you begin to make your own decisions more and more. It's important to balance wanting to be assertive and make decisions yourself over listening to your parents’ advice, as they usually have some good experience you can learn from.

Becoming an adult is much more than just an age. You may have felt able to make many decisions yourself for a while, but the law has said you're not old enough. Once you turn 18 and are legally an adult, those choices can feel a lot more real.

Legally you have the right to decide if you want to take a gap year or not as soon as you turn 18. But you may also want to think about how the decision could affect the relationship you have with your parents and whether this is something you can work on.

One thing that might show your parents you’re ready to make your own decisions is the ability to listen to their concerns. Showing that you can talk through what their worries are and express your own feelings might make them more  open to a compromise. This kind of discussion might not always be possible. It depends on what your parents are like and your relationship with them.

There will also be practical things you need to think about, like money. To fund the travel you'll need a job to pay for it. You say you'll get a full time job but  it might be good to have a "Plan B" for if this doesn't work out.

Ultimately it’s your decision to decide what’s best for you. If you'd like to talk about it with someone other than your parents then our counsellors are always here for you.

Thanks for sending me this letter, take care.


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