People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
-V for Vendetta
Lord Galen
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Moving Out
November 6, 2007


Dear Galen


I'm fifteen years old, and I'm really interested in moving out. Not like, getting my own apartment or anything. My older sister (who is in her mid-twenties, with a husband and a good steady job) recently moved into a house with a really nice guest room with its own bathroom, and all that jazz. She really wants me to move in with her, because my parents suck ass.

My parents aren't like, abusive or anything. There's nothing of immediate concern going on. They're just really bad parents. They spend over a fourth of our income (just over $1200) on weed, cigarettes, and liquor. My mom is drunk four out the seven nights of the week. My dad doesn't have a job, and is basically insane. He's just out of touch with reality, and extremely paranoid.

I'm not really in any sort of emotional distress here, but it's still really fucking annoying to live here. Every article of clothing I own wreaks of cigarette smoke, since they both smoke upwards of two packs a day. I cough all the time because of it. I can't really go anywhere, because my parents swear I'd be out worshiping Satan and getting high. And there's not shit to do at home, past trolling the SnipeMe forums (which is fun, but it really doesn't beat legitimate social interaction), and watching TV. I can't talk to my parents about shit, lest I get some sort of annoying ass lecture that basically consists of "UR DOIN IT RONG." I love having discussions on politics and stuff like that, and I can't really do that with them, because my dad knows everything about every single political issue in the world, since he saw the ZOMG SPECIAL REPORT about it on CNN last night, so everything I say is wrong.

Anyways, I get along really well with my sister and her husband. I've stayed at her house for a week before, and it went really well. The situation would just work out fine. She drives by my school every morning on her way to work.

The problem is here, my dad has a big problem with this, because he says "it's their responsibility to raise me and be responsible for all my actions until I'm eighteen" and "when she says she wants me to move in with her, she's just joking." Which, she isn't, because we've been talking about doing this for months now. She's dead serious.

He thinks I'm going to cause some sort trouble if I move out, I think. He thinks I'll start doing drugs or some shit. It's all a load of bullshit.

Anyways, do you have any suggestions on how to convince him to let me move out? Do you think I should even be moving out at all?

Signed,
[name removed]


Dear Dumbass-who-signed-his-real-name,

There's no easy way to get yourself out of that home, I'm sorry to say. If your parents are determined to keep you there against your will, then leaving would be pointless. They'd just call the cops and have you dragged back home, regardless of what your reason for leaving is. And if your sister takes you in, she could be charged for harboring a runaway. It is an unfortunate truth that matters of child custody and welfare have, ironically, nothing whatsoever to do with what is in the young person's best interests. It's all about who looks like a better parent in the eyes of the court. And hell, half the time it's not even about that! Family court judges and social workers have the very clear (and publicly stated) agenda of always trying to keep biological families together. So even if your sister would make a much better guardian, the court wouldn't let her take care of you unless your parents could be proven to be shitty.

That brings us to the only way you can probably force your parents to piss off. Report their drug use to Child Services. You'll be taken away from them and possibly put in foster care for a little while, but as a matter of policy they try to place a child they've removed from the home with family. If your sister wanted to be your foster parent, they'd more than likely see that as the best solution.

That's not exactly something I'd recommend doing, but it's the only way you'll legally be able to get away from your parents. Problem is, as I said, social services will always try to reunite parents with their children (and fuck what the child wants). So what would most likely happen is that your parents would spend a few months doing court-ordered parenting classes and proving they're off the wacko tobacco, then they'd put you right back with them (because, again, they don't give a shit what's in your best interests).

The bottom line is that there's really only one thing you can do to be allowed to live with your sister and even that one thing is an extreme measure that's most likely only temporary. It completely sucks ass, but that's the truth of the matter. I'm sorry. I hope your parents pull their heads out of their asses, but I don't see it happening.


Hate,
Lord Galen


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