Teenagers' Rights

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Have you ever asked yourself what a teenager's rights are? It is easy to feel that teens have no power over anything--including their own lives. However, teens have more rights than you think.

A Teenager's Rights

While family, social, health, legal and educational rights are not a full listing of a teenager's rights, they are some of the most basic ones. Many of a teenager's rights stem from having the ability to make a decision without parental consent.

Family and Social Rights

Above all else, a teen has a right to be treated as a human being by friends, family and associates. This right extends to all, whether teen, toddler or elderly. Although it may often be on different levels, teens have the right of respect from others. A teen also has the right to a sustainable lifestyle. Shelter, food and clothing are all basic rights that teens have. Of course, this doesn't mean that a teen has the right to the newest styles at the mall. A teen's right to clothing involves only what is necessary to protect him/her from the elements.

A teen also has the right to be loved. While some people have stronger families than others, each teen deserves someone around to provide support and comfort.

One of the final social rights that a teenager has is the right to be safe from harm. This includes all types of harm from physical (such as child abuse or bullying), emotional (such as threats and insults) or any other type.

Health Rights

Teens have many health rights in which their parents do not need to know about or consent to.

  • A teenager can be tested or treated for a sexually transmitted disease.
  • In many states, a teen at the age of 16 or 17 can abort a pregnancy.
  • Teens can receive a pregnancy test at any age.
  • A teenager can also have up to six mental health care appointments under certain circumstances.
  • A teenager can also seek drug counseling.

Legal Rights

Legal rights can differ between states so be sure to check with your local authorities before assuming you have a right. In most states, a teen has the right to begin work at the age of 16. Teens can have a local paper route-type job as early as the age of 12. Unfortunately, teens don't have the formal right to property until they are 18. The reason for this is that if something were to happen to a teen's property (such as theft of a bike or car), the parents would be responsible for taking recourse--not the teen.

However, in certain circumstances, a teenager can emancipate themselves from their parents. What this means is that a teen is completely independent of their parents due to extreme circumstances and is legally allowed to fend for themselves. In this circumstance, the teen is responsible for providing for his/her life.

Educational Rights

All teens have the right to an education. While not all states agree on curriculum, they all agree that a teen has the fundamental right to be taught and learn. This includes having the proper resources, environment, and facilities to learn the basic levels of education provided to a teenager.

Teens 16 and older also have the right to decide if they would like to drop out of high school. In most states, a parent is required to agree to this decision.

Teens also have the right to choose some portion of their high school curriculum outside of required courses. A teen has the right to have some say in the elective courses that they take.

Final Thought

Though it may sometimes seem like teens have little rights in the world, a teenager's rights actually are a lot more significant than most teens would initially think.

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Teenagers' Rights