Being with my friends

  • You have the right to be friends with whoever you want
  • You have the right to get together with your friends
  • The only reason you can be stopped from getting together with friends and others is if it means other people are stopped from enjoying their rights

As a child, you have a right to meet with other young people, and to join clubs and organisations. Your parents are responsible for you until you’re 18 so they may have rules about when you can go out with your friends and where you can go, but in general you should have the freedom to make friends and spend time with them. If you stop other people enjoying their rights – for example by ganging up on someone else or by damaging property, you may end up in trouble with the police.

Can anyone tell me who I can and can’t be friends with?

You can be friends with whoever you like (and that means you don’t have to be friends with someone you don’t want to be friends with). You can spend time with your friends at school or clubs that you belong to, or after school you can meet with your friends.

Can anyone stop me from hanging out with my friends?

If you’re at your house, or someone else’s house, then you are free to meet with your friends as long as the people who own the house (probably one of your parents or carers) are happy with you being there.

If you’re out in public and are making other people feel scared or worried, or you’re drinking alcohol, the police may get involved. Find out more about Staying out of Trouble.

What if my parents don’t want me to go out?

Your parents or carer, or people with parental responsibility for you may set rules about when you can go out and what time you have to be home as part of their responsibility to look after you. If you can’t get to where your friends are without your parents taking you, you may find it hard to hang out with your friends every time you want to.

What if my parents don’t like my friends?

Your parents or carer might think that it is not in your best interests to spend time with certain people. The younger you are, the harder it might be to spend time with your friends if you and your parents disagree about who you should hang out with and when you can go out. As you get older, you should have more freedom to decide who you want to spend time with.

Can I join clubs with other children and young people?

You should be able to join any club that’s open to people of your age. Most clubs aren’t allowed to treat people differently and unfairly for any reason – so you can join a club whether you are a boy or a girl, and whatever your race or religion.

Some clubs might decide to take positive action to have members only from a particular group of children and young people who are disadvantaged. This is allowed as long as it’s to help that particular group. This is the reason why Guides is allowed to be only for girls.