Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sixteen today

It's Patrick's sixteenth today which lead to a discussion between J and me on just what you are entitled to do on reaching this milestone. We came up with the obvious one and riding a moped and discussed how in our day you could legitimately buy fags at sixteen. However we were a bit stumped for any other benefits to moving on from fifteen.

Thoughtfully Connexions have made a list of things Patrick and his fellow sixteens are allowed to do:
  • You can have a full time job if you have officially left school. You need to remember that you can't work full time until the last Friday in June - even if you have turned 16 before this.
  • You can live independently, subject to certain conditions being met.
  • You can get married with your parents' or guardians' consent.
  • You can ride a moped of up to 50ccs.
  • You can pilot a glider.
  • You must be 16 before you can legally have sex, whether that's with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.
  • You can have an abortion without your parents consent.
  • A boy can join the armed forces with his parents' or carers' consent.
  • You can apply for your own passport.
  • You can have beer or cider whilst eating a meal in a restaurant or an eating area of a pub, but not in the bar.
  • You can buy lottery tickets, including scratch cards
  • You can change your name by deed poll, with your parent or guardian's consent.
  • If you are in work, you are now old enough to join a Trade Union.
  • You can choose your own GP
  • You can claim social security benefit
Choosing your own GP, joining a Trade Union and buying a lottery ticket! I imagine most sixteen year olds will be breathless with excitement at the prospect of any of these. Possibly a little more exciting is being able to pilot a glider (perhaps one your parents have kicking around the garage) or ride a moped (ditto although slightly more likely than an abandoned glider).

The one I think I'd like best, were I sixteen, apart again from the obvious one, is being able to change your name by deed poll. I would have loved a more glamorous, outrageous name which is probably why you can't do it without parental consent.

So how will we celebrate Patrick's new rights.? I suggest I buy my sixteen year old a beer, or cider, to eat with a meal in a pub this weekend (whether he wants it or not) You never know, we might even go there in my spare glider after he's selected a new GP and bought a few Lucky Dips.

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