8 Surprising Things Teens Can Do Without Parental Consent

Everyone knows that until you’re 18 and legally adult you need to ask your parents for permission to do anything major, especially since you’re still technically a child. But you’d be surprised to find out how many things you can actually do on your ownas a teenager that your parents don’t have to get involved with at all. You can’t buy porn or cigarettes no matter what if you’re not of age, but did you know that there’s some states in America where teens can actually drink alcohol with their parents’ permission? Those are a state-by-state kind of deal, but most of these things are totally okay for teens to green light by themselves without parents intervening or getting in the way.

Yeah, you might want your parents’ help or advice, but if you do your research, teens actually have permission to do some pretty grown up things without needing permission from their parents. Not all of them are the most exciting things in the world, but since you’re basically an extension of your parents according to the law, it’s a little bit surprising how much leeway you’re given as a teen to start doing grown-up things. You might have a love/hate relationship with responsibility, but this is actually a good thing in most cases. Teens are given these kinds of permissions to do thing without needing parental consent because truthfully, sometimes you need to handle your life on your own. So, in case you didn’t know, these are eight things teenagers can totally do without parental consent.

Get A Passport

You can't hop on board an airplane if you're under 18 and run away to Spain on a whim, but you can sure get your own passport! Even if you aren't traveling right away, you can march down to your county court house and get yourself a passport, or at least start the process. If you're between the ages of 16 and 17 this is definitely a possibility for you, no need to ask your parents to come with you or sign things (unless you want their help in the process, but *technically* you don't need it).

Source: iStock

Get A Confidential STD Screening

When you become a teenager, you can start to ask for some confidentiality from your doctor. They technically can't grant you strict confidentiality, but they don't have to tell your parents if you want to get tested for STDs. You can make your own appointment, go get tested, and request discretion. If you're still worried your gyno will rat you out, there's always Planned Parenthood and they won't tell your parents. You don't need their okay or permission to get this test done.

Source: iStock

Get Long-Term Reversible Contraception

Most of you know that you technically don't need your parents' permission to go on the birth control pill, but did you know that also applies to long term birth control like IUDs or arm-implants? Considering this is more major and involves putting something in your body for the long term, it's striking that parental involvement isn't mandated, but you're totally in right to make this call for yourself as a teen.

Source: iStock

Get An Abortion (In Some States)

In 13 states in America, you need no parental permission to get an abortion, and judge can excuse you from needing parental consent in 35 other states when it comes to getting an abortion. However, clinics like Planned Parenthood have been known to provide safe, discreet, medical grade abortion services to teens in need or who would be in danger if their parents found out (which is why places like PP are so, so important). So, it depends on who you ask and how you're getting this done, but you can still mostly do this without getting your parents' permission.

Source: iStock

Sign Up To Be An Organ Donor

To be clear, you can't volunteer to give someone else your kidney without your parents' consent, but it's still totally okay to declare yourself an organ donor on your state issued ID (like a drivers license) without needing permission to do so. Considering that your body is still technically and legally their responsibility, it's strange how this is totally okay for teens to do on their own, but there's no complaints here, we're all for more autonomy.

Source: iStock

Get Treatment For Depression, Addiction, Or Eating Disorders

If you need help for any of those things that requires long term care and possibly an in-patient program, you can technically enroll yourself on your own accord, which is awesome especially if you have parents who fervently deny that anything's gone awry with your body. This is mostly to protect teens with parents who would have an averse reaction to finding out that you have a drug or alcohol problem, but since this is about getting help, you're allowed to turn yourself in to get treatment without worrying about getting arrested for underage drinking or needing parental consent.

Source: iStock

Dye Your Hair

Okay, to most of you this may seem like a no-brainer, but since your parents need to be involved if you want a tattoo or a piercing and depending on how strict your parents are, this could be a shock. But you can walk right into a salon and ask for whatever you want without the stylist needing to ask your parents if this is okay. The tattoo and piercing thing is about your parents technically being responsible for your body, but hair somehow doesn't fall under that umbrella of needing permission. Who knew?

Source: iStock

Become A Full Blown Adult

Okay, duh, the passage of time happens and you will one day turn 18 whether your parents like it or not, but in some circumstances, teenagers under 18 can still become legal adults. If you are enlisted in the armed services, get married, or become legally emancipated from your parents, you can be considered a legal adult. You can't do any of those things without your parents' permission, though, but once you cross that bridge you no longer need their permission to do anything.

Source: iStock

Which one of these rules surprised you? Did you know any of them already? Do any of them apply to you? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.

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  • The dying of hair one didn’t surprise me. I mean there are some girls who dye their hair overnight, and don’t need their parents consent….

    And besides, hair dyes are sold in the stores for a reason (for people to do them quick & easy while in the comforts of home)