Families and home life

The support we get from our families not only affects our happiness, but it can also affect how we do at school. Next Steps has uncovered just how important our families and home life are.

When you were 14, three quarters of you lived in a two-parent home. Around a quarter of you lived with one parent. Almost half of you had an evening meal with your family every day at this age.

When you were 16, most of you still lived at home with your parents, even if you had left school. Just over a quarter of you lived in lone-parent families.

Seven per cent of you had a child of your own by the time you were 19. A quarter of you spent some of your time caring for someone close to you, such as a younger sibling, other children, or relatives or friends who were ill, disabled or elderly.

Research based on Next Steps has found that:

  • Young people are more likely to like school, do well at school, and apply to university if they communicate well with their parents, and if their parents are involved in their schooling.
  • There is a strong relationship between having regular family meals and doing well at school. Half of young people who eat a meal with their family six or seven times a week gained eight or more A*-C GCSEs, compared to less than a third of teenagers who never eat with their families.
  • Around 7 in 10 young people who get on well with their parents stay in full-time education after the age of 16, compared to just 5 in 10 of those who have poor relationships with their parents.
  • Children of parents who know where they are in the evening tend to have better mental health, higher scores on their GCSEs, and are more likely to be in education, employment or training.
  • Young people with a regular curfew tend to do better on their GCSE exams than those whose parents rarely gave them a curfew.
  • 19-year-olds who regularly look after an ill, disabled or elderly person are less likely to be in education, employment or training than those without such caring responsibilities.