I’m just going to come right out and say it: I'm one of those parents who is guilty of fantasizing about the day my children turn 18. Yes, I love them and caring for them has been a blessing, but the thought of them leaving the nest and finding their way in the world is as exciting to me as the day they took their first steps. No lie. So, imagine the sense of shock I felt when I heard the reports about the 18-year-old New Jersey woman by the name of Rachel Canning who is suing her parents to continue receiving support and school tuition, after they kicked her out of the house for failure to obey their rules.
Her parents deny the claim, and say she decided to leave when they issued an ultimatum: abide by household rules, or find somewhere else to live. She opted for the latter and moved in with a friend. This friend’s father happens to be an attorney and is the one who helped her initiate the law suit. A lot, I know. I'm not going to get into all of the nuances of the law, but if she wins I think that sets a bad precedent for parents everywhere. The next hearing is scheduled for April 22.
With that said, I wish one of my kids would try to sue me.
Precedent, or no precedent, they’d be in for the fight of their life. There is very little I wouldn’t do for my kids, but I have a deep distaste of ungrateful, bratty behavior, so there are limitations. From everything I’ve heard about this case, that’s what most of this boils down to. This girl has lived a life of privilege. Her parents now expect her to comply with their wishes while they support her and she enters adulthood. She, on the other hand, wants to live her life on her terms. Nothing wrong with that, but why should they foot the bill? You can't have it both ways, sweetie.
I’m not sure what will become of this case, but I shudder to think that this young woman will be able to use a court of law to co-sign on her lack of gratitude. Something tells me her sense of entitlement is not something that happened overnight. She must have grown up used to getting her way and when her parents finally took a hard line and said, "No," she couldn’t deal.
This is why I discourage parents from giving kids any and everything they want. I don’t know exactly what happened in this particular case, but I know so many parents who spoil their kids, and then wonder why the child seems so ungrateful and entitled when they get older. I do a lot for my kids, but I try to nip those entitled thoughts and behaviors in the bud before they ever take root. From time-to-time, I tell them no, because no is a regular part of life and they need to be accustomed to hearing it – before it’s too late. If they get their way every time, before you know it, you’ll have a situation similar to what the Cannings are going through. A kid who thinks they’re old enough to break your rules, but not old to take care of themselves? The only thing I’d have to say to my kid if they tried to sue me is, “I’ll see you in court.” I’m setting the boundaries now, so hopefully, we won’t have to see a day like that.
What would you do if your kid tried to sue you?