A Slippery Slope Leading to a Dangerous Precedent- Averted!

Thankfully averted!  (This is not a photo of Rachel Canning)

Thankfully averted! 

(This is not a photo of Rachel Canning)

Okay, so if you haven't heard about the Rachel Canning case, check it out below...because as parents, I think we should be saddened and maybe concerned by this latest attempt at a lawsuit!

Rachel is an 18 year old in Moorestown, New Jersey who, with the help of her good friend's parent, a lawyer (Hello!  Are you serious?  I'm not even going to go there!) was suing her own parents.  For what you might ask?  She was suing for child support, for high school tuition, college tuition, travel expenses, medical insurance and other future financial expenditures, after moving out from under her parent's roof.  Rachel was alleging "inappropriate parenting"!

This was a very scary case. Thank God it was decided quickly.  Nevertheless, my experience and training as a Certified Leadership Parenting Coach, has shown that conflicts with parents during the teenage years are par for the course in just about every family. Most teens go through a rebellious stage and come out on the other side, more mature and responsible, having wrangled with their parents and having learned compromise, responsibility, negotiation, earned privileges and consequences for inappropriate behavior!  What concerned me was that this particular teenager had veered dramatically off the course by suing her parents, (maybe with some well-intentioned but destructive help!)  The outcome of this trial could have set a very dangerous precedent for families here in the United States!

This was another serious case that would have threatened to undermine the family unit as we know it if it had not been decided so wisely.  In my opinion, if it had been determined that this young woman should be receiving financial compensation, now that she was out of her parent's home - even when the decision to move out was hers, it would have spelled disaster for parenting teenagers in the future. The courts would be inundated with unhappy teens who only want their parents' money, not their parents' rules - which are (we would hope for the most part) simple and honest attempts to keep them on a healthy, responsible path towards maturity.  None of us liked rules as teens, let's face it!

We already sometimes feel as parents that we are walking on eggshells in the discipline of our own children, especially out in public.  We're afraid to so much as spank them for fear of Child Protective Services swooping in and removing them from our care.  Now, with this case going to court, the discipline of children could have been called into question within our own walls, if our children were to deem our parenting "inappropriate".  If in this case, there had been definite abuse (as was being alleged by Rachel) then the parents of her good friend should have reported it to authorities, and stepped away!  By no means should they have come into the middle of a family dispute (which was really none of their business) and financed Rachel's lawsuit against her parents!  What were they thinking? 

(*Reminds me of the case where the young man's attorney claimed he was suffering from "Affluenza"! Oh please!  What's next?)

I, for one, was very disturbed by this case. Where counseling should have been the very first step in this precarious situation, there would probably have been no opportunity for future attempts on the part of Rachel's parents to work this all out with their daughter privately, without the final ruling of the court in that regard. How terribly sad on a personal level, that all of this upheaval could have been prevented with earlier counseling. But thank God, at least the court had the wisdom to discontinue the proceedings and require the family to seek professional help.

The other side of the coin is the public aspect and media magnification of this case.  The news threw this young lady into the public eye who was in way over her head. She was probably, at the very least, a misguided young woman who was reaching for independence but unready for it- emotionally, psychologically, or financially. Maybe Rachel was the "spoiled brat" in the headlines, who didn't like the house rules or restrictions put on her by her well-meaning, authoritative (not necessarily authoritarian) parents. I can't imagine how she will have to recover from this emotional upheaval and the mess she found herself in, and yes, created!

The bottom line: if Rachel had won this case, parents would be just plain scared to parent - for fear of being sued by their children who deemed their parenting to be "inappropriate" as well!

I just know that if I were her mom, I would be totally and utterly mortified, and emotionally reeling by this crushing event for their family! Thank God the court ordered counseling...they will all be needing it!  We should be praying for healing for their entire family over the next few years…

*********************************

Please go to the following link to read further about this case:  huff.to/1kAwgWE  for an article by Devon Corneal, a lawyer, mom and writer, posted March 5th, before the final proceedings.

I would be very interested in knowing your perspective on this case?  Where did things go wrong and how did this end up in court?  What do you think could have been the dangerous and troubling ramifications of the outcomes of this case regarding parenting?  Are my concerns about modern day parenting unfounded?  Please comment below and let's open up meaningful discussion!  Thanks, as always, for reading!  Get me down off my soap box!