Thinking Thursday…Open Letter To Rachel Canning (18 yo who sued her parents)

In the news this week, Rachel Canning, 18, sued her parents for support, after leaving home. The judge ruled against her, although a decision about her college fund will happen next month.

Read the full story here

Dear Rachel,

We don’t know each other, and never will, barring some really bizarre circumstances. We’re not even in the same country.

But, that being said, it seems you’re getting some really poor advice from those who DO know you, so, hey, advice from a stranger can’t hurt. I mean, your friend’s Dad not only encourages you to sue your parents, but bankrolls the lawsuit? Talk about some poor advice!

Let’s look at the lawsuit that was denied this week, OK?

You moved out, at 18. A legal adult. You then decide to sue your parents for high school tuition, college tuition, legal fees, *and* $650 a WEEK in living expenses.

Do I have that right? $650 a week?

Sweetie, WHERE are you living?!

Let’s do some quick and sloppy math here. $650 x4 (yes, a month is longer than 28 days, but we’ll go with that) and we have a grand total of $2,600. A month. 31,200 a year.

Honey, do you realize that some FAMILIES live off that amount?

Why does an 18 yo *need* over $30,000 a year to live off of? You were asking for more support a month than some folks *earn*.

Obviously, you come from a family that’s doing pretty well for themselves, financially. But there’s the problem. It’s not the *family* that’s doing well financially. It’s your parents. You aren’t, and were not, a financial contributor to that. They gave, you received. And, you know, that’s OK. Seriously. As a parent, that’s what I expect from my kids. It’s my *job* to support them. Feed, clothe, shelter them, plus whatever other niceties I can swing.  That’s a pretty normal set up.

Where you went *completely* off the rails, however, is expecting to be able to leave home, as a legal adult, and take your parents money with you.

As an adult, you have certain freedoms. And with those, comes certain responsibilities. The big one being, of course, paying your own way.

Somewhere along the lines, someone failed to explain certain realities to you. The first one being, nobody owes you squat. As Mark Twain once said,Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

You have dreams. That’s great. Everyone needs them. But, once you moved out of your parents’ home, those dreams became your sole responsibility. You may be lucky enough that there is a legal obligation from your parents to turn your college fund over to you, I truly don’t know anything about that situation, but I’m still really baffled about the thought process that enabled you to believe that you could move out of the house, but take Dad’s wallet with you.

The judge decided against you, as really, he should have. Common sense says, parents are not responsible, morally or legally, for an adult child who chooses to leave home.

Look at this from a different angle, OK? Your job, for the last 18 years, was as their daughter. In return, they paid to support you. When you moved out, you quit that job. Your right, your choice.

But, if you quit a job, do you really expect to be able to demand your employer pay your wages until you find another job you deem acceptable?

Here’s another aspect that, at 18, I’ve no doubt you didn’t have the foresight to consider, but the other adults around you, especially the one encouraging this lawsuit and paying for it most certainly should have…you are now infamous. And Honey, that’s so NOT a good thing.

Your name and face are now known for this. And, as folks like to say, the Internet is forever.

It’s become a tool in hiring processes. It’s become a part of a background check.

And it may well become your worst nightmare.

How much do you think a person, who has your future in their hands, is going to be inclined to take a risk on you, after finding out you sued your parents in a frivolous lawsuit, one that makes you appear like a spoiled, entitled, immature child? Or, are they going to consider, “Gee. If she could sue her parents, what happens if she doesn’t like the way things happen here?” What if your post secondary school of choice admissions team asks themselves, “She sued her parents. What happens if she doesn’t get a grade she likes? What kind of situation would she cause here?”

Post secondary institutions do look at more than grades. Reputation is absolutely a component of admissions. And this lawsuit says nothing positive about who you are as a person.

You’ve become the poster child for Entitlement Issues In The Extreme. I don’t know you, so I’ve no clue how much of that is truly who you are, and how much of that was following some horribly wrong advice from adults, who, with a modicum of common sense, should have known better.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it’s *your* name, *your* face that’s out there. And will be remembered. Not theirs.

I truly wish you well. I hope that your parents are more forgiving than the majority of parents would be, having been sued by their child, and you guys are able to repair your relationship in the future. Without financial motivation.

In the meantime, it’s up to you to make the best out of the choices you’ve made. Roll up your sleeves, and get a job. Or two. Or three. Time to do what adults do, and be self supporting, self sufficient.

And hope that this one situation, at 18, doesn’t negatively impact your future.


Domestic Imp

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Thinking Thursday…Open Letter To Rachel Canning (18 yo who sued her parents) — 6 Comments

  1. Excellent points. If this young lady has already been offered a partial scholarship, then she can go to school part time, and work the rest of the time.

  2. What concerns me, is could the school rescind the scholarship offer? I would think, in the wake of the negative publicity, that would be a serious consideration for them.

    I can just see this being way more than she ever considered, in terms of backlash. At 18, the idea that she could LOSE probably didn't occur to her. But now she has to deal with it.

  3. I hope so too. Other news reports state that she also went to CPS and claimed abuse, and the allegations were deemed unfounded.

    I don't know how a family can mend after all of this.

  4. Good post. I just wanted to point out that all the news articles state that she is asking for 600 a month not a week. Even so your points are well stated.

  5. Actually, the link I put in my letter states:

    Judge Peter Bogaard denied Rachel Canning's request of $650 a week in support, high school tuition back pay, college tuition and legal fees.

    So that is where I came up with that amount from.

    Thanks for commenting!

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