The Emancipation: When Kids Sue
If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard about Rachel Canning, the Texas teenager who is suing her parents because of their alleged verbal abuse. Here’s the thing: I know that the emancipation of minors isn’t a new thing. Macaulay Culkin, Tiffany the pop star, Gary Coleman and LeAnn Rimes are a few child stars who sued their parents and filed for emancipation. In each of those cases, the kid alleged their parents were misusing their money. I get it.
But what about this Rachel Canning case? Rachel has accused her parents of verbal abuse and inappropriate behavior (her parents deny all charges and insist Rachel was breaking curfew, drinking and disrespectful). In any case, she doesn’t want to live with them anymore. I get it. What’s amazing to me is that she is suing to have them pay for her private school tuition, college and other living expenses. Say what?
Recently, a judge in the case ruled against Rachel, saying in a sense he didn’t want to send the wrong message to kids who were considering suing their parents. Good job Judge.
My question is have we raised a generation of kids who feel so entitled that they can break their parents rules and still expect their parents to pay up? Mind you, this Rachel Canning is 18. Shouldn’t she be taking care of herself now anyway?
What Emancipation Looks Like
Some kids might have unrealistic expectations about what it means to be emancipated. Most states have laws governing the after-activities of the emancipated child.
Take a look at California’s emancipation of minors laws for example. Their law states that the child would give up the right to be supported by his/her parents, but even if he/she is emancipated, “you must go to school; you cannot get married without your parent’s permission; and you will go to juvenile court if you break the law.” Dang. So you mean there’s still accountability, huh?
As the parent of a teenager and also one who still feels 17 most days, I know that it might seem tempting to sue your parents. But if you’re a young person reading this, let me caution you to think twice, no thrice about the long-lasting effects that suing your parents will have on not only your relationship, but your future kids’ relationship with you as well. Remember, we reap what we sow.
What do you say? Should Rachel Canning’s parents be forced to pay her education and expenses or should the courts allow them to say, “Deuces!”?