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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

The Teen Who Sued Her Parents

You may have heard about it in the news. A teenager sued her parents in New Jersey because she wanted them to pay for her college education. Her parents told her they would not pay for her college education because she continually ignored their rules and because they did not like her boyfriend. Okay, so there are a lot of details to this story. You can read them here.

Bottom line: Parents tried to hold her accountable and nothing was working. She continued to disobey and ask for more. Parents put their foot down.

I applaud them for holding her accountable. I applaud them for supporting her financially in high school even though she no longer lives with them. I applaud them for saying no to her demands.

But maybe not for the reasons that you think.

Sometimes, as parents, we rob our kids of their own wisdom when we do too much for them. If we give them everything they want....if we make it too easy to succeed, then we may actually be part of the problem. I believe it is possible to handicap our kids when it comes to life skills. We handicap them if we do too much for them instead of letting them figure some things out on their own.

When I worked for Phil McGraw, he use to say a lot, "You eat what you kill." Because I'm not from Texas, that seemed a bit graphic and brutal to me. But it is true.

Last week I was asked to be on our local FOX station during the evening news to talk about Rachel Canning suing her parents. You can see the video of the interview here. I'm thinking Ms. Canning has put her foot in her mouth. By suing her parents, she has told the world she is entitled and that she is a rule breaker.

Her parents' rules were not out of line.

But in my opinion, Ms. Canning is. What do you think?

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