Parents all over the world and, no doubt, right here in York County let out a collective groan last week upon learning of the 18-year-old New Jersey woman suing her parents for future college tuition.
The story of Rachel Canning is a cautionary tale for any parent.
The honor student at Morris Catholic High School chose to move out of her parents' home. She says her parents were abusive and that her mother called her fat, which resulted in her developing an eating disorder. She says both parents pushed her to get a basketball scholarship (poor baby).
Sean and Elizabeth Canning say their daughter moved out because she refused to abide by reasonable household rules ... doing chores, keeping a curfew, being respectful and ending a relationship with a boyfriend the parents call a bad influence.
Rachel's living with a friend and her family. The friend's father (this guy needs his father card revoked) is bankrolling this ridiculous lawsuit, which seeks to have the Cannings pay for all or some of Rachel's college tuition.
The overarching question here, of course, is how did things get so bad that this child — legally an adult — believes she's entitled to act as an adult, yet still live off the finances of her parents, whose home she willingly left.
For the courts, it's a potentially precedent-setting case on whether parents are legally obligated to financially support their daughter once she's an adult.
There's so much wrong going on here it's almost impossible to sort it all out.
Where did this young woman get such a sense of entitlement? We have to wonder about her upbringing on this one.
And who says parents have to finance a child's college tuition anyway? Many parents whose children are respectful and follow the rules don't pay for their child's college tuition simply because they can't. Others think it's not their duty to pay; let the child get loans and learn what life's about by paying them off (seemingly forever.)
Last week, the Cannings were in court for a judge to rule on Rachel's request for $650 in weekly child support and the remainder of her private high school tuition. State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard rightly turned that down, saying her request could lead to a "slippery slope.''
"Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an X-Box? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?'' Bogaard asked.
Spoken like a true parent.
We can only hope he rules similarly in April when the question of future support is determined.
In fact, we hope he tells Rachel Canning what life is really like when you're over 18: You're an adult. You get to move out of your parents' home. And there's no law saying parents have to support you.
Too bad there's no law that says she has to grow up.