The pending case of Rachel Canning, an 18-year-old from New Jersey who is suing her parents for financial support and college tuition after leaving home, pits parents using their authority to prepare their daughter for life-readiness against the attorneys who argue she was abused — a claim that was expunged in the first court proceedings.
There is a distinct difference between rights and privileges — something that both children and parents confuse. Rachel’s parents have a responsibility to give her the tools to be a life-ready adult, and by giving her consequences for acts of rebellion, they were helping instead of harming her. Rachel is using bad behavior and poor judgment to get what she wants. The longer she persists (with the help of her attorneys), the further behind she’ll be for adulthood.
Rachel’s sense of entitlement is not uncommon in our culture today, and those who are helping her in the legal battle are the ones who are really causing the most detriment to her development. This family issue should never have been brought to court.
Timothy Johanson and Michael Anderson
The writers — a pediatrician and a psychologist, respectively — are the authors of “Gist: The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids.” This letter was submitted by Anderson, of Wayzata.