The teenage girl that sued her parents? Yeah, I got one of those kids.

March 9, 2014

in Boys will be Boys, Family, Parenting

234481cf2117a1c1a951ba7593e962a7I’ve been wanting to write about the New Jersey teen who sued her parents for her college tuition since it was a trending story, but I have been so absurdly busy this week it had to wait until I had a little time. Seriously, it’s like the story of my life. The characters are different and some of the back story is different, but the nuts and bolts are the same.

My oldest son was/is the exact same way. He moved out, on his own accord, because the “rules” we had he felt were too extreme and horrific. We expected him to do things like clean his bathroom, do his dishes, help out around the house when we asked, and to keep us updated on his schedule.

I know. Horrible stuff.

He was, and still is, that kid. It’s frustrating as a parent to have someone expect things from you while giving so little back. He expected us to pay for a 4 year Harvard education while he barely graduated high school. He wanted filet mignon every night for dinner. Once, when Cheryl got a decent and unexpected work bonus she bought both boys a Nintendo game machine. Frankie didn’t want his, he wanted $1000. She said no way, he stood his ground that if he didn’t get the $1000 he wanted nothing. So he got nothing. The same ultimatum happened that year for his birthday AND Christmas so he got nothing again. It’s a vicious circle that never ends. I still have a closet full of gifts that he got for Christmas that he didn’t want/like/need so he just left them.

No thank you’s. No apologies. No nothing.

I’m going to be honest, I feel for those parents.

I’m sure they were tough, probably more than most. I’ve been there. I have had to be the biggest bitch of a parent that you could ever imagine. When a child doesn’t comply with even the simplest of requests, its FRUSTRATING. And heartbreaking. In a way, what the child does is psychological blackmail.

If I don’t get what I want then I will tell everyone and make you look like the bad guy.

Living under those conditions is super exhausting. At some point you do one of two things, you feed it and pay the ransom or you say fuck it.

We said fuck it.

And honestly, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. We put on the gloves and stepped into the ring and it sounds like these parents did too. Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand and hold your ground. These kids like to paint the parents as bullies, but really, it’s the other way around.

We are lucky that Frankie moved out on his own accord. He didn’t like our rules and he did the mature and responsible thing about it. His moving was 100% his idea but realistically we probably would have kicked him out over time. There is only so much you can take and when the kid turns 18 and you no longer have to put up with it, I’m not sure why you would. We know that he still bad mouths us to just about anyone who will listen but we have, over time, gotten some thick skin. We can’t make him quit talking, but those that know us will see through it and those that don’t, well, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it.

We have given Frankie some opportunity. We will pay for his schooling after he completes his first semester. Whatever classes he stays in and passes we will fully reimburse books and tuition. To us this seems like a prudent way to go since he wasn’t a huge fan of school. He got enough money for graduating that he could have easily bankrolled his first semester and then used our money to parlay the rest of his education. He chose not to do that.  But the offer still stands whenever he is ready.

I guess the morale of this post is that you do the best you can and make decisions on what works best for the situation. You have obligations as parents but kids have obligations to you as well. Sometimes (especially in todays ‘entitled” generation) that gets forgotten. They give you an ultimatum, counter with an offer that is fair for all of you. If they choose not to take it, then that’s on them. You move on and let them do and say what they will. That’s what it looks like these parents did and I’m glad the judge (somewhat) agreed to support their decision.

My heart goes out to those parents. I know first hand how ugly that position can be. Keep focus. That’s really all you can do.

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