If children don’t like the rules of the house, they can just sue 
their parents.
That’s what 18 year old New Jersey high school student Rachel Canning 
decided to do.
Here are the facts according to court documents. Canning, an honor 
student, began drinking heavily and skipping school and both her and 
her boyfriend were suspended from school.
She was also removed from her position as captain of the cheerleading 
squad and from the campus ministry.
Her parents laid down rules such as being respectful, keeping a 
curfew, doing some chores, and ending a relationship with her 
boyfriend they said was a bad influence. They also took away her car 
and phone privileges.
Two days before she turned 18, she told her parents that she was an 
adult and could do whatever she wanted. She then ran away and began 
staying with the parents of her best friend.
Her parents immediately cut their daughter off financially, refusing 
to pay her final semester’s tuition to private Catholic school.
Rachel Canning then filed a lawsuit saying that her parents are 
abusive and placed unreasonable limits on her.
She said in court documents she had to leave her parents' home because 
of emotional and psychological mistreatment. She declared that even 
though she is 18, she is not an emancipated adult and is still 
dependent on her parents for financial support.
She alleges that her parents told her they would pay for her college 
education and she based her decisions growing up on that assumption.
Rachel Canning sought child support of $654 per week, payment of 
remaining private school tuition, payment of current living expenses, 
and commitment to paying her future college tuition. She is also suing 
to reimburse her friend’s father John Ingelsino, who has been paying 
her legal fees. Canning’s parents claim that had the Inglesino family 
not "enabled this situation to an absurd level, Rachel may have 
actually learned a life lesson and returned home and kept our family 
Judge Peter Bogaard denied Rachel Canning’s motions. He instead 
ordered the parties to return to court where they will present further 
evidence on the matter.
The judge was skeptical of some of the claims in the lawsuit, saying 
it could lead to teens "thumbing their noses" at their parents, 
leaving home and then asking for financial support. He said, "we 
should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope."
Before the next court date, however, Rachel Canning suddenly dropped 
the lawsuit. Angelo Sarno, the parents’ attorney, would not say what 
sparked the apparent reconciliation, however he stated that Canning’s 
decision was not contingent on any financial considerations.
In a March 4th hearing, Rachel Canning said that the media attention 
was overwhelming and she wanted to move back in with her parents.
The judge cited a letter Canning wrote where she apologized for her 
actions. She said, "I really need to realize there are consequences 
for the things I do. I do miss you guys. I am trying to turn over a 
new leaf." The judge then ordered the dismissal of the lawsuit.
The abuse allegations regarding the family were investigated by New 
Jersey's Division of Child Protection and Permanency which determined 
that allegation of emotional abuse was unfounded.
Parents have a fundamental right to raise their children as they see 
fit. Do we really want a society where parents are in fear of 
establishing basic rules? Even if only some of her parents’ 
accusations are true, what kind of parents would the Canning’s be if 
they did not discipline their daughter?
If the judge ruled in Rachel Canning’s favor what’s to stop other 
teenagers from doing whatever they want, and the parents still being 
responsible for paying for college?
A ruling like that would open the floodgates for kids to sue their 
parents anytime they were disciplined.
If teenagers are to grow up to be responsible adults then they need to 
understand that life has rules. As parents, the Cannings certainly 
have the right to set up rules.
Now is the time for Rachel Canning to learn that lesson.
We’ve created an entitlement mentality and if we’re not careful, a 
kid’s response to, “you’re grounded” will be, “I’ll see you 
in court.”