Should an 18yo be asked to pay her own way?
by Lisa Fogarty
In most teens' minds, the day they turn 18 is going to be a glorious one. All of those stupid rules they had to follow at home will suddenly be lifted like some great fog. Overnight, parents will begin to respect their newfound freedom and independence -- yet continue to provide them with warm meals, because who the heck wants to have to cook for themselves at 18?
Rachel Canning is having a difficult time adjusting to 18. The New Jersey teen is suing her parents for refusing to pay for her college tuition and living and transportation expenses, despite the fact that she's no longer living at home and, according to her parents, left willingly because she didn't want to follow their rules.
According to Rachel, who was an honor student at Morris Catholic High School, her parents threw her out of their house. She is asking a judge to declare that she's non-emancipated and dependent on her parents to pay an outstanding high school tuition bill, foot the cost for her current living expenses, and turn over the college fund they'd been saving for her all of these years.
Rachel's mom and dad -- who is a retired police chief -- insist that the teen chose to leave their home because she didn't want to follow rules like maintaining a curfew and doing her chores. They say they miss her and that it is "killing" them not to have Rachel at home. The teen is currently staying with her best friend, whose father is reportedly funding her lawsuit.
I'm pretty surprised a judge even agreed to hear this case, but I can see one of Rachel's points -- and only one. If her parents were paying for her high school tuition, I feel they should be liable to pay the outstanding bill, considering she was under age at the time she attended school.
As far as having to pay for her college tuition and life expenses: oh boy. Being blessed with parents who are willing and able to pay for your undergraduate education is a gift and not a right. Some parents may view "18" as a magical age in which everything changes, but many do not.
Many still feel like, well, I pay the bills at home and if you're going to be living under my roof, I have certain rules. And those rules should be respected, or teens should be forced to understand that they aren't going to be handed everything on a silver platter for nothing in return.
If she's lucky, the judge presiding over her case will give her the best life lesson she's ever had and vote in favor of her parents' right to choose whether they want to pay for their adult daughter's expenses and college tuition.
What do you think? Should this teen be asked to pay for her own expenses or is she still dependent on her parents?