Parenting Advice

The only thing Rachel Canning is guilty of, is growing up exactly as she was raised too.

The initial case has been heard and decided in court.  And masses of parents and adults in America have cheered and celebrated the verdict.  But was this victory for the Canning parents really a “win” at all?  In my opinion, not even close.  As I see it, it was a monumental loss for children and parents everywhere...and a devastating blow to the future of our children’s generation.

When Judge Peter Bogaard decided that there was not sufficient evidence to rule in Rachel’s favor, what he, in essence, was telling the known parenting world was; If you give a child everything under the sun, never uphold your own rules and raise a child to believe you owe them anything, even if you have “spoiled” that child, It’s all good. Because, no matter how badly you have screwed up, the behavior of your child is not your responsibility once they turn 18.  So, just hang in their may be bad now, but soon, you’ll be off the hook!

Had this Judge and the adults in Rachel’s “sphere of influence” really cared at all about her, they would have focused on how recently her attitude changed.  What the circumstances were around those changes, and what a great kid she was just 1 year ago, before she was  saddled with the burden of keeping her emotions, frustration and stress under control while her parents marriage and her family was falling apart around her.  He would have seen that Rachel’s parents destroyed her trust in their integrity and her respect for them every time they dismissed one of those “house rules” they claimed to stand so firmly on in court...or when they would put her in the middle of one of their marital fights...or when they left their so called reckless, irresponsible child in charge of her younger siblings while they vacationed in Vegas to mend their own broken relationship.  And then, when they did have the opportunity to put their foot down and stand firm on a rule, they didn’t choose curfew or partying (those rules they would bend on under pressure)  No, they chose the ONE fight no teen has ever backed down on...ever.  “Break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend because we don’t approve of them.”  They asked Rachel - rather demanded with an ultimatum - that Rachel give up the ONE PERSON whose love for her and acceptance of her was unconditional in her eyes.  And then they deemed themselves disrespected when she didn't comply with the first demand they were steadfast on in 18 years.

And so, with his verdict, Judge Bogaard has shown us what the punishment is for being “spoiled”.  He has given us an example of the consequences of turning 18 years old and buckling under the pressure of being the “good kid” (those of us who are the oldest, and helped raise our siblings while also raising ourselves, can relate.) He told us, very clearly, that there is no excuse for disagreeing with or disobeying your parents, even if their demands on you are greater than the demands they put on themselves.  He has sent a message to children everywhere, that just because you are raised your entire life in an accommodating, flexible, entitled environment, does not mean that you shouldn't know better than to continue to act that way once you turn 18.

He has established a very clear consequence for being a spoiled brat...but the failure for America and the next generation is, Parents still have no accountability in or consequences for raising one.  So when does the cycle stop?  Who do we really hold accountable and demand change from?  Our children, who only know what we teach them?  Or the parents, who refuse to be taught anything about how to raise a child...and then want society to punish their child for being exactly who they raised them to be? Personally America, I think we've failed on this one.