I'm thinking about taking my kids to court for some significant and legitimate grievances. Before you rush to judgment, you might need a little background...
There is a story in the news that should concern every parent. It is about a New Jersey 18-year-old who sued her mom and dad for child support. Apparently, she was unwilling to submit to family rules so her parents asked her to leave. She moved in with a friend but then sued her parents, demanding that they continue to pay her private school tuition.
The judge has ruled that her parents were under no obligation to pay. He felt--and I fully agree--that siding with the teenager would set a powerful precedent that would significantly limit what a parent could do to train and discipline his or her kids. Our culture might be dealt a devastating blow if parents were afraid to put restrictions or demands on their kids for fear of being taken to court.
Apparently, an independent investigator concluded that the young woman was "spoiled." That word isn't a big deal with an 18-month-old, but it's quite troubling with an 18-year-old. I'm not surprised when my toddler pitches a fit when she doesn't get her way. If she's still doing it when she is old enough to vote, we have a problem.
All this news about family law got me to thinking. If a kid can sue her parent, why can't a parent sue his kids? Why can't I present the various instances of injustice that I have encountered before an impartial judge to get a ruling? Or even better, a jury of my peers? Let me plead my case before a dozen other parents so that the full force of our legal system can get me some justice in my home? Oh, it's on.
Things I Want To Sue My Kids For...
I want to sue my babies for all the sleep they took from me all those years. With five kids and an average of four hours lost every night over six months with each kid, I figure that my offspring owe me about 450 full nights of sleep (something I haven't experienced since 1991). They can pay me in Ambien or Lunesta.
I want to sue my preschooler for making me watch Yo-Gabba-Gabba at such a high volume in the public spaces of our house. And for making me play mind-numbing games like Candy Land. Enough said.
I want to sue my kids for the time I have spent looking for their lost shoes. I feel that is honestly how I have spent most of my energy as a parent.
I want to sue my children for breach of contract for not doing the basic, simple things that I have asked them to do at least three times per day for their entire lives. I should not have to remind them again and again to clean their rooms, take out the trash, put their dishes in the dishwasher and do seemingly obvious things like bathe.
I want to sue my middle school student for something related to the double jeopardy principle (which states you cannot be tried for the same crime twice). I took Algebra back in 1982. I shouldn't have to do it all over again with him.
I want to sue each of my girls for the emotional trauma of walking through three years of life with them (sometime between 7th and 9th grades) when I had absolutely no idea what they were feeling, thinking, doing, and/or going through. I still have nightmares.
I want to sue the three kids that I taught to drive for shaving at least a dozen years off my life. You can pay me $450 for the instruction as well as $25,000 in punitive damages. You should be punished for causing a middle-aged man so much stress.
Finally, on behalf of my wife, I want to sue all of my children for back-pay for services rendered. For the past 21 years, she has served as their nanny, cook, house cleaner, chauffeur, tutor, coach, nurse, and pastor. Using a complicated mathematical formula which I made up, they owe her a total of $2.7 million dollars. And a convertible Jaguar.
Kids, we will see you in court.
Q. If you could, what would you sue your kids for?
Even if I do have a case, I suppose I will just let my grievances go. For very little happens in my Imperfect and Normal Family that is fair and equitable. We give and sacrifice and go the extra mile for one another because we love each other, not because of justice. Parents endure hardship to raise their kids to be responsible, God-fearing adults. Along the way, kids will hopefully learn to sacrifice, as well.
May we all learn to endure the challenges of family life with the ultimate goal of being pleasing to Christ and experiencing the joy that comes from daily laying down our lives for Him and others. We can leave the lawsuits to others.
*Check out my brand new book: The Talk(s): A Parent's Guide to Talking about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables. It has been developed to assist parents as they help their kids navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Whether your kids are 6 or 16, it provides practical help to help your kids to make wise choices in a messed-up world.
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