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When Being a Parent Warrants a Lawsuit

Sometimes my kids don’t like me. More often than not they express these sentiments after I’ve forced them to clean their room, fold laundry, do homework or some other god-awful task that, judging by the way they complain, must actually physically harm them in some way. These things don’t bother me too much though. I just assume that as adults they will hardly remember these moments of hating me for forcing them to make their beds and will be happy well adjusted adults.

I also try not to beat myself up over telling them no when they ask for things at the store or for deciding to have a smaller birthday party or not buying the latest and coolest new gadgets when they come out. In life we don’t always get what we want, and the sooner my kids realize that the better.

I’ve become accustomed to sometimes being the bad guy, and that’s OK. It’s all part of raising well-adjusted good adults. Or so I thought. I guess for some people it’s just bad parenting that warrants a lawsuit.

That’s right Steven and Kathryn Miner, both in their 20s, sued their mother, Kimberly Garrity, for bad parenting during their childhood years. A handful of the things listed in the claim included, not sending her son college care packages, not buying her daughter the homecoming dress she wanted. And their birthday cards never included cash or checks, just Hallmark sentiments.

The $500,000 lawsuit was dismissed in an Illinois court of appeals. “Such alleged actions are unpleasant and perhaps insensitive, and some would arguably fall outside the realm of ‘good mothering,’ but they are not so shocking as to form a basis for a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress,” said Judge Kathy Flanagan in a court statement, adding that ruling in favor of the children “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family child rearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.”

Thank you court of appeals for nipping this ugly trend in the bend. The last thing I need hanging over my head when my kids accuse me of being cruel because I’m making them do their math homework is the possibility that they might someday sue me for it.

What do you think? Where is the line be between being a bad parent and just being a parent?

30 Responses to “When Being a Parent Warrants a Lawsuit”

  1. jeff

    This is from two kids who lived in Barrington Il. A community of folks that are for the most pert pretty well off. Just shows that having money does not insure well raised kids. Maybe they are upset that mom could afford a nanny.

  2. colleen b

    that's crazy.. i'm glad it was dismissed, because if they would have won.. then who knows how many other children would start suing their parents too!

  3. @ahensnest

    Wow! I would think that the mother was actually guilty of good parenting for not giving her children everything they "want"! Just crazy!

  4. Simone

    That is ridiculous. There are plenty of things I wanted growing up (material and non-material) that I didn't get, but I'm not about to sue my parents for them.
    Bad parenting is not feeding your children, not clothing them, and making them fend for themselves without a second thought to their welfare. Denying your children pizza everyday, not buying them $400 designer jeans, and not buying them a pony is not child abuse.
    They should be thankful for the things they did have and the things their mother did provide for them instead of making jack@$$e$ of themselves and basically throwing a tantrum.

  5. Tara Haidinger

    Apparently the children were represented by their lawyer father after their mother filed for divorce. I don't think this is really about bad parenting at all. Neglect and abuse are bad parenting in my eyes.

  6. Sarah Hirsch

    The only laws in place regarding parenting are that parents can’t abuse or neglect their children, or else the children will be removed from the home. There is nothing stating parents have to be ‘good’, and no way to measure what contitutes good parenting. Nobody is perfect, if there were standards to live up to in terms of how much money needs to be in a birthday card or how many hugs to give a child per day, we’d all fail at some point or another.

  7. Stacy Holland

    This makes me sick! You would think that by age 20, these “kids” would start to realize how much their parents did for them over the years that wasn’t easy. To sue them for something as petty as not buying a fancy dress?! That’s just selfish.

  8. Jean

    If you think that's crazy (or scary) you should really *very carefully* check out the Convention on the Rights of a Child (A UN treaty that some ppl in politics in the US are pushing). Under this treaty, you can be sued for these exact type of "stupidities". The treaty is designed to protect, which is good-intentioned, but the gov't has no right to supercede parental rights. Your kid could sue you for making them go to church, grounding them, telling them no sex, etc. Be ware.

  9. Katharine

    I read about this horrible case and was immediately struck by the fact that it was the ex-husband father of these brats who filed the suit for them. This was so obviously a case of a bitter ex, one who I am sure poisoned the kids against thier mother. Almost as bad as the case in Canada of the Mom who abandoned her kids when they were young then showed up 30 years later and sued them for parental support under a REALLY bad Canadian law

  10. jocelynmp

    I think the reasons the kids listed for suing their mother are ridiculous. However, I do know of a few 20 year olds who truly SHOULD be able to sue their parents.

  11. John Joseph

    I dont think this lawsuit thing has merit but if parents can make their childs life alittle easier normally out of love you want to one would think

  12. Chase

    This is stupid. Those kids should've been beaten more. Just the fact that they would try to sue their parents makes them terrible children.

  13. Suzanne K

    How sad that these young people have such a sense of entitlement that they think they 'deserved' more than what they had. And, even sadder that this progressed to the point of a lawsuit. I'm glad the judge dismissed it. Isn't it enough that most mom's don't even get to eat hot meals for the first few years of their child's life? Well, plus all the other things that we do when we put the kids first.

  14. Christina

    Unless there's real physical or mental abuse involved, of course children shouldn't be able to sue parents! Most parents do the absolutely best that they can! How appalling!

  15. Kimberley Meier

    If those had been my kids the least of their concerns would be that I didn't buy them a dress or send a care package, it would be what physical harm I would do to them after the lawsuit was over! I have never heard of anything so selfish, I would be ashamed to show my face ever again if it was me. It's amazing to me that this made it in front of a judge but I'm glad karma was on the mother's side by making the judge hearing the case a woman.

  16. Terri S.

    The "bad mothering" is the extent to which these kids have been spoiled into thinking they can get away with such a lawsuit.

  17. ann*

    Ridiculous lawsuit. Kids get way to much now a days. They need to realize not everyone can afford name brand things. If they want them then they should have to do something to earn it. They surely will appreciate it more.

  18. kkd

    I don't think this should have gone to court as a lawsuit, but if the mother is sitting on a pile of money, the least she could do is share with her children, especially if her children are good students in college.

  19. addrienne mertens

    wow what materialistic nerve these kids have! well adults now. bitter because they didnt get more from their parents.. we didnt get hardly anything growing up. we knew we were broke and we were happy with what little we had. sure we dream of better conditions. thats why when were adults we can have better things if we work and achieve.

  20. Patrice

    I'm very glad that this case was dismissed by the courts. Children need to realize that they are not entitled to everythlng that they want. It's very sad to know that children would even think of bringing a lawsuit like this against their parents.

  21. april yedinak

    These 'kids' are spoiled brats and if I was their mother I would be sickened by their greed and stupidity. It amazes me how many people feel entitled in this country, especially since most of them are so undeserving. They should be dropped into a 3rd world slum for a year and see if that changes their perspective a bit.

  22. Susan Smith

    This is dumb, kids can't expect their parents to give them everything. I think there are too many lawsuits out there.

  23. Charity S

    I can't believe this. Seriously, don't we have enough to worry about as parents? Parenting gets harder each and every day.

  24. miriama59

    Now it's official. I have read everything. This is appalling. Not just that there was such a lawsuit but that the children even thought of doing such a thing. I am going to hug my kids tight, tell them I love them..wait! I already do that. 🙂 Well, I am going to do it again and thank my lucky stars they are my kids…how do some children get to thinking that they are owed so much?

  25. Michael

    My point of view is our new generation of technology is changing so rapidly at a pace where kids these days have no patience and rely on instant gratification. Good values should be taught at a early age and those who don't well they learned it from their parents unfortunately. After reviewing some of these comments,i've come to agreement that bad parenting is when the child is in neglect or taught bad values. End of discussion.


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