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?