Parenting Guru: Kids sue mom for "bad mothering"

Illustration by renjith krishnanIllustration by renjith krishnanIn today's news of the stupid, ridiculous and weird, we have the case of Kimberly Garrity. Kimberly was sued by her children, Steven Miner, II (23) and Kathryn Miner (20) for bad mothering.


Yeah, I said "bad mothering." And yeah, these are actual adults suing their mother.


Seriously, I cannot make this stuff up. If I could make stuff like this up, I'd be living in Hollywood, writing sitcoms and waiting for my personal chef to whip up a low-carb breakfast. Instead, I live in a small town, write this blog and honestly? I just ate leftovers that I didn't bother to microwave because I was too hungry to wait the 35 seconds to heat them.


Anyway, back to Kimberly.


Apparently, Kimberly's darling offspring believe she sucks as a mother. I'm kind of stumped here. I mean, really? I'm thinking that we could fan out all over the planet and interview kids from every high school and college in existence and we'd probably find that every single one of them - at one point in time - thought their parents sucked.


Heck, I like my parents and there was a time I thought they sucked.


Anyway, poor Kimberly has spent a few years battling the lawsuit her children filed. Amongst the grievances and horror the two kids endured was: receiving a birthday card that did not have cash or a check inside (however, it did say "Love & Hugs, Mom xoxoxo"), haggling over the amount to be spent on party dresses, telling Steven II, then 7, to buckle his seatbelt or she would call the police and my personal favorite: forcing her daughter to return home from Homecoming at midnight.


Frankly, I'm shocked that making them eat a balanced diet wasn't on the list. Doesn't everyone know that making your kids eat carrots is abuse?


The biggest shocker, of course, is the fact that Kimberly's former spouse (and the father of the kids) is acting as Steven II and Kathryn's lawyer. And by "biggest shocker," obviously I mean, "no shocker at all and by the way, her ex-husband really is a d-bag isn't he?"


In any event, we are fortunate that the Cook County judge hearing the case had more sense than the ex-husband and ruled against the children. Because I have to tell you - had she ruled the other way, I'd be guilty of some bad, bad mothering.


In fact, I have never, and I mean never, put cash in a birthday card for Junior. And I have threatened to turn him over to the police for not buckling his seatbelt. Heck, I'm teaching the kid to drive. Do you think I haven't screamed in terror, "Good Lord, do I have to go to the cops to make you understand that you don't exceed the speed limit?"


Honestly, just the thought of the stuff that Junior could have sued me for is pretty mind-boggling. I once took away his ps3. For a month. And one time, when I was so mad I couldn't see straight because he wouldn't stop texting at the table, I took away his phone. I have made him eat veggies - even the ones he hates. I require that all homework be completed before he hangs out with friends.


Of course, worst of all, I have said the word "no" to my son. On many, many occasions. I have said "no" to him staying out past curfew. I have said "no" when he wanted to drive his go-cart on the sidewalk in our neighborhood. I have said "no" to various things he wanted to do, even though he assured me that every one of his friend's parents were allowing their kids to do it.


So thank you, Judge Flanagan. Without your ruling, millions of moms on the planet could be sued for "bad mothering." And that would be a real shame.

What about you? Are you a good parent or bad parent? And would your kids agree?


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Laurie Sontag is a parenting guru who is navigating the wild waters of her son's teenage years by hiding in her closet waiting for puberty to be over. You can read more of her work at her blog, Manic Motherhood, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.