Responsibility without authority.

Here is a story that nicely demonstrates the madness of modernity:

21-Year-Old Sues Parents for College Tuition — and Wins

Two parents battling over college tuition for their estranged daughter were back in court this week.

A judge reaffirmed his order on Monday that Maura McGarvey and Michael Ricci pay 21-year-old Caitlyn Ricci’s community college tuition.


Caitlyn Ricci brought the suit against her parents in August 2013, suing them for $906 in tuition to Rowan College in Pennsylvania…A few months later, a judge ruled in her favor. On Monday, he upheld his decision, ordering the parents to pay by the end of the year.


But all is not settled: In October, Caitlyn Ricci also sued her parents for another $16,000 in tuition from Philadelphia’s Temple University, where she is currently a student. In October, a judge ruled in her favor…


The young woman’s mother wrote a blog post about the situation that you simply must read to believe; here is an excerpt from The Age of Entitlement:

We came up with a plan for Caitlyn when she came home.  This plan included a full-time job, household chores, a curfew, and for her to register for 3 summer classes to make up for the wasted semester. The only part of our plan that she had a problem with was the 3 summer classes. She chose to move out of my house instead of following the rules we established. She packed her things, and moved into her paternal grandparent’s house.


I was very clear with Caitlyn about what this would mean for her – her father would no longer be required to pay child support, I would no longer have the money to help her pay for college, etc. More than once, I told her that she could come home.  She didn’t want to.  She wanted to live without any rules, with basically no contact with either of her parents or their families, and she wanted her father and I to pay for it. Within a few months of living at her grandparents, Caitlyn retained a lawyer and sued her father and me for college contribution (and a new car.)


After over a year of court appearances, certifications, and family mediation, the Family Court in New Jersey found in her favor.  We have been ordered to pay the balance of her tuition at Temple – approximately $16,000 per year. The court did not seem to care that she applied to only one school, or that she left community college without finishing her Associates Degree, or that we told her repeatedly that we simply cannot afford out-of-state tuition…


Caitlyn has not been to my home since the day she left (in February 2013) despite the fact that I have continued to invite her to family functions, send her cards, gifts, poems, pictures, etc. She doesn’t want a family; she wants money. And the courts have told her that this is completely acceptable.


I have been following Caitlyn’s activity for the past year and a half via Twitter and Instagram, as that is the only way I can be apprised of what she is doing.  I am worried that she still has not learned her lesson about alcohol consumption, as prior to turning 21 last week, she often posted about tailgating at concerts and college parties, and once again I find myself fearful for her future.


While suing me to pay for her tuition, she purchased a brand new car. She posts pictures of her manicures and new outfits from high-end retail shops. She got a tattoo. She complains about her professors. She complains about her job. She has learned that there are no consequences for her actions.

This is not, as the mother believes, simply a matter of entitlement, though it certainly is that too. What this exemplifies is a key aspect of modernism: responsibility without authority for some and authority without responsibility for others.

Prior to our modern age, those who had heavy responsibilities – husbands, parents, teachers, law enforcement – also had the authority to make decisions and mete out consequences to those for whom they were responsible. Now those same husbands, parents, police officers, and teachers must still bear the full weight of responsibility for their charges but they no longer have any authority to guide, correct, or discipline.

Wives, children, students, and citizens have meanwhile been freed from taking any responsibility for their own actions and have instead been granted unprecedented levels of authority which they are poorly prepared to handle. The result is the epidemic of wife-initiated divorce, adult children behaving like entitled brats, looting and riots in places like Ferguson, and general lawlessness in many schools.

Caitlyn Ricci. Photo via Facebook.


8 thoughts on “Responsibility without authority.

  1. Did we have this discussion about someone else, also from New Jersey, on your old blog? I tried to stay on top of that one and she went back home o her parents.
    This one has me scratching my head. I can’t see how her parents are financially responible for her.
    In both cases, new law was being attempted to be written from the bench to aid irresponsible young women.
    Bad precedent.


  2. My daughter recently had the opportunity to shop for a Christmas present for me. She told me she wanted to get me something really special. I told her a pen would be fine. Its within her budget, and I always need one. But I told her something else when she protested that wasn’t enough. I said, “The best gift you can give anyone is good behavior.” She nodded seriously like she does when she’s really listening. I’m sure its going to be a standard in my repertoire of momisms, but it seems like she got it on the first listen.


  3. Thi is completely off topic but, it’s too good to not share. I have decided to diversify a little with animal videos.

    They love it!!!


  4. “New Jersey case law requires parents who are financially capable to support their children and pay for college if the children are ‘within the sphere of parental influence’ and are dependent on them for support, he said.”

    Seems the key phrase here is “within the sphere of parental influence”. If the child is unwilling to abide by parental requirements (the “influence” part), it is hard to argue that they are within the sphere of parental influence. The parents may win on appeal.

    Apparently there are several states, including New Jersey, where the divorce decree can state that the parents must pay for college for children who are accepted into college. That is what is happening in both of these stories – both sets of parents are located in New Jersey. It seems that the children are suing to enforce an order already created by the state at the time of divorce. I’m curious how this one managed to prove that they were “within the sphere of parental influence” – given the circumstances of the case.


  5. The father speaks:

    I am disappointed in the New Jersey Family court system for making parenting decisions for my daughter, as if they know what is best for her. The bottom line is, she made a mistake when she got kicked out of her internship program. There are consequences for her actions. She didn’t want to abide by our rules, so she left. We asked her several times to come home and she never did. It makes my blood boil listening to a judge tell me that my daughter can go to any school in country she wants to, have no relationship with her parents, and we have to pay! We offered in-state tuition and she wants to go out of state. Common sense would say she should pay for it. The law is ridiculous. My ex and I have met with legislators who are writing a new bill that protects parents from this happening again. Do you realize that if you are married in the state of New Jersey, you are not under any legal obligation to pay for college? But, if you get divorced, you must contribute?


  6. Pingback: At last there is a way to solve that pesky overpopulation problem! | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

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