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Should kids be forces to babysit their younger siblings?

Totheend12345's picture

So its DH weekend for SD13, BM said they are going to have to switch. BM has plans Friday night and needs SD to baby sit her sister. SD is 13 and her younger sister is not even 2 yet.


First of all I do not like the fact the SD is BMs built in baby sitter when ever she needs one, also I do not think SD is mature enough to watch her sister alone.   DH told BM no that wasnt going to work but BM does not care.   (SD has come over every weekend for the last month in a half on her own, she likes our house, but if we do the math this weekend is actually our weekend. SD never wants to go home any more, but she also does not want to change schools. We can't drive her 45 mins to school and back every day. )


BM gets mad SD comes over so much, BM needs a break, and SD needs to help with her sister.  Not like BM husband should do anything.  


Also we took SD phone away this summer (she was just flat out being stupid with what she was doing online, and saying to people. Bullying, sexting all that crap.)  We did give her a flip phone for emergancys, but BM took it away. Now we have no way to talk to SD unless its through BM, and BM refuses unless she is needing something. (alittle extra cash for Christmas is what she has been hinting at. I think this is the only reason she let SD come over so much the last few weeks.)


So two questions

1.) Am I wrong thinking BM should not make SD baby sit? SD didnt have the kid, the kid is awful, and SD has no way to get ahold of any one if there is a problem. There are many Sundays BM ask us to drop SD off early becasue BM needs to go to the store, or has plans and no one around to watch the little one.

2.) Should we push this weekend her coming (we have family plans we made a few weeks ago and BM knew about them .) or since SD came over so much last few weekends just let it go.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I think having siblings babysit is fine. IF the kid has a way to contact the outside world just in case. 13 is plenty old enough to handle one other child OCCASIONALLY. However, she should be compensated IMO.

Have SD come over. The real issue I see here is, BM is wiling to disrupt anyone else's plans simply so she can have a babysitter. As it's your DH's weekend, your Dh is in full rights to say no and BM will have to find other plans. Because it's not your DH's fault BM doesn't have a different sitter. Either she'll have to cancel her own plans (due to the fact it's not her time with SD) or she'll have to find a seperate sitter.

tog redux's picture

1.) Not your business what goes on at BM's, unless it's a safety/abuse issue.

2) If it's DH's weekend, he could push it, but be prepared that BM will then not allow any of the extra time she's been giving DH. I'd just agree to the switch, since BM has been "agreeing" to allow you two to have extra time.

ESMOD's picture

I think it's fine for siblings to be asked to watch younger siblings.  13 should be old enough to watch her sibling for a short time.  However, I don't agree that she should be home alone without any means of communication... that would be my hill to die on as the father.

I get that your DH could try to force the issue.. but it seems that it has been going in his favor lately.. so not sure I would be all 'stick to the CO' because that might mean more conflict than needed in the future.

beebeel's picture

I agree that siblings should not be used as caregivers on a regular basis. The older kid usually resents it and it screws up the sibling relationship. 

However, there isn't anything you can do about it. I would just keep the door open for SD because I'm sure SHE needs a break.

sunshinex's picture

I don't think older siblings should be used as caregivers on a regular basis ie. when parents need to work on weekends or after school or something. They definitely end up resenting it. BUT I do think older siblings should babysit once in a while as part of being family/part of a household ie. mom and dad want to go grocery shopping once in a while without dragging everyone out of the house. It should never be relied upon as, like, free daycare but they should pitch in and lend a hand if mom and dad need it once in a while without being compensated. 

My parents were both retired from the military and didn't go out much but if they wanted to go grocery shopping or needed to pick something up from out of town, there was never any "compensating" or even asking my older siblings to watch me... It was just done without question. 

ndc's picture

I see absolutely nothing wrong with older siblings babysitting younger ones, so long as it's occasional babysitting and not full time caregiving.  Older siblings should not be expected to raise their younger siblings, but helping out is part of being a family.

However, I do see something wrong with a parent expecting a child who is supposed to be with the other parent at the time to babysit.  BM should only ask the SD to babysit during BM's time.  And SD needs a way to call 911 or contact someone if she's being left alone with her younger sibling.  Does BM not have a landline?

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I don’t think it’s okay to force a kid to babysit any kid; especially if they aren’t being paid.

The biowh*re is PASing the SD.

STaround's picture

I think occassional is fine, and I think that if needed so parent can work OK too.   I personally would not leave child under 2 with 13Yo.   I am in the minority, but I highly recommend ROFR.  If mom is not going to be there for more than 4 hours, she needs to offer the time to dad.  And vice versa.  

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

And my youngest is four . Sometimes Dd babysits but I always pay her and I always  ask her first. It doesn't happen very often . I can tell you that 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I knew a teen when I was a teen that was a non/paid slave to her much younger half siblings.

She regularly missed out on socializing/doing teen stuff because her ahole mother and stepfather would dump their kids in her lap.

It always bothered me. She had no choice on her mother having more kids so Why the f should she have to become a default unpaid nanny?!


ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

See, this is why I think occasionally is okay. I think occasionally encourages responsibility. But I think all the time care is too much. That's when they need to find a different option. Because kids do still deserve to be kids and have a childhood.

still learning's picture

My DD23 likes to tell people that she raised her younger brothers. It may be a slight exaggeration but it is true that she helped out and was involved in their care from a young age. She changed diapers and watched her brothers play outside while I cooked and cleaned.  She also babysat sometimes while I made a quick milk run or did an errand.  There was always a phone and emergency #'s provided.  

I personally think older sibs should be involved in caring for the younger ones on some level. What happens in BM's home should not be of you and DH's concern unless SD is in danger.  

Step-girlfriend's picture

I don't see anything wrong with older siblings babysitting younger siblings. It's almost a right of passage. My sister watched me all the time when I was younger (We're talking days at a time), and I don't resent her. However, if she doesn't show the maturity, a babysitting class is not a bad idea. SS12 watches SD9 all the time, and we have him enrolled in a babysitting class in spring (the soonest we could get him in).

I think it's BS that BM thinks she can steal SD on your wknd so she can babysit, however.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

When BS was little I struggled to find good babysitters that were reasonably priced and who I trusted. Since he is so much older than DD, he fell into the role of default babysitter. It promoted sibling bonding, saved me a ton of money and I trusted him more than anyone else to care for her. The flip side of that is that I was more sensitive to his schedule and made sure mine revolved around his activities (sports team, piano lesson, hobbies). Or I found alternate childcare. 

I believe your issue isntnthe babysitting, it's BM trying to change the schedule at the last minute. No matter what the reason, it's rude.

Notup4it's picture

My ex and his wife have DD babysit their kids often while she is there.... I personally don’t care, buuuuut I think they are crazy to do so and totally risking their others kids life and safety in doing so. DD is NOT into kids or babysitting or any of that- she is super responsible with other things, but she doesn’t like kids and is just fully absent minded when it comes to them.  She is totally fine to look after herself and the dogs or what have you.... I personally wouldn’t trust her though. But that is their call.  I know some kids that age are super into babysitting but not her- she is also adement that she will never ever have kids and I fully believe that. She likes school and her peers, I certainly think she will be the type to be married and have her career and a couple dogs, and no kids.