Older children should not be expected to become unpaid babysitters for their younger siblings.
By - AggressiveLoss8753
There's a difference between parenting and babysitting. In my case I did it all. My brother is 3 years younger than me and my sister is 13 years younger than me. My mom spent most of my childhood worrying about relationships. I was making breakfast for my brother and I at the age of 6 because mom would fight with my dad constantly.
After my dad, my mom met a new piece of shit, my sister's dad. When I was 13 I would do a lot of changings, feedings, and play time with my new baby sister while my mom was, again, trying to keep her relationship with a turd.
The worst of it was when I was in my last few months in highschool and my mom found her a new man. She would disappear for weeks leaving my siblings under my care. The day she left I get a call from my brother asking where mom is and what they were going to eat because no groceries were purchased before she left. I was on my way home from playing a basketball game, and I cried. This concerned my coach and after I told her my situation she offered to give me money to buy some food at the corner store. (I lived in a small town of 600 so that was the only store in the area) I was embarrassed to take the money but I felt like I had no choice.
She returned the day before my graduation, after reminding her a week before when it was, then she left again with her boyfriend shortly after the ceremony. I was left with my siblings for another two weeks (school thankfully being over for everyone) until some punk kid I went to school with tried to break into the house. I scared him away but it frightened me because if something happened to me I would be leaving my brother and my 4 year old sister behind. I wanted to call the cops but after calling my mom and her shouting that the cops shouldn't be involved, I realized why she wasn't a fan of my suggestion. She would've been in serious trouble if I had told the cops how long we were abandoned by my mom. The day after the break in, we all moved in with her new boyfriend.
I'm 28 now and this still makes me shake. Growing up I thought I was providing good help to my mom and thought we were a team. I was wrong. There should have been better ways to teach me responsibility, I wouldn't have minded babysitting from time to time but doing the care for weeks with no appreciation really fucks with someone. It's ruined the relationship I thought I had with my mom, and I have come to realize I never had one she was just using me as child care while she went to live her life and taking away from mine.
I agree OP, nobody is obligated to take care of their siblings. Babysitting for short periods, that's a different story but there should be a reward in the end for such labor. I'm sorry my reply is long, but I feel strong about this subject and don't want others to be a sucker like me.
This is exactly what my husbands ex did during her parental time with the kids until finally they moved in with us full time. I’ll never forget the bewildered look on my SIL and MIL face when I was making dinner to go to drive over to their Moms during her time. I had gotten so used to secret food deliveries during her time that I forgot it was very much not normal. Especially because she is Latina and so are my in-laws. The horror.
They rode over to the house with me because they just couldn’t believe it. Sure enough. Three kids alone for over a week with no food other than what I would bring daily. Their Dad and I would stop to make sure they were ok every day, but they were terrified of their Mom finding out or of leaving to go with us. We tried to tell the courts but since they were teens there was nothing we could do. She had them so afraid to upset her. We still don’t know how. But older sister was their Mom when they weren’t with us. Finally right before COVID she bounced and never came back and that’s how they moved in with us full time. Those poor kids. I still get angry when I think about it. However, we did everything we could to give them a stable home and happy memories and they are very grateful they could count on Dad and his home to be a safe haven. No one can replace a Mother’s love though.
you’re legit an angel for doing that, i hope they grow to appreciate everything you do for them and hopefully can heal past all that trauma their mother left them with :(
Not all stepmoms are evil :/
i know! never said that… also i am one too 😅
Oh I know you didn’t. I’m just putting it out there and I’m sure you’re well aware of why.
Those kids are soo lucky to have you and your support. Tha ks for being a great person =)
This was infuriating to read. I am sorry she put you through that.
No good story has "mother's boyfriend" in the headline.
My mom was very particular about who she brought home to meet me. I only ever met one of her boyfriends and he was amazing. On top of being chill and goofing around with me, he was the perfect antithesis to her attentive but overly worried parenting style. They eventually broke up but I loved the guy.
Now that I think about it, I should call him. It’s been too long since we’ve talked.
Thank you, after everything else, I needed to read something so wholesome
Even better is having "my biological father" tucked in there.
I think you've perfectly captured the disconnect in OP's post. When they say "babysitting", it's experiences like yours that they seem to be envisioning, i.e. expecting the older kid to do everything that the younger kid(s) needs, which is completely ridiculous.
Being expected to watch a kid or two once in a while, for a couple of hours, is literally no big deal. What you went through is *child abuse* via neglect.
Parentification of a child IS CHILD ABUSE.
If you have kids, YOU raise them. Don't dump them on your other kids to raise you lazy bastards.
I’ve seen so much parentification while at work of all places I wish I was sith so I could electrocute the “parents” and knock some sense into them.
First example I can think of? Woman leaves her eldest who is maybe 8 to look after her three siblings under 5 for several hours.
Attention to those in the the back! THIS is an example of parentification. Having to delay queuing up in League of Legends for a couple of hours is not.
I'm sorry you had to go through that. I'm a father of three and it's so fucked up what your mom did to you.
Hard cases make bad laws.
Sorry for what has happened to you bro
I spent years "babysitting" my younger siblings. Every time my divorced parents would re-marry, I basically had to raise yet another kid. I did diapers, homework, dinners, bath times, everything. I couldn't have extra-curriculars, and deliberately chose a college several hundred miles away.
My dad once said I "needed to learn all that stuff" so I could be a good parent.
What did I learn ? ..I hate kids. Can't stand them. My husband and I are child-free by choice. I can't tolerate loud shrieking kids, babies crying and basically any situation with more than 1 or 2 kids at once.
I didn't learn responsibility. I was taken advantage of.
“But you were so good with your siblings! You’ll make a fantastic mother, you already know what to do!”
It turns out when you thrust childcare onto an actual child they tend to be less interested in having their own kids since they’ve already got to experience the nightmare of being a parent while simultaneously being robbed of their childhood. At that point being an adult without kids is making up for all the years they spent being mini-mom instead of a kid.
I had a similar experience, albeit not as bad as you. The result is the same tho, I plan to be child free because I can’t stand kids.
Omg this!! I'm 11 years older than my sister. I HATE CHILDREN. I do not want a child of my own. I'm 35 and my husband got a vasectomy. My dad harassed me on a regular basis about when I'm going to give him a grandchild. Like we'll you burned me out when I was an actual child. So yea...not going to happen.
I’m so sorry you had to experience that. ❤️
Same. I spent my childhood raising my younger sister. My family wasn't in a good spot back then, and I love my sister so I don't complain that much. But that's one of the top reasons why I don't want kids at all. I still look back and think of all the childhood I missed.
My mom had me when she was 19, my brother at 21 and she stopped parenting when I was 8. I raised my brother and the worst part is now that he’s a grown man he still expects me to coddle him and has turned into an entitled jerk just like my mom. After I had my own child, seeing the way they would try to compete with her for my attention was a revelation. Don’t have children you can’t care for. I stopped at 1 because it’s all I can handle and I know it.
Same here, 1 is more than enough. My ex wants another but fuck that.
Wants or wanted? Cuz the former has be concerned if it's an ex
Wants... she is fucking insane.
You know the rule lad. Don’t put your dick in crazy. Especially not after you left crazy
Trust me I know. Turned me off from dating again completely. Have years of healing to do and working on myself.
Don’t worry about dating. Just work on being comfortable being single with yourself and the rest will fall into place when you least expect it
TIL about Parentification and how it is a form of abuse.
I’m happy you learned something today!
I mean for a small family to occasionally ask older sibling to pitch in is fine. It's those huge families that offload a significant amount of parenting onto older siblings that are seriously wrong.
Yeah big difference between asking your 15 yr old to watch your 7 yr old to run errands and do date nights. And having your child be Fiona from shameless.
You said what I wanted to say so much better than I said it.
I agree. I was the 2nd oldest of 8 and although it was an overall good home life and good parents, I never wanted to be a mom or take care of kids. But, because of my parents extreme religious views, it was expected that we older girls help our mom cook, clean and take care of the babies. I think it’s your choice if you want a huge family, but it’s not your children’s responsibility to help raise their siblings. Now I hope to never have children.
I was in a large family and the eldest always pitched in to help. That was how things were and we were happy to. In fact, we were proud to be helping the family. Now that I'm moved out, my little brother is doing the same without complaints. Granted I'm glad I don't have to do it anymore as it was draining, but I never complained or hated it
Yep. I'm a hs teacher and the parentification of some of my teen students pisses me off. Their parents keep having babies because their older kids can care for them. One of them is so smart and enrolled in college courses but is failing because she has to skip school at the end of the day to go pick all the kids up from school.
There’s an insane amount of aggression in these comments.
Really? First time on reddit?
Nah, and I know the topic is polarizing. I just didn’t expect the amount of anger and name calling.
Sadly it's like that on the Internet in general, people just get entrenched in their views and double down instead of having a healthy debate
May be, but it's also the anonymity that allows all of us to speak our minds freely and honestly.
I think it brings out more rotten than admirable thoughts, but that's probably because it's easier to have an outlet for admirable thoughts in person (which is rarely anonymous) than for something rotten.
Well, at least that's the case for those who aren't concerned with farming karma and don't use their real name on here.
> Sadly it's like that on the Internet in general, people just get entrenched in their views and double down instead of having a healthy debate
Definitely not unique to the internet. There's no shortage of brazen morons willing to act this way to your face in public.
Yeah thats true, I probably notice it more on the Internet although my time in retail should have made me think otherwise
To me, anyone getting angry is just mad they’re getting called out for their actions and can’t handle that they may have made a mistake along the way.
What they’re doing here is really driving the point home that all of these people are gonna do a great job teaching their kids personal responsibility /s
People are angry because what OP said struck a nerve. People don't like being called out for what they do.
There’s been a lot of abuse and neglect from parents here that others seem completely mystified by because of cultural differences where it’s expected that the older siblings will act as secondary parents.
It is extremely neglectful to leave younger siblings in the care of older siblings for more than one night at a time short of a very rare family emergency.
If family emergencies keep happening, you need to get your life together because we don’t live in the 1800s with parents getting shipped off to the poorhouse.
I feel like reddit attracts the unhappy.
Happy people have better things to do in life than Reddit.
hey fuck you buddy, im super happy okay?!!
Least self-deluding Redditor
A lot of people on Reddit are kids and this is happening to them right now, so they don’t see it objectively yet.
Can't speak for others but to this day I hold a grudge. I lost my teen years because my step-dad wanted "kids of his own." I did everything except pay the bills. Fuck him.
Something about having all the pure, innocent joy that a person is supposed to experience in their life robbed from them makes them a marginally more aggressive person. Mom had me at 14, my brother came 11 years later, can confirm.
That's exactly what's going on with my cousins, they have to take care of their younger siblings while my aunt does absolutely nothing but scream at them or sit there and watch.
Pick up the phone and call CPS.
Going out on a limb here. I’m in my 60’s. Raised 3 children as a single mother. The ONLY time I ever asked my older children to keep an eye on a younger sibling was when I had no choice. And sure as god made little green apples and a bear shits in the woods, I never tied up their summers watching the younger ones. I busted my butt, paid for a sitter and did not expect my children to be UNpaid labor.
I get that some people have no choice but to have older sibs watch the younger ones, but you birthed them not the older sib. It is the parents responsibility to at least make sure that the older child(ren) have some kind of childhood. The kids did not ask to be born. Man up, Woman up and admit that you spawned them, and it’s your responsibility to raise them.
My mum is similar age now :). Anyway, growing up I saw my peers (of course only girls) taking care of their siblings. I remember asking my mum why she never wanted me to babysit my younger sister. Her answer was exactly like yours :). It really stayed with me through all these years.
This is me, it created a close bond with my siblings and I'm extremely responsible if I say so myself, to the point I think about other people problems before my own sometimes because I was conditioned to always be helping and thanking care of someone, it is emotionally draining as an adult and I have been trying for the longest time to stop being a people pleaser
Also I never ever had hobbies, I'm not good at any sport or like one , It was always cooking, homework, clean the house and sleep after school. I learned to swim as an adult, still can't ride a bike so yes, it kinda sucks being the nanny because it stole a very good part of my childhood
Yep. I was the oldest and I was “minimom”. It’s definitely draining
The older sister syndrome is real
It definitely does. My brother is two years younger and was never expected to take care of my much younger siblings. It was almost always my responsibility. But that’s also because he was high all the time.
My wife was in a very similar situation back in her teenage years and nearly 2 decades later she still has something to say about it. It def made her relationship with her mom suboptimal.
"Suboptimal". Love it. Gonna use that description a lot more I think... probably after sarcastic pauses lol
xD use away, stranger!
This is literally me. I am trying to gain hobbies now but it's hard because I always thinking of cooking, cleaning, and homework. I am also not into any sports. I can ride a bike but it's not like thats a crazy accomplishment either. I have a lot of random hobbies that I pick up but they are rarely continuous and when people ask me what my hobbies are, I struggle to come up with anything. I'm kind of just living life and I am pretty okay with it. I'm also a Libra lol
The exact same thing happens to me! I just say learning about history because anything else is just a one time thing
This happened to me, but in a strange reversal of roles; my mum had a stroke leaving her partially paralysed (not ideal, but far better than could’ve been) when I was six. I’m nineteen now but the ever-present need to put others’ needs before my own and the lack of self-worth I think that instilled in me will stick for a while imo.
Wow you just described my life!
Same here, except it created resentment for my brothers. I spent the better part of their younger years not talking to them at all. Now they're 15 & 9 and have only recently gotten past the deep guilt & regret for the feelings I harbored toward them, but we still don't have a strong connection. Just like you I never had a chance to have any hobbies and never had a close circle of friends since I was never able to hang out. I went into college with severe anxiety, depression, and lack of social skills which ultimately resulted in me taking a nose dive into drug abuse (hallucinogens & weed mainly) which only deepened my problems and resulted in me dropping out of college.
It is odd to me that you always tend hear about people becoming closer to their siblings and becoming more responsible ect. But I was a terrible second hand parent and sometimes would get frustrated and just scream at my siblings and throw water on them because they wouldn't stop crying and I was panicking and had no idea what to do. I was doing okay until a point but I think just snapped one day. I didn't want to change nappies and heat up milk I wanted to colour and watch the lion King. I don't know what healthy love feels like I gotta figure it out now because I was never shown
My point exactly. I’m sorry you had that experience. You could have bonded with with your siblings or learned responsibility in other ways. To think this is normal or should be expected is my point. It is unfair to older children.
Only people who didn't experience it didn't get the point, lucky them
this is a very important point to remember, for ones own sanity. thanks
I think it's a balancing act.
Don't leave all the responsibility of watching the child on the older siblings, but there's also nothing wrong with asking the sibling to keep an eye on them while they go and run to do an errand, or take care of some chores. Try not to infringe on the siblings own desires and plans as much as you can, but sometimes that's just the rub when it comes to life. It does teach responsibility to the older siblings, makes them more capable, and if they choose to have kids later, it gave them experience with handling kids.
Personally, as I had a much younger sibling, if it was left up to me, I'd probably not spent too much time with him cause what would a 16 year old do with an 8 year old day to day? But when I had to watch him, it made me interact and bond with him, make memories.
Life isn't always fun, sometimes we gotta learn to do things we don't exactly enjoy all the time and interact with people we may not always want to. Its a valuable lesson you can learn early on and also foster closer relations with your family.
I used to have to do chores, babysits my sister AND make sure the bar was on the right channel to tape Oprah and Bold and the Beautiful.
I was a glorified TiVo
Voice activated, before voice activation was even a thing!
"If I come home to no Young and the Restless and no Oprah? You better believe there's gonna be an ass whooping!"
That kind of voice activation?
Ahead of its time, really
Ages have a lot to do with this, in my opinion.
I think that there's no issue in having their 16 year old ensure that their 8 year old sibling is safe and alive, while parents go out once or twice a month, or go grocery shopping or something. If you are going out and saying, okay make dinner, give them a bath, make sure they do their homework, and do all of the parent duties, that changes things. But if you're like "hey we are gonna go out for 2 hours tonight, we just made you guys food, homework is done" and it's not an overbearing amount of times, that's not unreasonable.
I think that if you had a 16 year old and continually left your newborn baby with them to care for every night, that would be a problem.
Parents that want to have date night every Friday and ask their older children to provide for younger siblings can be pretty bad. Not many teenagers want to spend all of their free time growing up taking care of younger siblings
my mom works constantly, so i always have to watch my childish and immature siblings and a dog. they can’t stay by themselves cause all they do is fight and argue. brother is 14. sister is 13. i’m 17. i never get to do my thing. but it’s literally all i know. so it’s not that bad ig. it’s normal. they never listen to me so i’m like the worst “babysitter” if thats what u wanna call teens.
I was in the same situation when I was that age. It sucks. All I can offer is an Internet/virtual hug
I had to care for my 2 infant siblings at 16. It sucked ass
At 16 my grandma had to raise her 7 year old sister alone on a farm when their parents died. Still can't imagine what that was like.
That's what I mean - I don't think it's unreasonable to occasionally help out or watch them in emergencies or rarer circumstances, but dumping your infants on older children is just being negligent to all of your kids.
I babysat my 2nd cousins for 4 summers practically unpaid. 5 days a week from 7am to 4pm. My cousins were young and money was tight so they didn't always pay. My mother MADE me do it.
You know what I learned??? I learned that your friend wants to go to the mall but you have to drag an infant, a toddler and a misbehaving 3 year old along. I learned that anything I valued got ruined. My show is on MTV but I can't pay attention because the baby pooped up its back and needs a bath. I learned that a quick trip someplace took 20min to get out of the door. I learned that I couldn't do my makeup, hair or look remotely presentable in public. I learned that occupying kids is exhausting and **I LEARNED BIRTH CONTROL!!!!!**
Honestly, it was the best life lesson my mother ever unknowingly, gave to me. Before watching my cousins I was obsessed with babies. I had these idealistic visions of cute clean baby clothes, holding happy giggling babies, nothing but fun and sunshine.... Learned real quick about reality.
I adore my cousins (all grown up and graduated now!!) but wow, those summers were fuckin brutal!
Edit: As awful as it was, I'm glad I had to do it. I learned a ton, got slapped with reality and it definitely prepared me to be a parent.
That is so much reality but jeez how old were you that they trusted you with an infant and 2 toddlers? I can barely manage that myself as a full grown adult
I was in 7th grade watching them occasionally. I think i was in 8th grade when the summers began. So like 14?. I know my friends had their licenses and would ask me to go places with them. I remember the feeling of them dipping out because I had "the kids" and not wanting to deal with that. Its funny but I learned early on exactly what teen mothers go through as their friends fall off.
There was a post some time ago about 80's kids looking so much older than kids nowadays and it really resonated with me. I think we did look older because we were treated older! I don't want to get into debates about "back in my day" because I AM a parent to this new generation and I most certainly fall into all the pitfalls of modern parenting. Lol but we were held to such bigger expectations.
Every year I was used as a babysitter during the towns 'field days'. The parents would meet at one home, drop off their kids from 5 to 1am and go get drunk. Some years I watched upwards of 12 kids ranging from 4 to 10!! Looking back, THIS WAS FUCKIN INSANE for a 15 year old kid!!!! But I looked forward to it. The parents tried to "out-do" one another with paying and I would easily rake in a shit ton of money for one nights gig. It would be a little nerve racking keeping track of everyone early on as they wanted to play outside but come 7pm I kept them all inside. I took the job seriously because I wanted that money to buy school clothes. If I fucked up, I knew there would be other girls waiting in line.
It also helped that kids back then were expected to behave and listen and the kids knew it. The phrase "I'm telling your mother" carried a ton of weight. Lol
I only had one problem child and he did not return the following years.
My daughter is almost that age and there is no way I would ever let her take that on. I just don't think she has the maturity level for one kid. I have never let her babysit alone. A few months ago there was talk of her watching a 6 year old for a couple of hours after school and I had serious reservations. Thankfully they didn't need her. It was just different back then I guess 🤣
I forgot about babysitting for parties! Those were awesome. You could make a couple hundred bucks in a night with all the parents paying separately. Complete chaos, especially the groups with babies (there was the time a toddler decided that rubbing his poopy butt on the walls was fun), but so worth it.
Me before clicking the thread and seeing this response: "eh, there's a balance to it."
For sure there's an element of truth to OP's stance - older children should not be the full time caretakers of younger siblings while parents are off galivanting around on fancy dates. But, I think it's fair and honestly good parenting to expect your children to do their part in helping out around the house. Sometimes that's dishes, laundry, or lawn work, and sometimes it's caring for younger siblings.
And lets not forget, sometimes life just shits on you. Maybe dad gets laid off. Maybe mom is diagnosed with cancer. Either way the result is you have to spend way more time as a babysitter then you've had to before and you're starting to resent it. Sure it's not fair, but that's just life and you just have to learn to roll with whatever happens.
Let’s not forget that older sibling WANTS stuff. Do they NEED a video game system? No. But if they can walk their sibling home from school and watch them for an hour or 2 til parents get off work- guess what? They’ll have the money to buy it because they didn’t spend it on daycare. Parenting a sibling isn’t the same as babysitting from time to time. My sister was my favorite babysitter and we both remember that fondly.
I’m 14 and I have a 5 year old brother and I keep an eye on him when both of my parents need to do something and I think that it’s pretty normal but it’s pissing me off when I bring him up more than my parents. They sometimes just don’t care about him and I am his half-parent
Good post. I grew up in a pretty big family and I was the oldest so ... guess what I did?
Fast forward to today. All of my siblings are adults now, we're pretty close. We've got great memories.
It wasn't fun when I was a kid. Hell no. But, it did give me some skills I wouldn't have today otherwise. Like ... juggling 50 things & managing my time, knowing how to weave leisure into work, bulletproof sleeping, being able to fall asleep quick / operate on little sleep, not getting bothered by noisy environments, etc.
I had to help watch my siblings and drive them around when I was older, and I resented it some, but it was also a reasonable request from my parents (they paid for my vehicle and insurance that I was driving the kids in), and it gave me some life skills.
Hopefully OP is imagining a situation where the amount of work being requested of the older child is unreasonable, but if I read it uncharitably, I hear "I can't be bothered to help out", which is lame. /u/AggressiveLoss8753, lmk if I misunderstood.
Watching over children ain't always fun... which is why its great to find that out as a kid. You know what you are getting into before you have some on your own
Reasonable response balancing the nuance and admitting the rare part almost no one is discussing regarding not intruding on the childs life a ton. You actually point out that a child is their own person and their life matters and this is so often ignored. Yet yours has almost no replies and low votes unlike all the other recent ones I see. God families are so toxic. The family I came from would tell me I'm just a child until I'm 70 in order to disregard my feelings or my rights.
This was my life growing up. Oldest child, 12 years old. Waking up, getting ready and feeding my siblingings before school and taking them to school on my way to mine. Get home and do laundry, clean, make a snack for siblings. Siblings get home, help them with homework, clean more, make them dinner, do more laundry, and then to yard work.
I had no life. Satanic panic meant I couldn't participate in Halloween, couldn't listen to any music besides Christian rock and country, and only had about an half hour to myself.
Oh and getting woken up with buckets of water and getting poked with a broadhead arrow. Fuck you dad.
Glad you got out.
Thanks homie. I try to talk about it when I can so people in the same situation can hopefully find their outs.
Take it you left at 18?
I actually left at 16. Had to call my mom and tell her I was afraid for my life. Friends always told me my dad was crazy and I was being abused but just thought that's how Dads were. We don't talk anymore.
Edit: family didn't take me seriously until the deaththreats started coming and he hired a private investigator to investigate me because he thought I stole his identity at 14 years old.
I think there's a little more nuance to these situations than you're allowing for but THIS:
>Providing basic survival necessities is the bare minimum you can do as a parent.
is the absolute goddamn truth. It drives me up the fucking WALL when a parent of any age acts like they deserve a medal for literally just housing and feeding their child. Congratulations, you have done the absolute bare minimum of what is expected of you. That doesn't make you a good parent or worthy of praise. And I say this as a parent.
What pisses me the hell off is that this line is SO often used to keep abused children in line. "Don't you dare complain, we put a roof over your head and bread on the table." Fuck off, a child has the right to demand that their parents do more than the bare minimum.
My wife's parents did this to her. She had 3 younger siblings and her parents were divorced. All of her teen years were spent taking care of her siblings. A lot of this was so her mom could go out and date and screw around. Her dad wasn't any better. She didn't do any extra curricular activities at school and could barely even hang out with friends. They took away what should have been the most carefree times in a person's life. They are true pieces of shit for forcing their responsibilities upon her.
You’re a good husband for saying this.
babysitting is not parenting. I see this a lot on reddit, shrieks of parentification which is an utter misuse of the term.
An older sibling minding a younger sibling while dad goes to the doctor? Not parentification. Older sis minds the younger ones after mom leaves for work until the bus comes for school? Not parentification.
It's part of being a family. We all pitch in to create a home that's worth living in.
Parentification is a very serious form of child abuse. Being asked to babysit your younger siblings occasionally for the good of the family? is absolutely not.
Agreed. I was a victim of actual parentification and it gets thrown around to much.
The worst part is when it's thrown around for simple situations like single parent working 2nd or 3rd shift. People throw the term around for having to make dinner occasionally because they don't have the perspective to understand what real abuse looks like.
I agree (so long as the child was old enough to make dinner on their own of course! Lol).
I had someone legit argue with me that children shouldn't even have to participate in household chores 🙄
I’m not familiar with the term but given the context clues, I’m assuming it’s when the parents are absent so frequently that the older sibling essentially becomes the parent to the younger siblings? Essentially forcing the adult’s responsibility onto their kid who is in no way ready or willing to accept said responsibility?
How close am I?
Very on the nose! I also apologize, I should have dropped a definition in my previous comment(s).
The first paragraph on Wikipedia:
>Parentification is the process of role reversal whereby a child is obliged to act as parent to their *own* parent or sibling. In extreme cases, the child is used to fill the void of the alienating parent's emotional life.
The fact that anyone, teenager or not, would think that babysitting your younger siblings every once in a while falls under the definition you just have is hilarious. How entitled is it possible to become?
Every time I think victim culture has started to recede back to its rightful place, I'm surprised again. I mean, it's probably always been this way but still.
Your post is one of the few that is reasonable on here. Most of these comments are entitled whining. My oldest brother would "look after" us for a few years when my mom went back to work but he didn't do anything really. He was there, where he would have been anyway.
I worked part time through high school and full time over my summers. Not a big deal. Money in my pocket and it took way more time out of my day than looking after a younger sibling would.
Right. Sibling babysitting is "make sure they keep all their traditional limbs attached and don't burn the house down for thirty minutes while mum dashes for milk, love."
The goal is everyone is alive and no one shoots an eye out. Not that love, values, morals, training, and principles are firmly and gently imparted while mum picks up the groceries.
"make sure they keep all their traditional limbs attached"
I used to watch my little brother and sister, which basically boiled down to making some ramen for them in between rounds of video games.
It’s so obvious that all of this overly dramatic screaming about parentification is just a bunch of entitled teenagers using psychological terms they don’t understand so they can cry about being asked to help out.
Kids do the same thing about every other chore. When it’s dishes, it’s “why can’t I just wash the dishes *I* used, why do I have to wash everyone’s dishes!!! It’s not fair!” Laundry, ditto. When it’s cleaning the room, it’s “it’s just going to get dirty again!!!” If it’s mowing the lawns, “tHiS iS cHiLd LaBoR iTs iLlEgAl”. Now babysitting your younger siblings for a few minutes is parentification. Whatever.
Parentification is a serious issue that stems from abuse and neglect. It is not making your younger sibling’s plate while your mom is busy doing dishes. It is not watching your younger sibling for an hour once in a blue moon while your dad runs to the grocery store for milk. Grow up.
Edit: And by the way, we don’t do nearly a good enough job of teaching our kids how to be parents. Babysitting and helping out can teach teenagers the valuable skill of *childcare* which they may need in the event that they become parents themselves. Other chores do not teach that skill and there is no substitute. There are dysfunctional families all over the place. Teach your children how to be kind and patient with smaller children and how to do basic childcare things like feed a baby a bottle, burp a baby, and change a diaper if you have the chance so they’re semi-prepared when they have their own family someday or, at the very least, so they can make informed decisions about if they even want kids of their own.
I agree, but I think the post is talking about parents who will leave for an entire day or even weekend every week and force the older kid to care for the other one instead of letting their older kid have a life. If I had younger siblings, I would've been fine watching them for a bit here and there, but unfortunately there are tons of parents out there that will leave for super long periods of time and expect the older kid to parent the younger one
Yeah a date night once every other week and the occasional sporadic “something came up sorry please watch siblings for two hours, here’s pizza money”
Isn’t a problem
I was an extreme case. I have two entire summers burned (when I was 10 and 16) being the primary caregiver for an infant. My 10+ "job" every day was raising the baby. Then still on the weekends when in school. They had to get childcare when I was in school. I know they could have afforded childcare when, they just decided on spending that money on other things for fun.
But these are the same people who made me do a chore list every day that ended up taking 2+ hours and all outside activites were essentially not allowed because they would interfere with "responsibilities".
I left, went to school and do well with work/home without them. They wonder why I'm so distant.
I understand helping out when needed for older kids. It is good for them to learn to do things and take on responsibilities. That includes repping as the oldest child in the house; maybe your parents really need your help for an hour or day or even a week. And maybe your family is in actual financial need.
But if you're forcing your kids to raise your other kids so you can have sone extra cash? Not okay.
Yes, that's very different and entirely unacceptable, but i suspect many here i simply griping about regular family helping out.
I agree. If parents make the older sibling(s) do it every once in a while, then I don’t see the problem with it. It’s like saying you can’t make your kids do (a reasonable amount of) chores without paying them. It’s called teaching your kid responsibility, and yes, it’s not always fun.
There's a lot going on in this thread and I see a few basic opinions that split into smaller more situational based opinions. Some people are on the "Its not slavery to have a kid help out around the house" side, some are on the "They didn't choose to be born so why take away their life with these chores" side. That's what I think a lot of people are missing here is the amount of work some of these people do in their home.
For example, most people would probably agree that having a child take out the trash and do the dishes every other day or every day is not abusive. That's chores, that's the rest of your life whether you have kids or not. But when the oldest sibling out of 4 or 5 kids is expected to clean all the rooms in the house, make every ones beds including the parents, sit down with two babies and still have 3 other kids running around, all while the parents are sleeping in until 2pm and then getting up to play video games or smoke weed; I don't think most people would say that's a reasonable expectation.
I know people who live like this. My friend pays 400 dollars in rent every month while working an 11$/hr job and lives at home. She has 5 younger siblings, all who are at least half her age or are essentially toddlers. She cleans up and makes the beds in her brothers/sisters rooms as well as her parents room. She does all the laundry which gets piled up from all the kids and parents as well as herself. They also use reusable diapers so that gets added into the laundry too. When her parents do cook dinner for the kids, they either specifically make food she can't eat due to allergies or don't make enough for her. When her parents go out to eat, they bring food back for everyone but her. When they do offer to bring her food, its after being gone for 3+ hours at 12am when she has to be at work at 9 am. They get back around 3:00am and she hasn't been able to shower, clean, or do anything she needed to because she had to look after her siblings who couldn't look after themselves.
So she has a lot going on at home, but what's more is that she has basically no control over her own social life. Her parents are anti-vaccine, and a couple of her siblings are immunocompromised. She has legitimate medical reasons not to get vaccinated which may have contributed to their stance. But she wears a mask everywhere she goes, washes her hands, socially distances, does everything she can to protect her siblings. They tell her she can't go out with friends because they don't trust the restaurants that they themselves have been going to for half the pandemic. They tell her she can't go to a friends house to play DND and meet new people because she might get sick, and get everyone else sick. Okay that's fair, but the problem is that they've been going out, without masks, and doing some of the things they say she can't do.
So here we have a 20 year old living at home who
1. Pays rent
2. Cleans and manages the entire house
3. Is forced to babysit more than 5 kids at one time
4. Can't move out due to low wages and high rent costs
5. Can't leave whenever she wants because she doesn't have the time to get a drivers license
6. Gets threatened to be kicked out if she misses a payment or spends too much money
7. No privacy at home, used to be no privacy at all but she now pays her own phone bill and bought her own phone
8. Is guilt tripped into not taking more hours at work or better opportunities elsewhere because "we need help taking care of the house and these kids"
Now you might be thinking, "well the parents are obviously working in order feed that many mouths!".
Her stepfather works 1 day a week at a local movie theater, and her mother has own her business that brings in maybe 1.5k to 3k a month depending on how many clients she can get. I won't lie, her mother absolutely does help around the house much more than the step father, but that doesn't mean she doesn't often use the "I have a headache" excuse to sit on her bed, vape and scroll on her phone all day. The husband likes to sit on the couch and play games all day, and avoid helping with kids as much as possible. So I wouldn't exactly say they're going out of their way to increase income especially when you have an inhouse baby sitter that gives you money and you rarely ever have to feed.
My friend has depression. She feels like she has no hobbies because she has no time for hobbies, she wants to go to culinary arts school and start her own bakery one day. She says she has barely any friends as it is, and just one friend she is allowed to hang around with if she plans it out 2 weeks in advance with her parents.
This is on top of all the other more private bullshit that's happened in her life. There's a lot more going on in that family than I'm saying here. This is parentification. This is abuse. So for those who say things like "You're living at home with your parents, you must be living the high life!" Or "If you don't pay rent, be fucking grateful!", go fuck yourself. Sometimes there's a lot more going on that you don't know about, and consider that maybe some parents use their children as maids.
"There's plenty of government programs out there to help people like her, she just doesn't want to leave the house." First off, that depends on the country, state, city, etc. Those kinds of programs aren't available to her in her area, thanks to those who want to remove benefits from food stamps and similar. Secondly, she knows she's being abused. But money is the problem in that she can't get more of it to jump start her family free life.
Expecting an older sibling to take care of a younger sibling is perfectly reasonable and understandable. Expecting an older sibling to take care of 5 younger siblings, work a part time job, handle a house that she has no say in when they can come or go, pay for most of her own meals, with minimal help from others? That's bullshit and you should not expect that from anyone.
They shouldn't necessarily be seen as the second parent to a kid, but there's nothing wrong with asking them to babysit every so often. It teaches them responsibility and how important it is to help out family. I babysat my brother as a teenager and enjoyed it.
Edit: also it depends on the situation. If the parent is making their kid babysit every weekend so they can go out and party then that's wrong, but if the parent wants the kid to babysit while they're at work, or to go on a rare date once every few month then nothing wrong with that.
As someone who was the victim of parentification, I agree with you. Babysitting in moderation is fine at an appropriate age. Asking to change a daiper while mom or dad is working on dinner is fine.
I feel like a lot of people confuse parentification with helping with basic household and family tasks.
This. I also had to deal with parentification growing up to the point where it destroyed my relationship with my parents by the time I finally got to move out.
That being said, there's a clear difference between helping out every now and then v.s. basically raising your siblings. A lot of people here think that older siblings shouldn't have to help out __ever__, but if it's only every now and then and the older sibling doesn't have anything interfering, then I don't see a problem.
I agree with you whole heartedly! It also broke down my relationship with my mom and it sucks. She even tried to parentify me as a young adult!
Damn, that's awful. I'm sorry you had to deal with that, not only as a kid but as a young adult, and I hope that things are better for you now.
I ended up having to go no-contact with my parents because there's half a dozen other fucked up things that they put me through living there; thankfully it was a really beneficial decision and my mental health is the best it's been :)
I complained a couple of times as a kid about having to watch my sister all day in the summer when my parents were at work. My mom calmly told me that she could hire a sitter, but that the consequence of that would mean she’d have to stop paying for XYZ fun stuff (she laid out specifically what those were) for me, because there wasn’t room in the budget for both. My choice.
I quickly changed my tune and chose to babysit.
I think she handled that really well, looking back. It wasn’t “you have to do this so quit whining!”, she just explained the real world consequences of what the family budget would look like if I *chose* not to babysit during the summers (and after school before they got home). It really helped illuminate to me that we all have to make choices about what we prioritise, and that you often have to make a sacrifice in X department if you want Y rewards elsewhere.
Depends on how much we're talking here.
A weekend night once or twice a month for the parents to have date night. I don't see the big deal.
Expecting them to watching the kids and take care of dinner on weekdays while they go out with friends or off to yoga. That's neglectful parenting and no teenager should have to handle that level.
And of course there's a spectrum in between, that I am not qualified to dictate where the line is.
I'm going to upvote because it's a rare, actually unpopular opinion. But I'd have to disagree to some extent. I was 12 when my sister was born and that meant babysitting between the time my mother left for work and my father got back and also if they \_needed\_ (not wanted) to go out or both worked the weekend together.
I think that there's a line, definitely. I think that if an older child is babysitting every weekend while the parents go out partying, that is past that line. But I disagree with the sweeping statement that older siblings shouldn't be expected to babysit as needed.
Great post though. True unpopular opinions are hard to come by in here.
Me and my first sister were about this age when our youngest sister was born. I was in high school and busy so I got the “babysit when you’re here and we need to do something real quick” treatment. My other sister got the “well, you’re not doing anything else or going anywhere” treatment.
That was for 5-6 years, until she went to kindergarten. Was over about 5 years ago. It bred a lot of resentment between my sisters and with my parents and the oldest sister. I don’t see it being repaired with my parents.
Teaching your kids responsibilities are the most valuable lessons. Letting your oldest babysit is just that.
But babysitting while partying every weekend is teacing the opposite.
When my dad died 9 years ago, I was forced to raise my younger sisters, who were 8 and 6 at the time, and I was 14. It destroyed my youth, and I am so burnt out. I suffer from a lot of mental issues because of it.
I was forced to leave school and work two jobs to support my mum and my sisters. The life my sisters have now, I never had. They're are alive and happy because of me and because my mum dumped the responsibilities on me.
Damn a real unpopular opinion! And a correct one (which I agree with) at that!
No wonder why there are so many downvotes. People in comments are pointing out difference between 'parentification' and 'babysitting' and honestly, babysitting beyond a moderate limit itself turns into parentification so OP isn't exactly wrong here.
What grinds my gears is the people that insist on having ten kids, then making the oldest kids raise the younger kids.
I would argue 10 is too much with modern medicine. There isn't enough time in the day for personalized attention and all the other duties of life.
Occasionally having to watch siblings isn't necessarily bad, it's when they constantly do it that it becomes a problem. The Chapman family episode of supernanny is a good example of parents taking it too far.
Holy shit as the oldest sibling this fucking hit home hard.
My parents did this to me. I lost most of my childhood and teenage years to watching and parenting my siblings. My parents always called it “babysitting”, but by the time I moved out at 18 I had become a third parent. I have worked hard to set boundaries against that expectation well in to adulthood but I still hold a lot of resentment towards them. It doesn’t matter how old your oldest child is, if you have kids that need a babysitter, hire a damn babysitter. All your children deserve to be children, not just your youngest ones.
People have been suckered into having kids and then make more to take care of their mistakes. If you need children to take care of your children, then this post is about you bro. So many kids lose their childhoods because they have to be a parent for their parents. Fuck that!
As someone who has to babysit my younger sibling ever since the start of the pandemic, who has to balance my schoolwork with hers, and my days basically flooded with deadlines I can't handle on my own, y e s. It's either I sacrifice my grades for hers, or vice versa. But no matter what, my parents would still scold me, no matter if it was my sibling's, or my grades failing. This whole experience repelled me from the thought of even having children.
I'd be okay if it was just even once or twice a week. I'd be okay if it was just her homework everyday, but no. So is her schoolwork, so are mine, because we're still stuck on digital classes! I have deadlines too! I have priorities too! I have hobbies too! Sometimes I just wish I'd pass out so my parents would finally get the message, because apparently to them, I'm just complaining my ass away
Your parents are assholes.
Yeah what you are going through is way too much. That is bad. Your parents aren't considering your plight.
If your sibling’s grades fall that’s on your parents. Ask them who’s going to get called into a conference them or you
tfw you can't even do schoolwork due to being a babysitter.
"Why haven't you studied/done schoolworks yet? Are you neglecting your studies?"
No I'm fucking taking care of my baby sister resulting me to unable do any shit related to school
7 siblings and 14 nieces and nephews. My childhood was not a childhood
Definitely, but I wouldn’t say this is an unpopular opinion nowadays. Being saddled with the burden of parenthood was my entire childhood and teenage years and it made me not want kids for so long
I agree. I have an only child but I work for a woman whose 14 yr old son spent the spring with her, her husband, and his three younger half brothers. There was no discussion beforehand and that kid was her babysitter alllll the time. She told him “Your younger brothers are your responsibility too. That’s part of being brothers.” He responded “I had no say in you having more kids. That isn’t my problem.” He was okay with doing it sometimes (and spending time with his brothers) but he was basically on-call 24/7. She asked me to jump in (and agree with her) and I wouldn’t. I told her later I thought she was wrong.
Spot on. I was the oldest daughter of 6. There's pictures of me with my baby sister on one hip and a diaper bag on the other shoulder, looking exhausted....at 9 years old. By that age, I was already in charge of cleaning, childcare, and making simple dinners.
By the time I was 16, my life was all responsibilities and no privileges, and I told my parents to get fucked. Moved out the following year at 17. It's taken me decades to forgive my parents for not allowing me a childhood.
I'm a parent and I mostly agree with this post, and the edit also. My caveat is for emergencies that require hospitalization or are otherwise life/death related, and EVEN THEN I'd try to hire somebody first.
Parentification is considered abuse now. Which I am glad. I raised 4 of my siblings. As a result I have no children and don't want any responsibility. I don't hate children, but I already raised mine - it's hard and not something I'm willing to enter into in adulthood. Plus I missed out of socialization and activities in middle and high school.
> Plus I missed out of socialization and activities in middle and high school.
This is a big one I keep trying to bring up in here. Children lose their childhoods when they're forced to grow up in wrong ways.
It's funny to be how so often children are not rasied to be grown up in that they are prepared for aulthood. Yet you are grown up cause you were forced to be the grown up so much. We lsoe our childhood, and yet we also are still unprepared for adulthood too. It's abuse.
My son picks his younger sibling up from school so we bought him a car, pay his car insurance and pay for gas.
He makes sure they don't die between the end of and 430p when I get off so he is an authorized user on my credit card and uses it for spending money. If we are going to be late, we call and ASK him if he has plans and can watch them later.
Dad and I want a date night....I call my mom because it isnt his job to watch my kids on the weekends when he should/could have plans.
This is responsible parenting.
I love your response. Best one so far. You have a balance of family needs and also respect your children as their own people. You're likely raising a solid functional adult there and I am glad cause most others weren't raised well.
Shocking how so many in here are offended by this.
This can also ruin the relationship between siblings. Young kids are a handful that preteens just don’t have the composure to deal with. Terrible parenting to do this to your children.
I 100% agree. I was the oldest on both sides of my family and so much of my childhood and teen years was spent, babysitting. My little sister was special needs and despite the fact we were only a year apart, I was expected to watch over her. Plus, all the younger kids (cousins and sister) were allowed to get away with so much that I wouldn't have dared to try. I was expected to be responsible, but all the younger ones were always given the benefit of the doubt that wasn't afforded to me. It's one of the reasons (plus health consers) I'm child free. I spent so much of my childhood raising children, I want so focus on myself now.
I was that kid, unpaid for years to watch and care for my brother who was six years younger than me. I couldn’t get an actual job and save for college. I couldn’t buy anything on my own except for a few side hustle babysitting gigs I could get on the weekend. But I was supposed to be scared of teen pregnancy. Right…And I did a terrible job taking care of him. I carry a lot of guilt how I treated him. I was only a young teenager! Of course I did a bad job caring for him all the time. Don’t do this to your kids. Occasional babysitting? Ok. But every day, many hours a day? This is not adequate care for the younger OR the older child.
My mom would lend me out as a babysitter for whole weekends at a time starting starting I was 13. It would be me my younger sister and 5 smaller younger kids from Friday night til Sunday afternoon. I was never asked nor was I ever paid. She wanted to go have fun with friends and how I felt be damned. Any how we are no longer in contact.
Alright, this thread is pretty fuckin annoying to be honest. You are 100% in the right, and I honestly came into this thinking "ugh this sub sucks so much it's nothing but popular opinions nowadays" but then I saw that apparently a huge amount of people in here actually do disagree with you. Look people, you chose to have kids, which means you chose to saddle yourself with the expectation that you are taking care of those children until they are old enough to move out (let's call it 18 for the sake of some form of standardizing). Childhood is an extremely important thing, and many of the most important formative experiences occur in teenage years. It should not be my kids' jobs to look after their siblings without any sort of compensation, as it wasn't their choice that I had them, nor their siblings. My kids should be able to go out with friends, sleep over at their houses, do all of the extracurricular activities, and whatever else they want to do without having to worry about having to watch their siblings. I am their father, my wife is their mother, it is up to *us* to watch them, that is the agreement we joined into when we had them. I am the father of 1, as of next Tuesday 3, and I will never make my kids babysit without them agreeing, and I will never make it uncompensated. If I offer to buy them pizza while my wife and I go out for dinner and they agree, then fantastic! If not? I hire a babysitter. I don't exploit my kids for free labor, and I certainly am not making my oldest take on an authority role over her sisters, as I've seen firsthand how that can destroy sibling relationships.
As the oldest of eight children, I couldn’t possibly agree more. It’s one thing to help out when a parent runs to the store quick, it’s a whole other ballgame for every summer to be automatically booked up with unpaid babysitting :/
This was my life. In a lot of ways it caused me to grow up way too fast. I didn't fit in with my peers at sixteen because everything they had to say seemed so trivial and minor.
Only, not all of me grew up. I'm now coming to grips with just how stunted I am in other ways because I didn't get to be a kid. Now the friends I had in high school who thought I was wise and mature and worldly, those people now think I'm immature, childish, and sheltered.
I'm stuck in a twilight phase of development, a mess of adult and child parts, because I had to be a third parent since I was nine.
It wasn't good for my siblings, either. They wouldn't listen to a thing I said because "you're not the parent," but when mom and dad *were* home and told them to do something, they threw a raging tantrum and were never corrected, because why would they respect these people who they only saw for a couple hours every week, and who--in those hours--just shouted orders from the couch? We all struggle now as adults.
It sickens me to say this, but don't have kids if both you and your partner need to work. Don't have kids if you're going to be more interested in Star Trek and Roseanne.
Kids are for the rich, I guess...
Correct. That's a form of child abuse/ neglect. I think it's called parentification. Look it up.
That's all I was in my family, a babysitter. Should have seen it coming. My mother and my aunt did the same thing to my other aunt. I was there for my sister's first words, first steps, fed her her first solid foods etc, all while my parents worked and snorted cocaine. Now they act like she is a success because of them. Narcissists to the extreme.
As the eldest girl, I'm not even the eldest, I can't agree with this more. I should never have been involved in raising my siblings, I was a child myself. And yes, I will always resent my folks for it.
Agreed. I was 8 when my sister was born, and my mom proceeded to make me let her follow me around wherever I went and watch her all the time for basically the rest of my life. If I had a friend over? My 3 year old sister had to “hang out with us”. Needless to say, I did not do this with my kids.
Yes and no, there is a limit to expect older siblings to watch their younger siblings without pay. And this is coming from an eldest sibling. For example my eldest watches my youngest son for a short time when my wife and I are at doctors appointments. Same when the eldest sibling invites the youngest to go somewhere (movies, concert, museum).
But I always pay my eldest son if my wife want a date night and ask him to watch our youngest son.
I wish everyone considered this the norm. I have a student who consistently misses class and has for the last couple years, at age thirteen, because he is kept home from school when his parents are scheduled to work and nobody else can watch his brother. I asked my student how old his brother was, and he said, “Three. I can’t wait til he’s five, so we can both go to school.” When he’s here, he’s asleep. It’s maddening, and it breaks my heart.
I agree to a point. There is pitching in for the betterment of the collective. Then there is slave labor in the name of babysitting. I basically raised my little brothers and wouldn't do that to my kids. My kids did watch one another on occasion but it was an exception to the rule.
As a former built-in babysitter and now parent, yea fuck that shit. While I value my long, long experience in childcare, I really could have done with not being responsible for two or more children at any given moment no matter what my plans were. Maybe I shpuld have been able to be a kid myself instead of knowing I would be the one to entertain and dispense first aid at every group function. I never had a summer after the age of 7 that didn't involve me devoting my every day to another child and that shit is ridiculous. Worst part was that they could have afforded childcare, but free was better.
God, I've experienced this. I was always forced to watch my ex's little niece, because her mom slept in until like 2pm. Got no payment out of it and I was paying her fiance $600/mo in rent plus supplying $250/mo in FAP benefits.
The argument of I provide a roof and food etc is the dumbest fucking thing. Yo you are a fucking parent, you are expected to give these things to your kid.
I remember being 11 years old watching my 2 and 3 year old brothers. My parents later realized that my brothers were listening to me more than them because I was giving the parenting they needed. My parents eventually stopped having me watch them altogether and started being better role models. It sucked and I don’t think anyone should be forced to do it but I’m glad my parents were able to realize their wrongdoings
My parents did this to me when I was very young. Since I was the oldest female cousin and sibling I was made to watch the others and anything they did wrong was my fault and responsibility. I wasn't old enough to go out, hang out with friends, or even go outside. At the same time though, I was old enough to make bottles, cook, change diapers, do homework, play, clean, wash them, etc. My parents basically taught me to be a homemaker before teaching me to care for myself and be independent and I'd say it ruined me. Parents, please don't do this to your children.
way to many parents view their kids as servants.
weirdly, i see it from parents who can easily afford to pay...
Yeah...parentification is a type of abuse, full stop. Lots of parents make their kids care of their siblings with the rationale that "[they] will *need* to know how to take care of children when [they] have their own, so this is good practice."
First of all, bold of you to assume your kid will undoubtedly have children of their own. Individual choices are just that, choices. Most do, but not everyone will, especially since childrearing is getting more expensive as time goes on.
Secondly, YOU were the one who put them on this planet, it isn't any concern of theirs what reproductive choices you made, or were coerced into. Childcare is your responsibility, and if you can't provide it, you have no business forcing that unpaid labor onto a bystander. If you truly have kids you cannot and will not take care of, they should be put into the custody of someone who will meet their needs, since you've proven incapable of meeting that standard.
Parentification will ruin a child's childhood and possibly even make them not want kids, since they had to take care of their siblings
Ya just pay em. Easier than hiring a sitter and gives them some allowance money
What about mowing the grass or taking out the trash should they have to do those things , my son didn't choose to have that lawn
Funny I'm seeing this now, as I'm sitting here, alone with my little sister in our apartment, our parents are out for a work related festival of sorts and I can't leave the house because I have to watch my sister. This post is first of all absolutely true and secondly, it got into my view so conveniently, lol. For anyone wondering, I'm 18, have been the unpaid babysitter for around 2-3 years now. I hate it.
I think a family works as a team. Sometimes the older kids have to help out the parent.
I agree with that sentiment however when your dad wants to spend his entire evening playing video games instead of minding the family, that’s a problem. Before I got a job my job was to cook for everyone including him, every night my mom wasn’t home. She worked 2 and 3 jobs to make end’s meet. The one night I didn’t want to cook I was asked, who’s going to do it? Are you going to let your sisters starve? All I wanted was that one night off. He hated cooking and I didn’t mind doing it so I usually did it but is it too much to ask to have him cook for one night?
I couldn’t hang out with friends, hell I didn’t have a social life outside of my friends that I saw at school and only at school. I was never interested in sports so that wasn’t an issue.
My younger sister got it even worse because they shared a room and later a bed for a very long time. she spent her middle and high school years mostly at home being a mom to our youngest sister. Whenever she wanted to do something the question was what about your younger sister, someone has to keep an eye on her, didn’t matter if my dad was home. Same thing when she wanted to get a job. He got to have his hobbies but none of us did and because my parents really couldn’t afford a 3rd child we all suffered.
I hope this is what OP is referring to, if not then they need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I’m not even saying that missing out on a social activity, with the exception of planned sports activities (they have the schedule and need to plan accordingly), once in a blue moon because something more important to the family as a whole came up but once it becomes a regular thing that starts to become a problem. Every child deserves to have a childhood.
Eldest of 4 girls here. I really don’t think this should be an unpopular opinion. This should be the standard. It does so much damage…
I definitely agree! Being robbed of the chance to be a kid can really mess up one's mental and emotional development.
I was the oldest and constantly made to look after my younger sister. I 100% agree with what your saying, the parents chose to have another child, not the sibling. They should get a babysitter to look after said child if it’s needed. I’m not talking about nipping to the shop, but say a night out, unless they are willing to pay the older sibling and that older sibling agrees, they should have to deal with the consequences of having a young child and get a sitter or not go. I have two children and would never expect them to watch the other.
yup. And it was always assumed, never even got asked. “Hey you’re watching your siblings tonight” ok…. Not like I had plans anyways, I guess.
And they wonder why I have zero interest in having kids of my own. I played the role of Parent #3 to my younger siblings for over 10 years.