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  1. #1

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    Baby Sitting Question

    Iím not new here, but have never opened up a thread, and Iím needing some advice so please give me your thoughts, opinions and comments. Iíll be happy to hear anything you say.
    Hereís the situation:
    My husbandsí 17 yr old son lives with us. Heís been with us for 4 years. My husband and I have a 5 yr old daughter who loves her older brother to death. Their bond is really strong.


    Recently he claims that we ask him to baby sit his sister too much. We usually donít pay him, as we are extremely tight on funds, but he does get to play on the computer when he watches her. (His computer time is limited on other days that heís not watching her) The time he watches her is typically at night and includes a bath, and getting ready for bed.. The bedtime routine can take an hour to accomplish in all. Sheís very good and goes to bed without any trouble or getting out of bed. (She loves going to bed, so sheís very easy to put to bed. He always says that she wasnít any trouble at all.) During the daytime hours of watching her, she watches TV since itís easier for him. There have been a few occasions (once every two months or so) that weíve had him watch her on a Saturday or Sunday for an 8 hr time frame, but that is rare

    We ask him on average to watch her 5 maybe 6/7 times a month for durations that range between 1 hour to 5/6 hours at a time. On average itís 2 hours or less.

    If youíre a parent with children with a wide spread in age like ours, do you have them watching their siblings too? Is it wrong to ask him to watch his sister? What, in your opinion is too much?
    My new motto for 2008 - "If you will live like no one else today, later you can live like no one else." - Dave Ramsey.

  2. #2

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    I don't have kids, but I used to be in this boat when I was a teen.

    He probably just feels taken advantage of. I know I did. I adore my younger cousins both more then 10 years my jr. but as soon as my aunt was asking me to watch them twice a week with no pay I started to feel used. Even now my younger step brother is left with me quite a bit. I know my mom and her hubby are not trying to abuse my hospitality, but after a while it seems so.

    Have you considered manybe having a friend watch her every once and a while and let him have the run of the house alone. Not only will he get a break but he will feel like you trust him and thus maybe move a lttle closer to you AND be more willing to spend time with little sister.

    just my 2 cents.

    and just for reference

    I am 20 My step bro is 11
    my cousins are now 12 and 9. When I watched them I was a jr/sr in high school.


  3. #3

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    Great 2 cents krystledm.
    We do use other baby sitters, like an adopted Grandmother,
    and other family friends, but that's typically when he's not around.
    He goes to his moms every other weekend so he does get a break
    from being with her.
    We're trying to come up with other solutions, so I'll add your's to our list
    and let him have a break and leave him alone.
    (I do trust him. He's a great kid for being a teen and a step-son. I couldn't
    have gotten luckier if I tried.)
    Thanks for the imput.
    My new motto for 2008 - "If you will live like no one else today, later you can live like no one else." - Dave Ramsey.

  4. #4

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    Gee, I really thought from all the opinions that MC's normally give,
    that I would get slammed with all sorts of comments about
    my baby sitting ethics.

    Is this really it from all you parents out there? If so, I guess thanks for the input.
    My new motto for 2008 - "If you will live like no one else today, later you can live like no one else." - Dave Ramsey.

  5. #5

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    Personally I think its a lot to ask of a teenager, maybe one or twice a month but anything more than that neems like a lot wiithout being paid for it, especially if its for a couple hours. Its nice that he is so good with her, but six times a month and thats coupled in with the fact that he is gone two weekends at his moms seems like he is watching her a lot instead of having more free time. Even if he has his computer its still a responsibility where he can't just 100% do his own thing.

    My kids are still young so I can;t say about having one watch the other, but my friend is a Step Mom to two kids 17 and 15 and she has a 6 year old with their father. They all live with them (and never see the Mom). There are times when the oldest will watch the 6 year old, but its only for a quick run to the store, or for a night out for say 3 hours probably not even once a month.

    Hope that helps.

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    My youngest brother used to occasionally watch our son when he was young but I always paid him for his time although it was at a substantial discount to what I would have had to pay others.

    Having raised 2 boys (23 and almost 19) I would suspect that the 17 year old is feeling used and tied down. I personally feel it is excessive to have him watching her 5 to 7 times a month especially if many weekends he is at his other parents home. If it is so the two of you can have alone time I would try to find things that you can do to limit these times like taking your daughter with you. If it is for working then I would suggest starting to pay him a small amout so that he knows he is appreciated and that it is worth his time.

    I know one of my son's 17 yo male friend has to babysit his nieces and nephews every Saturday morning and after school as the $$ is tight in their household but he gets $20 a week for doing this and he appreciates it greatly.

  7. #7

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    My step son (just turned 18) and my daughter will be turning 18 this friday. (both are a senior in high school)

    Hubby and I also ahve 2 little ones together age 7 and 5. We get the older ones to watch the younger ones so we can have a date nite or if we have doctors appointments, etc.

    We dont pay the older kids, we feel this is a family and we help each other out. Of course they get allowance.

    I must add, we only use the older ones to babysit maybe once or twice a month at the most

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    Both the older kids dont feel like we are using them.. because like i said it is a family (blended ) like yours is, and families help out.. (like i already stated) occasionally, we wil get them a little something to show our appreciation

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    yeah...I think it might be too frequent. He probably wouldn't mind as much if it was only once or twice a month and for just a few hours.




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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    My wife and I raised her younger brother since he was about 8 (3rd grade). My daughter was born when he was about 12. We started having him keep an eye on her for short periods (quick runs to the store, ect) when he was around 14. Even though he is her uncle, my daughter really sees him as a big brother since they have that kind living relationship. We started to rely on him for longer times once he hit 15-16, but we did pay him for his efforts. My dauhter is a good kid, and rarely gave her Uncle any trouble but we knew a teen likes to have some spending money of their own so it was an added incentive for him. However as he got even older, 17+ we stopped using him as much because around that age those teens want some freedom. He was working a job by then, and driving. We started hiring the daughters of close friends who were "babysitting age" in stead unless a last minute situation came up. He was alway very good about watching her...we miss him now that he's almost 20 and in the US Navy.

    I don't know if my little chime in helped because I know you said money is tight for you all right now. We just always concidered it as part of his chores and he took it that way. But as teens get older, you need to let them get more "freedom" from that kind of duty IMO.

  11. #11

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    I had to babysit my siblings a lot when I was younger (being the oldest of 4). My mom was a part time teacher at the university. So, I had to help out so the family could earn a living. I never got allowance or got paid, but if I needed money for something important to me, I usually wasn't denied. I was always rewarded somehow, a candy bar or something. I also was given a used car (i had to pay insurance and gas), but was expected to be available to be chauffeur my brothers and sisters.

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    I only have one child. She is 17. If I had a younger child I would not ask my daughter to watch her...not because I think it is wrong, but she can be irresponsible and forgetful at times. She is still a kid herself.

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    Does your son get less chores for watching your daughter? Because that seems fair. If he's responsible to babysit on a whim than other chores should be cut. Just that seems like a lot of responsibility for a teenager. Plus think of how you would like it if you were his age...

  14. #14

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    Re: Baby Sitting Question

    Quote Originally Posted by knittingknerd View Post
    Does your son get less chores for watching your daughter? Because that seems fair.
    Yes, he gets less chores. Since we live in an apartment, he only has to keep his room cleaned, which he fails at regulary.
    Every other week clean the bathroom, and about twice a week put the dishes away. From time to time, he takes trash out, but nothing on a weekly basic.

    He does have his freedom to go places, (not driving yet - that's coming next month with driving classes we got him for Christmas) but never goes out with friends. When he asks to go to the movies, we always allow it as long as it fits the schedule. He's not a 'typical' teen being on the phone all the time, or wanting to play computer games, or wanting to go out at night etc. He actually likes watching TV with his father and interacting with me.

    I feel that his mother has put the idea in his head that we 'abuse' him for babysitting. (She hates us) She feels her sons shouldn't have to lift a finger in helping around the house or learn responsibility. That's why I needed others to give feedback so that I could see if we were wrong. I also believe that families pitch in to help when needed.

    From your comments about lack of money, I will step it up, and pay him $20 for the two times he's watched his sister this month for a total of 3 hours.

    Thanks everyone. Good feedback.
    My new motto for 2008 - "If you will live like no one else today, later you can live like no one else." - Dave Ramsey.

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