Babysitting teenagers

(62 Posts)
madasa Tue 02-Jul-13 20:24:24

My sister has just text me to say could I let her know when I am free to babysit my niece and nephew as she needs a night out.

They are 12 and 15 years old! AIBU to think they are old enough to look after themselves?

I am happy to do anything for her but this seems a little bit strange confused

BellaVita Tue 02-Jul-13 20:28:22

They are old enough to be on their own for an evening.

I left mine for a night out at that age.

LesAnimaux Tue 02-Jul-13 20:28:44


Oh, I'm 15, and can look after myself, and drink all the cans of Fosters in the fridge when mum and dad are out. I think I may also invite my boyfriend/girlfrind around for a cozy time in my bedroom.

I'm 12, and while my parents are out, I'm going to annoy the hell out of my older sibling,just for a laugh, until they are so angry they punch me. Whe n I've done that I'm going to try a semi-permanent colour on my hair.

LineRunner Tue 02-Jul-13 20:30:15

She must have been reading the NSPCC's 'helpful advice'...

Tbh, I think it depends on how long they are planning to be out for, how far away they are going to be, what the teens are like, etc.

If they are simply going for a local meal, for example, they should be fine.

My 15yo babysits for my 13yo and 10yo with no problems. Does depend on the DC and their relationship and how much you trust them. My DS1 is very sensible.

mrsjay Tue 02-Jul-13 20:33:51

she maybe doesnt trust them on their own you either do it or not Id not have left my youngest dd(who was 10) with my eldest when she was 15 it would have been a disaster say you will look after the 12 yr old

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Tue 02-Jul-13 20:35:41

I wouldn't have been left at that age but only cause we would have killed each orger

Belchica Tue 02-Jul-13 20:38:22

YANBU but do it this time and enjoy an evening with your niece and nephew without your sis around. Then you'll feel qualified to tell her that they are very mature/independent/sensible etc and could look after themselves in future. Your sis may know this but will benefit from hearing it from you to to alleviate any doubts.

littlewhitebag Tue 02-Jul-13 20:39:54

Blimey both are well able to look after themselves for an evening. At 15 lots of kids are offering babysitting services. She is bonkers.

madasa Tue 02-Jul-13 20:40:09

Thank you for your replies.

Maybe they could not be trusted to not kill each other....I hadn't really thought about it like that.

I will do it....she deserves a night out.

I just wondered if I was alone in thinking it odd to babysit teenagers this age.

(I did leave home when I was 15 so maybe that skews my judgement!)

mrsjay Tue 02-Jul-13 20:41:59

I was baby sitting at 14 and looking after my sister who was 3 at 15 while my parents worked

mrsjay Tue 02-Jul-13 20:42:29

get int he cider and 18 films for them to watch be the cool auntie she wont ask you again grin

littlewhitebag Tue 02-Jul-13 20:43:05

lesanimeaux That is a bit of a wild generalisation. My DD (age 15) would be really upset and angry at the suggestions that she might drink alcohol or have boys over when we are out.

mrsjay Tue 02-Jul-13 20:44:26

Little i think it was a wee bit tongue in cheek that post

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Tue 02-Jul-13 20:54:50

I have a 15 y, 12 y and 9 y. I can leave the two eldest without risk of coming back to a dead body, but if the 9 y old is there then you can pre book the mortuary and prison.

That said, I feel it is a big ask of a 15 y old to take responsibility for siblings who may not recognise the 15 y old's authority. Also, I babysat as a teenager and looking back, despite my being very conscientious, I'm jolly glad my real skills in an emergency/crisis/tricky situation were never tested e.g. extracting 3 children at once from a burning house, finding the fuse box in a power cut, dealing with a severed artery from an over zealous 9 y old doing some balsa wood whittling in the bedroom, sleepwalking out of a 3 storey bedroom window, frightening temperature with rash, asthma attacks...need I go on?

mrsjay Tue 02-Jul-13 20:57:41

I once lost the little girl i was babysitting she was 4 her mum had let her stay up late (8) I puet her to bed went up to the toilet looked in and she was gone shock i searched everywhere she was in her wardrobe she thought it was hilarious hmm

littlewhitebag Tue 02-Jul-13 20:59:43

mrsjay DD2 doesn't do tongue in cheek - she is one serious girl. She really wouldn't have found that funny.

wigglybeezer Tue 02-Jul-13 21:01:30

My three are the same ages as yours Longdead and I leave them but only if I am out locally or,if further away, it is for a short time during the day only. They have to stay in, with restrictions on activities. I wouldn't go out for the evening in the city an hour away, but would go to a neighbours for a meal.

mrsjay Tue 02-Jul-13 21:01:39

I think the poster was just being a bit silly

littlewhitebag Tue 02-Jul-13 21:03:20

I do realise this. I am just trying to see things from a 15yo pov. I am pretty chilled about these things.

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Tue 02-Jul-13 21:03:38

Wiggly - just couldn't enjoy the evening out knowing that murder might be afoot. We know our kids and respond accordingly. Let us not judge lest we be judged!

cory Tue 02-Jul-13 21:17:13

I have certainly left 15yo and 12yo together in the evening; they are reliable. And fwiw when the 15yo was injured (in the daytime) the then 11yo was well capable of ringing an ambulance and keeping her warm and comforted. Not sure I would have handled it better in my mid-20s. In fact, when it comes to serious accidents, I'm not sure I'd be more use than him. And my dad would be considerably less use.

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Tue 02-Jul-13 21:25:19

Cory - your 11 yo sounds like the daughter character in AbFab!

lola88 Tue 02-Jul-13 21:27:35

I would be questioning my parenting if I could not trust my teenagers to be alone while I go out. I was babysitting for other people small children by 14 and could be left in change of my sister at 11 for 2 hours until my mum came home from work.

If people gave their teenagers more responsibility and credit for that matter maybe we wouldn't have so many feckless 20 somethings walking about, and this is coming from a 20 something.

Startail Tue 02-Jul-13 21:32:21

I haven't left them both together yet, but have left both my 12 and 15y on their own separately.

They would be fine, together.

Next door left their older teen, but took younger one to Gran's. He said Mum didn't trust them not to fight.

caramelwaffle Tue 02-Jul-13 21:32:53

I agree with lola

exoticfruits Tue 02-Jul-13 21:33:40

I would think that the 15yr old would be embarrassed to have a babysitter.

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Tue 02-Jul-13 21:33:58

lola - I trust my kids in all but one thing: they argue. And there is no hierarchy, so that leads to dominance rule.

Even if I did trust that dominance would not penalise the youngest/weakest sibling, I still think that it is my responsibility to ensure that they are protected until they are adults.

Sink or swim can be a very effective technique for helping kids grow up fast, but it can also be scary to watch. So call me a wimp!

Abra1d Tue 02-Jul-13 21:35:22

I have left mine alone from the ages of 12 and 14 at night for no more than three hours (home by 11pm). The fighting stopped when we were not there to witness it.

exoticfruits Tue 02-Jul-13 21:36:04

Mine were always better when I wasn't there- I'm sure they only argued to get my attention.

Bowlersarm Tue 02-Jul-13 21:37:15

The minute our eldest was 15 we started leaving them at home alone. That seemed to be the age we, as parents, felt comfortable with.

I also think the 15 year old him or herself should be happy to be left as well. Not all are.

exoticfruits Tue 02-Jul-13 21:38:40

Cross posted Abra - I used to get in they were quite calm - within 5mins they were arguing!

Helpyourself Tue 02-Jul-13 21:39:52

My 14 yo babysits. She's be most pissed off surprised if I arranged a babysitter for her. OP is your sister planning on staying away all night? I'd arrange a 'sitter' if I was going to stay out.

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Tue 02-Jul-13 21:45:32

Lola - feckless maybe, but alive nevertheless.

LesAnimaux Tue 02-Jul-13 21:48:36

I get a sitter for my 14, 10 and 7yo.

The 14 yo thinks the sitter is there only for the younger two. He has never come out of the room to see her, and she has never seen him. Which is good because she is a drop dead georgous 17yo, and he is a hormonal 14yo grin.

If something did happen, like my 10yo falling downstairs/out of the window (window locks mean nothing if you've met my DC) it wouldn't be fair to expect my 14 yo to be expected to cope.

QueenStromba Tue 02-Jul-13 21:49:15

I babysat my cousin overnight who was about 6 months old when I was just gone 16.

hugoagogo Tue 02-Jul-13 21:51:58

They vary- mine are 14 and 11, we leave 'em to walk up the road and have 2 drinks sometimes in the evening (this is a wildly exciting and quite new treat for us) and they are on their own after school one day a week when I am work.

Still if I wanted to have a proper night out and several drinks I would want an adult at home with them.

What the difference is? I am not sure, except that when we leave them we don't get drunk or go very far away. confused

So I don't think it's that outlandish.

Remotecontrolduck Tue 02-Jul-13 21:55:40

I think the 15 year old should be the babysitter, not be babysat!

My 13 year old babysits, they do argue and fight sometimes but ultimately I know it won't go too far and DS would handle any issues responsibly if necessary.

She needs to have a bit more faith in he DC I think. I'd point out you can babysit the younger but surely the older doesn't need it.

LesAnimaux Tue 02-Jul-13 22:00:16

And lola, I don't question my parenting, as my 14yo has additional needs. As do many, many teenagers.

LesAnimaux Tue 02-Jul-13 22:03:35

Well, yes, it the OP's sister is planning a late night out, getting drunk, then effectively the DC (and they are DC at 12 and 15) would effectively be alone for quite a while.

If she is planning to to wander 100 yards down the road to the church hall participate in some t-total country dancing, then I wouldn't think a baby sitter was needed.

madasa Tue 02-Jul-13 22:07:56

I did ask my sister if she was joking ...but she wasn't.

Helpyourself no my sister is not staying out all night. It does concern me that my 15 yr old niece might be embarrassed by having a babysitter.
I have decided to ask if they would both like to come to ours and stay the night...have pizza, watch a film etc. that way it might not seem quite so strange

megsmouse Tue 02-Jul-13 22:10:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrsjay Tue 02-Jul-13 22:10:57

If people gave their teenagers more responsibility and credit for that matter maybe we wouldn't have so many feckless 20 somethings walking about, and this is coming from a 20 something.

well maybe when you have older children you will realise that kids do fight something, and my 20 yr old is not feckless just because she and her sister would squabble at 15 confused

LesAnimaux Tue 02-Jul-13 22:15:27

Three is a big difference between being self sufficient, and dealing with an emergency situation. My teenager is self sufficient. Self sufficient. His idea of making sure my 7yo was going to bed would be to say "Go to bed." And maybe shout "GO TO BED" when she did't.

I think I would come home at 11pm to find them playing in the sprinkler in the garden, drinking my diet coke. If I was lucky.

Garcia10 Tue 02-Jul-13 22:23:05

At 15 years old I was occasionally going to nightclubs with my friends and was working weekends in my parents' shop on a Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I was left on my own to run the shop and was definitely on my own with my sister whilst my Mum and Dad went out at night. The 15 year old is more than old enough to look after their 12 year old sibling.

Your sister needs to realise her children aren't babies any more and needs to give them a sense of responsibility.

cory Tue 02-Jul-13 22:25:58

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Tue 02-Jul-13 21:25:19
"Cory - your 11 yo sounds like the daughter character in AbFab!"

It was actually my ds. And I have to say I was very glad it was him in charge and not my dad who panics and gets flustered and makes everybody around him nervous.

Mindyourownbusiness Tue 02-Jul-13 22:30:52

I am quite a lot older than my siblings (7 and 9 years respectively) and l remember my bitter resentment at never being allowed out with my mates at 15 and 16 on a Friday or Saturday night as that was the night mum and dad went to the local social club and - you've guessed it - l had to babysit.
Then to rub salt in the wounds my spinster Aunt who lived very near would roll up 'to keep me company' and stay till they came in.

Did you spot the deliberate mistake/irony ? angry

cory Tue 02-Jul-13 22:32:42

Obviously, a teen with SN is a very different kettle of fish and you have to allow for what they can and can't do.

But all (NT) teens in my (large) extended family would have been well capable of getting a younger sibling to bed in a pleasant manner, by playing games or telling them stories or whatever it took. At 15, quite a few teens are more than self sufficient; they take a hand in looking after younger siblings, they often have Saturday jobs which require a certain level of responsibility and ability to consider other people.

lustybusty Tue 02-Jul-13 22:45:38

I was babysitting next doors 4yo, 2yo and 6mo at 14. I think the first time me and my brother were allowed in the house together alone for more than an hour was... Erm... Last year? I'm now 27. grin seriously tho, I was a very mature 14 yo. My brother, who is now 22, can still press the buttons that incite me to almost physical violence (which I hate and loathe). My mum used to call the babysitter, when we were teens, "the referee", simply because that's all they were there for!

lola88 Tue 02-Jul-13 22:46:50

additional needs is obviously a different thing but since the op never mentioned that which I sure she would have had it applied i'm assuming that there are no additional needs in this case.

I stand by what I said 15 is almost an adult if they can't be in charge of a sibling for a few hours they are going to struggle when real life hits in a few years maybe sooner.

MummytoKatie Tue 02-Jul-13 23:05:51

When I was 15 I babysat a lot. Including for one pair of siblings where the older one (a girl) was in the year below me at school.

Neither of them had any additional needs as far as I know. (Grew up in a very small town where everyone knows everyone else's business.)

I think I was there to referee as they wound each other up like mad.

BackforGood Tue 02-Jul-13 23:09:06

I will leave my 14 yr old with my 11 yr old - would be quite concerned about 'why not' if she can't leave a 15 and 12 yr old tbh.
If she won't go without though, I was going to suggest inviting them over to yours - might not be such an obvious 'babysit'

lustybusty Tue 02-Jul-13 23:17:28

mummytokatie aside from the small town bit you could've been my "referee"!!

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 07:40:39

I always wonder what those with the 'irresponsible' children are doing to train them to be responsible? It always strikes me that they just write them off as 'irresponsible' and the situation is never resolved.

My 15 year old used to look after my 12 year old while I worked nights 4 nights a week, but they get on ok -when no one else is around anyway- I can see not leaving them if they are going to kill each other.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 03-Jul-13 08:43:33

Perhaps she left them a few days ago for a few hours and they messed up fighting or causing a noise problem and she does not wish to risk it again so soon.

chocciebickie Wed 03-Jul-13 08:56:35

I was asked to "babysit" my friends 15 and 17 year old girls! Total madness grin I think at 12 and 15 they'd be fine while your sister had an evening have to trust them a bit at that age surely and if your sister isn't far away and has her mobile I can't see a problem.

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Wed 03-Jul-13 13:48:38

Cory - I apologise for being flippant. blush

cory Wed 03-Jul-13 14:02:43

Are you on the right thread, Mother? confused

LongDeadMotherofHorrors Wed 03-Jul-13 18:20:35


I refer you to :
"Cory - your 11 yo sounds like the daughter character in AbFab!"

"It was actually my ds. And I have to say I was very glad it was him in charge and not my dad who panics and gets flustered and makes everybody around him nervous."

I was worried that I had caused offence.

sonatensatz Wed 03-Jul-13 18:53:14

I think it depends on the teenagers. When I was that age I would have been very happy for someone to come round and be in the house with me. I was fine to be at home alone during the day but once it was dark I was terrified. I used to close all the doors and curtains and then sit on the front room window sill shaking with fear until my parents came home.

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