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to think a yr 6 child is too young to be responsible for a reception aged child for long periods of time?

(47 Posts)
FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 15:10:12

like taking them swimming, getting them changed, waiting for them, getting them changed again
that sort of thing
or taking them to football practice, same scenario, waiting for them, supervising etc

I have name changed for personal reasons, not because I am a troll

ryanboy Mon 22-Apr-13 15:17:56

I guess the swimming and football practice are supervised activities? No I don't think it's too young at all.I loved doing this for my younger brother when I was that age! I also have an 11 yo dd Y7) who loves looking after her younger sister.She is very mature and sensible (more so than me!)

fluffyraggies Mon 22-Apr-13 15:21:43

I don't think it's fair to give children responsibility for other children unless it's in an emergency.

RedHelenB Mon 22-Apr-13 15:23:37

No, I could have trusted my dds to take care of younger one at Y6, however on a regular basis I wouldnt personally have done it cos it eats into their homework/wind down time.

UC Mon 22-Apr-13 15:29:19

Taking them swimming is a too much I think. An 11 year old in charge of a 5 year old? Our pool wouldn't allow them in - anyone under 8 has to be with an adult. We let our 12, 10 and 8 year old DSs go swimming together on their own, but they don't take our 6 year old with them. If he goes, I have to go.

Football practice, not so bad I don't think - although question whether this is just parents not wanting to go themselves and using the 11 year old as a replacement, and whether the 11 year old will resent this? It isn't fair if it is expected of the 11 year old week after week, as a one off I wouldn't think it would matter.

I do let our 12 year old take our 6 year old to the park, sometimes for an hour or so. But this is not done to make my life easier, it is because the 11 year old actively asks to do it, and the 6 year old loves going with his big brother. And because the 11 year old is mature and sensible, and can be trusted to bring 6 year old home at the time I have said, and if he hurts himself, or if there is a problem.

Remotecontrolduck Mon 22-Apr-13 15:30:50

I could have trusted my DD at 11, she was extremely mature for her age but I don't think its fair for them to do the whole swimming senario like you've described. Reception aged kids can be a bit unpredictable and one slip over and a bumped head could leave said 11 year old in a situation she can't really deal with.

Nothing wrong with them helping out but to give an 11 year old sole charge for things like that is a bit unfair.

ryanboy Mon 22-Apr-13 15:38:07

could you clarify whether you meant to a swimming lesson, or actually supervising them in the water? Big difference!

Theas18 Mon 22-Apr-13 15:39:53

Nope wouldn't do it and mine are/were exceptionally responsible and careful.

Just think how awful it'd be for the elder child if anything happened...even just them falling over and getting badly grazed/bleeding would be horrible if it was " on your watch" as a kid, and a fall/head injury scenario isn't out of the question even in the best regulated children.

My 3 were never " responsible for each other" they were " responsible for themselves" but might have been together IYSWIM!

TheChaoGoesMu Mon 22-Apr-13 15:47:57

If they are going in to an actual swimming lesson with adult supervision then I wouldn't have a problem in theory. It depends on the personalities of both children. Is the 11 yr old actually taking the 6 yr old to the pool or are they being dropped off? You need to say more about it really.

TattyDevine Mon 22-Apr-13 15:50:07

In the majority of cases, probably, yes.

FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 16:47:19

It's a group swimming lesson organised by the leisure centre and it's my children. I just don't know if I am being over protective or not. It's quite a complex issue in that I have a severely disabled child. Both the 11 yr old and the 5yr are registered as sibling carers. It's at the point where the 11 yr old is doing the main bulk of the caring for the 5 yr old and I don't think this is in any way fair. The 5 yr old needs to learn to swim though and we have been waiting for a place for over a year and this is the first one to come available. I can't physically cope with dealing with my child with severe disabilities who needs 1:1 and getting the youngest changed so my 11yr old is having to do it and it's yet another thing on the list that I feel uncomfortable about. I wondered if I was being unreasonable to feel like this.

I have wrote a letter to children's services and my MP asking if they feel it is acceptable and whether they think there is a suitable alternative (ie. care for my disabled child whilst the two siblings do something 'normal' for a change like go to a swimming lesson) my social worker will know who I am if he reads this but he is on my side I have received no response

UC Mon 22-Apr-13 16:58:48

Ah, that does kind of change the situation. I thought at first you were asking because you were p'eed off at seeing someone else do this, and were gauging opinion!

I imagine both your other children have rather enhanced responsibilities because of the situation you are in. Very difficult. How do they feel about it all?

Do you have any other help, or do you cope alone? Do you have a husband/partner around to help? I agree with you it isn't fair on the 11 year old to essentially be the parent all the time for the 5 year old, but can see how this can happen. I don't know much about all of this, but imagine there are funding issues for more professional support.

Sorry that isn't much help, but sending empathy...

Trifle Mon 22-Apr-13 17:08:01

Is this really a matter for the MP? I mean I'm sure they're sympathetic but where does it end, ie you can't take your kids to a theme park as there is no one to mind the younger/disabled one etc

Why can't they get changed at home and just go to the pool in something easy to get out of and back into and do the changing etc

FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 17:14:28

Trifle they access absolutely nothing at all outside of the home. I cannot leave the house with all three of them for safety reasons. We are like prisoners in our own home, but at the same time my 5 yr old really needs to learn to swim so my 11 yr old has taken the responsibility of me dropping them outside the leisure centre and picking them up after lesson. I am not asking to go to a theme park.

The letter to my MP contained other information that I don't want to go into (like the respite provided is 3 hours but 20 miles away and I transport which takes 1 1/2- 2 hour round trip, you figure that one out) I want to know if it is acceptable for my children to have all this responsibility and no access to social situations that most children would find normal

FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 17:16:40

I don't have any other family support

Trifle Mon 22-Apr-13 17:28:05

How do your children get to/from school? What happens to the disabled child during the day? Do you drive, if not why not. Learning to swim is a good thing but not essential, particularly when you say you are trapped at home, are there really going to be so many opportunities for the 5 year old to be swimming at this age. It seems like you have a lot more other important issues.

FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 17:34:38

I drive yes. How do they all get to school. One catches a school bus outside our house, the one with disabilities is transported on a council bus and I take the other one to school in the car as it's not within walking distance, none of their schools are.

DiscoDonkey Mon 22-Apr-13 17:34:45

Ford it sounds like an impossibly difficult situation for you. I disagree with trifle I think it is only right you dc's have access to "normal" activities regardless of whether they are essential or not.

Although you may not feel it ideal to place another responsibility on your older dd in isolation I do not think the swimming thing is too much responsibility but as you say she is a young carer and needs support too.

I have no real answers but wanted to give some moral support

FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 17:35:10

I am not sure why this is so relevant to the thread confused

FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 17:35:49

sorry my last post was to the school transport issue!

RedHelenB Mon 22-Apr-13 17:37:40

How old is your disabled child? FWIW, my ds aged 5 could dry himself & get himself dressed without any help. I would then bath him at home later on.

LynetteScavo Mon 22-Apr-13 17:43:37

Personally I think learning to swim is essential (especially if you fall into water).

I would be very uncomfortable about my DC doing this. I would want to pay someone either to look after the disabled child, or take my 5yo swimming. Obviously that would cost money....

FordTractor Mon 22-Apr-13 18:10:10

The one with disabilities is a teenager but their needs are so great that I need to constantly supervise them for their own and other peoples safety. I would have to pay a trained nurse to supervise whilst I took the other one swimming, I just couldn't afford to do it. I don't think it would be easy to employ someone to take the other one swimming for an hour a week otherwise I would have done it, or do you think it would be?

I feel like I am accepting things as normal through circumstance on my 11 yr old's behalf and I feel responsible for that. I don't know what to do tbh, which is why I am asking and it's seems to be a mixed response confused

valiumredhead Mon 22-Apr-13 18:12:59

I know kids in ds's year that meet their siblings at the pool for lessons after school and then walk home together - he is yr 7 now but have been aware of it happening for about at year. Sounds ok to me.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 22-Apr-13 18:18:07

Tbh, no, it's not fair, especially when there is no one else present. It would be different if you were able to be there to give direction and support, but as you can't be I don't think it's right. An 11yo is still a child themselves.

It's shit that you are in this position and without a don't you should be given more support. I think if I were in your position I'd delay the youngest learning to swim.

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