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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

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!

TigOldBitties Tue 02-Jul-13 21:56:35

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!

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