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Dd insisting on a babysitter

(57 Posts)
Dancergirl Mon 04-Apr-16 12:43:11

I have 3 dds, aged nearly 15, 13 and 9. We've used babysitters up to about a year ago when we thought our oldest was sensible enough to babysit and she was happy doing so.

It sort of worked for a while but youngest dd would sometimes get very upset or anxious and we would have tearful phone calls from her - I really miss you, when you are coming home etc....

We had a chat with her about it and she says her older sisters get cross with her. This is exaggerated by the sounds of it, they might get a bit irritated by her insistence on calling us. Dd3 says she feels more comfortable with an adult babysitter so in the last few weeks that is what we have done.

But it seems a bit OTT to pay £25 to someone to sit there all evening. Older two don't particularly like having someone else there and can't understand why dd3 is being like this.

I just don't know, shall I put my foot down and say to dd this is how it's going to be and you'll stay with your sisters?

witsender Mon 04-Apr-16 12:45:32

I think if you are going to do this (I wouldn't feel comfortable at that age) then you need to talk to the elder siblings and insist on patience with their little sister. It is horrible feeling insecure.

AppleSetsSail Mon 04-Apr-16 12:46:54

You're in a bit of a bind. Have you considered offering the older girls a cut of the babysitting fee to be a bit more patient with the 9 year old?

I have a 13 and 10 year old and we've recently started not using a babysitter on our local/early nights out. I wouldn't want to go back.

vvviola Mon 04-Apr-16 12:47:15

I used to babysit a lot as a teenager. One of the families I babysat for actually had a daughter less thantwo years younger than me, who really didn't need babysitting at all. But if left alone with the younger sister, there was uproar.

So, the deal was sold as follows - I was there to keep the older one company (we would watch TV together, I helped her with some homework/projects), and was babysitting the younger one.

I was paid less for that job than other babysitting jobs, but it was only next door so I didn't mind.

Is there an older teen that could so something like that? An older cousin maybe that your older DC like/look up to?

AppleSetsSail Mon 04-Apr-16 12:52:25

Actually, I think the older two are highly incentivised to bring the younger one into the fold, being that they probably would hate having a babysitter?

This is definitely the case with my 13 year old. Of course he's a boy and babysitters tend to be girls so that probably has something to do with it.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Apr-16 12:55:27

The babysitter we usually use knows the deal, I've said she is only there to look after dd3 and not worry about the older ones' bedtimes etc.

When dd1 has been in charge, we don't pay her formally but we might give her an extra tenner pocket money or buy her something etc.

It does feel like we're taking a backwards step but on the other hand I do want dd3 to feel happy and comfortable.

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Mon 04-Apr-16 12:56:28

I babysat a family where the eldest child was a week older than I was. He was a loon and would not have been suited to looking after his siblings.

My older brothers used to bully the hell out of my sister and me when they babysat so your DD might have a point.

ArmfulOfRoses Mon 04-Apr-16 13:09:50

Can you try one last time when going somewhere very close by but set up a webcam or something?
Knowing exactly how everyone is behaving without it being telling tales could really clarify how you should move forward.

The youngest might be right and the older ones are mean/dismissive or the older ones might be right and everything's fine but youngest not getting her own way over things while you're gone.

zoobaby Mon 04-Apr-16 13:17:24

Perhaos there is some kind of dynamic she's not told you about.

When I was younger I was sometimes left under the guardianship of my older cousin. He was the eldest, a sister slightly younger who didn't need looking after and then he'd be in charge of his younger brother and me. I can tell you, he was MEAN and I was always petrified. I just copped bossing about, but his brother was on the receiving end of some rough and tumble. On reflection, it wasn't anything bad but at the time it was terrible and I truly hated it.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 13:17:48

If not using a baby sitter is not working for what ever reason then you just go back to using one.

The situation without an adult makes the 9yo anxious then there is a reason for this IME the reason is usually because the older ones can turn a little shouty and unplesant when in charge obviously they don't all go like that but a lot do.

I would make it clear that the older ones whilst expected to be polite and normal with the sitter but that they are not being minded.

PennyHasNoSurname Mon 04-Apr-16 13:20:59

Whether or not you feel the 15yo is sensible enough to babysit, it doesnt sound like she is doing a good job of it. Neither younger dc seem happy about it - so I would insist on paying for a sitter. However, Id do so with the comment to dc1 that she too clearly needs a sitter as she isnt acting the way you expect a sitter to so clearly isnt mature enough to do the job.

MattDillonsPants Mon 04-Apr-16 13:22:23

"We don't pay dd formally but might give her an extra tenner in her pocket money"

Well there's your problem.

TeatimeForTheSoul Mon 04-Apr-16 13:26:08

I would be curious as to what has made your 9 yo feel so strongly about this? And for the older ones to also feel strongly they don't want a babysitter? Feels like there may be some unhelpful dynamics when they are alone. No blame on anyone but would be worth getting to the bottom of it.

jellybean2000 Mon 04-Apr-16 13:26:18

I have a 17 and 7 yo.

The deal is that the 17yo, as part of the family, is asked to mind DS2 now and again, maybe just an hour or so while I'm running in the morning and they're just doing breakfast, getting dressed etc ie really no big deal for DS1.

Or I'll ask him to take DS2 to the park for a run around.

But in other situations, where e.g. I'm going out for the evening and DS1 needs to put DS2 to bed and entertain him, then I'll pay him as I would a babysitter, but less!

The way I see it is that it's fine as part of the responsibility of being in a family, but I am mindful that they are brothers and that's a different relationship to carer and has different responsibilities. When he's in charge in the evening I expect him to be more mature and responsible as opposed to just keeping an eye on him.

It works for us.

Bonkerz Mon 04-Apr-16 13:26:40

I have 3 children. Ds15, dd10, ds4. When we go out the deal is that DS15 looks after DS4 and dd10 looks after herself unless there is an emergency then DS15 is in charge. The eldest two fight like cat and dog but this rule seems to solve it

hanahsaunt Mon 04-Apr-16 13:27:40

Hmm. I find this tricky. I happily leave my 15.5yo with my 8.5yo to walk dd over to rainbows or to pop out to pick up ds2. Never more than 15-20 minutes. It's not that he's irresponsible - far from it but I do think there is a different dynamic from having a babysitter. Shifting from being sibling to being in loco parentis and back again is quite an expectation. I certainly wouldn't leave all 4 together without external supervision - Lord of the Flies springs to mind ... and mine are really very good but they are siblings, they have their flash points, they now how to wind each other up and it's a lot of responsibility for the eldest to manage an 8yo and 6yo.

mrsmortis Mon 04-Apr-16 13:28:41

When I was 15 and my sister was 12 we had a babysitter, because DM didn't think it was fair for me to be responsible for a younger sibling.

In fact our "babysitter" was the 18 year old older sibling of a friend of mine.

Dellarobia Mon 04-Apr-16 13:35:11

I definitely don't think you should just tell DD this is how it's going to be - it sounds like she is definitely unhappy. Agree with others - try paying the older two (but less than you'd pay a babysitter) and see if this helps, but otherwise I think you need to go back to paid babysitters and try again in 6 months.

CheeseAndOnionWalkers Mon 04-Apr-16 13:35:20

My children are the same age and I use the 15 year old and 13 year old to babysit my 9 year old.

9 year old is happy home alone for short periods 20-30 minutes.

Arguments sometimes happen but staying home rather than coming along to boring adult things is far more fun so they usually deal with arguments by going into different rooms.

DitheringDiva Mon 04-Apr-16 13:43:04

My eldest is only 11, but I've always wondered what people do when children get to this age. At some point my DDs will be 15 and 10, so in theory I should be able to leave DD2 with DD1 then, but unless things change in the next few years, there is no way on this planet that I would leave my older DD to look after my younger one. My older DD can be really nasty to my younger DD.

It sounds like the best thing is to accept having to pay for a babysitter, even though the babysitter might be almost the same age as my older DD. I like the idea of telling the eldest that the babysitter is there purely to look after the youngest.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Apr-16 13:45:49

matt I disagree. Occasional babysitting (when you would be in anyway) comes under general chores you do because you are part of the family.

However I am more than willing to pay dd1 a set amount to see if that helps and encourage her to be extra nice to dd3.

ilovesooty Mon 04-Apr-16 13:49:06

Is this the family who fight to sit next to you when going out to eat?

I only ask because I wondered if there were other issues at play apart from the babysitting.

EweAreHere Mon 04-Apr-16 13:52:08

Your 15 year old, and even your 13 year old, should be able to watch the 9 year old without any serious issues.

Spell it out for them. Tell them if there are problems and they can't making it work, they will ALL be losing pocket money to pay for a babysitter for all of them in future. ALL of them will be on the hook. If they don't want to be treated like little kids, they need to pull it together and get along. You're entitled to go out on occasion.

cozietoesie Mon 04-Apr-16 13:54:04

How do the three of them get on when there's no babysitting being done?

sexyfish Mon 04-Apr-16 13:54:26

When you say 'babysitting' do you mean the whole day while you are both at work or just a couple of hours in the evening now and again?

I think it makes a big difference how frequently you are asking the older ones to baby sit and for how long.

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