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Not to pay my teen for babysitting?

(132 Posts)
MillionToOneChances Tue 07-Feb-17 10:01:49

I'm a single parent to 15 year old DD, 12 year old DS. If I go out when they're with me - which has been rare but I recently started a weekly evening activity - DD babysits DS for free. AIBU?

Not a TAAT but I noticed on the thread about large families that having to babysit was considered most unfair. I just see it as leaving both of them in their own home while I go out. They mostly sit in their bedrooms doing homework or on their devices.

I facilitate her paid babysitting work, dropping her off and collecting her (DS old enough to be left for 5 mins while I pop out), and I get a paid babysitter if she's offered a paid job that clashes. She doesn't ask for or expect any money, and I have asked her if she's ok with not being paid.

KoalaDownUnder Tue 07-Feb-17 10:03:31

I think YANBU at all.

I suspect we will be in the minority, though.

Sirzy Tue 07-Feb-17 10:05:44

A 12 year old doesn't need much "babysitting" anyway really. More someone a bit older (and more mature) to keep an eye on things.

I think if it was a much younger child then I would pay but not when the ages are so close

7SunshineSeven7 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:09:08

I think if you're doing a weekly activity in which she has to look after a child that you think isn't ready to be left alone (i.e the 12 year old). Then you should be paying her. I resented my mother for making me babysit my younger sibling - she said it was part of being a big family and I had to do it. They were not my kids and not my responsibility so I shouldn't have had to look after them.

DJBaggySmalls Tue 07-Feb-17 10:10:05

YANBU. Everyone who lives in a family has to make a contribution in some way. She sounds like she is responsible and you help her get safely to and from her paid jobs.

Rugbyplayersarehot Tue 07-Feb-17 10:11:55

My teens babysat the toddlers unless they had a party or event to
Go to.

I didn't expect them to alter plans but didn't pay them that's wierd.

MTB1003 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:12:06

Yanbu, it's just part of being a family. I wouldn't want to raise my children thinking that they only need to do something if they have something to gain from it. As long as they aren't doing it very often then it's fine.

Ohdearducks Tue 07-Feb-17 10:13:09

12 is usually old enough to be left for a short time anyway so she's not really "baby sitting" as such.
YANBU

7SunshineSeven7 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:15:10

Babysitting and looking after younger siblings on your own is not part of being a family! Siblings should not be responsible for their younger siblings, they are not their children, it is the parent's responsibility to find childcare. If the older sibling agrees and you compensate them (in money or their choice of things) then its fine.

I hate people who have children and tell their older kids they have to be responsible for them, its completely unfair.

7SunshineSeven7 Tue 07-Feb-17 10:16:22

Also looking after an older child can be harder than a younger one as they feel they're too old to be told what to do or to be looked after.

TeenAndTween Tue 07-Feb-17 10:19:16

YANBU provided 12yo isn't much trouble.
It's part of the quid pro quo of families isn't it?

Rugbyplayersarehot Tue 07-Feb-17 10:20:40

7 it's a weekly activity not all day childcare!

If my teens had pulled a face at that or demanded payment I would be shocked. They wouldn't dream of not helping out with their siblings sometimes.

TeenAndTween Tue 07-Feb-17 10:21:22

We don't pay our 17yo if we leave her alone with our 12yo.
If she started demanding to be paid we might decide to start charging for
- driving lessons / practice
- lifts
- college trips abroad not essential to course
etc.

MillionToOneChances Tue 07-Feb-17 10:21:28

But my reasoning is that, as a PP says, my DS is pretty much old enough to be left alone anyway. Last week there was a clash for an hour and I left him. He often chooses not to come into town with us.

I wouldn't leave him alone for 3 hours in an evening, but if I paid her I'd sort of feel I had to pay him too, and the whole thing just doesn't feel like the family 'you help me and I help you because we love each other' atmosphere I value. As a PP said, I wouldn't want them to think you only help people if you gain from it.

GeorgeTheHamster Tue 07-Feb-17 10:22:07

I was the eldest child, my younger brother is six years younger than me. Never got paid - I wasn't babysitting, I was in my own house, at home. Never even thought I should, though I did paid babysitting elsewhere.

VacantExpression Tue 07-Feb-17 10:22:19

I don't think you are U at all. Everyone in the family has roles to play and as long as this is clear to everyone then that sounds fine.
I was the oldest of three and was often responsible for the younger two, and wouldn't have dreamed of expecting financial gain (I would have been given short shrift if I had), but I did "gain" in other ways.
My eldest has additional needs and my younger two help out, in turn they know I appreciate their help and they get to do things (out of school clubs etc) that they want to do but that couldn't happen if they weren't helpful. That's how family works, isn't it?

MillionToOneChances Tue 07-Feb-17 10:22:46

Exactly Teen - should I start charging her a proportion of her babysitting income for walking round the corner to fetch her because she hates walking home in the dark at 9pm?!

DontTouchTheMoustache Tue 07-Feb-17 10:24:15

If she was babysitting a baby or young child I'd probably think about paying her but definitely not a 12 year old that's just keeping an eye on things.

NavyandWhite Tue 07-Feb-17 10:26:00

I don't pay Ds 17 to watch his younger brother. Not that we go out very much at all but it wouldn't cross my mind! He gets a lot in the way of favours from us so it's a way for him to pay back.

MiddleClassProblem Tue 07-Feb-17 10:26:59

Could you pay her in another way like their allowed to eat xyz or order a pizza?

amusedbush Tue 07-Feb-17 10:28:12

I must be the odd one out here! My brother is six years younger than me and if I was asked to keep an eye on him - even as he got a little older, as you describe - my mum recognised that this meant I'd be chained to the house until she came back so she'd always top up my mobile or slip me a tenner. I'm all for helping out and I definitely did that too but if I was giving up several hours of my weekend to sit around in case DB needed anything, I wanted more than gratitude!

BoboChic Tue 07-Feb-17 10:28:13

Leaving two siblings together is not babysitting.

Ohdearducks Tue 07-Feb-17 10:29:08

I was always willing to help my family members with babysitting when I was a teen and never expected to be paid for it!
How grabby and entitled to 'expect' to be paid for doing a favour. Families take care of eachother not seek to gain from eachother imo.

welshweasel Tue 07-Feb-17 10:29:46

My DSD has just expressed interest in babysitting her one year old brother. Currently we pay £7.20 for a babysitter. I will pay DSD (probably a tenner for an evening) as I will expect her to actually pay attention
to the baby monitor rather than have music blasting and be on FaceTime all night like normal. If it were an older sibling I probs wouldn't pay.

MiddleClassProblem Tue 07-Feb-17 10:30:20

As DS is around a year of the age you start babysitting others anyway it's not much to do if imagine. If you had a pet and she was home you wouldn't expect to pay her for pet sittingif she was home alone with it iyswim. As long as DS isn't trouble and they are just doing what they normally do I don't see it as a job, just in your own home keeping an ear out

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