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Getting my teen to babysit?

(71 Posts)
GrandmaGotRunOverByAReindeer Tue 14-Mar-17 20:24:17

I've just left my husband.
I usually do a class twice a week, in would leave the house at 7:30 and be back at 9:30
The younger children (5,6&8) would be asleep before I left.
I asked my mum if she could sit in sometimes so I can go and she said I should just leave my teenage boy with them since they're asleep.
He will be 16 in November.
I have left him with them asleep for 5 mins once to go to the shop at the top of the street.
He wouldn't leave his bedroom which is next to theirs.

I hadn't thought about doing that, is he old enough?

JamesDelayneysTattoos Tue 14-Mar-17 20:25:20

Absolutely so long as he knows what to do in an emergency and how to reassure them if they wake up.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Tue 14-Mar-17 20:26:34

My ds watches his siblings when called upon. It's not babysitting - it's aiding in the functioning of the family home!!

limon Tue 14-Mar-17 20:26:38

I assume you'd pay if purse it isn't his responsibility to look after your children.

16 is old enough if you feel confident he can look after them.

RiverdaleJughead Tue 14-Mar-17 20:26:47

Yes .. if they're already in bed. He is old enough to know what to do in an emergency and if one of the kids get upset they know him well enough that he can help. He's old enough to get married, have sex, have a job. He's old enough to supervise 3 sleeping children IMO . Unless you personally think he is an idiot or volatile because I obvs don't know your kid x

WavingNotDrowning Tue 14-Mar-17 20:26:58

Yes if you think he is sensible enough and the younger ones will be obedient for him.

I leave my 16 year old in charge of my younger ones and have done for some time. She babysits for other people too and they don't mind.

GrandmaGotRunOverByAReindeer Tue 14-Mar-17 20:27:23

They hardly ever wake up but if they do they get into my bed. They would have to walk right past him to get there.
We know all our immediate neighbours if there was an emergency he could go to one of them

limon Tue 14-Mar-17 20:27:43

Of course not if purse. Silly autocorect.

Screwinthetuna Tue 14-Mar-17 20:29:28

I babysat every Saturday night for my siblings and once a week for family friend from the age of 14. As long as they have a phone and a list of contacts and know to dial 999 in an emergency, then I don't see I problem with that age

Falafelings Tue 14-Mar-17 20:30:06

He's old enough. How does he feel about it? Is he quite paternal or not engaged/interested generally

letsmargaritatime Tue 14-Mar-17 20:31:05

Really don't get why teenagers are expected to muck in with household tasks that aid the running of the home but if it's babysitting younger siblings people think they should be paid. What's the difference between walking the dog, hanging out the washing or watching the little ones. It's all help!

honeylulu Tue 14-Mar-17 20:39:54

Because parents are responsible for the children they bring into the world.
My parents used me as a free babysitter in my teens and I hated it. I want even asked, just told.

JaniceBattersby Tue 14-Mar-17 20:43:24

Yes of course he could sit for you.

And to the OPs with huge chips on their shoulders, honestly, asking a 16-year-old to start making a contribution to the running of the household by babysitting for free for a couple of hours a week is not shirking responsibility for the kids FFS. It's not like she's buggering out on the razz for a weekend and leaving him in sole charge of them.

Chocolatecake12 Tue 14-Mar-17 20:43:30

I regularly leave my 15yr old ds to babysit his younger brother for a couple of hours every now and again.
He's very responsible and of course knows what to do in an emergency.

LottieDoubtie Tue 14-Mar-17 20:47:24

I think there's a balance to be had between using him as free labour and getting him to contribute to the house.

A couple of weeknights while siblings asleep and he would be in anyway of course is fine. Every weekend so he never gets to go out with his mates is obviously different.

zeeboo Tue 14-Mar-17 20:47:24

My teens have babysat the younger ones since they were 14 (different teens, some large age gaps)

honeylulu Tue 14-Mar-17 20:47:28

Yes I do have a huge chip on my shoulder Janice. It's what years of resentment does to you.
My eldest is dying to babysit to earn some money. We have agreed he can when he is 14. I will definitely pay him though.

limon Tue 14-Mar-17 20:57:55

No chip here. But babysitting isn't mucking in - childcare is the parents responsibility and free labour isn't fair or ethical.

Notso Tue 14-Mar-17 21:15:37

My 16 year old 'babysits'. For free. We don't pay the kids to do jobs, as pp said it's part of family life.
I also think it paying the eldest to look after the younger ones could create a bit of a weird dynamic depending on ages involved. My other kids are 12, 6 and 4. The 12 year old doesn't really need any babysitting. He often stays by himself for a couple of hours if DD is working and we go somewhere he doesn't fancy going. So I think if I was going to pay then I'd have to pay them both, especially as if the younger ones are awake it's the 12 year old who would be more likely to entertain them.
We don't demand babysitting though, we always ask and wouldn't expect her to change her plans unless it was some kind of emergency.

Bingowingslikeashieldofsteel Tue 14-Mar-17 21:24:16

My 16 year old occasionally has to get his younger brother up in the morning, showered, breakfasted and out of the door to walk to school on time. The other morning was one occasion (it really is one morning every few weeks) and I'd texted a few times just checking all was fine and reminding them both about medication my youngest needed to take etc... the final reply that I had to give him credit for was 'our morning would be going far more smoothly if some muppet would stop bloody texting me!!'

I suppose I should have given him more credit - he happily looks after his baby niece and nephew and is perfectly capable. He also made me realise that I needed to give my youngest (11) some credit too for being able to sort himself out. It's a scary thought to hand over responsibility but I'd definitely say that most 16 year olds would be able to shoulder the responsibility.

And as for the free labour argument - my lad 'looks after' his brother some evenings but when he's going out, I (and his dad) happily drop him off/pick him up/fund him and if it clashes with both of us going out (unlikely) we arrange alternative childcare. I'd never expect his social life to suffer.

Incidentally when they need feeding my youngest is in charge because he's a far better cook than the elder - in fact I often think he thinks he's babysitting the 16 year old...

MajesticWhine Tue 14-Mar-17 21:26:02

Older DDs did this from around age 13 or 14

bunnylove99 Tue 14-Mar-17 21:29:20

Yanbu. At your son's age he should definitely be able to contribute to family life by watching his own siblings. For posters who think he shouldn't do this unless he is paid, what a bleak, mercinary outlook. If I raise children who only offer help if they are paid cash for doing so I would see that as an epic failure. The OP isn't suggesting disappearing off all weekend leaving her teen son without a social life. She is popping out to a 'class' , probably mid-week, whilst the kids are in bed . She is a recently separated mum of 4. She probably needs a bit of zumba or whatever it is for her sanity.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 14-Mar-17 21:32:05

What does he get for it?

And to the OPs with huge chips on their shoulders,

Why shouldn't they have "chips on their shoulders"?

I (and his dad) happily drop him off/pick him up/fund him

And there I was thinking that parenting was something you chose to do?

QueenArseClangers Tue 14-Mar-17 21:35:42

Our 15 year old and 17 year old DSs watch the younger ones of we nip out/errands etc.
If we need DS 17 to look after the littlies for longer than an hour we pay him £5 ph. He plays lego, draws, makes tea and last time cleaned up a wee accident from DD3. Our lads'll be smashing fathers (in at least 15 years time!)

TheFifthKey Tue 14-Mar-17 21:38:22

I'd find a middle ground between outright paying and not paying at all - like asking him to run to the shop for something and letting him keep the change or something. So he feels like he's appreciated and gets little "perks"'appropriate to his age and status (because after all you're saying he's responsible enough to shoulder some adult duties) without making it a strict cash transaction (in which case he might say he doesn't want the money so won't do it!). See it as a general promotion in the household for him but raise what he gets from the household too.

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