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Is your older child responsible for your younger child?

there is a family that lives a few houses down from me, with an infant, a 1 year old and an 8 year old. i never see the 1 year old with the parents. everytime i see them, the 8 year old is outside and the 1 year old is with her. she is really good with her, she does watch her, but sometimes the little one doesnt want to listen to her and (imo) its unfair that the 8 year old has to stop playing with her friends to tend to her little sister. where the hell are the parents? i would never trust a child that age to be responsible for a toddler, ESPECIALLY outside without adult supervision! she told me tonight that they always make her watch her, and its true because ive seen it. you have a kid, take care of it your damn self! can anyone explain the stupidity of this? is the 8 year old going to be punished if god forbid something happens to the little one while they were outside?


Asked by tnm786 at 7:25 PM on Mar. 18, 2013 in Parenting Debate

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This question is closed.
Answers (19)
  • That is crap. I am sorry but an 8 year old has no business watching a 1 year old, especially outside with no parental supervision.

    Answer by kmath at 7:42 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • I say don't judge, you don't know their situation. I hung with my little brother all the time at that age, he was one and I was eight, I took him out to play in the stroller, my parents worked two jobs each, I wasn't completely responsible, but still. Some families do everything they can and not sit around and decide whats fair or not, it just has to be done.

    Answer by leksismommy at 2:03 AM on Mar. 19, 2013

  • No, I'd never have an 8 yr old completely responsible for a 1 yr old. My 6 yr old helps out with the 3 yr old but, she's not "responsible". Last Thanksgiving, I basically let my 9 yr old niece supervise my 6 & 3 yr old (they were playing), in a fenced in back yard without me being outside. But, since both of my girls love their cousin, they behaved well.

    Answer by 3libras at 7:31 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • Yes sometimes my 11 and 13 yo's are responsible for their 4 yo brother and 2 yo sister. It's part of their chores, part of being in our family and helping one another out. But I don't think an 8 yo is old enough to be doing it.

    Answer by missanc at 8:25 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • I think it's okay for an 8 year old to take a 1 year old outside in the yard. Maybe they have a high needs infant? I have 3 kids and if one was old enough to tend to a younger one I would be glad for the break.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:29 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • my oldest sometimes helps me watch her younger sisters, but not to that extreme. she just turned 11 and is trying to prove she's able to babysit when she turns 13. the little sisters in question are 8 and 6. and the big sister only watches them when i'm busy mopping the floors (after they spilt the gallon picture of kool aide on the floor, because youngest wants to be a big girl and pour her own glass) or when i'm making supper and don't want them near the stove. the doors open so i can see and hear them all and the nieghbor kids come out to play too.

    Answer by noel1978 at 7:34 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • When we were children our parents were responsible for us but I remember my older siblings given some responsibilty over the younger ones and when I was 9 I became an Aunt, and was given some responsibility over him as a baby.

    Answer by virginiamama71 at 7:34 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • In a fenced yard maybe, if I were inside with a window open so I could hear what was going on. They're awfully young to be left by themselves unless an adult is close by, just perhaps not in sight.

    Answer by Ballad at 7:35 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • no im not talking about a fenced in yard. im talking about out front, in the street.

    Comment by tnm786 (original poster) at 7:36 PM on Mar. 18, 2013

  • and they do not stay in front of their house, either. they go literally all over the neighborhood.

    Comment by tnm786 (original poster) at 7:37 PM on Mar. 18, 2013