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Kids Helping with Younger Siblings

I have wondered about this for quite a long time...actually since Family Ties was on TV and they were having the little boy. I remember the parents telling the kids that they had to help out with the baby (changing, feeding, bathing, babysitting, etc.) because the parents couldn't do it all by themselves.

I get teaching your children responsibility with chores and such, but I also can't help but to think that this is YOUR baby and YOU made the decision to have this baby, not your kid, so why force your kid take care of his/her younger siblings? I remember what I had to do as a child chore-wise and I hated and resented every one of them...I would have hated to of viewed a baby the way I viewed a dishwasher that needed emptying.

I have a feeling I'm going to get bashed because of this because there will be some to read this as though I am putting them down, which I'm not. I'm not belittling anyone or their parenting ways, I'm just curious as to the reasoning of the differing views.


Asked by AllAboutKeeley at 5:16 PM on May. 16, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (9)
  • I'm with you 100%. I'm all about a family working as a team, and giving each kid chores to help out with household duties but to make a kid responsible for a sibling because the parent can't/doesn't want to is just wrong IMO. Don't have kids to raise your kids.

    Answer by jessicarae787 at 5:20 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • It depends.. I let my three year old help out with her 4 month old sister. I don't let her change her diapers, or clothes or watch her, lol. But I do ask her to help out with other chores around the house to help me out more.. simple things, like keeping her toys picked up when she's done with them, putting her dishes away when she's done with them. Helping me pick up the house.. things like that. And she does keep her occupied in the morning by playing with her while I having my morning coffee (i'm right in the same room with them both, but they enjoy eachother first thing in the morning so it's good bonding time.).. if she was older I'm sure we would work things a little different. I use to help out with my little cousins a lot as a kid, changing diapers, feedings, etc because I was a lot older. I didn't see it as a chore though because I wasn't demanded to do it, they asked nicely and I helped.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 5:39 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • same with my kids.. I don't demand my 3 year old to help out, I ask her nicely if she could.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 5:40 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • I agree. It's the parents decision to have a baby, so it is the parents responsibility to raise the child. BUT, that's in an ideal situation. It's part of some cultures (tribal cultures, etc) for older siblings to be habitually responsible for younger siblings while adults work. In our culture, we value learning and play as the "work" of a child. If you are trying to feed yourself, you don't have time to worry whether one child will resent the other. But, I don't plan on having baby care a routine part of my older child's life, except in the moments that they want to do it (if my older child wanted the responsibility of babysitting, I'd be happy to pay him/her instead of another or something like that). I have that luxury.

    Answer by Bellarose0212 at 5:40 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • I agree with your views. This makes me think of that Duggar family. I'm all for teaching kids responsibility but to make a child feel like they HAVE to help out with a younger sibling is ridiculous.

    Answer by DJsMommy610 at 5:21 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • I agree with you and jessicarae - which is why I have 1 child lol!~

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 5:21 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • My older ones help with the younger ones, when I have company my older ones will keep an eye on the younger ones. If we go to the park they entertain them... they also help clean the bedrooms, take the trash out, help with dinner, dishes, and making sure the little ones know where they are to take their plates/etc.

    When my youngest son was little, my middle son would play with him on the floor, that was the extent of his help. When our daughter was born 5 years ago, the older brother helped play with his little brother....My sons are 14,13, and 6...they all help with each other now, and help with their little sister who is 5. There is a difference between "family workings" and making your children work like slaves.

    Answer by kitchenwitch78 at 5:22 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • My 4 yo loves helping with her brother. She asks me, I don't ask her.

    When I got my license at 16 I gladly drove my younger brothers to sport practices, or picked them up from school etc. It was our deal for me to use the car more. :) I can see making the same deal with DD someday, as LONG as she is a responsible driver. I stayed home with my brothers when I was of age to do so, if my parents went out. I never minded though.

    Answer by KairisMama at 6:18 PM on May. 16, 2011

  • This is my beef with the Duggurs--they have a gazillion kids and make the older ones raise the younger ones. It isn't fair. It is good to involve kids with a new baby but that should be it.

    Answer by blackisbetter at 3:34 AM on May. 17, 2011

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