Babysitting their younger siblings should not be their responsibility.
You probably believe that there is no harm in having your older children look after their siblings. At the end of the day, you deserve some free time as well and they are old enough to be able to babysit. While all of this is undoubtedly true, you must remember that although they can babysit, it does not mean that they should. Making your children babysit can have negative effects on them as well as on the relationship they have with you and their younger siblings.
You put too much pressure on the child.
Giving your children responsibilities is not only good but necessary too. However, there is a difference between making them help around the house and asking them to care for your toddler while you are out for hours. Taking care of another human being is stressful at all ages – even parents struggle sometimes. So why do we expect tweens and teens to be able to handle this kind of pressure?
It is not fair on the children.
Babysitting is unfair to your children for two reasons. First of all, they see that babysitters get paid to take care of their siblings whereas they are asked to do this stressful task for free just because they are their family. Of course, this does not mean that you must pay them but you should have a way of compensating them for their time and effort. In addition to this, they may also feel as though they are being robbed of their childhood as they see their friends going out and having fun while they are forced to stay at home and babysit.
Resentment can begin to grow.
Your older children can begin to resent you and their younger siblings. To reiterate, if they feel as though they are being robbed of their childhood, they may begin to harbor negative feelings towards you. What is more, they can even begin to blame their younger siblings and see them as being a burden or the cause of their unhappiness.
Ultimately, you should remember that your child is not another parent.
No matter how mature they are, teenagers are not capable of handling certain situations. If a serious accident were to take place under their supervision, it would have the potential to leave the child scarred for life as they become consumed by guilt. Admittedly, parents know their children best and know what they are capable of handling. The most important thing to remember is that if and when your children do babysit, you should show your appreciation because, at the end of the day, it is not your teenager’s job to take care of another human being.