Anybody who grew up with siblings knows how often their parents would rely on them to provide free childcare.
And we also know how frustrating that can be. As kids, we vow to get out of our houses and maintain our own space, no matter our parents’ intentions for us.
Reddit user BigBroSituation did just that, and unfortunately experienced some serious guilting from his parents for it.
After being at the mercy of a bad situation, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to ascertain whether he’d reacted badly:
“AITA for moving to avoid babysitting for my parents which prompted my siblings to do the same?”
Our original poster, or OP, told us about why he got out when he could.
“I’m (22M[ale]) the oldest brother of 9 siblings. I have 5 younger brothers and 3 sisters. My sister is 20 and my brother is 19. Youngest is 4 yrs old and my other siblings ages range from 16yrs-7yrs.”
“My parents would’ve had way more kids but my mom suffered from several miscarriages.”
“Pretty much since I was 6 I had to take care of all my siblings. I could never go out because my parents were working and nobody to take care of my siblings. I love my siblings but I hated never having freedom.”
Now, as an adult, OP has a better perspective on why he felt so resentful in the moment.
“It used to annoy me like crazy that they would just pop one kid after another.”
“Our house wasn’t that big so everyone shared rooms, never had any private space, parents made good money but because of so many kids they struggled financially.”
And then upon finding out why he was saddled with the responsibility, he got even more annoyed.
“Years later I found out the reason why they had so many kids because they weren’t using any protection AT ALL.”
“My mom said they didn’t believe in using protection and any kids they had were because of ‘god’s will.’”
“If they didn’t get pregnant, that was fine, if they did it was because that was God’s plan.”
“I was so mad since I was the one also stuck taking care of all these kids because they’re too stubborn to use protection since it’s against their beliefs.”
So as soon as he could, OP got out.
“When my mom got pregnant again with my youngest sibling, I waited til my 18th and moved out that day. Made sure I moved far too (1 hr away) so I had that excuse.”
And his siblings followed suit.
“When my sis turned 18 she begged me to let her live with me and I said ya. My bro did too eventually.”
“My sister has already moved out but he’s still there with me while we continue our college classes.”
“They saw that I limited contact with my parents to avoid getting stuck babysitting so they wanted out too. Now my younger bro who’s 16 is spending more time at my place because he hates it at home.”
His parents have thrown him the blame for this situation.
“My parents are mad at me for dipping out on them since that’s made my other siblings not wanna be responsible for the younger ones either.”
“My dad told me they’re hurt I turned my back on my family and have made my siblings do the same.”
OP doesn’t know if he handled the situation poorly.
“Cause I’m the older one so I have the most influence on them and ever since I left they followed with the same attitude.”
“A part of me does feel bad that they’re having a hard time but at the same time I feel they brought that on themselves just thinking they can have however many kids and expecting us all to just live with their actions.”
“Just wondering if I’m TA for how this all happened.”
Redditors helped OP see where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit took OP’s side without a second thought.
“NTA it sounds like your parents used you to parent your siblings. There is an actual term for this: Parentification.”
“There is obviously a spectrum to parentification of how much responsibility the child is expected to have but it sounds like you know that what your parents expected from you was an unfair amount.”
“You didn’t choose to have those kids, they are not your kids, but you were forced to look after them. Well done for being able to get out and start looking after your own needs.”
“In a way, it sounds like you are still parenting your siblings by letting the older ones live with you. But as long as you are happy to to do so and that you don’t feel you have to.”~JosBenson
“NTA! There is a reason why the term parentification is a thing. It is a scale and some cases are much worse than others, but it is a recognised issue because it can have a negative effect on your development.”
“Older siblings can look after younger ones on occasion but it should never really impact the freedom of the older siblings.”
“The red flags:”
“You parents seem to expect that their adult children babysit. The expectation is a huge red flag.”
“You and your siblings feel you need to ‘get out,’ indicating you can’t just say ‘no’ when asked. You should always be able to say ‘no.'”
“You all feel the same way, it is not just a problem for one person, it is a family issue.”
“This indicates there is a bigger problem all of you make a plan to get away from because your parents don’t seem to be offering any other solution. Normal people talk it over, listen to each other and maybe create a schedule.”
“The seem to make you feel as if you owe them something. This can be a bit of a narcissist characteristic in some people.”
“The really bad cases manipulate you to do their bidding and make you feel very guilty that you don’t really want to.”
“Don’t assume everything is normal just because it is what has been normal your entire life. Even light parentification can cause psychological issues down the track.”~Ds685
“You didn’t choose to have all those kids, your parents did. The younger children are their responsibility and not yours. End of story.”~markroth69