For many of us, family always comes first, and we’d do anything for our flesh and blood. But sometimes, our family members can make demands of us that just seem to be a bit much.
A woman on Reddit found herself in this dilemma when her parents asked her to babysit her baby brother.
She wasn’t sure about how she handled the drama, so she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by clunchcaptain on the site, asked:
“AITA for not babysitting for my parents?”
“For a bit of background, my parents have 5 children, of which I am the oldest. There’s a 8 year age gap between me and my oldest brother, and they started popping my siblings out pretty frequently after he was born. My youngest sister is 6.”
“My childhood and teen years were spent taking care of my siblings. I never went out with friends or dated cute boys because I was always too busy doing dinner,bed and bathtime for 4 children. When I got older, I signed permission slips, and attended recitals and plays like a parent should.”
“When I turned 18, I was made the official emergency contact. Even now, the youngest two call me mommy sometimes.”
“About a year ago, my parents told us that they were expecting another baby. I was 21 and had moved out, but I was staying at my parents house to care for my siblings during lockdown while my parents worked their essential jobs.”
“This is pretty sh*tty, but I wasn’t happy for them. I made it clear that I had no desire to raise anymore children for them. I told them explicitly that they were not to ask me for ANYTHING concerning this child because I was ready to start living my life.”
“This past month, they have begun to call me on my days off and asking me if I could watch my new brother because they want to have nights off. I have declined every time. This weekend, when they called and asked, I hung up the phone.”
“My family is pissed and they keep sending angry texts and messages saying that I’m being selfish and that I took it too far. I still don’t feel bad, but I need to know, am I the a**hole?”
OP’s fellow Redditors were then asked to judge who is in the wrong in this conflict based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And they were nearly unanimously pretty horrified by OP’s parents’ behavior.
“NTA – What they’re doing is called parentification. It’s a form of child abuse. They are the ones being selfish. They brought another child into the world. It’s their responsibility to parent.”
“You made it perfectly clear where your boundaries are. Stand firm. Enjoy your life.” —doublestitch
“Do not have kids if you’re relying on others to raise them. That should be common sense. OP deserves to live their life, not raising their own siblings. Having spent their own childhood and teenage years as a parent figure it’s long past overdue to just live.” —ScorchieSong
“NTA, if the youngest 2 still call you mommy theirs a problem there” —0crow0
“NTA- this reminds me of an episode of Super Nanny where the mother kept having more and more children. I think they had 9 and the oldest two children were bearing the brunt of raising the kids. And she wanted to get pregnant again. The oldest son was having anxiety and panic attacks because of it.”
“It is not your responsibility to raise their children. It’s fine if you want to set parameters around saying for example, I will babysit one night on a month, but you have no obligation to babysit at all if you don’t want to.”
“This is their responsibility and if they need additional help then they should budget and pay for it.” —RoadGoddess
“NTA. Not your kids, not your responsibility. They made the choice to have yet another baby and said baby is 100% their responsibility. You owe them nothing. Go and live your life!!!!” —Consistent-Leopard71
“NTA. Be prepared to sever from your parents, though; they’ve been dumping their job on you for so long, they won’t take no for an answer.” —fibergla55
“NTA. You were an abused child, forced to parent. Your parents and family are horrible to try to guilt you. Congratulations for standing up for yourself.” —mikekingmoore
“But OP be prepared your siblings are going to turn on you. Your parents are refusing to do their jobs as parents. Their next course of action, since in their minds you won’t fall in line, is to make you brother (whom I am guessing is about 13) take care of the baby.” —JadedSlayer
“NTA. You told them you would not be babysitting for them in advance. The disrespectful people in this situation are your parents, who are totally ignoring what you told them. You’re NOT being selfish and you took it precisely far enough. You keep telling them no and they refuse to listen. Seems to me that hanging up on those repetitive phone calls is exactly the right thing to do. If they want a night out, they can hire a babysitter.” —Miranda666
After reading other Redditors’ responses, OP came back to add a follow-up.
“EDIT: I’ve been told by friends and family members to just cut off my family and go on with my life. A few comments have shared a similar sentiment. I would just like to say that this is very difficult for me.”
“I’m having a hard time going from seeing these children 24/7 to not having seen them in months. As a sister and their former primary caregiver, this is painful for me. I’m definitely not ready to move out of town or go no contact.”
Hopefully this family can learn how to better respect each other’s boundaries in the future.