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Wee TV: Teens Raise Their Brothers While Parents Work

Do you believe in built in babysitters? Last night, I caught an episode of Supernanny where two teenagers were raising their three younger brothers while the parents worked. The girls, ages 14 and 17 for all intents and purposes had taken on both the roles of mother and father.

Between cooking, tending to housework and caring for their lil brothers, ages 2, 3, and 4, the young ladies were also expected to home school themselves. While this situation seems appalling, the parents didn't see anything wrong with it. And, that proves true for so many Americans who believe in the built in babysitter — parents, in-laws, friends and relatives who take on part of the responsibility of raising babe without any compensation. I believe that tots are solely their mom and pop's charge and that anyone else who lends a hand should be given kudos and appropriate payment, be it literal or verbal. Do you share this sentiment?

mf mf 9 years
i could not get over that show. my husband and i were horrified. we really felt the teenagers should be taken from the home. this is why i think homeschooling is not a great idea. it often gives selfish parents an excuse to enslave children and rob them of their freedoma nd opportunities. you could tell the father was VERY abusive and that the girls will end up with the first controlling guy that comes alone unfortunately. this was an episode where i think Jo should have walked out and called CPS. THE END.
quivondra quivondra 9 years
That woman was horrible. I could just tell by looking at her face. And you knew Jo was leaving thinking "I hope these poor girls come out of this in one piece". The way the oldest daughter kept crying and losing it when Jo left. There is something terribly wrong going on in that house...and I hope those two girls go off to college and meet some new people and start their lives out right...if they're not total social derelicts by then.
CollegeGirl CollegeGirl 9 years
I think a little bit of baby-sitting for younger siblings is okay. I baby-sat my brother when our parents had to go somewhere. However, these two girls were completely taken advantage of. The parents did absolutely nothing around the house. I felt so sorry for the one girl who was so worn out and stressed that she passed out. Even then, the parents didn't seem to recognize that their actions were having a serious impact on their daughter's health. I really hope that things have actually improved for those girls. It was one of the sadder Supernanny episodes I've seen.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
I was raised in a single parent home and had to shoulder some responsibility for my younger siblings. I think that as a family there is a certain amount of responsibility that bonds you to each other. Helping out and being a babysitter every now and then can be good. But I watched that episode of supernanny and those girls were not just picking up some slack to help out. They were actually running a house hold while their parents did nothing. That was incredibly selfish of the parents who had a choice when deciding how many children they wanted to have in the first place. I found it so strange that they would even feel OK airing their personal situation on television, but they seemed to have no shame. The whole thing made me wonder what exactly constitutes neglect and abandonment in the child welfare system. I think those people deserved much more than the reproach of a TV nanny. Someone should be doing something to rescue those girls.
badkitty badkitty 9 years
i agree with jessness, this is not a good example of how a family can work together. my oldest son who is 7 years older then my 3rd kid is an amazing help to me, he babysits when i have to run an errand and also helps with light cooking. i am really thankful to have his help and i also think it shows him just how hard having a child can be.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
My mom is one of 7 kids and grew up in a single parent household. Her mom worked multiple jobs to pay the bills so she was never home. My mom ended up taking care of the house and raising her brothers (some who were older than her) and she still went to public school. As appalling as a lot of us find this, I think we need to realize that this is sometimes the only option for people. Although I think in this particular episode it was avoidable because the parents were just jerks
Leene Leene 9 years
I went to school with a girl who took care of her three half-siblings. Their mother had a mental sickness, so she could not always take care of them like she should have. But it was not the duty of my friend either! In the end the situation got so horrible that my friend wasn't sure if she could start college after high school, because that requires moving to another city. it was true, those siblings needed her, but her role as primary care-taker should have been played by someone else. My friend did move and is now studying. Children's dad took bigger role in taking care of them. Makes me angry.. Argh.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
when i think of older sibs babysitting i generally think of the teen doing homework while the younger child is in bed for the night and mom runs to the store. this situation sounds awful and i'm kind of surprised the teens are going along with it! isn't this the age of sneaking out to go to parties and see boyfriends? lol about taking car of younger siblings being the most effective birth control!
Dbtabm Dbtabm 9 years
I saw the episode and I was appalled. There was definite neglect going and from how creepy the dad was ON camera I wouldn't be surprised if there was actual abuse. It made me sick. This was FAR beyond normal sibling babysitting.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I didn't see the show, but from this article it sounds like the teens are parenting the siblings not babysitting. There is a big difference. I do agree with Lilsugar that children are the mom and dad's charge and anyone who lends a hand as a babysitter should be compensated some how. I think it's terrible that these 2 children and yes they are still children are homeschooling themselves (wonder what the school board will think of that when they find out because the definition of homeschooling is not that the child schools themself), and are pretty much raising their siblings. The parents are a sad example of parents unfortunately.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I didn't see the episode, but it sounds like it was a terrible situation! Can you just imagine if something really bad were to happen to the younger children while they were being watched by the older ones? Even grown adults can barely cope with emotions and guilt like that. The parents seem completely out of touch.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I saw this episode the first time it was on and it really made me sick the way the parents were taking advantage of the two older kids. They had absolutely no role in parenting the younger ones, and when it came down to them having to take back those roles, they had no idea what to do. And children should NEVER homeschool themselves. I also agree with kikidawn-the Duggar parents are too busy getting pregnant over and over again when they should be parenting their children. Seems as soon as the child isn't completely reliant on the mom it gets passed on to one of it's siblings. It's a huge burden for the older children, and I don't think it's fair at all.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 9 years
My mom has volunteered to watch my daughter while I go to work. At first I didn't want her to do because I felt she needed a life, but because we had no money for a babysitter I said ok. My mom loves to watch my daughter and even though I don't pay her I do tell her thanks buy her a coffee or make her dessert.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Wow, this sounds horrible - I am shocked that this would even happen. I mean, having an older sibling watch their younger ones once in a while is one thing, but this is insane!
anniekim anniekim 9 years
This situation is extreme. I am 10 years older than my sister. I definitlely did my share of free babysitting (for her little friends, too) but I was never expected to fill a parenting role. I don't think it is wrong to expect older kids to provide some help with their younger siblings--within reason.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
The whole time I was pregnant everyone kept going on and on how lucky I was going to be having a built in babysitter with my son that's 9 years older than my baby. I have NO intentions of doing anything like that I think it's horrible!
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I didn't see this episode but it soure sounds like neglect if not outright child abuse on parents' part. Both the older and younger kids are being mistreated. I'm sure Supernanny turned it all around in the course of a week though, right?
gincase gincase 9 years
I'm the oldest of 4 in my family, and I had always been the one saying that "having" my siblings was the cheapest birth control. I think it was a large part of why I never wanted to have children - I said that I've already raised a couple and didn't have any interested in raising any more. I left at 18...promptly and started my own life. Went to college and I'm still learning how to put myself first, make friends, and did the teenage rebellion thing in my early 20s. However - at 31 and 6 months pregnant, I'm in a great-long-lasting relationship with the partner of my dreams and looking forward to our little accident. I don't remember feeling resentful about feeling like I had to constantly take care of my brother and sister. I just figured it was part of the job of being a family. I didn't watch this particular episode (I love Super Nanny!!), but if it's as bad as it seems...that's just sad.
sunny1intucson sunny1intucson 9 years
the parents should be reported. how can teenagers homeschool THEMSELVES? that is sad and seems to me like it would be illegal or something.
SuzieQ3417 SuzieQ3417 9 years
I feel so sorry for those kids. While I think it's totally reasonable to expect kids to help out around the house (I was always expected to help clean, and on occasion was asked to fix dinner), this goes above and beyond normal household chores. Kids are not meant to be constant babysitters for younger siblings, let alone take care of the entire house AND home-school themselves. They're being deprived of their childhood and the parents barely seem to notice...so sad.
sundrops sundrops 9 years
A stay at home mother or even a stay at home couple couldn't take care of three toddlers and home-school or put themselves through college if their lives depended on it!! How can anyone expect a 14 and 17 year old to do it?!?! I am one of those who was 'expected' to homeschool myself with a few workbooks. I was 13 and didn't do it. OF COURSE, I was 13 and didn't know any better. This whole story makes me so sad. I hope they realize they could have better education right now, and when they are on their own and able to make their own educational decisions I hope they do.
jopperma jopperma 9 years
This was a horrible episode. I bet those girls will move out as soon as humanly possible from that situation. They were totally being taken advantage of and it was clearly affecting their health and well-being.
OC_ivory OC_ivory 9 years
This is just wrong. If two people decide to have a child, then it is THEIR responsibility to take care of the child, and no one else's. It's unfair to their older children to take on these roles of mother and father, and unfair to the younger ones as well to not have their real parents around. I believe that children should be allowed to be children, and by putting these girls in that position, they are missing out on their childhood.
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