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Dad Refuses To Pay Daughter For Babysitting Her Younger Siblings Because She Lives In His House 'Rent-Free'

Photo: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels
stressed woman using laptop while two young kids play in the background

Parents often enlist their oldest children to babysit when age-appropriate. While in some instances it may be helpful to have someone you trust there to watch your kids in a pinch, one father has caught flack after revealing that he refuses to pay his college-aged daughter for babysitting his twin 5-year-old boys.

He explained that his 20-year-old daughter, who's a college student, lives in his home “free of rent."

In a Reddit post, the dad revealed that in exchange for living in his home rent-free and paying her college tuition, he expects his daughter to do the cooking and cleaning “from time to time– typical things you’re expected to do on a daily basis anyways.” 

In addition, he stated that she “occasionally” watches over her younger brothers, twin 5-year-old boys, while he’s “busy with work” or when he “needs a break to hang out with [his] girlfriend,” which he revealed was about "three times a week."



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His daughter recently approached him to express her concerns about her responsibilities around the house. The dad claimed that although his daughter lives in his home rent-free, she doesn't want to babysit her younger brothers because it interferes with her college education.

“She feels I’m putting too much of a workload on her back which I don’t see how,” the man explained.

He said that his daughter told him she’s okay with cooking and cleaning around the house, “but watching over her siblings was annoying and stressful and that it’s taking away from her studies,” an attitude that the father said made him mad.

tired woman sitting over laptopPhoto: Elisa Ventur / Unsplash

He told his daughter she was acting “very privileged,” and that “if [he] could do it, so could she.”

After arguing that he "went to school while having to pay bills and take care of her as a baby alongside my ex-wife,” The man reported that his daughter “didn’t like that very much and stormed off into her room” and “went behind [his] back” to tell his sister about “how ‘bad’ I was treating her.”

In an effort to stand up for her niece, the man’s sister called to say that “the least [he] could do was give her an allowance for the chores [he] makes her do” and “not to compare [his] situation to [his] daughter's.”

“Apparently I put myself in the position I was in back then which I guess is a fair argument,” the man claimed, going on to justify his actions by exclaiming that because his daughter is “living in my house rent-free and I’m paying for her college, I feel that in of itself should count as an allowance.”

“I don’t see how that’s too much to ask of her,” he said. “It’s usually only for a few hours until I get back home.”

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While older children babysitting younger siblings is common, people on Reddit noted that he was treating her more as his children's mother rather than sister.

“Stop treating her like your life partner—she’s your kid. It’s not okay. You don’t get a break from your kids. You are their parent,” one person wrote, noting that it appeared he was taking out his issues with his own life experiences out on her. “Your circumstances are your own making. Her circumstances are due to your choices. She didn’t choose to be born to you. Stop resenting your own kid and your own mistakes."

According to psychologist Jennifer A. Engelhardt, Psy.D., the father's actions are representative of a trauma called parentification, in which a child is expected to take on a parenting role for others in the household despite being a dependent themselves.

"The adult essentially adopts the dependent position in the parent-child relationship and, in turn, the child is expected to fulfill what are typically considered to be adult responsibilities," she told Parents.com.

Though his daughter is an adult, she's still in college and dependent on her father, and taking on this role for her siblings could have a host of negative effects on top of the strain she admitted it was already putting on her studies. 

While giving adult children responsibilities in the home is encouraged, boundaries and rules must be established to avoid resentment.

“Household chores [are] fair game, but she hasn’t asked to be a parent,” one person noted succinctly, and experts suggest opening up the line of communication to repair the family dynamic. 

"I would say that it makes sense for an older sibling to look after younger siblings as long as they are capable of doing so," positive parenting coach Anisa Lewis told Newsweek. However, she noted that expectations should be clearly expressed and revisited when necessary. "If the boundaries around what they wanted back for it were not made clear from the start then this is where the misunderstanding starts. If it is simply 'assumed' that the elder daughter will help out, rather than sitting down and talking it through, listening to understand both sides of the situation, this is where the resentment builds."

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.