April 9, 2015 WHEN YOUR PARENTS EXPECT YOU TO BABYSIT ALL THE TIME Today’s question comes from Emily, who writes: I have an annoying sister at home, and my parents force me to babysit her when they go out. Whenever I do, something ends up burnt or broken, and when my parents come home I get told off. What should I do? My Advice: Hi Emily! I can TOTALLY relate to you on this! Brianna’s a little whacko, and she’s always breaking stuff, like the time she almost knocked over the bookcase because she was pretending she was Rapunzel and the bookcase was her tower. Babysitting is annoying no matter what, but it’s FAR worse when you have to spend the whole night watching your sister like she’s playing Ring Around the Rosy RIGHT at the edge of a massive cliff. It’d be nice if all you need to do is say, “Hey Mom and Dad, I’m not your free labor! Try Nannies.com…you’ll find a TON of babysitters there!” But if you like seeing your friends and NOT being grounded, you probably don’t want to do that. Still, it might help to sit them down and tell them how tough this is on you. They probably think stuff gets burnt or broken because you’re not paying attention. But really, it’s deeper than that. Stuff gets burnt or broken because you CAN’T pay attention to your sister all the time. You have your own stuff to do, and I’m not just talking about your nails. Your homework won’t do itself! Maybe you could tell your parents, “I try to do a good job when I’m babysitting, but as you know, she’s a handful! And sometimes it’s a little overwhelming because I babysit a lot.” After that, you could throw in a little flattery (because EVERYONE loves when you stroke their ego!) You could say, “I admire you guys even more after babysitting so much. It’s not an easy job, and you do it so well!” Then you could end with a deal: “How about I try a little harder to stay on top of everything when you’re out, but maybe you guys find someone else to help with babysitting every now and then. If I can get just a little break, it will be a lot easier for me to make sure nothing else breaks when you’re not around!” They might say they don’t have the money for that, but I’m sure they have friends or relatives who could help out a little. Hopefully, once you speak up, they’ll get someone else to step up! What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Emily?