I Refused to Babysit for My Sister, and Now the Whole Family Calls Me “Selfish”

It’s probably hard to find a person who has never been asked to babysit for their friend or family member. Sometimes, however, the situation can get out of control, and you can suddenly turn into someone’s full-time babysitter against your will. It’s not always easy to say no to the people you love, and if you muster up the courage and do it, chances are you may be called “cold-hearted” or even “selfish.”

One of Bright Side’s readers, Liza, found herself in a similar situation, and here’s a message she wants to give us.


We at Bright Side got together to help Liza find a way out and get her relationships with her sister and parents back on track. Here’s what we came up with.

Cool off and take a short break in communication. Heated debates and uncontrollable emotions can hardly help you reach an agreement with your sister and parents. You all need to calm down a bit to get ready for a rational conversation.

Tell her how you feel. When you are ready to come back to a peaceful conversation, talk to Amber about your feelings. Negative emotions that we are keeping inside can badly affect our mental health and our relationships with other people. Encourage Amber to share her feelings too. It may just be that both of you don’t see the full picture of what’s going on in the other sister’s life. Opening up about your real feelings and struggles can help you understand each other better.

Support your point of view with facts. Remind Amber that babysitting is actually a job that people get paid for. It is estimated that a babysitter is paid about $19 per hour on average, and many of them get tips for a job well done. So try to explain to Amber that while you don’t mind sitting with your niece and nephew once in a while, you are not going to spend long hours doing the job for free.

Offer solutions. Don’t just criticize Amber for asking you for help all the time. Together, try to think of other possible solutions. For example, you can help Amber find a good nanny or think of a kindergarten or childcare facility where her kids could spend a couple of hours per day.
Draw the line. As we understood from your message, you don’t mind spending some time with Amber’s kids. It can be a good idea to agree upon certain time frames so that it doesn’t turn into endless babysitting shifts for you again in the future.

For example, you can tell Amber that you’d be glad to walk with her kids in a park for a couple of hours every other Saturday.
Tell her more about your life. Being a busy single mom, Amber may not even think about how many different things there are going on in your life. Tell her in detail how many things you need to do and how many places you need to go to during your typical day. Next time she wants to ask you to babysit her kids, she will probably think twice.

Spend some time together with Amber, just like you used to. Now that you’re both adults, you can have so much fun shopping or watching a movie together, just like in the good old days. It can strengthen the bond between the 2 of you and release the pressure. After you and Amber make up, you both can have a chat with your parents and discuss the solutions you’ve come up with.
We hope that this helps you and your sister to make up and understand each other better.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? What did you do to get the relationships with your relatives back on track?

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