Reddit Rallies Around This College Student Who Refuses to Skip Class to Watch His 7 Younger Siblings
Senior year is a special time of spending every last second with friends, planning for the future, and studying for your final exams. Graduation is coming up, which should be celebrated! Except, this one college student on Reddit’s parents don’t seem to agree. They want him to prioritize babysitting his younger siblings over going to class, and it’s infuriating!
The 21-year-old wrote in the “Am I The A—hole?” subreddit about the situation, which is more than a little shocking. He’s the oldest of eight kids, the youngest of whom is 11, and his parents are both trauma surgeons — so you would think they would understand the importance of school?! He explains more below.
“My parents are both trauma surgeons and have always worked odd hours so i essentially raised my siblings until i moved out for college,” he wrote, and my heart breaks for him. That’s a lot of responsibility for a kid, and it’s impressive he wanted to move out and go to college in the first place. He wanted better for his future and his parents just want to hold him back and force them to be their babysitter.
“I’m now a senior in college and moved off campus into a 3 bedroom house to be closer to home,” he continued. “My siblings come over every weekend and my parents pay me to keep them. this is usually fine since i’m a homebody and i love being around my siblings.”
At least they’re paying him, but still. He’s making decisions about his future that revolve around his family since he has to watch them. Not to mention, he’s giving up on social opportunities that come with being young and free because he has a full house every single weekend. It’s heartbreaking!
“I’m very serious about my school and this weekend i have my third of five weekend labs of the semester and our labs are worth 30% of our final grade,” the student wrote. “I told my parents that i wouldn’t be able to have them over this weekend but it seems they completely disregarded it.”
He went on to say, “When i went over for dinner on sunday, they told me they planned a non refundable weekend trip and asked me to keep them this weekend but when i told them i couldn’t, they got upset.”
So now they are not only asking him to babysit while they work, but also they planned a weekend getaway and planned on dumping the kids with him again? Even while he had school? It’s not just rude and inconsiderate…it’s downright abusive!
Luckily, he stuck up for himself. “We went back and forth for a while and my mom said i was being selfish and asked me to miss my lab since it was ‘only 6% of my grade,’” he continued, and my jaw is on the floor. How is a weekend trip more important than your son’s education? He seems way more responsible than his frustrating, self-absorbed parents do.
“I told her that i didn’t have 8 kids and they’re not my responsibility,” he added, and bam! What a fantastic response because it’s so true. He’s setting boundaries and sticking to them, and it’s great!
But when the argument didn’t work, his mom turned to tears.
“She started crying and my dad berated me for making her cry and asked me to leave,” he wrote. Ugh! Why are parents so toxic?
“Neither of them will answer my texts or calls despite me apologizing and i feel bad but i just don’t feel like they’re seeing my side of things,” he continued. “I’ve attempted to tell them but they won’t even talk to me and neither will my youngest siblings (14, 12, 11) and it’s really making me sad.”
Reddit had his back, assuring him that he was definitely making the right choice.
“Wow, that is some big emotional blackmail. Stand your ground!” one person wrote. “They are trying to make you feel guilty so you’ll budge. Don’t call them, don’t apologize. Go dark on the contact. They will come crawling back, trust me NTA.”
Another talked about the “parentification” that was happening with OP, which is when the parent and child’s traditional roles are reversed.
“You got screwed by being the oldest kid – parentification,” one person wrote. “IMO your parents high powered careers (and prolific breeding) were built on your back w/o your consent. Your unpaid babysitting gave them extra hours of sleep and saved them big bucks more than they are paying you now. Your parents are failing to respect your adult autonomy and how important your classes are. No amount of money they pay offsets that. Your parents did pre med coursework to get into med school. They know perfectly well how much work lab classes require.”
“Since they both have good jobs and enough money to travel, they can pay a sitter the money they usually pay OP (and more, i’m guessing they underpay OP),” another commented. “Them booking a nonrefundable trip without confirming OP’s availability already shows they don’t respect him or his contributions to their household.”
Others offered advice on what to do next. One person suggested making himself “scarce” over the weekend. “Stay at a friend’s. Study at the library. Do not go home,” they wrote. “Get one more text out NOW. ‘I get you are upset that I am not able to watch your kids this weekend, but I cannot miss these labs and will not be around to watch them.’ After that, turn your phone off or on DND. Your parent WILL be dropping them off and running. Inform your roommates not to call you if that happens, but the police.”
It seems drastic, but sometimes drastic measures are necessary to get through a toxic parent.
“OP, I would HIGHLY recommend that you get into therapy,” another suggested, adding that this situation is “NOT normal or healthy.”
“This is parentification at its finest,” they said. “The next time your parents get into contact with you, and they WILL, when they need something… after they feel they’ve properly guilt-tripped you, let them know that you will not be watching your siblings all weekend again. I would arrange times that work with YOUR schedule, to take them out for a movie, or have them over, but I’d stop watching them all weekend. This isn’t your responsibility.”
They continued, “You should be going out, making friends, having hobbies, or relaxing. It speaks volumes that the first time you put up a reasonable boundary they all got mad at you. Your siblings clearly see you as a parent figure, who is obligated to be with them. Your parents clearly see you the same way. The next time you can, I’d have a serious heart-to-heart with your siblings and explain that you are their sibling, not their parent.”
It can be incredibly hard to take that first step, but ultimately, this is the best move OP can make for himself and his siblings. Maybe setting and sticking to boundaries will help his younger siblings to do the same.
Before you go, check out these wild stories about Reddit’s most horrific mother-in-laws.
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