A pregnant five-year-old is accused online of using older children as “free babysitters”.

Appointment to Reddit’s Am I A ******? (AITA) forum On September 26, user u / Unusual_Squash9119 explained that she had argued with her eldest son after refusing to watch his siblings while on vacation.

After the 21-year-old said he wanted to “take a break and chill out,” a furious mom told him to help look after the baby or move out when he got home.

At the time of writing this post, it received over 5,000 votes for and nearly 3,000 comments, many from users criticizing mom for “parenting” her children.

Stock Photo of an exhausted young man with his head in his hand, surrounded by children’s toys and dirty underwear. Reddit users advised their five-year-old mom against using her older children as babysitters.
Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus

What is parentification?

Parentification occurs when a child is forced to assume the role and responsibilities of an adult. There are two types of parentification – instrumental parentification and emotional parentification.

Examples of instrumental parentification include caring for parents or younger family members or taking over adult responsibilities such as cleaning or paying bills. Often these tasks are not appropriate for their age or skills.

Emotional parenting is when a parent relies heavily on their child for emotional support, such as listening to a parent’s problems, considering family conflicts or domestic quarrels, or comforting a younger sibling. However, the child rarely receives emotional support from the parents in return.

Although there are different levels, parentification has been shown to have a long-term effect on a child’s mental health and emotional well-being. Tests points out that children with parentage often face attachment problems as adults, which makes it difficult to bond or maintain healthy relationships.

Despite these struggles, A. 2017 study found evidence that adults who were parentified as children showed a higher level of resilience and cognitive empathy, which allows them to better anticipate and understand the emotions of others.

“He wanted to relax”

In her post u / Unusual_Squash9119, she said she is the mother of two 10-year-old twins Sophia and Lisa, a 17-year-old boy named Joshua, a one-year-old girl named Emily, and her eldest son, Danny.

The family recently traveled to Hawaii, but the author’s husband was unable to take advantage of it due to a last-minute emergency, leaving her alone to look after the children. While Joshua stepped in to keep an eye on the twins, and the twins tried to help with the baby, Danny chose to avoid the family instead.

“My twins cried A LOT,” she wrote. “My son Joshua and I were comforting them, but Danny stood there doing nothing.

“Whatever we were doing, Danny was absent. For example, going to the beach, banana boats, Luaus and watching his little sisters, whenever they wanted to go to the pool, he would stay in his room on the phone talking to his friends. “

As the vacation passed, the poster grew increasingly frustrated by Danny’s introverted nature.

“I hated having to do most of Josh’s work because he wanted to have fun too, and my daughters [were] helping with the baby, ”she said.

“I called him for help, but he said” he wanted to relax and rest. “

“We literally came here to rest, relax and have a good time, although we didn’t have much fun with less help, a crying baby, two 10-year-olds who wanted to go to the pool, and my second son who wanted to get away from the sisters for at least an hour. It was a mess.

Finally the poster said to Danny, “If you can’t help the woman who gave birth to you, you can live in her house for free while giving you a job that you just spend money on stupid apartment buying games, then you can leave my house. and pay for your own things.

Shocked by the outburst, Danny left to call the grandparents and paternal aunt who criticized the poster for yelling at her son and asked her why she “yelled at my son when he was doing nothing.”

“I told them that instead of helping her mother and siblings, she does nothing but eat and talk to her stupid friends in her room,” she said.

When the family returned home, the poster’s husband scolded Danny for not helping anymore and “sent him to his room.”

Most Redditors backed Danny’s right not to care for a child, and many accused the poster of “parenting”.

“It was your choice to give birth to five children. Not Dannys, said FunnyGumo0_0. “What exactly are you doing in this story? Except for pregnancy. Again“.

“He is not your husband or the father of your children,” wrote Kirbygay. “Stop popping them up if you can’t handle so many. And I say this as a parent. “

“It very looks like Danny was brought against his will to” birth “his younger siblings, commented killerbekilled92. “That’s why he spent the entire trip without eating in a hotel room, talking to his friends.”

However, others backed the poster, scolding Danny for not helping any more because he lived in the house with no rent and his mom was his employer.

“Danny’s an adult now,” said veni-vidi-dixi. “She’s 21, so if she wants a free vacation with her family, you’d better be prepared to act like a member of that family.”

HowFunkyIsYourChicken agreed, writing, “Stop with that parentification son of a bitch. He got a free trip to Hawaii and was asked to take his sisters to the pool because mom doesn’t have dad there to help. “

While Valherudragonlords commented, “I do not agree entirely against the idea of ​​children helping a family just because they are children. I don’t see anything wrong with a little babysitting or all working together as a team. ‘

Newsweek contacted zu / Unusual_Squash9119 for comment. We were unable to verify the details of the case.

If you have a similar family dilemma, please let us know at life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice and your story can be published on Newsweek.

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