General Etiquette > Family and Children

Kids and Free Labor

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Library Dragon:

--- Quote from: Sharnita on September 26, 2013, 02:06:27 PM ---In a family situation it isn't "just because" kids have no say pver their lives, it's because the whole family, including the kids benefit. Maybe it means the parents can afford to live in an area with better schools or a.more reliable car.

In the case you.desctibe  the babysitter was grandpa and "free labor" was an established pattern of behavior. It shouldn't have been a huge surprise.

--- End quote ---

Yes.  It's the family business, just as much as a family farm, store, or restaurant. 

I think there's a difference between a paid babysitter and a family member first of all.

Second, if the dad spent his whole life doing work on this type of thing, he really shouldn't have been surprised that the same was expected of his tween. And he likely thought that the tween could deal with it. When I was younger, I used to stay with my grandparents for a couple weeks every summer. I did a lot of the housework, helping to cook, did the vacuuming, dusting, etc. And you know what? I did it at home too, so why shouldn't I do it at grandma's? If I'd gone in and said no thank you, well, I can't even imagine the result.

Another, more relevant comparison: I grew up on a farm. My siblings and I did the work of making the farm run our whole lives. We drove trucks and tractors, hauled grain, chased cows, fed cows, harvested, seeded, etc. Sometimes, in harvest time, we even skipped school to finish the farm work. This work started at around 7-8 years old (younger for the more "domestic" tasks like feeding pets, cutting grass, clearing tables, etc). Now, a couple of my siblings are involved in farming and their children help out around the farm in age-appropriate way (though I think our definition of age-appropriate would shock some people). If I were to send my (imaginary) 13 year old to the farm for a few days (especially during harvest), you can bet that I know that kid is shovelling grain at the very least. And that's probably why I'd send him/her. It's not going to damage the kid to shovel some grain for a weekend in order to help out the family. Just like it wouldn't hurt him to hammer some nails or do some kitchen clean up.

I do believe there should be balance, FWIW. If parents were keeping kids out of school, Hramdpa had him working in unsafe conditions those things would be red flags.

I think its pretty traditional to put kids to work - I mean isn't that why farmers and such had lots of kids? To get more free labor on the family farm?

I also think when you start talking about "free labor" the pendulum swings both ways - were grandma & grandpa being paid to babysit the tween? Because child care is labor too. Perhaps that puts the tween in the middle of a wage issue between Kate & Tony and their grown son, but its still a valid point in this situation.

personally I think so long as the labor the tween was asked to do was age appropriate (sweeping, painting, mowing the lawn, etc) then its perfectly fine. The grown son knew this how Kate & Tony expected children to spend their free time long before he asked them to mind his child. And plus now the kid has some skills under the belt which will only serve to help them as they go through life.

I believe children are family members and responsible for making the house/family run, at an age-appropriate level.  I dont' get paid do their housework, cook their meals and wipe their behinds. I am also not a slave, I do it because we are family and we love each other.  I also STOP doing everything for them, when they are capable of doing it for themselves. Unless Kate and Tony kept their kids locked in the basement and fed them gruel while they went on cruises, then the profit they made from flipping houses was for the kids benefit as much as their own.

If the dad was raised this way, he had a reasonable expectation that his parents would set the same expetations for his son that they set for him.  Sounds like he turned out OK and doesnt' have a problem with it.  Otherwise, why would he ask them to babysit?  Many families find projects like this to be great for bonding time and giving kids a positive self-concept, as well as skills and a "DIY" attitude.

I think it would be a good thing and an excellent teaching tool for the grandparents to offer to pay the tween for his work, which might help increase his sense of responsibility.  I also think it is OK for them to just expect him to pitch in.


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