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  #1  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:16 AM
Cuckoorex Cuckoorex is offline
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Are there ever male babysitters?

I don't have any kids myself; I am only going by observation and the depictions of pop culture, but I would venture to say that if anyone in America said "The babysitter is coming at 7" that person would fully expect to open the door to a female at 7. Is it because people expect females to have an innate maternal instinct to protect their children? Is it because people expect males to be uncontrollably horny and more likely to molest their children? What's the deal?
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:19 AM
Švejk Švejk is offline
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I'm a guy and I did some babysitting when I was around 14 or so. Not babies, though, older kids, up to 10 years old, and always at my parents' friends' places. Other than that, I'd have to agree that babysitters are usually female. The money was good, though.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:24 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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I remember when I was a kid my brothers and I were usually babysat by the university student son of a friend of my parents. He was actually really good too - we had great fun.

Funnily enough I would probably have never recalled this if not for the OP. I will now have to find out what became of Richard.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:38 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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My husband used to babysit for a few people he knew.

I think it's a combination of people thinking girls are "naturally" better at taking care of kids (they're not - it's a learned behavior) and yes, the fear men are more likely to molest.
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:55 AM
WormTheRed WormTheRed is offline
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I used to babysit my brothers and sisters friends (they're both around 10 years younger than me) all the time when I was a teen.

Since the kids new me beforehand we usually had a blast and in addition, the money was quite good.
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:59 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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I think there is also a perception that teenage boys are less responsible and more likely to view an invitation to babysit as an opportunity to have a party.
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2009, 05:13 AM
Illuminatiprimus Illuminatiprimus is offline
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I used to babysit for a friend's daughter when I was a teenager too and I'm a boy. Probably helped the friend knew I was gay though in terms of alleviating molestation fears.
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2009, 05:15 AM
seodoa seodoa is offline
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No, Illuminatiprimus. You are gay which means you are a horrible sexual deviant that would have sex with a fetus given the opportunity.
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:57 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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I babysat occasionally in high school, and I didn't think it was terribly unusual. Really, it's a pretty sweet gig. Of course, most of those jobs were my parents' friends requesting me to babysit; I think girls are more likely to put up signs advertising their services to strangers (and strangers more likely to hire unknown girl babysitters than unknown boy babysitters).
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2009, 07:06 AM
LurkMeister LurkMeister is offline
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I used to babysit for one of my parents' friends when I was a teenager. I don't remember their kids' ages, but I think they were in the 5-10 range. Mostly my responsibility was to keep them from doing anything they shouldn't, get them to bed on time, then watch tv until the parents came home. A few times I babysat on New Year's Eve, and the kids were allowed to stay up late. And once the mom asked me to come over during the day and keep an eye on them while she went out shopping.

But I never advertised; this was more doing a favor. Although the extra money for books came in handy.
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2009, 07:26 AM
C3 C3 is offline
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My brother used to babysit when he was a teenager. He had a few families that hired him regularly. We've hired a guy to babysit our oldest. He was the son of a friend, in his 20s (and a professional bicycle racer). He watched our kid for three days while my husband was at work and I was at the hospital with our youngest. My son LOVED him. They ran and moved and played non-stop.
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2009, 07:57 AM
Turek Turek is offline
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I'm curious as to the time frame of most of these replies. I see a lot of "I used to..." and "My friend used to..." and I'm willing to bet they're from before the 90s or so. I suspect that nowadays there are very few boy babysitters.
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:03 AM
WormTheRed WormTheRed is offline
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My "used to" is from the middle of the 90.s

But like I said, it was only my sibling's friends, so I was pretty well vetted before I babysat.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:05 AM
C3 C3 is offline
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When my brother babysat, that was early '80s. I hired a male babysitter about 2 years ago. I'd hire another male babysitter again, if I knew of someone who was willing. The guy we hired before is in Germany now, but if he ever gets to North Carolina, he's got a job!
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:15 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turek View Post
I'm curious as to the time frame of most of these replies. I see a lot of "I used to..." and "My friend used to..." and I'm willing to bet they're from before the 90s or so. I suspect that nowadays there are very few boy babysitters.
Nowadays it seems there are very few minor babysitters, of either gender. We've worked to increase our pay to a more believable wage, and so most people want a responsible adult for that. The average hourly rate for a babysitter in Chicago, published in the Chicago Tribune about four years ago, was $14. No one wants a pimply faced teenager for that. They want at least a college age person, if not one as old as their kids' teachers, and by that age, guys (warning, gross generalization ahead!) seem to be more willing to work at Starbucks or Borders while they're going to school, or they're already on a career path. Babysitters now, by and large, are either in it as a career, as experience on their way to a career in group childcare, or are themselves parents looking to make some extra money (that last one would be me.)

Now, Chicago's pretty high, as far as babysitter wages go, but even small towns start somewhere in the $5 range. The days of getting your friend's teenager to come over for $2 an hour are gone...nowadays you're more likely to hire your friend herself for $10 or use a babysitter finder service like Sittercity.

So the question becomes: why don't more men seek a career in early childhood education or childcare? And molestation fears (on either side - parental/school fears of molestation and caregiver fears of being accused unjustly) certainly play a huge role in that.

Last edited by WhyNot; 01-16-2009 at 08:18 AM..
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  #16  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:16 AM
I Am The Lorax I Am The Lorax is offline
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I'm the first to bring up Charles in Charge?I've hired male babysitters for my kids.
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  #17  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:16 AM
divemaster divemaster is offline
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I did some babysitting when I was 13 to 16, thereabouts. Families from our church, but also some neighborhood folks. Included actual babies up through elementary school. This was about 1983-1985. It helped that we had a infant --> toddler in our house, so I knew all about bottles, rocking to sleep, changing diapers, tantrums, etc. I was a pretty damn good babysitter.

Last edited by divemaster; 01-16-2009 at 08:17 AM..
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  #18  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:52 AM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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When I was in my teens, I made a ton of money baby-sitting.

I'm a male. 48 years old and I still tell my friends I'll watch their kids. I love kids.
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  #19  
Old 01-16-2009, 09:57 AM
Kizarvexius Kizarvexius is offline
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I did quite a bit of babysitting during my high school years (late 80s). There was one family in particular whose two boys would beg their parents to go out so that I could come sit for them. The parents liked me because I was quiet, reliable, and I had the giant teddy bear build that was just intimidating enough to ensure the boys went to bed -- and STAYED in bed -- at the appointed time.
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  #20  
Old 01-16-2009, 10:05 AM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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In my family, babysitting was considered "women's work" and men who were interested in it were suspect or must have been unable or unwilling find a better paying, harder job regardless of age. I think this is a stupid way to look at it, but that's the way my family thought about it. Most of my mom's friends held the same belief, too, so that's one possible reason (at least in my mom's circle) that men were rarely asked to babysit.

I would absolutely hire a male babysitter, though. My son is ridiculously energetic and loves to roughhouse and feels as comfortable with men as with women. I don't care what sex the person is. As long as they have decent judgment, my son is comfortable with them, they're able to keep up with my son and willing to enforce my rules in an acceptable manner, I'll be happy to pay them.
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  #21  
Old 01-16-2009, 10:23 AM
Loach Loach is offline
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I've always been very good with babies. The family across the street had me babysit quite a few times. I didn't look for it but there 3 year old son loved me for some reason. I used to mow their lawn and he would follow me around. He didn't want to be watched by anyone else. His 1 year old sister hated me. But she was going through a I hate everyone but Mommy phase. She was usually in bed by the time I got there. I didn't have any other customers. This was more of a favor than a business though I did get paid. This was in the 80s.
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  #22  
Old 01-16-2009, 10:49 AM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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I babysat occasionally when I was in my teens, though never for money.

Well, scratch that. I once agreed to mow the lawn of a friend of my parents, and afterwards stayed with the couple's kids while they went out for dinner. I thought of it as being paid for the lawn-mowing, though, but that was probably just a vain need to feel manly.

As an adult I've sat with friends' kids.
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  #23  
Old 01-16-2009, 10:55 AM
panache45 panache45 is online now
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When I was in high school (in the early '60s), I babysat for my 3 cousins (they are now in their 50s ).
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  #24  
Old 01-16-2009, 11:06 AM
Jettboy Jettboy is offline
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I've never hired a male babysitter for my son, and I probably never will. It's not molestation that is my biggest fear—although it's certainly there in some small measure—it's aggression. I think a boy would be much more likely to raise his voice to my kid, maybe slap him, maybe swat him.
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  #25  
Old 01-16-2009, 11:13 AM
Bosstone Bosstone is offline
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John Travolta did it for Kirstie Alley back in the late 80s.

I had a male babysitter a few times when I was like 8-10 or so, in the early 90s I think. Cool guy, we'd play video games.
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  #26  
Old 01-16-2009, 02:37 PM
Cuckoorex Cuckoorex is offline
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Huh! Never would have guessed it was so common. So from the replies, it seems that a lot of the male babysitters were asked to do so for friends of the family or neighbors or people that already generally knew the male in question (not all, but many); so this is sort of a side question, having to do again with the possibility of stereotypes...if you had a child that needed babysitting, and had the choice of a male or female babysitter, exact same age (let's say 20), qualifications, hourly rate, etc., would you choose the male or female? Assume that both, when interviewed, provide good responses as well. My own prejudice would be to hire the female, moreso because I have some odd belief in some kind of maternal instinct than any fear of molestation. I know this is irrational, but then again, it's hard for me to be rational when it comes to protecting kids.
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  #27  
Old 01-16-2009, 02:39 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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I think that some of it may be that the largest maturity gap between boys and girls happens in the prime baby-sitting age range, 14-16. That's the age where a girl is often mature enough to watch a couple school age kids while their parents are out, and she's willing to because she doesn't have anything better to do. Around 16, the ones that really need money get more steady jobs, and the ones that don't really need the money suddenly have complex social lives on the weekend that are more attractive. Boys in this same age range are often noticeably less mature than girls--physiologically, their puberty starts later, and they are still wandering around in a haze of distracting hormones. I don't think this makes them more likely to molest a kid or anything, but puberty doesn't just make you horney. It makes you absent-minded, easily frustrated, and illogical. The boys tend to catch back up around junior year, but by then the prime babysitting era is over.
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  #28  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:16 PM
lavenderviolet lavenderviolet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuckoorex View Post
if you had a child that needed babysitting, and had the choice of a male or female babysitter, exact same age (let's say 20), qualifications, hourly rate, etc., would you choose the male or female? Assume that both, when interviewed, provide good responses as well.
I would always hire a female babysitter - and yes, it is because I am concerned about the risk of sexual abuse.
Not all males are pedophiles, of course, but the majority of pedophiles are male.
Yes, the most likely outcome is that if you leave your kids with a 20 year old guy everything would be fine - but I feel that even a small increase in the risk of my kids being victimized by a sexual predator is unacceptable. For that reason, I WILL avoid leaving them in the care of people from a population that has a higher number of sexual predators among it when given a choice.
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  #29  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:28 PM
C3 C3 is offline
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Originally Posted by Cuckoorex View Post
Huh! Never would have guessed it was so common. So from the replies, it seems that a lot of the male babysitters were asked to do so for friends of the family or neighbors or people that already generally knew the male in question (not all, but many); so this is sort of a side question, having to do again with the possibility of stereotypes...if you had a child that needed babysitting, and had the choice of a male or female babysitter, exact same age (let's say 20), qualifications, hourly rate, etc., would you choose the male or female? Assume that both, when interviewed, provide good responses as well. My own prejudice would be to hire the female, moreso because I have some odd belief in some kind of maternal instinct than any fear of molestation. I know this is irrational, but then again, it's hard for me to be rational when it comes to protecting kids.
I would not hire someone I didn't know to watch my kids, unless it was in a daycare-type setting where there was more than one adult around. Male or female.
All things being equal, if I had a choice between a woman I know and a man I know, I'd hire the man. I have two boys and they would prefer a guy.
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  #30  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:40 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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My brother's misogynistic personality manifested fairly early, so my parents got male babysitters for us. The only trouble I recall was one let us watch TV shows we weren't supposed to watch.
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  #31  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:43 PM
schnuckiputzi schnuckiputzi is offline
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I know several teen boys that babysit now (within the last five years) for families. Especially ones with pre-teen boys, who love to spend the evening with someone who's willing to play Halo or Guitar Hero for hours. They don't tend to cook or clean, like my daughter would, but they're good solid boys.
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  #32  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:45 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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When I was a kid my favorite babysitters were guys. I was a little girl and we were alone out in the country, but my parents didn't assume there was any danger in hiring a teenaged boy. In fact, it was easier to get them, because we were so far out and some of the girls' parents didn't like them sitting for a kid alone out in the middle of nowhere.
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  #33  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:59 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Originally Posted by lavenderviolet View Post
I would always hire a female babysitter - and yes, it is because I am concerned about the risk of sexual abuse.
Not all males are pedophiles, of course, but the majority of pedophiles are male.
Yes, the most likely outcome is that if you leave your kids with a 20 year old guy everything would be fine - but I feel that even a small increase in the risk of my kids being victimized by a sexual predator is unacceptable. For that reason, I WILL avoid leaving them in the care of people from a population that has a higher number of sexual predators among it when given a choice.
I would hire the female too, because I was touched inappropriately by a male babysitter. I would probably be worried about any sitter, but more so a male.
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  #34  
Old 01-16-2009, 05:19 PM
Hazle Weatherfield Hazle Weatherfield is offline
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I had two male babysitters (just once in awhile, and not nearly as often as the female ones.) I was probably 6 or seven (brother 15 mos. younger) and they were in their earlier to mid teens. We always had a blast with them. They weren't quite as particular as the girls and were more likely to suggest a more active activity.
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  #35  
Old 01-16-2009, 05:39 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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May I ask a slight hijack? What about in a daycare setting? Let's say there's two classes, one with a male teacher and the other, female. Would you be upset/disappointed/worse off if your child was assigned to the man's class?
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  #36  
Old 01-16-2009, 05:42 PM
Illuminatiprimus Illuminatiprimus is offline
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No, Illuminatiprimus. You are gay which means you are a horrible sexual deviant that would have sex with a fetus given the opportunity.
It's scary how someone who's never met me knows me so well!

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  #37  
Old 01-16-2009, 05:48 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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My cousin Timmy used to babysit for me sometimes. (Early '80s) (Although more often it was his sister Nancy). I was only a toddler, so all I remember is playing Candy Land and teasing me because I kept trying to look at the cards. When my sister was born, Timmy and Nancy were her godparents, and we're still really close with him and his family. In fact, Baby Sis and I used to babysit for Timmy's kids when they were younger.

So I don't see the big deal. (As far as the molestation angle goes-I feel for people who have been molested-I truly do. BUT...to demonize all males as being pedophiles isn't right)
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  #38  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:04 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is online now
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When I was a teenager during the last century, I babysat all ages when I was in high school. I changed diapers. Not a lot of work, but nice to pick up some pocket money. I had training from a local recreation department and boy scout first aid training.
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  #39  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:11 PM
AngelSoft AngelSoft is offline
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I hate to admit it but I would never let any male outside of my father or my brothers babysit my daughter. I'm just too paranoid about what can happen. Not that long ago I saw a story on the news about a family who hired a male nanny for their six year old daughter and he ended up using her for child pornography videos. That's just not a risk I'm willing to take in order to be more 'open and accepting' of male child care takers.

Heck, when I worked in daycare years ago there was only one man working there watching the children and he wasn't allowed to change diapers because the parents wouldn't feel comfortable with that.
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  #40  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:12 PM
Vox Imperatoris Vox Imperatoris is offline
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What if I put the question like this: all other things being equal, would you hire a white or black babysitter? After all, it is more likely that the black babysitter would be a criminal. (You certainly have the right to prefer women, but I'm just showing why that example is not fair.)

Valete,
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  #41  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:18 PM
Illuminatiprimus Illuminatiprimus is offline
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Heck, when I worked in daycare years ago there was only one man working there watching the children and he wasn't allowed to change diapers because the parents wouldn't feel comfortable with that.
I don't get this, I really really don't. I'm reminded of the thread a while ago asking men if it bothered us that we're presumed all to be paedophiles and so many people in that thread claimed such thinking was absurd. Then I see comments like this and it makes me think it is in fact it's not so ridiculous after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vox Imperatoris
What if I put the question like this: all other things being equal, would you hire a white or black babysitter? After all, it is more likely that the black babysitter would be a criminal. (You certainly have the right to prefer women, but I'm just showing why that example is not fair.)

Valete,
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Or indeed by another parent, since a significant number (I'm not sure but it may even be the majority) of child molestation cases are perpetrated by the parents of the child in question.

Last edited by Illuminatiprimus; 01-16-2009 at 06:20 PM..
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  #42  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:22 PM
stargazer stargazer is offline
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Our pastor's teenaged son babysat for us 2 days/week this summer, and I hope he'll be available this summer, too. He's a great kid, and cheaper than adults or college students. And he takes goofy pictures of my toddler.
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  #43  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:22 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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I don't get this, I really really don't. I'm reminded of the thread a while ago asking men if it bothered us that we're presumed all to be paedophiles and so many people in that thread claimed such thinking was absurd. Then I see comments like this and it makes me think it is in fact it's not so ridiculous after all.
It's creepy. Not men changing diapers, but that one would assume that a man might do something untoward because he has access to baby genitals. It reminds me of a thread that we have a long, long time ago where the OP was creeped out that a 5 year old girl changed her brother (who was 2 or 3) because they were opposite sex kids and too close in age for that to be appropriate. I just don't see anything sexual about changing a dirty diaper.
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  #44  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:41 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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My uncle (who has a thing for bathroom humor-and mooning people), once teased me that he used to change my diapers. (If you knew my uncle, you'd know he meant nothing sexual about it, duh). I just shot back, "Yeah, just don't ask me to change your's someday."

Wasn't there a thread about a guy who took his four-year-old daughter into the men's room with him because he didn't feel she was old enough to go into the women's by herself and was scolded for it by a woman when he came out? And most dopers I believe agreed with him.


(As for the sister changing her brother's diaper, I find it more inappropriate that a five-year-old is changing diapers all by herself. Isn't she a little young for that?)
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  #45  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:50 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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(As for the sister changing her brother's diaper, I find it more inappropriate that a five-year-old is changing diapers all by herself. Isn't she a little young for that?)
Apparently she did it a lot and was used to it. If anything was inappropriate about it, I'd think it would be the being too young part, but apparently she did a good job of it. The OP in that situation was definitely focused on the fact that it was two opposite sex siblings, though.
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  #46  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:53 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Or indeed by another parent, since a significant number (I'm not sure but it may even be the majority) of child molestation cases are perpetrated by the parents of the child in question.
Exactly. Statistically speaking, the most dangerous people to leave my daughter alone with would be my husband, my dad or my brothers. Fuck statistics; I'm going to treat people better than that. My decision will be based on my judgement of them as a person, not their possession of a penis.

(And you can babysit for me any time. No pub crawls and no tattoos, though!)

Last edited by WhyNot; 01-16-2009 at 06:54 PM..
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  #47  
Old 01-16-2009, 06:55 PM
Queen Tonya Queen Tonya is offline
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One of my nephews regularly supplements his pocket money by babysitting, shoveling snow and lawn mowing, although now that he's turned 16 that might change. He's always been great with babies and kids, was taking care of his infant half-sibling when he was just a little guy himself.

I'm a single parent, so childcare was my largest expense until he finally matured enough to not need supervision. I'd not only hire a male, I actively looked for them since my son needed more male interaction.
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  #48  
Old 01-16-2009, 07:02 PM
lorene lorene is offline
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When my first-born was 6 weeks old, I went to a new moms' group at the hospital where she was born. The nurse who ran it cautioned us against hiring male babysitters because of the risk of molestation. The moms in the group were kind of surprised by this---we all had male partners. AND, statistics show that most abuse happens by someone known to the child. By that logic, we should all be afraid to leave our kids with our partners, right?

When the same child was 1 year old (she is 6 now), her daycare center hired a male to work in the infant room. This center always announced new teachers with a letter home. When this male started, so did 2 females. The letter introduced the females with saying the places they had worked, the education they had, etc. The write-up about the male started with, "Kevin comes to us with very great references from past childcare positions..."

My kids have had some great male gym teachers. I would certainly hire them.
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  #49  
Old 01-16-2009, 07:31 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
(As for the sister changing her brother's diaper, I find it more inappropriate that a five-year-old is changing diapers all by herself. Isn't she a little young for that?)
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...=diaper+change

Here's the thread about that. The other dopers didn't think it was too much responsibility. But the OP thought that the girl was too old to change the diaper of a boy who was so close to her in age...and I thought it was creepy that anyone would see this as a sex thing.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:40 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Apparently she did it a lot and was used to it. If anything was inappropriate about it, I'd think it would be the being too young part, but apparently she did a good job of it. The OP in that situation was definitely focused on the fact that it was two opposite sex siblings, though.

That's good to know-but I would think it might be a little hard to do by herself-just lifting the kid and all that. Now helping-that would be a good idea. My sister was born when I was about six, almost seven-and I would have hated having to help change diapers at that age.

Last edited by Guinastasia; 01-16-2009 at 07:42 PM..
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