Babysitting and Your Teenager
by Rachel Paxton
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Babysitting has changed a lot since I was a teenager. My mom
didn't worry about checking out the families I babysat for and
spent time with. Maybe things were safer then, but then again
maybe not. Maybe she should have worried more. As it was, I was
very lucky that nothing really bad ever happened to me. Just a
couple of close calls.
I remember one time smelling something strange in a house where I
was babysitting. I didn't realize until I was much older that
the smell was marijuana. At the time I had my suspicions, but I
was too young to understand what was going on. I never told my
mom. I have friends that were molested while they were
babysitting, by people they didn't know. They never told their
I don't mean to scare you. Well, I guess I kind of do. Do you
personally know who your teen is babysitting for? Fortunately
for my husband and I, we became Christians before our daughter
was old enough to babysit. At one time I would have thought
differently about the families we chose to let our daughter spend
That's not to say our daughter couldn't babysit for a
non-Christian family, or that all Christian families are safe.
Our daughter's safety is first and foremost in our minds. What's
most important is being at least acquainted with the family
beforehand, and making an informed decision on whether your teen
should be babysitting for them.
As our daughter has ventured into the world of babysitting, there
have been many unexpected benefits. The most obvious being the
significant increase in her spending money. Much to her dismay,
my husband and I feel very strongly about having children work
for their money. Our daughter receives a small allowance in
exchange for doing a few household chores. Babysitting has
become her most significant source of income.
Our daughter is an only child. She misses not having a little
brother or sister, and she can't at all relate to her friends who
would gladly trade places with her. Babysitting has given our
daughter a window into another life. Our neighbor has four
little girls, ages 7, 5, 4, and 2. Our daughter adores them.
Their mother has taken an interest in her and talks to her a lot
about the girls, and about being a mom. Their family is very
down to earth and provides a wonderful example of what a healthy
family should be. In today's world that's hard to come by.
Kids learn a lot from their parents about how to have a healthy
marriage and how to be good parents (or not). I can't
overemphasize the importance of role models in your teen's life.
Whether you're Christian or not, you can help choose the adults
your teen spends time with. Babysitting is an excellent,
first-hand way for your child to spend time with another family,
helping them, while also learning lifelong lessons (often without
even knowing it).
Give some thought to where you let your teen hang out. If your
teen does a lot of babysitting, especially for one family, make
sure they're safe. Better yet, make sure they're good role
models for your child. The more your teen spends quality time
with other families and their children, the better parent your
teen will someday be.
Copyright 2001. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and
Christian wife and mom. For complete resources for the Christian
home, visit her web site at http://www.Christian-Parent.com. To
subscribe to her monthly newsletter send a blank e-mail message
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