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M Is for Mama 14: Kids Don't Need Toys When They Have Chores!


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On 9/19/2022 at 10:08 PM, luv2laugh said:

Do I spot one of Braggie’s rugs in Jessa’s new house tour video? Jessa said where she got everything else except this rug… 🤔
F9C0F294-FCA5-441F-A2EC-82C7865D63D8.thumb.jpeg.d768388b9980dbe7a7a356388adadd74.jpeg

She has Braggie's book on the end table there.

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I'm skeptical if it's really possible to have a really large family and not parentify the older kids.  The larger the family, the more likely kids will be parentified.  I can't think of a larger family I know in real life that didn't parentify the kids (at least alittle). There other factors to be sure like personality of the parents or homeschooling, etc.  

I actually believe Abbie had not heard the term parentification. It's probably not discussed much in her circles since probably a lot of parents are in denial. She's a hypocrite of course when she says she doesn't do it. I was googling her and found an old FreeJinger thread where people were pointing out she used the hashtag #ThirdParent to describe her oldest son.  

I'm going to try the link the old thread. It should be on page 9. Here's the link.

The comment is on the bottom of the page.

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I love how it’s somehow not parentification if the whole family is involved.
That’s the DEFINITION.
Mr. Bea is the oldest of 4 and was a sort of parent-lite for Youngest Sister, but she’s 17 years younger than he is, so that’s pretty natural. But still! His “parentification” was stuff like “hey get Baby Sister at school, please, you have a license and a car.”
(We did pay for some of Baby Sister’s college expenses, and bought her wedding dress, because my father in law ditched the family when Baby Sister was little and Mr. B was in law school - Baby Sister is like 3/4 sibling and 1/4 daughter for him, but not because his mom pushed. Mr. B is a big fan of kids and adored Baby Sister from the minute they brought her home.)

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19 hours ago, MomKB said:

Not only that, but the children also must have been in charge of putting the toddlers into their carseats, presumably without adult supervision. Abby didn't notice their outfits till she was taking the kids out of the car. That incident was the very definition of parentification.

Also "helping out with dinner". How many times has she posted bragging about Simon or Della taking care of a meal completely by themselves? "minding a sibling for a short period of time" I'd believe each individual instance might be a short time, but she leaves the house without all her kids a lot for someone with such young children and a husband who's never home.

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38 minutes ago, TuringMachine said:

Also "helping out with dinner". How many times has she posted bragging about Simon or Della taking care of a meal completely by themselves? "minding a sibling for a short period of time" I'd believe each individual instance might be a short time, but she leaves the house without all her kids a lot for someone with such young children and a husband who's never home.

If you look at posts over the years, you can see how much work and parenting the children do. The girls have been making breakfast for younger siblings and themselves for years. One of the twins was putting Shiloh down for a nap when she was like, 7. Braggie took a picture of it as proof. Ezra was watching a bunch of her clients’ children in their home since he was 10, maybe younger. All while Braggie was giving a class in another room. It’s insane she thinks this is all fine and normal.

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4 minutes ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

If you look at posts over the years, you can see how much work and parenting the children do. The girls have been making breakfast for younger siblings and themselves for years. One of the twins was putting Shiloh down for a nap when she was like, 7. Braggie took a picture of it as proof. Ezra was watching a bunch of her clients’ children in their home since he was 10, maybe younger. All while Braggie was giving a class in another room. It’s insane she thinks this is all fine and normal.

I just don’t understand why Abbie, and more importantly her fan girls, can’t connect the dots to what encouraging unfettered reproduction actually looks like. And further, that Abbie might not have an engaged and helpful husband, but she and the family both rely on a whole host of “others” who parent, babysit, homeschool, cook, clean, transport…Abbie and Shaun can have 10 kids because she has a “village” helping to care for, support and parent her kids. How many other grandmas would be willing to do what AH’s mom does? I’m a grandma who is close to AH’s mom’s age and  by all appearances a much healthier woman and  there is no way in he!! That I would be willing to do what Grandma is doing. She is enabling an unhealthy addiction.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, SassyPants said:

I just don’t understand why Abbie, and more importantly her fan girls, can’t connect the dots to what encouraging unfettered reproduction actually looks like. And further, that Abbie might not have an engaged and helpful husband, but she and the family both rely on a whole host of “others” who parent, babysit, homeschool, cook, clean, transport…Abbie and Shaun can have 10 kids because she has a “village” helping to care for, support and parent her kids. How many other grandmas would be willing to do what AH’s mom does? I’m a grandma who is close to AH’s mom’s age and  by all appearances a much healthier woman and  there is no way in he!! That I would be willing to do what Grandma is doing. She is enabling an unhealthy addiction.

 

 

I know very few grandmothers willing to do it. My friends and I talk about our moms and we all basically say the same thing. Our moms raised their kids and they aren’t will to raise grandkids. I have a good friend whose mother does a lot for her kids. My friend’s 2 children are her parents only grandchildren. Her mother actually helped to homeschool the kids during the pandemic. I was amazed. Because I know my mom and many of my friends’ moms would not have done that. No way. She knows how lucky she is to have a mother willing to do that. But that same mom would flip her lid if her daughter had 10 kids. So at least she has more sense than Braggie’s mom. I think Braggie’s mom is selfishly living her dream through Braggie. She wanted a huge homeschooling family but only had 2.

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Well, crap. Now I realize I was parentified AF. There were only three of us, and my sisters are five and twelve years younger than I am, but I was babysitting when our mom was out of the house when I was as young as ten, and once got in trouble at 8-ish when I needed to do my homework and my 2.5-ish sister wandered out of the house and across the street to the high school. (Fortunately, my sister was precocious enough to rattle off to the cheerleaders practicing on the front lawn, “My-name-is-Margaret-Mary-Lastname-and-I-live-at-37-My-Street,” so one of them walked her home.)

When I was in the eighth grade, I was getting my baby sister up every morning, stripping and washing her and changing her and putting clean sheets on her crib mattress, and keeping her occupied in the bathroom with me as I got ready for school. Mom was still asleep. I had three classmates with baby siblings twelve years younger, and none of them felt obligated to do things like those.

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9 minutes ago, Hane said:

Well, crap. Now I realize I was parentified AF. There were only three of us, and my sisters are five and twelve years younger than I am, but I was babysitting when our mom was out of the house when I was as young as ten, and once got in trouble at 8-ish when I needed to do my homework and my 2.5-ish sister wandered out of the house and across the street to the high school. (Fortunately, my sister was precocious enough to rattle off to the cheerleaders practicing on the front lawn, “My-name-is-Margaret-Mary-Lastname-and-I-live-at-37-My-Street,” so one of them walked her home.)

When I was in the eighth grade, I was getting my baby sister up every morning, stripping and washing her and changing her and putting clean sheets on her crib mattress, and keeping her occupied in the bathroom with me as I got ready for school. Mom was still asleep. I had three classmates with baby siblings twelve years younger, and none of them felt obligated to do things like those.

My dad recognizes he did too much for his two youngest siblings. He babysat a lot. And he did resent it. He loves his parents but he can see now he did too much. 

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8 hours ago, Bluebirdbluebell said:

I'm skeptical if it's really possible to have a really large family and not parentify the older kids.  The larger the family, the more likely kids will be parentified.  I can't think of a larger family I know in real life that didn't parentify the kids (at least alittle). There other factors to be sure like personality of the parents or homeschooling, etc.  

 

I agree with this and TBH worry about it quite a bit since our 6 kids are split into an older group of 3 and younger. It's a quick cope to ask the olders to help and/or they do often help on their own - like if they want to get out the door faster, they will hustle a younger sibling into the carseat whether I ask them to or not. Sometimes it is reverse challenging, too, b/c older kids in general will boss younger siblings around and offer unsolicited and unwelcome (by me!) quasi-parenting, and I don't love that for anybody. I could record on repeat the amount of times I've asked my older kids to back off and let the younger ones eat their snacks however they want to or whatever.

So, yeah, personalities and numbers of kids do play into it, but IMO what Abbie is doing here is conflating an inescapable family dynamic in bigger families with the intentional parenting style that combines: 1. God wants you to obey what your parents tell you whatever you feel/want/desire. 2. God wants you to serve others and put their needs before your own. 3. Lack of agency and ability to say no in the specific moment and other areas of life. 

Those ingredients move "parentification" into the realm of inescapable domestic servitude and a kind of exploitative child labor that goes way beyond "helping out" or "chores." Also saddled those children with some serious spiritual baggage down the road.

I  mean, Abbie's mentioned before that her kids would be offended if she hired an outside babysitter. I get that. Mine would think it was weird, too, and it doesn't make sense to hire an external babysitter when capable older siblings interested in the job and an already known and loved by the younger kids. But I *hire* them. I pay them money just like I would the teen across the street. I check in with them about the job ahead of time, plan with their availability, and, even if they last minute bail, don't force them to do it anymore than would/could another babysitter. They can and often do say "no." (I don't know if it's the best way - they may still feel parentified - but it's where I'm at. Very open to hear from anyone who grew up in a biggish family on what worked well or didn't.)

I grew up in a non-fundie family but it was very much: drop whatever you are doing b/c your mom wants you to do X,Y,and Z. There was no respect for autonomy or boundaries, which especially grated into young adulthood. Lots of overlap for fundies, so what always jumps out at me in the model QF families is that it's baked in to "training." At least while they're under their parents roof, they ultimately have no choice but to submit, whether that's taking on a parent role or any other role. It's hard to say b/c reality TV, but it does seem that the more chaotic/less-organized QF families simply cannot sustain that. For instance, the Bates family appeared to relax some of this as their kids got older.

1 hour ago, SassyPants said:

I just don’t understand why Abbie, and more importantly her fan girls, can’t connect the dots to what encouraging unfettered reproduction actually looks like. And further, that Abbie might not have an engaged and helpful husband, but she and the family both rely on a whole host of “others” who parent, babysit, homeschool, cook, clean, transport…Abbie and Shaun can have 10 kids because she has a “village” helping to care for, support and parent her kids. How many other grandmas would be willing to do what AH’s mom does? I’m a grandma who is close to AH’s mom’s age and  by all appearances a much healthier woman and  there is no way in he!! That I would be willing to do what Grandma is doing. She is enabling an unhealthy addiction.

 

 

Yeah, enablers plus a Christian mentality that promotes "serving" to mean - helping no matter what. It's all over the place from churches that run b/c of unpaid volunteers to kids tasked with raising their other kids. All it does is shuffle the true costs of things onto the most vulnerable/powerless in the community. Once I started looking for it, I see it everywhere in Christian communities. 

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On 9/23/2022 at 2:55 AM, theotherelise said:

Abbie answered a question yesterday about parentification that is a real doozy.

unnamed.thumb.png.298bfa1f1bec74d0d3e8158539299cf4.png 

I love the way she acts like she's never heard of this before but then has huge opinions about how people use it the wrong way. She loves a straw man so much. No one is saying kids setting the table or having chores is parentification. Your children being in charge of dressing toddlers for a vacation outing to a cold area and being frustrated that they didn't do it appropriately without ever checking on it yourself before you get out of the vehicle is parentification.

Also, compulsory babysitting of your younger siblings isn't your family working together. It's the older child working for the family while you do fun things. That is not happening here because of lack of access to childcare and need of parent to work for the family to eat and have housing. Abbie literally just said that the older kids have to babysit every single week for date night. We've definitely seen evidence in the past of the older kids being the only ones home in the mornings when Shaun and Abbie go to the gym at the same time. 

 

I'm kind of amused that her response is basically "no the kids aren't parentified because we have all the power and they do what we tell them because they love their family so much". I wonder how much of the older kids picking up the slack is basically placating Abbie to keep the peace, and how much just trying to live in a functioning household. It will be interesting to see what happens as the kids get older and leave.

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Well, and I’d point to her fairly recent post about one of her twins (“girlfriend”) stirring something on the stove while holding a squirmy baby. The moment you stop to take a picture and crow about it, you’ve reinforced that this is what makes mama happy. She’s a monster. 

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29 minutes ago, fundiewatch said:

Well, and I’d point to her fairly recent post about one of her twins (“girlfriend”) stirring something on the stove while holding a squirmy baby. The moment you stop to take a picture and crow about it, you’ve reinforced that this is what makes mama happy. She’s a monster. 

In a flowing blanket- 

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8 hours ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

I know very few grandmothers willing to do it. My friends and I talk about our moms and we all basically say the same thing. Our moms raised their kids and they aren’t will to raise grandkids. I have a good friend whose mother does a lot for her kids. My friend’s 2 children are her parents only grandchildren. Her mother actually helped to homeschool the kids during the pandemic. I was amazed. Because I know my mom and many of my friends’ moms would not have done that. No way. She knows how lucky she is to have a mother willing to do that. But that same mom would flip her lid if her daughter had 10 kids. So at least she has more sense than Braggie’s mom. I think Braggie’s mom is selfishly living her dream through Braggie. She wanted a huge homeschooling family but only had 2.

All of this. I'm lucky in that I live near both sets of grandparents and they're willing to babysit. They also both clearly said, while I was pregnant with Eldest Son, that they were NOT taking grandkids every day like a couple of their friends did. If I were to have more than three I suspect they would also be less than willing to watch them all regularly. Both limits are more than fair.

I can't fathom Abbie's mother's motivation.

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In another question, a mom says she didn't do well in school but has a vision to homeschool and asks Abbie what to do (who are these women and why?) Abbie basically encourages her to go for it!

I do not think doing well in school is a magic marker for intelligence and believe that curious and motivated people can homeschool successfully without higher education. However, the ease with which this mother's desire/conviction was placed over any consideration of the well being of the child is revealing. 

Fundie parenting is riddled with narcissitic parenting. The children in this case are an extension of the mother. Her desire to be a homeschooling mom will define their education. 

It seems Abbie's kids might get a better home education than other families. She seems to herself had a better education than other more isolated and less privileged fundies. However, the fact that what she offers them orbits around her convictions instead of her children's well-being will still cause so much harm.

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I struggle with parentification because my siblings and I were terribly parentified, and the result is more damaging IMO than just resentment - there is a lot of damage to the older child’s emotional well-being as they take on responsibilities they shouldn’t developmentally be able to manage, and “abandoning” my youngest sister-daughter to go to college fucked us both up.

With my kids, I emphatically do not want to parentify them. But, sometimes, we are driving down the highway and the youngest’s seatbelt is off for some reason and we could take the time to pull off, I get out of the car, go back and fix it, then get back on our way, or my 12-year-old could just reach over and do it. There are tons of times when, as a family, it makes sense for a capable person to do something for a younger person just in terms of logistics. There are also tons of times when my kids WANT to do something - help each other with their outfits, try out cooking a meal with minimal help, etc.

What it comes down to me is: Is it minor or does our family functioning rely on it? Does the older child want to do it (and not just because they think it will please me)? If they get it wrong, would they get in trouble?

Because all kids try on adult things and can chip in. But at the point when it’s excessive, against their will, and an actual duty rather than a one-off, it’s parentification, and it’s damaging.

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@FunFunFundie it's loable not wanting to repeat your parent's faults, but an older sibling looking after a younger sibling is not parentifying, the same way making children do home chores is not enslaving them. Even if chores are against their will (who wants to leave their smartphone to go set the table or help a little sibling put their shoes?).

 

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I think that there is a difference between parentification by economic necessity and parentification by choice. Fundies do it by choice. But many low-income families in the US simply cannot afford child care due to the lack of a social safety net. There were twelve year olds who did their online schooling while supervising their younger siblings online schooling, or watch their younger siblings all day in the summer, because the parent has to go to work and there isn’t a choice. Kids also do so in the evening and at night, or they stay home with a sick sibling because the US doesn’t have sick days like every other country and missing a days work is seen as worse than missing a days school because work is what provides food, rent, etc. In these families it’s seen as a ‘we’re all in this together’ type of situation and while I wish it didn’t have to be, I don’t condemn them like I do Braggie. Similarly, grandparents often care for their grandkids not because they particularly want to but because the family can’t afford any other babysitter. 
 

It’s incredibly sad and disappointing that the US doesn’t have free day nurseries like other countries. Free schooling doesn’t start until kindergarten, at 5, and vouchers for child care and spots in free preschool programs are few and far between. Extended family fills in the gaps, and our country unfortunately couldn’t run without these grandparents and older siblings doing the parenting while the parent works their bum off to keep them alive. I bet a lot of those people would have a lot to say to Abbie….I’d like to be there to see it…..
 

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She's got stories up for the four kids' birthdays. At one point Evy or Nola (sorry I don't know which is which) is reading a card addressed to both of them listing things this presumably sibling likes about both of them. Do they not even get their own card on their birthday? 

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2 hours ago, TuringMachine said:

She's got stories up for the four kids' birthdays. At one point Evy or Nola (sorry I don't know which is which) is reading a card addressed to both of them listing things this presumably sibling likes about both of them. Do they not even get their own card on their birthday? 

I’m not a twin, but this is a HUGE peeve of mine. I can’t stand twins being treated as a unit and not two individuals. I would be the twin mom that probably ran herself ragged at birthdays to make sure they each have their own cake, their own cards, their own presents, and possibly even their own decorations if they each want a different theme. 
 

Isn’t Braggie the one who wrote a fucking book about not being a mediocre mom? you know what screams mediocre mom? Giving your twins one fucking card to share. That’s mediocre as all hell. 

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7 hours ago, anachronistic said:

I think that there is a difference between parentification by economic necessity and parentification by choice. Fundies do it by choice. But many low-income families in the US simply cannot afford child care due to the lack of a social safety net. There were twelve year olds who did their online schooling while supervising their younger siblings online schooling, or watch their younger siblings all day in the summer, because the parent has to go to work and there isn’t a choice. Kids also do so in the evening and at night, or they stay home with a sick sibling because the US doesn’t have sick days like every other country and missing a days work is seen as worse than missing a days school because work is what provides food, rent, etc. In these families it’s seen as a ‘we’re all in this together’ type of situation and while I wish it didn’t have to be, I don’t condemn them like I do Braggie. Similarly, grandparents often care for their grandkids not because they particularly want to but because the family can’t afford any other babysitter. 
 

It’s incredibly sad and disappointing that the US doesn’t have free day nurseries like other countries. Free schooling doesn’t start until kindergarten, at 5, and vouchers for child care and spots in free preschool programs are few and far between. Extended family fills in the gaps, and our country unfortunately couldn’t run without these grandparents and older siblings doing the parenting while the parent works their bum off to keep them alive. I bet a lot of those people would have a lot to say to Abbie….I’d like to be there to see it…..
 

Abbie is the quintessential spoiled rotten brat.

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UG, took the birthday kids to Dallas for lunch, and the girls were kind enough to let their mama stop in at a new Anthro to look at clothes. F her. The day in Dallas was more about her than the girls’ birthday.

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41 minutes ago, SassyPants said:

UG, took the birthday kids to Dallas for lunch, and the girls were kind enough to let their mama stop in at a new Anthro to look at clothes. F her. The day in Dallas was more about her than the girls’ birthday.

Everything is more about her.

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3 hours ago, SassyPants said:

Abbie is the quintessential spoiled rotten brat.

One thing all the teachers and schools and babysitters and nurseries would agree that they all rejoice they don't have to deal with Abbie.

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