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by Abigail Van Buren

Reluctant Baby Sitter Resents Being Impressed Into Service

DEAR ABBY: I live with my parents and am not fond of children. My father volunteers me to baby-sit my nieces while they are right in front of us and before I have a chance to discuss anything. If I stand up for myself and say no, my father lays a guilt trip on me and tells the kids that their aunt is "being mean."

I'm grateful that my parents took me in after I graduated from university, which has allowed me to work on a second degree. However, when I am volunteered to do something I don't enjoy -- like entertain the kids -- my father somehow always manages to leave the house. He often lectures me about things I should do or things others should do, but he never does any of them himself. His excuse is that he works to support us financially.

Am I being ungrateful and should I grin and bear it? Or should I do an intervention with Dad when the kids aren't over? -- OVERTIRED AUNT

DEAR OVERTIRED: Assuming that you have told your father your feelings, he may feel that because he supports you, he has the right to volunteer your services. What might work would be to tell your sibling how you feel about being trapped into doing it -- and about kids in general. I know I wouldn't want any children of mine to be around someone who resents having to care for them. Perhaps your sibling will feel the same.

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