This is about questions in which the OP wants to parent their sibling, despite not being in a parenting relationship, e. g. because the parents still have custody.

We do allow such questions, when the OP (soon) has custody of their sibling, e. g. a recent example. However, when the OP is not acting in loco parentis, e. g. because they disagree with the way their parents parent their sibling, these questions usually get closed. (I also sometimes come across old questions by a sibling that are not closed, for example.)

How to deal with questions, in which the OP wants to parent their sibling, despite not being in a parenting relationship with them?

I didn't find an appropriate prior discussion, so I thought it would make sense to bring this up, after seeing the responses to this meta question about a special case (keeping such a question open by pretending to be the sibling's parent).

2 Answers 2


Personally (and, I guess, speaking as a mod) I feel those questions are fine. It's no different in principle than a soon-to-be parent asking a question about letting a baby cry, or a foster parent trying to anticipate handling what they see as a problem they will be facing.

We're here to help. I think our restrictions (clarity, specificity, no medical diagnoses, etc.) are appropriate. Not every parenting question will fit into the "parent mold", if that makes sense.

That's my $.02 worth. I hope you hear from people besides mods.


As noted before, I would like to see the applied definition of the word parenting expanded. Websters dictionary states one definition of parenting as

the taking care of someone in the manner of a parent

When a person feels the nurturing call to help another soul we should respond and share the knowledge and insight we have as a collective with that person. Not only are they choosing to don the role of a parent (a good thing which is probably the hardest task in life), they very likely will find themselves in a parental role again in the future.

Further, I don't think it totally matters if the 'child' in question is 100% on board with the relationship. The critical question is, does the poster see themselves as trying to take care of someone in the manner of a parent. Many times real parents and parental figures have to deal with non-compliant "children" who reject their position of authority. When appropriate this issue can and should be part of an answer.

Siblings parenting each other is common and accepted in our society. While it may or may not be a legal reality, it is in fact an experienced reality, and the formal definition of 'Parenting' covers this relationship.

I say we whole heartedly accept and encourage the 'taking care of someone in the manner of a parent' and offer our wisdom in the journey to anyone willing to accept that most difficult of mantles to bear.

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