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Background: my parents have been running a small restaurant which opens everyday with another employee for a couple of years now; things went okay so far, I don't hear much complaints. I've been helping them whenever I can, back then when I was still in college until I graduated recently and got a job.

And here come my situation: my parents tend to go on something they call "religious trip" every 2-3 weeks on Sunday (which I don't know much about) and ask me to come and help the employee since she will be working alone.

I'm usually okay with this and come to help my family whenever they go on their trip. Things went okay until last month, when they suddenly needed to make their trip very frequently (from every 2-3 weeks on Sunday to weekly on weekends) and asked me to come help the employee (which I still accepted for them and would feel extremely bad if Ilet her work alone).

They promised it won't last for long, but it's already been a month and they're still going for their trip weekly in weekend. I'm getting very tired with this situation now, since I work 44 hrs/week and just want to take the weekend to rest. Sometimes, I'm just so tired that when I receive their text to come help, I almost come confront my parents (which I managed to hold back).

So here is my question: How do I convince my parents and their employee to close their restaurant while they go on their trips?

Here is something that I've tried:

  • Asked them to close the restaurant for at least Sunday while they're gone, refused with "We will lose our regulars if we close the restaurant for one day".
  • Tell my parents that I'm tired and won't come to help, to what they say that "if you don't come the employee will have to work alone" (I still come to help at the end).
  • Tried not to come help at all, but feel so bad that I still come help after 1-2 hours (I don't have any emotional attachment to the employee though, just feel bad to leave someone to prepare and run the restaurent by themself).

Some information to clarify:

  • I'm male, moved out after graduate.
  • We live in Asia
  • They give me some money to compensate which I put to family's account for bills and and give some to my sister who still living with them.
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    To rule it out as an option; Are your parents in any position to hire someone else, even on a temporary basis? If they are, in a way, paying you for your time, can't they pay someone else? – user8671 Sep 11 '18 at 7:43
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    How do your parents react if you simply say "No, I can't make it this weekend"? – Polygnome Sep 11 '18 at 10:36
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It seems to me that your issue is not if the restaurant is open or not but that they take up your weekends when you need to rest so my answer would be more or less to "how can you convince them to let you rest on the weekends".

First thing first, they are your parents and they have provided for you and taken care of you for most of your life. They feel entitled to your help with the restaurant and probably with good reason. I don't believe just flat out refusing would work.

They are still your parents though and they will most likely keep your needs above their own. I would talk to them and explain that working on your regular job is tiring enough and having no time to rest is damaging your health and your performance at work. No parent wants to be responsible for his child ending up losing his job or even worse - ending up in a hospital. Keep the conversation about you and the effects that working on the weekends is having on you. Don't judge them for their choices but just explain the effects of their choices and hope your parents will make the right decision.

I would also suggest other alternatives so they can still get what they want (keeping the restaurant open). You mentioned you have a sister. Maybe she can go help out instead of you? Or the long time employee can have someone come to help out on the weekends. Your parents are wiling to pay you for your time, they shouldn't have a problem paying somebody else.

Have an honest discussion with them. I am sure there is some compromise that can keep everyone happy.

  • This seems to make the most sense. Suppose one day you find the need to make religious pilgrimage on the same Sunday? Shouldn't that be an option for you too? – T.E.D. Sep 20 '18 at 11:28
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Tell them all, including the employee, that after October 1, 2018, you will never again step in to help.

You are taking responsibility for your parents' problem, and their employee's problem. As long as you take responsibility for the problem, they can treat it as not their problem, and they can delay solving it.

When they know that you are not a resource, they are motivated to start figuring out a solution. Maybe the employee has a friend who can help. Maybe your parents can find another employee who wants just a few hours a week. Who knows? There are solutions. But until you step away, your parents will never find those solutions.

And don't find the solution for them. Part of the process needs to be making this their problem, not yours.

I was going to suggest that you offer to help a limited number of times, but I think that's a slippery slope--they will push you to do a little more, and a little more, and you'll be back where you started. You need to cut them off from your help, completely and permanently.

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