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'AITA for relying on an older sibling while babysitting a kid with special needs?' UPDATED 3X

'AITA for relying on an older sibling while babysitting a kid with special needs?' UPDATED 3X

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The whole point of hiring a babysitter is making sure that your kids are being cared for, so when the babysitter asks the kids to watch each other, it defeats the purpose.

"AITA for relying on an older sibling while babysitting?"

I'm 18f who just graduated high school a few weeks ago. I've never had a job before, and now that I’ve graduated, I wanted to earn some money for experiences at community college.

I asked my mom if she could help me find a job, and she suggested babysitting. I thought it would be easy. My mom's supervisor needed a babysitter for the summer because their daycare shut down. They have two sons: Len, who's 10, and Bo, who's 5 and autistic.

They reassured me that Len is very independent and prefers to be alone, so I would mostly need to focus on Bo. I’ve never dealt with autistic kids, but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard since he’s so young. On my first day, I got to know the boys, and things started off pretty simple. Bo played with his toy cars for a few hours while Len stayed in his room.

Around noon, I called them for lunch. I'm not great at cooking, so I just heated up some canned mac and cheese. Len was fine with it, but Bo burst into tears, saying he hated mac and cheese. I tried to get him to eat, but he kept crying. Since I didn’t know much about autism, I asked Len for help. He was a bit rude but took Bo bowl, got him some fig bars, and that seemed to calm him down.

When I asked Bo what he would like to eat in the future, he just made angry noises and ignored me. Later, Bo started crying again because he couldn’t assemble his fire truck. He asked for help, and since I didn’t know what to do, I called Len again. Len complained and didn’t want to help, so I snapped and told him to help his brother or he wouldn’t get a snack later.

He did it grudgingly, and things were fine for a while. Some time passes, and I find Bo crying in the laundry room again. He told me his cat scratched him and made him bleed. I called Len again to put a band-aid on him because I wasn’t sure how Bo would react if I did it. Len looked really upset while doing it, but nothing else happened that day.

When their mom came home, I left. Later, I got a long, angry message saying I "parentified" Len and that it should’ve been my responsibility to take care of Bo. She said she didn’t want me to babysit anymore. I was livid because I feel like Len is very spoiled and can’t even handle helping out around the house. My mom is mad at me, but my dad is on my side and is really angry with their mom. AITA?

Shortly after posting, OP shared a small update.

Edit: Yall don't know anything and lmao I never harassed anyone on Facebook it's all lies I only DMed that acc on reddit sooo who's "lying through their teeth?"

Idk I didn't b-lly anyone and stop believing this girl who's exaggerating everything y'all look dumb. Also I removed their gd NICKNAMES stop DMing me stuff idc I'm blocking all of yall.

The internet did not hold back.

owls_and_cardinals wrote:

YTA, realizing you're inexperienced, you seem like an awful sitter. You had pretty much one kid to focus on and managed to outsource most of it to the other kid in your care, and on top of that threatened to withhold food based on the older child's compliance? The parent is correct for chastising you, and you should not babysit that family again.

You should not be livid and Cal did not show signs of being spoiled, based on this. It sounds like both kids played on their own for hours at a time and at least once you seemed to have lost track of the younger child, which strikes me as odd for someone who is a first-time, presumably attentive, sitter. What were you doing while they played independently?

In the future, consider asking some questions about the care of the children to help things go smoother, including their dietary preferences or limitations, and methods that should be used especially if a child has special needs. But mostly it sounds like this particular job might not be a good fit for you and you probably owe them an apology.

PerturbedHamster responded:

Everything you've said is true, but the mom absolutely failed to prepare OP for the job. Especially since OP was new to babysitting, the mom should have left clear instructions on how to handle Conny. Yes, a more experienced sitter would have known to ask those questions, but at the end of the day the mom is responsible for who she leaves her children with and making sure they're prepared. ESH.

Kasparian wrote:

You must be joking. You’re 18 and your mom had to hold your hand to find you the job. Then you failed to actually do any part of your job at all. The parent should have notified you about what food preferences the kid had, but instead of shirking off all responsibility to the brother, you get your ass on the phone and call and speak to the parent.

You couldn’t put on a Band-Aid or help build a kid’s toy? You should not be in charge of anyone’s children if you don’t have enough common sense to do these things. And then you had the gall to threaten a child for not wanting to help. Do it or no snack for you is not professional.

earthstarling wrote:

YTA. I understand this is your first time babysitting, but you knew what you were getting into. Cal is only 10 and likely didn’t know much more about how to help than you do. You should’ve asked Mom for more advice on what to do in these situations instead of relying on a 10-year-old.

OP responded:

I didn't know what I was getting into when one kid can't even bother to help out a little and why should I ask mom when brother is home and can actually assist me? It makes no sense since she's not even there.

Not long after OP's post gained traction, the half-sister of the boys found the post and replied.

Hi,

Consider yourself lucky this reached me and not our mother because she would be livid. If you had respected my brothers' privacy by not using their real names, I would have extended the same courtesy to you and addressed this privately.

To put it short, I am livid. How dare you use my younger brothers' real nicknames, which they use everywhere, without their parents' consent? You are fortunate I'm states away. How dare you portray my younger brother as some spoiled brat while conveniently omitting the fact that he is disabled?

He has ADD and struggles with anger management and social interactions because of people like you who make him out to be the bad guy. I know for a fact that our mother has emphasized their special needs because she always ensures their caretakers are fully aware of them. Yet, you refuse to acknowledge Older Bro's very real and debilitating disability.

Moreover, you left out so many important details, which only adds insult to injury. You ridiculed Older Bro for being "incompetent and a bad brother," and you bullied him into helping with your own incompetence. Older Bro struggles with this insecurity, and I’m sure you exploited it.

And let's not forget how you criticized him for not wanting your gross canned mac and cheese, which only their dad eats. He didn't complain because you ridiculed them both for not liking it.

According to my mom, your parents are paying for your college, so that's another blatant lie. We are fortunate our parents are so attentive and proactive, but it terrifies me to think of the many parents who aren’t, allowing you to mistreat disabled children without consequence.

Your lack of regret speaks volumes about your character. To anyone concerned, I am posting in as many Facebook groups as possible to warn others about this horrible woman and to protect other disabled kids—or any kids—from her mistreatment. Their ENRAGED half-sister :)

Other commenters were quick to respond to the half-sister.

Alyssa_Hargreaves wrote:

Please get a screenshot of this post and send it to your mother please. She should also ensure that she warns ALL other parents about this whatever you wanna call them cause it's ain't caregiver.

Clearly OPs parents aren't on the same page if one is enabling one isn't. She's a danger to kids. So please show your mother this post and make sure it gets to ANY parent possible (hell even other school districts) so no kid is actually injured or worse under her "supervision."

Stormtomcat wrote:

I agree that involving the parents so they can warn their network is fair game. Not knowing how to translate special needs instructions into concrete care (like repairing a toy truck that serves as a security blanket) is one thing.

Allowing a 5-year-old child, any 5-year-old child to play without supervision, and in a kitchen and laundry room to boot, is unconscienable, imo, esp. If it's because you're watching TV while getting paid (as opposed to, IDK, tending to the other kid's bloody nose or something).

Choice_werewolf1259 wrote:

I agree with this as well. Screenshots and receipts too. I mean imagine if the younger kid had climbed into the washer. Or had ingested a Tide pod. OP is a negligent care giver. And is dangerous. And they’re the worst kind of dangerous babysitter who thinks they are actually good at what they’re doing.

The sister posted a response to some of the comments.

You guys were right. I knew my mom would not go easy (and believe me, I don't say this lightly), and I wanted to give her a chance to either take down the post (even though the damage would already be done) and learn from this experience.

But nope. The girl thought it was a great idea to stalk me, find my Facebook, and bombard me with nasty messages through Messenger. I'm not cutting her any slack. She kept whining about how "she wasn't doing anything wrong because it was only their nicknames!!!" and how I was a b*** and took it too far. Seriously?

I don't care that it was "only their nicknames"; these kids use these names for school, for soccer practice, for everything. They are not old enough to consent to having these names on the internet. I can't even excuse her by saying she was naive and didn't understand the potential danger of posting personal information like this.

Clearly, she didn't even consider the risks. I called my mom earlier and sent her all the screenshots, and she was just as horrified and enraged as I was when I first saw them. She mentioned that the girl's mother claimed she had lots of cousins, some with disabilities, which she supposedly learned to handle. Clearly, that was all BS.

I almost feel bad for the girl's mom, though, because my mom has gone ballistic on her too. Our family comes from a relatively small town where a lot of families know each other, and my mom is in various groups with all the neighborhood moms. Suffice it to say, word is getting out about the girl's awful behavior, and her family's reputation is taking a hit. Thank you all for your advice; it's been helpful!

The comments kept coming in responses to the sister.

Stormtomcat wrote:

Beyond not correctly coping with your little brothers' disabilities, OP openly admits to lounging in front of the TV and "just call me if you need me" while letting a 5 yo play unsupervised in the kitchen and laundry room.

It looks like he was playing too roughly with the cat and got scratched...but that could have ended so much worse! Ingesting detergent or cleaning products, finding knives or matches, the list of potential disasters is endless?! Sharing her name around as a horrible and irresponsible babysitter is fair game, imo.

The sister responded:

My mom checked our house cams and apparently she was on the phone more than half of the time. What a joke.

KCarriere wrote:

Hey, I saved this to PDF for your mom. Message me when she takes it down and you need it. Your mom needs to see this including the REAL NAMES being used. I PDFed her comment about leaving both children alone to watch TV -- specifically the part about Conny playing alone in the kitchen and the laundry room -- the two most dangerous rooms in the house -- ALONE.

Song_Pond wrote:

Girl, burn it down. Post on Facebook groups, show your mom, save screenshots indefinitely (of the post and her comments) and regularly check nannying/care sites so you can report her.

She didn’t just parentify your 10-year-old brother, she actively ignored your 5 year old special needs brother and he got injured because of it. Sure, it was just a cat scratch this time, but cats can do a lot of damage when they’re cornered, and it could have been far worse.

By her own admission, she couldn’t even handle putting a bandaid on a bleeding kid. That’s like, before caregiving 101. That’s something you learn when you are a kid. On top of all that, she sees absolutely nothing wrong with the care she provided and she wants to do it again to with another family.

[deleted] wrote:

Please please update us further! I can only hope the parents of the other girl she’s supposedly babysitting for hear about this.

The sister responded:

So yeah, as expected, Mom went nuclear. The girl's mom kept apologizing profusely and had no idea the post was made. My mom wanted to involve legal action, but we came to the agreement that as long as (A) the names are deleted from the post or (B) the post is taken down by 6:00 EST, then it won't come to that.

Unfortunately, we don't know exactly who the little girl is, but we've shared this situation everywhere (me in Facebook groups, and Mom in her group chats and on Nextdoor). We're hoping it'll reach that family before things escalate.

Oh, and we found out something else. Apparently, it wasn't just our kids she was going to babysit. A mom reached out to us and said her husband was close friends with the girl's dad, and she was supposed to babysit a young baby occasionally for date nights and such.

The baby has GERD, and she was given instructions on that. Safe to say, after seeing how poorly she follows directions, she will NOT be babysitting that poor infant. The girl has blocked me, so I don't have any updates from her, but I hope you all know we're doing everything to keep these kids safe.

OP has not jumped on to say anything further/in response to the half-sister.

Sources: Reddit
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