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'AITA for kicking out my sister-in-law after she lost my son while babysitting?'

'AITA for kicking out my sister-in-law after she lost my son while babysitting?'

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"AITA for kicking out my sister in law after she lost my son while babysitting?"

Over the past three months, my husband's sister has been staying with us until she got back on her feet. As part of her contribution to our household, she generously offered to babysit our kids, including our 3-year-old son with autism and with both delayed speech and language, without expecting any compensation.

However, about three weeks ago while she was babysitting, our son managed to slip out of the front door without her awareness, wandering around for approximately half an hour before a concerned individual alerted the police.

Rather than immediately notifying my husband and I about the situation, she spent an hour searching the neighborhood before involving law enforcement. We only became aware of our son's disappearance after she had already found out that the police had picked him up and safely returned him home. There's uncertainty regarding whether she would have informed us if the police had not explicitly instructed her to do so.

In the aftermath I asked her to leave our home. My husband believes that my decision to kick her out was overly severe, labeling it as an honest mistake that could happen to anyone.

He also emphasizes her lack of alternative living arrangements, arguing that it was “unjust” to leave her with nowhere else to go. She put my son’s safety at risk and broke my trust and I can’t get over that, but I can’t shake what my husband said. Now I feel terrible about putting her on the street. AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

dart1126 said:

NTA. "An honest mistake"…initially…yes…kids can be slippery little devils. The big mistake…was not calling you. Spinning her wheels searching for AN HOUR, then hearing the police thankfully had him…and …when she going to call you? Has she even apologized…doesn’t sound like it.

She’s staying with you to ‘get back on her feet’…so, she’s an adult…this isn’t some 19 year old being an idiot. She should’ve known better, and since she doesn’t, no, she cannot be relied upon, and deserves banishment.

NoCost5885 said:

NTA. Sure, anyone could have let the kids slip out the door. That COULD happen to anyone. The problem is that she didn’t alert you immediately. You should have been called the minute she couldn’t find him.

Sunshine12e said:

YTA. This could have happened to anyone, including YOU. Every child can slip past the person who is watching them, even if the person is doing an excellent job. Also, autistic children are KNOWN to wander from their caregivers because they have a lower sense of danger.

Perhaps you do not want to leave your child in the care if your SIL anymore, but to kick her out, IS over the top. Be careful with your child--at only 3 yrs old, this issue may become worse in tbe future

stargalaxy6 said:

YTA- You can not just claim your child has special needs, and then ASSUME that the normal young person is going to know what that entails!! Yes, she could have called you right away, she probably went into panic mode and started looking.

She probably didn’t realize how long she was looking. It would have been better for you all to sit down and use this as a teaching lesson for EVERYONE! Right now you probably feel so righteous, SIL probably feels horrible and she has no where to stay. What if one of your children babysits someday and this happens? How would you want them treated? It wasn’t malicious! You’re acting like it was. DO BETTER!!

proud_didi said:

YTA a tiny bit. My daughter is autistic and as a toddler she was AN ESCAPE ARTIST. When taking her to therapy, it looked like she was doing a temple run game, running down the narrow path between offices to the gym area. Ducking under reaching arms, jumping over legs stuck out to block her, once she just slid out of her hoodie, leaving it behind, giggling madly as she jumped into the ball pit. Funny, but frustrating.

She was also an escape artist at home. She would LIFT each end of the dining table, side to side, to crawl through the kitchen/dining room window to get in there and grab a spoon, OPEN the locked kitchen door, then CARRY heavy wooden chairs we had locked in the kitchen, to the living room window.

Then she'd pile pillows and phone books (the old giant ones) on the chair to open the living room window and drop down to the front yard, and zoom! off she'd go. This was in teh middle of the night, btw. Terrifying.

Get those childproof door knob covers for ALL doors in teh home. There are stickers that separate and act as alarms. They are two pieces and go on your door/window and when it is opened it blares out.

There are all sorts of things you can get to make it difficult for him to leave, and alert you if he does. I'm also thinking some doorbell cams have MOTION DETECTORS when someone is near the door. You might also reach out to their therapist, if they are getting therapy, to find out what more you can do.

cdb-outside said:

ESH we have escape artists in our family too. It happens. Did you talk through the scenarios? She was likely in a panic and not thinking clearly. She just wanted to find your child. Should she have done something else? Yes. But she lacked the maturity and experience to handle this. Teach her. She will do better.

The opinions were fairly divided for this one. What's your advice for this family?

Sources: Reddit
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