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Teen hides from step-mom and makes her look 'crazy' to get out of babysitting.

Teen hides from step-mom and makes her look 'crazy' to get out of babysitting.


Getting along with a step-parent isn't a walk in the park, particularly when they switch up their tone towards you behind closed doors. The idea that a teen should immediately bond with a step-parent and step-siblings simply because their parent fell in love is naive at best, and pressure-filled and manipulative at worst.

Relationships take time, intention from all sides, and mutual respect and understanding. If one of those is missing, it's going to be a long road. Luckily, the internet is here to give perspective on that road.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a teen girl asked if she was wrong for gaslighting her step-mom in order to avoid babysitting.

She wrote:

AITA for making my step-mom look crazy so I can avoid babysitting her kids?

I (16F) live with my dad. My mom passed in a bad accident a couple of years ago. My dad met Josie in a grief group or something like that and they got married last year. Josie has two kids (8M, 6M) and I hate living with them tbh.

8M has like really bad ADHD and is constantly accidentally breaking things, making messes, and has meltdowns over the smallest things. 6M is kinda similar but not quite as bad. They both get into my room and take things or break them.

I babysat them once when our parents were dating and I’d rather jump off a building than ever have to watch them again, I stg. Josie offered to pay me when they were dating but I said no.

Now that we all live together, she’s been trying to make me deal with them more and more, usually while my dad’s not home. My dad thinks I should bond with them more but he said I don’t have to babysit.

Josie keeps trying to pull the “just watch them for an hour while I go to the store” or loading me up with chores since I’m not watching the kids. I have chores that I do already, so it’s not like I’m doing nothing, I just want some time to myself on the weekend.

My dad doesn’t see it happen so he thinks I’m exaggerating. I have the smaller bedroom in the house we moved into, but I found out when I was putting stuff away that it has a hatch into like a side attic.

Nobody else knows about it. I’ve started keeping stuff I don’t want anyone else to get into in there and it’s big enough that I can spread out a blanket and some pillows and read or work on my laptop in peace.

I had the idea to just go in there and avoid Josie when my dad’s not home and it worked. She called for me and came looking for me but couldn’t find me.

My dad texted me and asked where I was and I told him in my room and dropped my phone location for him to see. Josie still couldn’t find me, but I slipped out before my dad came home and was laying on my bed with a book when he got there.

Josie got big mad asking where I’ve been and I said in my room. My dad showed her the location I sent when she said I was lying and snuck out.

Now they’re arguing because Josie insists I wasn’t in the house and my dad thinks she’s lying and taking it out on me because I wouldn’t babysit. I do feel a little bad now because I am making Josie look kinda nuts. But I also don’t want to babysit or spend my entire Saturday doing chores. AITA?

Edit, because questions in the comments: I’m not allowed to have a lock on my door and got in trouble for blocking it to keep the kids out.

Josie flat out lies to my dad when I refuse to do what she wants while he’s not there and until now he believed her and I’ve gotten grounded for being disrespectful to her even though the only thing I did was say no.

I’ve tried having a conversation with both my dad and Josie together and my dad separately and she denies everything and my dad thinks it’s just because I don’t like the idea of the step-family. Nobody listens to me.

I think what I’m going to do since now he thinks she’s lying and is wondering if she actually has been punishing me for not watching her kids is keep my stuff hidden in the attic and not go stay in there for awhile like some people suggested.

I’m going to try and record Josie but I think I might talk to my coach at school, too, because she’s been noticing that I’m losing weight and gassing out too fast at practice and asked if everything is ok the other day.

Maybe she can talk to my dad about it since the stress is affecting my training or figure out who to get involved that my dad would listen to.

Commenters were quick to add their thoughts and assessments of the step-family dynamic.

Holiday_Cat_7284 wrote:

LMAO you're so NTA. This is golden. They're not your kids or siblings, you didn't ask for any of this to happen, and your free time/study time should be the first thing that was considered in this move.

You might want to say something to Josie like 'I've done my chores, I'm going to my room now, I have work to do, and I'd like to not be disturbed until x hours' rather than keep up the attic hideaway thing, because I can see that ending up being all your fault when it gets found out.

Study hard, focus yourself on your future, hopefully you can soon go to college or whatever and leave Josie to look after her own kids.

ABeerAndABook wrote:

NTA, but don't do this too often or you'll reveal your secret spot. Josie needs to realize OP isn't on call 24/7 (or at all) to be her babysitting service. This is a tough spot for OP, though. I would try documenting her behavior for a couple of weeks and having a talk with dad about Josie trying to unload parenting her kids.

LunaticBZ wrote:

While this is an amazing temporary solution, I don't think this will work long term. NTA, but I think you need a different tactic in the future.

Literally_Taken wrote:

Set up a hidden camera (with audio) in your room, on a day when you know your stepmother will act up. (Aim it so it won’t record you dressing.) Ask your dad out for coffee, and then show him the proof. You want to talk to him away from the house, so stepmother can’t interfere in the conversation.

worstquantintern wrote:

Long term, aim it at the door to your room, and you can catch the boys if they attempt to mess with your stuff. Don’t hide in the hides-hole again, please. It will only get you in trouble. NTA.

I'm going to say NTA because the kids are Josie's responsibility, not yours. it seems like she's pawning them off to you so she can do whatever she wants without having to worry about her kids, which is not right. It is a little bit deceptive to lie about sneaking out, but imo you get a pass because she's kind of infringing on your independence by trying to dump responsibility onto you.

Hopefully, OP, who is clearly NTA, is able to get through to Josie and her dad.

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