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Teen yelled at for giving kids time out; lets them destroy house next time she babysits.

Teen yelled at for giving kids time out; lets them destroy house next time she babysits.


One of the hardest parts of providing childcare is figuring out how to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior when the parents haven't given you tools.

While it's reasonable for a parent to tell a babysitter they can't discipline their kids, it's a bit more complicated when there's no established way of redirecting kids from destructive behavior. So when parents don't listen to a babysitter's concerns, sometimes the best thing to do is call them on their bluff.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a teen asked if she was wrong for letter her niece and nephew destroy the house.

She wrote:

AITA for allowing my niece and nephew to destroy the house by not disciplining them after my sister-in-law specifically instructed me not to discipline them?

My brother Casey (32 y.o.) is much older than me (17 y.o.) He’s married to my sister-in-law Mandy (36 y.o.) and they have two kids; My nephew Nick (3 ½ y.o.) and my niece Mya (2 y.o.) Mandy recently asked my parents if I could babysit Nick and Mya, since Mandy wanted to visit her mom and the original babysitter canceled last minute.

I had never babysat Nick or Mya before (I honestly don’t have any real experience in babysitting kids under five) but my parents begged and offered to pay me so I agreed. Babysitting Nick and Mya was a nightmare. They acted like they had never been told no or been forced to behave in their entire lives.

Drawing on the walls with crayons and markers, trying to flush bath toys down the toilet, throwing themselves on the floor and screaming for candy, the list goes on and on. I called Mandy explaining what Nick and Mya were doing and that I was having them stand in the corner for a time-out. Mandy ended up coming home early, but not to deal with Nick or Mya.

Instead, Mandy was angry with me and told me that I wasn’t allowed to discipline them because I’m not their mother and “need to learn my place.” The next weekend (last Friday), Mandy begged me to babysit Nick and Mya because she said she wanted to visit her mom again and couldn’t find another babysitter.

My parents had me agree and Mandy told me again that I was not allowed to discipline Nick or Mya. (I’m pretty sure this is the real reason why she couldn’t get an actual babysitter for Nick and Mya.) Since Mandy said I couldn’t discipline them, I decided to do as I was told.

I watched them to make sure they didn’t try to run away from home or anything, but otherwise left Nick and Mya to their own devices. The house was obviously a wreck by the time Mandy got home. Mandy was furious with me and tried convincing my parents not to pay me. My parents still paid me since a deal is a deal.

But they said they were disappointed me with because even though Mandy’s no-discipline rule was silly, I had a dozen better ways of keeping my niece and nephew occupied (using an activity like crafts or hide-and-seek) instead of being “spiteful/immature” and just letting them destroy the house. Casey hasn’t said anything about it, but he is kinda an absentee father to be honest.

He spends most of his time at work. When he is home, he kinda just acts like the fun uncle while Mandy does the actual parenting. I’m looking for unbiased perspectives on here. AITA?

Internet strangers swooped in to share all of their hot takes on the situation.

kat_Folland wrote:

NTA. Maybe you could have redirected the kids, but maybe you couldn't and you had absolutely no recourse if that happened, as it was almost certain to do

'(I’m pretty sure this is the real reason why she couldn’t get an actual babysitter for Nick and Mya.)'

You may be 17, but you're sharp, kid. You're very probably right.

Do not babysit these kids again.

M0U53YBE94 wrote:

NTA. My sister has a kid that is the exact same way. He doesn't know what no means. No discipline. When I asked her what's up with that. She said she is gentle parenting. I said I won't be able to babysit anymore. To preface this situation. The kid has been kicked out of 6 different day cares.

Apprehensive-hippos wrote:

NTA. I wonder if the reason she needs a sitter when visiting her mom is because mom doesn't want the unrestrained dual tornadoes of destruction in her house.

Own-Blackberry2647 wrote:

NTA. I think you're spot on with regards to why she can't find a sitter anymore. I think what she was expecting was that you'd run behind her little hellions and clean up their messes. You did the right thing. I hope she doesn't ask your parents again.

OP is definitely NTA, it seems clear that her brother and sister-in-law are in denial.

Sources: Reddit
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