Mom Wants To Ban SIL for Forcing 7-Year-Old to 'Fend for Herself' While Babysitting But Dad Disagrees

wavebreakmedia/iStock


wavebreakmedia/iStock

Finding quality, affordable child care is a struggle for an overwhelming number of parents. If and when a date night finally becomes possible, many couples opt to ask a family member to step up and babysit. Unfortunately, doing that seems to have gone south for a Redditor member. She wrote on the Am I the A--hole subreddit that her 17-year-old sister-in-law left her 7-year-old daughter to fend for herself, including suggesting she make her own dinner -- in the oven.

  • The original poster (OP) explained that their 7-year-old is "curious about everything."

    When the OP and their husband decided to have a night at their beach house for date night, they asked the child's 17-year-old aunt to watch her.

  • Advertisement
  • Date night went wonderfully, according to the OP.

    "Was really nice to be able to have sex while not exhausted from the day," the person wrote. "We watched Lifetime movies, had sex, cuddled, binged Love is Blind, had more sex. First time in 7 years we actually got to just be a couple again. We called every night to make sure everything was alright at home, and we got pretty enthusiastic yes from both of them, and it seemed like daughter was having a fun time with her aunt. Then, we got back home. We thanked his sister for babysitting and gave her $500 for the weekend."

  • The next night, the 7-year-old inquired as to whether she would see her aunt again.

    "We laugh and ask why and she tells us, 'Because she's mean to me,'" wrote the OP. "So, now we're wondering what the hell happened."

  • The OP initially figured it was about her daughter not being allowed to have a sweet after dinner or something similar.

    "We continue to ask questions, and she tells us that aunt wouldn't make her meals at all leaving our 7-year-old daughter to use the oven and cook for herself without any supervision," wrote the Redditor. 

    The OP confronted the sister-in-law, who "claimed she was 'just upstairs,' in case anything went wrong."

  • Understandably, the Redditor flipped out upon hearing the aunt's admission.

    "She left a f---ing child to use an oven by herself!" wrote the OP. "SHE CAN'T EVEN REACH THE F---ING CONTROLS! So she's telling me essentially she made my daughter CLIMB THE F---ING COUNTER TO GET TO THE CONTROLS TO TURN OFF THE OVEN, WHILE IT WAS STILL HOT! It's bad enough she'd have to climb up to turn on the oven, fine whatever, I've let her do that a few times too while I was there to lift her up and down but while it was on and still very much hot too? What the f--- was she thinking?"

  • But the OP's husband doesn't see eye-to-eye on what should happen next.

    "I told my husband she is never allowed over again and we will never let her babysit again," the OP wrote. "My husband is telling me we just need to explain why she can't do that and give her a second chance."

    The poster then turned it over to the Reddit community, asking who is right and who is wrong.

  • Most Redditors agreed that the OP was justified in being livid but might want to do a bit more digging.

    "I think you should talk to the aunt about it to get her side of the story before implementing a total ban," one person wrote.

    A couple of the commenters agreed that there might have been an innocent miscommunication.

    "The ways kids phrase things can be weird," one person wrote. "When my sister was in kindergarten she told me she got sent to the office every day for doing nothing. Knowing she was really well behaved, I was surprised and mad (all of age 12, btw). Turns out she went to the office to get the mail every day." 

    Another shared, "Yes, it could be an exaggeration, like 'I'm just going upstairs, so if the timer goes off, you can turn off the stove for me.'"

  • That said, a couple Redditors wanted more information or took a stance against hiring a 17-year-old -- family or not -- in the first place.

    "I can't even make a judgment on this because there are so many holes in your story and your responses on whether or not you’ve done your research on what actually happened are spotty at best," one person commented. "My gut tells me you’re wayyyy overreacting and adding pieces that you haven't actually confirmed to be fact."

    "Everyone sucks here. She's 17 and a s----y babysitter, but you don't leave a 17-year-old alone for that long with a little kid without having a VERY good idea of how they treat your child. This [is] half your own fault for not making sure she is a competent babysitter with a decent understanding of safety. I doubt she even realizes that she messed up that badly," another person shared.

    "I don't think you would be the a--hole at all for never having her babysit again (you'd just be an even bigger idiot than you are already, TBH). But banning her from your house for something you, the adults, could have prevented with better parenting seems like a huge overreaction."

  • The OP reiterated later in the thread that she confronted her SIL about what happened.

    "She admitted to having been upstairs and not preparing food for the 7-year-old, so that alone is pretty bad," the Redditor wrote.

    Ultimately, although the OP's freakout doesn't seem unjustified, it does sound as if the family could benefit from more communication and offering the aunt solid caregiver training if she's to ever babysit again.