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Dad Calls Wife ‘Unjust’ For Kicking His Sister Out After She Lost Their Autistic Son For An Hour

Mom holding young son
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Having family watch children is not always a simple endeavor.

Redditor anonymouspersom383 recently experienced a unique challenge when her sister-in-law was babysitting.

The Original Poster (OP) had understandably heightened emotions after this particular incident, ultimately leading to behavior that landed her on subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).

She asked:

“AITA for kicking out my sister in law after she lost my son while babysitting”

She went on to explain:

“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.”


Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:

“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.” – dart1126

“NTA, drowning is the #1 cause of death for autistic children.”

“Your son eloped, her first call should have been to you to find out if there was any place he was known to go so she could check there first…”

“…while she was waiting for you and the police!!!” – Weekly-Lie9099

“Your son could have died. Also many states make parents who ‘lose’ their children take parenting classes and have strikes against that can cause them to lose their children.”

“This is a serious issue and she should not be trusted with your child.”

“Edit: Op NTA. I would 1000% kick her out hard times or not. Your son could have been seriously injured or worse. Your husband is not taking it seriously enough.” – Important_Vast_4692

“I taught children with special needs, and was specialized in autism. If I would have lost a student and not noticed for half an hour, I would have been fired.”

“Yes, children can be escape artists but if your job is to watch them, then that’s what you do. The moment a kid makes a run for it, you should notice and go after them.”

“If you can’t catch them, at least you know where they are. Then you notify the parents and get help. I think you’re right in not wanting you have her around anymore. NTA” – Natfreerider

“Oof, that’s a tough one.”

“Hopefully she’s honestly and sincerely apologised for what happened, and the reason for her lack of attention. If not, yeah, exile is justified.”

“If she has apologised for her actions then maybe another role within the household that doesn’t involve a supervisory position over your children.”

“Something like taking on more household chores. Something helpful that doesn’t involve financial exchange or the kids.”

“That allows you to revert your children to whatever their original support care network was, whether daycare or other babysitters/child care professionals…”

“…while still receiving help around the household.”

“This will help to ease your husband’s worries over his Sister’s well-being, provide her with a means to save face and allow her to try to earn back your trust.”

“However it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to trust them with your children again.”

“A very conditional ESH. Her, for obvious reasons of neglecting your child under her care and her hesitation in informing you.”

“You for turning out a family member who made a very real but in the end forgivable error in judgement where thankfully nobody ended up hurt.” – AllandarosSunsong

“Can you explain how you believe your SIL was negligent? Kids wander off, it happens, especially kids with autism- this is a known common behavior.”

“No single adult can have eyes on a child 100% off the time. What precautions that you’ve taken did she fail to do?”

“Was there an unlocked door that should have been locked? An alarm turned off that should have been on? Was the child left unattended for an abnormal amount of time?”

“Are you just upset that you feel that she handled the situation incorrectly?”

“Because I’m going to go out on a limb and guess MOST caretakers would look for the kid first before immediately calling emergency services.”

“I can understand you wanting to have it handled differently but I don’t believe that would warrant kicking her out.”

“And the statement ‘it’s unclear if she would have told us if the police didn’t tell her to’ is ridiculous. She did tell you. Being angry over a hypothetical that didn’t happen is completely unreasonable.”

“I understand that you are scared, upset etc. but I do think that you overreacted. I guess I have to go with YTA.” – No_Location_5565

“I think the judgement calls (or lack of judgement) are the issue.”

“Searching for the child alone, versus alerting the cops/neighbors/anyone who could help right then in the moment – big mistake.”

“When the exact right moment is… with a three year old I would argue the amount of time it takes you to look up and down the block you’re on…”

“…and the two side streets to your left and right up and down. Three minutes? five minutes? After then it is about reinforcements and boots on the ground.”

“A three year old… Number one priority find the kid. Inconveniencing, neighbors, the police, yourself, the parents at work… Not an issue.”

“Waiting a full hour to contact the cops… That is someone who is thinking about themselves and potential ramifications… not about the welfare of a child.”

“I was dog sitting for a neighbor around 10 years old and the dog ran out the front door off leash. I was banging on other neighbors doors for help with less than half a block of chasing after the dog.”

“If you haven’t found a three-year-old after five minutes of searching let alone 30 or f**king 45 minutes and you still wait till an hour to call the cops or someone who can genuinely help…”

“Bad judgment.” – TheCa11ousBitch

“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!!” – stargalaxy6

“This behavior is called eloping. It happens all the time especially with autistic kids. It could’ve very easily happen to you.”

“That’s why we installed a burglar alarm which chimes anytime a door or window is opened. We also have a double locked doors.”

One way to look at this is to learn from it. The lessons are 1. your house in inadequate for your escape artist and 2. you’ll need her more than she needs you in the future.”

“We’re paying $30/hour for a babysitter bc nobody wants to look after an autistic child. Not my siblings nor my parents or in-laws.”

“You have a (mostly) reliable and responsible sitter who slipped up as any parent would.”

“As for not calling you right away, that could also happen to anyone who’s panicking. I understand you’re very upset and rightly so. Your son could’ve gotten hurt.”

“But trust me when I say that you’ll need her help in the future so you need to forgive her today. Imho Good luck on whatever you decide.” – iloveeatpizzatoo

This is a tough one.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)