As parents and legal guardians, we always want what is best for our kids. But sometimes we have to make decisions they don’t always appreciate.
This can be especially true when we’re trying to juggle family needs with work, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor TA-150921 decided to provide his younger brother with a babysitter while he was away on a business trip.
But when he saw his brother’s reaction to this plan, the Original Poster (OP) was conflicted.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for hiring a babysitter for my 17-year-old brother?”
The OP had custody of his younger brother.
“I (26 [male]) have custody of my half-brother Jay (17 [male]).”
“Our mother isn’t the most responsible woman, so almost two years ago she was deemed as not fit to be a parent. I ended up being the one who got custody of Jay.”
“Jay and I have had our issues. I have rules that need to be followed in my household and Jay doesn’t agree with those rules.”
“Examples of the rules are: Doing the dishes after eating, having good grades, cleaning his bedroom every three weeks, to always tell me if he’s going out, and to consult with me about any major decision. Apart from that, he is free to do what he likes.”
Jay made a big mistake the last time the OP had a business trip.
“Around eight months ago, I had a business trip. I left Jay at home because I trusted he wouldn’t do anything crazy.”
“I was wrong. I got a call from the police saying that there was a party going on in my house. At least 70 people. On a ‘panoramic’.”
“To say I was mad is underestimating what I felt. I was terrified because I thought something happened to Jay and I would have to deal with our social worker being concerned for my capacity of taking care of Jay.”
“It was terrible. I had to cut short the trip because I needed to return home.”
“Honestly, Jay hasn’t regained my trust.”
“I understand that he is a teenager and teenagers to stupid stuff, however, an encounter with the police? Partying during a panoramic? Unacceptable.”
With another trip coming, the OP took precautions.
“I’m going on a business trip next week. I am borderline paranoid of something happening to Jay, or, him doing something stupid.”
“So, I arranged a ‘babysitter’ for him. The babysitter is a kind, old lady named Lucy, who is also my neighbor. The only thing she will do is check in with Jay every day, and maybe spend time with him, or even bring him some food.”
Jay did not appreciate the plan.
“I told Jay about Lucy, and he freaked out.”
“He told me that I was treating him like a child and disrespecting him, and then said that I was no better than Mom (which hurt a lot).”
“He hasn’t come out of his bedroom yet, so I wanted to know if I am an AH.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was doing the smart thing by hiring a sitter.
“NTA – He wanted to act like a child, he gets treated like a child. Nothing wrong here.”
“Also, you don’t always have to make the decisions that will make him happy: as a brother/parent, your job is not to be his best friend: it’s to ensure he stay on the right track.” – MaybeAWalrus
“OP, tell your brother that if he wants you to trust him, then he needs to show, not tell you, but show you that he is trustworthy.”
“He’s defied your very simple rules, and the first chance he got, he betrayed your trust. That needs to be earned back, for his own safety and well-being.”
“You are in a vulnerable position, where the court could deem you unfit if the same happens again. And honestly, if you allowed it to happen, you would be unfit. But you aren’t, and you’re proving it.”
“He’s a teenager, and he cannot appreciate all you do for him right now. His brain literally cannot comprehend the gravity of the situation. If you comply with his demands, the demands of a child who doesn’t fully understand the situation, you’d be putting his approval before his well-being.”
“It really, really sucks that you have been put into this situation. Personally, I couldn’t do it. H**l, I’m older than you, at 31, and the idea of having to deal with a teenager with raging hormones and little self-sense of self-preservation, gratitude, and understanding of your sacrifices, it ain’t for me.”
“He should probably talk to a therapist, who hopefully helps him understand your side of things.” – Morigyn
“It’s not even that big a deal. Most parents will ask a trusted adult to check in on their minor kids while they’re away even if they completely trust them.”
“Having an adult who is nearby and immediately contactable in case of emergencies is responsible.” – RhesusPeaches
“He was given a chance, he blew it. If he wants to be trusted to stay alone, he needs to prove he’s responsible.”
“Does he follow the rules when OP is there? Or does he have to nag him to do the dishes, etc? Does he let him know where he is if he will be late, etc?”
“Obviously in all this time he hasn’t proved that he has matured enough to be left alone so nice old lady is a great compromise.” – CJSinTX
Others said the teen said something intentionally hurtful to the OP, not truthful.
“Also OP, that comment about your mum? That was deliberate. He was upset so he said the thing he knew would cut you deepest.”
“Teenagers are great at that, they know what buttons to push. He likely didn’t mean it, he was just angry so don’t think about it too much. It isn’t true and he knows it, he’s just lashing out as a child does.”
“Which is why he needs supervision. He broke your trust and endangered lives by having his previous party during the panini.”
“He’s getting consequences for his actions now and he doesn’t like it. Too bad, so sad. He can learn now or when he’s a legal adult and getting hauled off to jail for the night.”
“Good luck! NTA” – Lulubelle__007
“Credit to Jay for throwing in that little dose of emotional manipulation ‘You’re just like mom.’ Jay has proven he can’t be trusted and doesn’t have any common sense, end of story. NTA.” – kreeves9
“NTA. You have him the benefit of the doubt last time, and he abused your trust by throwing a party and having the police show up.”
“While it’s unfortunate you need to have someone check on him, it’s not like she’s watching him 24/7. He needs to earn freedom with the house back and can do so by taking care of the house and not having a party during your trip. That’s not unreasonable. I’d make sure to explain that.”
“Also, your brother is a teenager. He’s emotional and probably said you’re like your mother because at that moment, he felt hurt and wanted you to feel the same. I don’t want to diminish your pain, but I suggest you take it for what it is. Teenagers say mean things they don’t mean a lot.” – shady-tree
Some agreed and said the teen probably wanted another party.
“Kid is just p**sed his next party got canceled before he could even have it.”
“OP, you need to set up a very real consequence about what happens if he pulls the same stunt again. I’d even be inclined to threaten to let the cops arrest him for a MIP or whatever possession charge is appropriate and that you won’t be bailing him out until you get back from your trip. You won’t be leaving early to deal with him again.” – passively-repressed
“I’d set up some security cameras inside so you can ensure nothing crazy is going on after grandma goes to bed at 7 pm. I’m not trying to be an a**hole but a 70-person party? Wtf (What the f**k) is this? A crappy Disney movie?” – Hamajaggah
“NTA. I’m your age (like, exactly) and remember plotting to have a small party during high school when my mom went out of town until she told me my SIL (sister-in-law) would drop by from time to time to check in on me.”
“I was p**sed and said she was treating me like a kid, didn’t trust me, etc. Really I was p**sed that my fun plans were ruined. I suspect Jay was going to throw another party and is annoyed he can’t.” – ElysianReverie21
The OP was really stung by the comment his younger brother made, but the subReddit encouraged him to not read too much into it. Jay was probably upset about wanting his freedom to throw another party or to make other plans and was simply acting out those feelings.
Whether the teen could appreciate it now or not, making sure his brother was safe with security cameras and a babysitter was the responsible thing to do.