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Teen Balks After Sister-In-Law Scolds Him For Discipling Her ‘Nightmare’ Kids While Babysitting

Toddler coloring on the wall
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They say raising children takes a village, but not everyone wants the village to help.

Redditor Cakey-Cavy found themselves babysitting their young niece and nephew, but were reprimanded by their sister-in-law when she found out they had implemented discipline.

The next time they found themselves babysitting, the Original Poster (OP) abstained from discipline but got reamed nonetheless.

This drove the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) for advice.

They asked:

“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?”

They went on to tell their story.

“My brother Casey [32 years old] is much older than me [17 years old].”

“He’s married to my sister-in-law Mandy [36 years old] and they have two kids; My nephew Nick [3 ½ years old] and my niece Mya [2 years old].

“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.”

It didn’t go well.

“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.”

Then things went from bad to worse.

“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?”

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. 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.” – kat_Folland

“The thing is, redirection only works so well and takes a TON of time and effort.”

“Being outright told as a babysitter that you have no power to tell a kid “No” really sets a terrible tone and does not encourage the babysitter to spend that time and energy constantly redirecting poorly behaved children you are being strong armed into watching.”

“I don’t know how long Mandy was gone, but if it was enough time for the kids to wreck the house, I would say redirection alone would not work that entire time for poorly behaved children.” – ladancer22

“NTA. I find this to be HILARIOUS. I’m a school teacher and believe me, I can spot the kids who aren’t told no and lack discipline on day one.”

“It’s not cute. It sounds like Mandy needs parenting classes.” – Disney_Millennial

“NTA, not your circus, not your monkeys. She reaped what she sowed.” – Smileygirl216

“NTA. The kids are awful because of poor parenting on BOTH parent’s part, and if you’re not allowed to correct them then so be it.”

“Do not babysit anymore. If your parents want you to do it so badly, let THEM do it” – elsie78

“Two years old is, in my opinion, too young for a “time out”. The kids need discipline, which is different from saying that they need punishment.”

“But you’ve been set up to fail here. You’re a teen with basically no experience with toddlers. You know nothing about how they think.”

“And Mandy and Casey haven’t given you any tools to use.”

“Actual responsible parents would tell you what the kids can and can’t do and what strategies they use to keep the kids behaving sensibly.”

“So I’m saying NTA because Mandy and Casey clearly had a responsibility to give you some instruction for caring for their kids, and they failed to do so.” – _mmiggs_

“NTA You’re 17 and have never babysat before. What did they expect if they didn’t give you specific instructions?”

“The only thing they told you to do was not to punish them and threw the rest to the wind.” – Fanky_Spamble

“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 daycares.” – M0U53YBE94


“Absolutely not! A time out is a very reasonable consequence for their actions. They will learn to stop and think about their actions.”

“You are 100% in the right, when you are in care of those children, to CARE for those children. Besides, mom told you not to discipline, so you did what she asked and didn’t intervene ;p” – dysfuctionalteddy


“Your SIL can keep her little demons and her contradictory expectations of babysitting to herself, and if your parents believe there’s better ways to deal with those kids, they can be your guest and take care of their grandchildren instead.” – Grand-Jump-3216


“You got pressured into a situation with no experience or guidance, and you were not adequately skilled to handle it.”

“Despite it being a bit of a disaster the first time, you again got pressured into the same situation with no added guidance.”

“You were basically set up to fail both times. Every adult in this situation is an A H, though:”

“Your SIL for dumping her unruly preschoolers on you with no explanation on how she expects them to be handled.”

“And when you did something that she wasn’t happy with, she just went off at you instead of explaining how she would prefer you dealt with things”

“Your brother for being a absent parent, and putting your SIL in this situation where she is probably struggling to parent the kids alone, is probably desperate for a break and can’t find anyone to babysit her out-of-control kids”

“And your parents, for pressuring you into a situation that you weren’t prepared for, with no support.”

“If SIL needed a break, why didn’t your parents babysit? Why didn’t your brother just stay home and, you know, parent his kids for once?”

“Please don’t be afraid to say no in the future.” – kiwifarmdog

“NTA. I’m sure they won’t be asking you again. They need to reflect on their parenting choices.” – suboxhelp1

“The good news is Mandy probably won’t be begging you to babysit every weekend anymore.”

“NTA” – 21stCenturyJanes


“If Mandy was not happy with how you were interacting with her children before, she should have not asked you to come back, OR she should have given you some kind of advice, tools, or expectations for her kids.”

“She shouldn’t be upset with you for doing what she asked you to do” – No_Turnip_2

“NTA. The audacity to beg you to babysit after getting mad at you for a very reasonable discipline style, then get mad that you did exactly as she asked.” – RogueStorm4

“NTA, your SIL is. I hope you never babysit for them again. They don’t deserve to have you do them that favor.”

“They sound like horrible kids, and if you cannot discipline them, it will be too hard to watch over them.”

“Your SIL has made her own bed. Let her lie in it. And if they keep asking for babysitting, either insist your parents do it, or they all have to agree to let you discipline the kids. Good luck.” – OMGItsSoSmall

Sounds like it’s time for some parenting classes.

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)