Many of us have had the joy or burden of babysitting someone’s kids while they went out on a date, had an important work obligation to attend to, or some other important thing.
Since the pandemic, a top contender for babysitting is taking care of a child while their parents are receiving the vaccine.
One woman found herself trying to help her neighbors out while also having work obligations, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor jointfamily found herself struggling with the situation when the parents didn’t complete their end of the deal.
Frustrated, the Original Poster (OP) later wondered if she reacted too harshly.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for demanding payment for items ruined by a child I was supposed to supervise?”
The OP was recently asked to watch a 11- or 12-year-old girl.
A few days ago, my neighbors (Early 40s [Male] and [Female]) approached me and asked if I would be willing to watch their daughter (11-12) – Rhea- while they went to get vaccinated.”
“I agreed. I made it clear to my neighbors that they would have to pick up Rhea before 1:30 p.m as I had a court hearing. I couldn’t miss the hearing under any circumstance (I am a lawyer).”
“They promised they would be back in time.”
“At around 1:30 p.m they informed me that they would be late. It was too late to make any alternate arrangements, so I fixed Rhea a quick lunch and told her to watch T.V. or Netflix (child-mode enabled).”
“I never actually left my home. I was attending the hearing virtually and was in a different room in the same house! The door was closed but unlocked.”
“I told Rhea she could enter or call out my name if she needed anything.”
The OP was surprised when she returned from her meeting.
“I finished up my hearing by around 3 and came out to see Rhea.”
“I found her in my bedroom trying on my heels, lipstick, and other courtroom gear, such as a black blazer and robe.”
“The lipsticks were broken, the white shirts were stained, and the heels were scuffed.”
“I do not know how that girl managed to cause so much damage in the first place. I was angry but I did not see it fit to reprimand her.”
“Rhea’s parents finally showed up around 3:30 p.m and took her home.”
The OP and Rhea’s parents had an argument.
“I asked to have a word with any one of them. Her father stayed back and I told him about the items she ruined and that I expected him to repay the amount for cleaning/replacement after I show them the receipts.”
“I expected him to apologize.”
“But instead, he blew up at me and accused me of leaving his young daughter alone, and claimed that anything could have happened to her. He even threatened to file a case against me!”
“I was taken aback, firstly. I would not have left her ‘unsupervised’ if he and his wife would have returned on time.”
“Secondly, I do not feel that 11 is an age where she is in danger if left alone. I told him to try his luck in court and stated that if he doesn’t agree, I would send them a demand notice for the aforementioned costs.”
“He and his wife have gotten the resident’s association involved, and while some of them are on my side, others are saying I’m an AH for ‘using the lawyer card’ over something so tiny (the total cost of items ruined is well over 10,000 Rupees).”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out an 11-year-old should have known better than to do that.
“NTA. They were late, and an 11 year old should definitely know better.” – widefeetwelcome
“I could see maybe a 5yo or younger doing something like that, and I’d probably not want to leave someone that young unsupervised when I have to be behind a closed door in another room, but at 11 the kid should have known better. NTA.” – frenchizal
“Now I understand all kids are different. At 7ish I was able to stay home for an hour or so while my mom ran errands. My almost 8yo I might trust similarly.”
“Meanwhile her 6yo brother can barely be trusted ‘alone’ in the backyard sometimes (autism and ADHD but no intellectual disability mean he’s mostly capable but makes poor choices sometimes). But I know that and would inform caretakers appropriately.”
“At 11 years old most kids, barring neurodivergence/disability, definitely know better than to act like that.”
“ETA: I’m not saying ND kids can’t handle themselves. I’m autistic, my 8yo is autistic. At 8-11 she and I are/were capable of being left alone just like any other kid that age. Just saying some kids, like my son, have struggles that make that unsafe.” – Ancient_Adagio_2393
“I’m fairly convinced I could leave my 3 year old unsupervised for that length of time and he wouldnt trash anything like that.” – sheepinahat
Others questioned the dad’s threats of legal action.
“Him suggesting legal action is laughable. It would be understandable if she had been totally home alone, but even then, somewhat laughable.”
“I’m pretty sure by age 8 kids are legally allowed to be left home alone for a short amount of time, I know my parents would leave me home alone at that age.”
“H**l, I’ve nannied kids that age and if they don’t feel like going somewhere with me an a sibling their parents have given permission to leave them home alone for the hour or so it would take.”
“She wasn’t home alone though, OP was just in the other room with the door closed (guessing for noise and all that). There is nothing the parent can do legally and it’s ridiculous they would try to threaten a lawyer… who knows the law… with legal action.”
“For what? Not leaving their kid home alone? She’s 11, well beyond the age that being ‘unsupervised’ is a legitimate reason for acting how she acted. If she was 8, sure, but even then not really.”
“By the time I was 6 I knew better than to mess with adults things. It meant being spanked with a shoe a bunch or having to gargle soap several times in a row, but even without that I can imagine it’s not hard to get a kid to understand by a young age.”
“Edit to add: I’m not encouraging spanking kids or having them gargle mouth wash, I’m just including what my parents did. It made me scared of breaking rules, but not able to understand them. Don’t treat your kids like that, ever. It does not work and it messes with kids heads. I rarely talk with my family now for good reason.” – mkat23
“They mentioned rupees, so I’m assuming India and their [pandemic] policies really aren’t the greatest now. So I wouldn’t be surprised at all if getting a vaccine was a fairly involved process.”
“That said, that’s the family’s problem. One of them should have left to pick up the daughter on time or they should have hired a sitter or, at the very least, give the OP more notice that they could be late. They knew where they were.”
“They knew how long it would take to get to the OP’s house. And they could estimate how long the wait time and receiving the actual vaccine would take. That means that they knew long before 1:30 that they wouldn’t be picking up their daughter at 1:30. They could have told the OP in time for her to make other arrangements.”
“OP was watching the daughter out of the goodness of her heart and was accommodating when the family needed extra time. If they created a situation where their daughter was unsupervised and raised a child that would go into someone’s bedroom and trash their things, then it’s their responsibility to make it right.” – tsukinon
The OP shared an update about the situation:
“Update: This morning Rhea’s mother came to see me.”
“She apologized for her daughter and her husband and said that they were late because Rhea’s father thought it would be a good idea to not complete the mandatory registration for a vaccine and simply tried to walk in to a centre.”
“She was terrified at the idea of going to Court and said she would try to get her husband to pay (she’s a housewife, no independent income).”
“I told her not to worry, I won’t take the cost of the items and I wouldn’t send any notice.”
“I also wouldn’t be watching their child again.”
“She understands and apologized once more, and she bought some delicious food as well!”
“She admitted that her husband spoils their daughter and she is also concerned, but she is silenced by her husband.”
As some Redditors pointed out, the OP did the parents a solid favor by watching their daughter. They really should have planned better for the day, so the OP wouldn’t be left in a questionable situation.