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Woman Called Out For Leaving 4-Year-Old Nephew Alone After His Mom Is Two Hours Late Coming Home

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Some parents seem able to do it all.

Raise their children, run the household, work their job and maintain a healthy social life.

Many others, however, struggle to find that balance, and often rely on others for help.

The sister of Redditor senseandprejuduc7 needed help watching one of her children, and despite some hesitation, the original poster (OP) reluctantly agreed.

But when her babysitting job ended up being much longer than she was promised, the OP made a drastic decision, putting a huge dent in her relationship with her sister.

Wondering if her behavior was out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for leaving my 4 year old nephew unsupervised?”

The OP explained how her sister’s home life was less than ideal, contributing to her willingness to help her out.

“I (26 F[emale]) have a (28 F) sister, let’s call her J.”

“J is a mother to three kids, aged 4, 7 and 8 years old.”

“The father is a really absent parent and not around much, he works the night shift and then sleeps all day.”

“I feel bad for her because it definitely isn’t a fair situation and she doesn’t get any time to herself.”

“Anyway, the situation is as this:”

“My sister invited me to hang out on Saturday night.”

“I agreed to come around and hang out with her, but she said she would have to leave to run an errand at some point.”


“She said she’d be half an hour so could I look after the sleeping youngest child while she quickly nipped out?”

“I reluctantly agreed.”

“The other two kids had been dropped off at our parents for the weekend, so I understood she would want some time to run an errand she normally wouldn’t have time for.”

“As long as it was only half an hour.”

“She promised it would be.”

However, the OP found herself watching her nephew for considerably longer than promised, resulting in a decision which left her sister fuming.

“I come over, we chat and catch up and watch a movie.”

“It’s really pleasant until she says she has to leave for ‘that errand’, and leaves me instructions of what to do in case the kid wakes up, but says to just call her because she’s only around the corner.”

“I’m really on edge about it because I struggle a lot with really bad anxiety and panic disorder, which I’m currently in therapy for and experimenting with meds to manage, however we haven’t found anything that really works yet.”

“She knows this and knows I would really panic and cannot look after a kid for longer than she initially promised, I’m just not there mentally to be able to deal with crying for example.”

“Anyway half an hour passes and she isn’t back yet.”

“45 mins.”

“I call her and ask if everything is OK and when she will be back, and she answers after multiple rings.”

“She said something came up and she’d be another hour, maybe an hour and 15.”

“I basically lose my shit and say if she’s not back in 15 minutes then I’m leaving.”

“She said I wouldn’t do that and to please just stay there and hung up.”

“At this point I’m on the verge of having a panic attack so do my breathing exercises, ring her husband, leave a message when he doesn’t answer, text him about the situation as well and also text my mom and leave after 15 minutes as I said.”

“Apparently my sister didn’t come home for another 2 hours and when she did her husband was with the child and they are both fuming.”

“He got my message 15 minutes after I left, so 30 minutes after I sent it and now both of them are refusing to talk to me, saying I endangered the child’s life.”

“I feel like me staying would have been worse because the kid slept through it all and a panic attack may have woken him up to find me a dysfunctional mess.”

“AITA here?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

No one came off particularly well to the Reddit community in this story.

Everyone agreed that the OP had a right to be angry with her sister for keeping her waiting much longer than she was told, but that still didn’t give her justification to leave her four-year-old nephew home alone.


“Your sister shouldn’t have left her kid with someone incapable of taking care of a kid.”

“She can get charged with abandonment.”

“You left a 4 year old alone.”

“Putting his life in danger and also possibly risking legal trouble.”

“How far away do your parents live?”

“Could you not have called them?”

“Called any local friend?”

“Called the damn cops?”- Usrname52

“So is he absent, or is he working?”

“Cause it can’t be both.”

“To call a poor working class parent ‘absent’ because they have to work a night shift is cruel and unfair.”

“YTA for that alone.”

“You and your sisters are AHs for child endangerment.”- Mammoth-Nail-4669


“Sister is an AH for misleading you.”

“She knew she’d be longer but said a half hour because she knew your threshold.”

“You’re an AH because you agreed to watch the kid, and you’re a full-on grown-up.”

“Yeah yeah, anxiety.”

“Then I guess you have no business agreeing even for a half hour, if 45 mins is going to send you over the edge.”

“Literally nothing changed.”

“Kid was still sleeping.”

“Finally, you’re a MASSIVE AH because you did not secure care for this child.”

“Not because it wasn’t your responsibility as a caregiver, but because you’re a human being and aunt of this child.”

“You think your anxiety is more important than the welfare of a 4 year old?”

“Take the kid with you and drop him off at your parent’s house, tell your sister you are bringing the kid to her and demand to know where she is.”

“You don’t leave a child alone at home for god knows how long.”

“This poor kid could wake up and find no one at home.”

“Any idea how terrifying that would be for him?”

“You’re both terrible people.”- tinny36


“Normally I’d say E-S-H, but while your sister shouldn’t have stayed out longer, YOU AGREED TO STAY WITH THE CHILD WHILE SHE RAN AN ERRAND, and that includes unforeseen changes in circumstance.”

“She is not an AH for having an unpredicted change in her circumstances, but you are not just an AH but shockingly irresponsible and, and I actually say this with compassion, as someone who has had diagnosed severe anxiety disorder and some degree of agoraphobia for decades, so I really do understand what you were dealing with, VERY VERY ILL.”

“And while I feel for your struggles, you should never have agreed to care for that child in the first place knowing that you couldn’t handle even the SLIGHTEST deviation from what was expected.”

“Again, I say this not out of judgement but out of genuine concern: given not only how you handled this situation, but your deeply illogical and unreasonable perspective on it even now, you need to be in inpatient psychiatric care.”

“And I say this also as someone who has been there.”

“You have reached a point where your anxiety is so bad that it is causing you to make illogical decisions that endanger not just you but others around you.”

“This is no longer a ‘seeing a therapist once every few weeks’ issue.”

“You are not coping with life safely, and you can’t even recognize that.”

“You need to be in the hospital.”- FoolMe1nceShameOnU

“A 4-year-old doesn’t care if you’re a ‘dysfunctional mess’.”

“A 4-year-old is essentially a baby who can have a bit of conversation and feed themselves.”

‘They wouldn’t recognize ‘dysfunction’ because they’re FOUR.”

“You left a baby alone in the house.”

“If they woke up, anything could have happened.”

“Children can drown in an inch of water.”

“They can slip and fall down stairs.”

“There are reasons why there are laws about leaving small children alone.”

“That kid didn’t need you to be at your best, they literally just needed you to be PRESENT, to keep them safe from harm.”

“And the fact that your thinking is so muddled that EVEN NOW you don’t understand that, that you are trying to defend leaving a TODDLER alone in the house because you were anxious and stressed, trying to defend noping out of there and thinking only of yourself and putting that baby’s life at risk because you were having an anxiety attack?”

“I’m not negating your illness.”

“I’m telling you that if this is how you see it, you need to be in hospital, because that’s not an okay reaction to or perception of this situation.”

“You’re 26 years old.”

“You are way too old to be defending what you did under any circumstances.”

“YTA, but also, you need to get help, immediately.”

“Your issues are out of control and you are making people unsafe, including yourself.”-FoolMe1nceShameOnU

“ESH but mostly OP.”

“Sis should have planned / prepared better and gotten home when she said she would, or made arrangements for someone else to come look after the kid when OP said they wouldn’t stay.”

“OP should not have agreed to watching the kid, period.”

“If you cannot handle that an emergency may come up, don’t agree to be responsible for a child.”

“Sh-stuff happens, people get delayed.”

“You might have to stay longer.”

“The kid might have a nightmare and wake up crying.”

“Any number of things could happen.”

“If you can’t handle the possibility of something happening, to the point that you up and leave a 4 year old alone in the house, you should not agree to watch the kid at all.”- QuackLikeMe

It certainly wasn’t fair for the OP’s sister to stay out far longer than expected without telling her.

But that the OP could even think to justify leaving her four year old nephew for any reason is concerning to say the least.

And if she really doesn’t seem to think she did anything wrong, then one hopes she listens to what some Redditors had to say, and go find the help she needs.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.