Online commenters have backed a 19-year-old for “refusing” to watch her little brother while her parents are out of town.
Posing in Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) forum under the username u/ThickFish5054, the teen asked: “AITA for refusing to look after my little brother for a week?” The post has garnered over 10,000 upvotes and more than 1,300 comments slamming the teen’s parents for “dumping” their responsibilities on her. You can read the full post here.
Asking Children to Babysit
According to Care.com, child care costs are on the rise, and since the closing of over 9,000 U.S. daycare centers between December 2019 and March 2021, quality child care has also become increasingly difficult to find.
“When it comes to child care, there are three critical criteria—cost, quality and availability—and based on our research findings, we’ve not only failed to make progress as a country, we’ve actually gone backward,” said Care.com president Natalie Mayslich. “Costs are growing while availability is shrinking and that’s having a profound impact on the workforce and consumer spending.”
As a result, many parents are turning to family members for help. But while this child care option may be both convenient and affordable, Verywell Family warned that using family members as babysitters could lead to feelings of resentment.
“You not only have to find the right balance when it comes to using family as babysitters, but you also have to make sure you’re not turning granny into your nanny,” the website said. “Be careful that you’re not using your family’s generosity too much and be understanding when the answer is no. Resentment can come from both parties and it can damage what was once a happy relationship all of you enjoyed.”
In her post, u/ThickFish5054 said her parents have used her as a “free nanny” a lot throughout the years, and now that she’s starting college, she doesn’t have time to care for her 5-year-old brother, James.
“So next week is orientation week for my university…[it’s] super important for getting to know the people you will spend the next few years with [and] all the important info will be given during this week. My schedule is quite packed for the whole week. [My] days start at 10 a.m. and continue [until] late [at] night,” u/ThickFish5054 said.
“The problem is that both my parents have important work stuff next week…My mom is flying abroad for work and [my] dad is away the whole week as well,” u/ThickFish5054 continued.
Redditor u/ThickFish5054’s parents said they “expect” her to watch James while they’re gone, but she’s refused.
“I reminded them that my 17-year-old brother is also capable of helping out since he is still living with them and doesn’t have such a packed schedule that week…[but] my parents said that this won’t be possible since my brother has to focus on his high school studies and is too young,” u/ThickFish5054 wrote.
When u/ThickFish5054 reiterated that she couldn’t watch James, her parents got “really angry.”
“I don’t want to be difficult but what my parents are asking from me is too much,” u/ThickFish5054 concluded. “AITA?”
Redditors begged u/ThickFish5054 not to skip out on her orientation week and slammed her parents for trying to dump their problems on her.
“DO NOT MISS ORIENTATION! It is the most important week apart from finals. It’s when you make friends,” u/notforcommentin2 said. “[Your parents] have had 18 years to prepare for you moving out. If they failed to make alternative arrangements, that’s not your fault…Not your kids, not your responsibility. Your ONLY responsibility now is to yourself.”
“NTA [not the a**hole]. They have stuff planned that week, you have stuff planned that week. Their stuff doesn’t take priority over yours. They made the child, not you. They have to find a way to make it work,” u/Kris82868 wrote.
“NTA—they chose to have another baby, they shouldn’t be dumping it on their other children. They should find childcare if they are both working,” u/DonDamondo added.
Newsweek reached out to u/ThickFish5054 for comment.
Other Viral Moments
Last week, Redditors rallied behind a man after he explained why he refuses to babysit his sister’s children.
In June, commenters backed a man who told his sister he wouldn’t watch her kids again following a chocolate mishap.
And in December, Redditors slammed a mother for using her paralyzed teen as a free babysitter.