Should these parents have relied on a 16-year-old to babysit overnight?

A recent Reddit post that sparked a debate comes from a dad of three kids—ages 7, 4, and 9 months—who posted a question about his family’s new teenage babysitter that has the internet sounding off.

“I work a demanding job(in the medical field) and work many many hours, my wife not so much but she does have night shifts often. We just got a new babysitter a few months ago after our one we had for 2 years moved for college. Our new babysitter is only 16, but she had been babysitting one of my coworkers children for awhile and I trust him,” the dad wrote.

“A few nights ago my wife and I were both working nights and I saw on the camera that our babysitter was asleep on the couch and the baby had woken up was crying for almost 30 minutes while she slept. That bothered me, so without talking to my wife when I got home in the morning I had told my babysitter maybe she should set alarms throughout the night to make sure she’s awake since the baby monitor didn’t wake her and that it was not okay for her to leave the baby crying like that.”

He continued, “I guess it hurt the kids feelings because she mentioned it to my wife and my wife is really upset with me because ‘she’s only 16’ and what I was asking is unreasonable and that this has never happened before so again I’m being unreasonable and that I should’ve talked to her first because this could’ve been a ‘learning experience.’ She also said I was completely out of line as well. I’m really not worried about a learning experience but am worried about the fact if my children are cared for properly.”

The responses were overwhelmingly leaning toward one direction: yes, perhaps it was wrong to rely on a teen that way.

“I am curious why anyone thought a 16 year old would fit the bill of a night nanny? It amazes me that people with money always cheap out when it comes to paying for their children’s sitters and nannies,” the highest-rated comment says. “You and your wife are both the a**holes in this scenario.”

Another top-rated comment adds, “If you want someone awake all night then you need to hire an adult! This child you hired needs to sleep at night so she can go to school and learn during the day. How can you someone in the medical field not understand how important sleep is to a growing body and brain?!”

This comment also sums it up well: “Don’t hire a child and expect them to behave like a professional night nanny. You get what you pay for.”

One commenter wrote this: “You have a 16 yr old who I’m assuming is also a high school student watching 3 children overnight. She fell asleep (which was to be expected) and the baby monitor didn’t wake her up. The correct answer would be that you need a new baby monitor that will wake her up not for her to set an alarm that goes off every so often all night. If that’s no acceptable to you then its time to hire an overnight nanny who is an adult instead of hiring a child to watch children.”

But many others responded to that comment to disagree.

“No to the new monitor. What he needs to do is hire an adult that will be up during the night when the kids are being watched, because they work during the night and are asleep during the day because they don’t have to go to school.”

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