Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser

BoredPanda Add post form topAdd Post
Tooltip close

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

14-Year-Old Babysitter Calls The Police After The Parents Are Gone For 3 Extra Hours, Cops Find Them At Their Friend’s House And They’re Not Happy
1.2K

14-Year-Old Babysitter Calls The Police After The Parents Are Gone For 3 Extra Hours, Cops Find Them At Their Friend’s House And They’re Not Happy

ADVERTISEMENT

All parents deserve to have a night out every now and then where they can catch up with friends and rest assured that their little ones are safe at home with a sitter. But there is certain etiquette that comes along with hiring babysitters; just because they’re waiting at home for you doesn’t mean they’ll wait all night…

Below, you’ll find the story that one teenage babysitter recently shared on the “Am I the [Jerk]?” subreddit wondering if she was wrong for calling the police on a couple who repeatedly ignored her calls, as well as interviews with Lynn Perkins from UrbanSitter and Barbara Stuckwisch, J.D., Executive Director of Safe Sitter, Inc.

You May Also Like:

Babysitters can be a godsend for parents who need an occasional night out

Image credits:  AnnaStills (not the actual photo) 

But just because there’s a sitter at home doesn’t mean moms and dads can abandon their responsibilities completely

ADVERTISEMENT

Image credits: Even-String-3530

When leaving their children under someone else’s watch, parents still have an obligation to keep in contact

We all know babysitters can be a necessity for parents trying to keep their relationship or social lives alive. It can be challenging to find a time for date night or to go out with friends, but when parents find a babysitter they trust, the world is their oyster yet again. According to a survey from Legal & General, 45% of couples hire a babysitter when heading out on a date night. And while 44% of parents prefer using a grandparent as their babysitter when possible, nowadays, there are plenty of apps and websites available to help parents find sitters. 

To gain more insight on this topic, we reached out to a couple of babysitting experts: Lynn Perkins at UrbanSitter and Barbara Stuckwisch, J.D., Executive Director of Safe Sitter, Inc. First, we wanted to know if it is always important for parents to be available to answer calls while their children are at home with a sitter. “It is ideal for the parents (the employer) to be available to answer calls when their children are with a babysitter, but this is not always possible; therefore, the employer should provide an emergency contact for the babysitter in case they cannot be reached while they are away from home,” Stuckwisch told Bored Panda.

ADVERTISEMENT

Perkins also added that it’s important for parents to leave clear instructions for the sitter. “The parent should let the babysitter know if they will be available and how they prefer to be messaged,” she explained. “For instance, many parents prefer to receive a text message for questions that aren’t urgent and they ask the babysitter to reserve phone calls for an emergency. If parents plan to be unavailable they should always leave the phone number of an emergency contact.”

By not responding, these parents ran the risk of their babysitter going home at the agreed-upon time and leaving the kids unattended

ADVERTISEMENT

Image credits: halfpoint (not the actual photo)

And when it comes to situations where the parents are not home at the agreed upon time, Perkins says, “It’s best practice for parents to contact the babysitter before they are going to be late if they know that they are running behind. It’s one thing to be running behind by five to ten minutes, but you should still notify the babysitter. If parents would like to stay out beyond the agreed upon time with a babysitter, they really need to ask the babysitter before they will be late.”

“As for the babysitter, it’s appropriate for the babysitter to call or text the parents when they are late,” Perkins added. “If the babysitter cannot reach the parents or an emergency contact, [they] should contact authorities when they feel safety is an issue or the concern has grown great for the babysitter or children.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Stuckwisch also noted that clear communication can prevent misunderstandings. “An employer should warn a babysitter in advance if they know they may not be home on time,” she told Bored Panda. “If the employer has not returned home at the agreed upon time and they aren’t responding to calls and text from their teenage babysitter, it is appropriate for the babysitter to contact the employer’s emergency contact. If they do not have an emergency contact for the employer, or they need help deciding what to do, they should contact their own back-up adult, usually their own parent, for help.”

Life is unpredictable, so it’s important that parents leave clear instructions and emergency contacts for their sitters

Image credits: MargJohnsonVA (not the actual photo)

Finally, we were curious what all parents should understand before leaving their children at home with a sitter. “Just as teenage babysitters should screen each job to make sure that they are available, are able to manage the job, will be safe, and have their own parents’ permission to accept the job, so should employers screen each babysitter,” Stuckwisch explained. “Employers should also provide babysitters with the details of the job, including when they are leaving and when they will return, as well as the information necessary for the care of each child. They should leave their contact information, including a cell phone number or other number where they can be reached. If they will be unavailable to answer calls or texts, they should leave the name and contact information of someone that can be reached in case there  is an emergency.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Perkins reiterated the importance of clear instructions being left for the babysitter. “They should include multiple forms of contact information for themselves and a nearby emergency contact, information about where they are going and when they will be home, and any specifics about the children’s rules, health, and schedule,” she noted. “Parents should hire a babysitter who is qualified both in experience and maturity for the job at hand. For instance, a more experienced babysitter might be appropriate for a job that requires putting children to bed and staying late.”

“The children and babysitter’s safety is paramount.  We encourage families and babysitters to put safety and wellbeing before everything else,” Perkins added. “This ensures a positive experience for everybody involved.”  

We would love to hear your thoughts on this situation in the comments below, pandas. Have you ever encountered an issue like this while babysitting? And would you have called the police in this situation? Feel free to share, and then if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda article featuring babysitting drama, look no further than right here!

Readers assured the teen that she had done nothing wrong and called out the parents for their negligence

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on Facebook
Adelaide Ross

Adelaide Ross

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Read more »

Howdy, I'm Adelaide! I'm originally from Texas, but after graduating from university with an acting degree, I relocated to sunny Los Angeles for a while. I then got a serious bite from the travel bug and found myself moving to Sweden and England before settling in Lithuania about two years ago. I'm passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and eating delicious food. But as you can see, I cover a wide range of topics including drama, internet trends and hilarious memes. I can easily be won over with a Seinfeld reference, vegan pastry or glass of fresh cold brew. And during my free time, I can usually be seen strolling through a park, playing tennis or baking something tasty.

Read less »
Adelaide Ross

Adelaide Ross

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Howdy, I'm Adelaide! I'm originally from Texas, but after graduating from university with an acting degree, I relocated to sunny Los Angeles for a while. I then got a serious bite from the travel bug and found myself moving to Sweden and England before settling in Lithuania about two years ago. I'm passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and eating delicious food. But as you can see, I cover a wide range of topics including drama, internet trends and hilarious memes. I can easily be won over with a Seinfeld reference, vegan pastry or glass of fresh cold brew. And during my free time, I can usually be seen strolling through a park, playing tennis or baking something tasty.

Ieva Pečiulytė

Ieva Pečiulytė

Author, BoredPanda staff

Read more »

I'm a Visual Editor for Bored Panda. I’m also an analog collage artist. My love for images and experience in layering goes well with both creating collages by hand and working with digital images as an Editor. When I’m not using my kitchen area as an art studio I also do various experiments making my own cosmetics or brewing kombucha. When I’m not at home you would most definitely find me attending a concert or walking my dog.

Read less »

Ieva Pečiulytė

Ieva Pečiulytė

Author, BoredPanda staff

I'm a Visual Editor for Bored Panda. I’m also an analog collage artist. My love for images and experience in layering goes well with both creating collages by hand and working with digital images as an Editor. When I’m not using my kitchen area as an art studio I also do various experiments making my own cosmetics or brewing kombucha. When I’m not at home you would most definitely find me attending a concert or walking my dog.

What do you think?
Add photo comments
POST
laurenstern avatar
Lauren S
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It sounds like these parents were upset they weren’t able to manipulate and use the 14-year-old babysitter. Kudos to her for handling that so well. I feel a bit bad for the child she was sitting for. He or she has to deal with having parents like that.

hea_c avatar
StrangeOne
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I remember going on all night babysitting jobs and sometimes the parents didn't come home until way later than they said, but because it was pre-planned I could just sleep there until morning I didn't take it as a big deal, as my mom liked to go out late until whenever leaving me at home on my own (when I was a teen.). When I think about it more, and recall how I felt I did feel concerned and worried during those times when the parents wouldn't be back when they said. I never called the police because I didn't recognize it as a valid emergency, and I didn't call the parents because I was scared they would think something was wrong or get mad for disturbing them. I thought it was a normal thing adults did to teens to make them grow up and be more independent faster. Now I'm seeing that maybe I was taken advantage of possibly put through some neglect.

dracoaffectus avatar
Rahul Pawa
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry that happened to you. Sounds like parentification, they were expecting you to be the adult for their kids. That's not fair to a kid or teen.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
laurenstern avatar
Lauren S
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It sounds like these parents were upset they weren’t able to manipulate and use the 14-year-old babysitter. Kudos to her for handling that so well. I feel a bit bad for the child she was sitting for. He or she has to deal with having parents like that.

hea_c avatar
StrangeOne
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I remember going on all night babysitting jobs and sometimes the parents didn't come home until way later than they said, but because it was pre-planned I could just sleep there until morning I didn't take it as a big deal, as my mom liked to go out late until whenever leaving me at home on my own (when I was a teen.). When I think about it more, and recall how I felt I did feel concerned and worried during those times when the parents wouldn't be back when they said. I never called the police because I didn't recognize it as a valid emergency, and I didn't call the parents because I was scared they would think something was wrong or get mad for disturbing them. I thought it was a normal thing adults did to teens to make them grow up and be more independent faster. Now I'm seeing that maybe I was taken advantage of possibly put through some neglect.

dracoaffectus avatar
Rahul Pawa
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry that happened to you. Sounds like parentification, they were expecting you to be the adult for their kids. That's not fair to a kid or teen.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
You May Like
Related on Bored Panda
Related on Bored Panda
Trending on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda