The internet has defended a father after he asked his son to postpone his plans to babysit his siblings.
In a post going viral on Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole forum, a dad under the anonymous username u/busyfathering shared his story to get the opinions of the “AITA” community. The post has over 4,000 upvotes and 800 comments.
The Redditor began his story by explaining that he and his wife have three kids together: a 7-year-old boy with autism and 2-year-old twin girls. From another marriage, he has a 17-year-old son, of whom he shares custody.
He shared that his wife is currently in the hospital, but not for anything too serious. He works four hours in the office and then the rest of the time he works from home. When he took his wife to the hospital, his son was staying with his ex-wife and the original poster (OP) got a babysitter to look after his kids.
Unfortunately, the babysitter didn’t work out due to his son being “particular” with his wants and needs and how difficult it can be to watch him, along with two toddlers.
The OP wrote, “My 17yro son watches his younger siblings a lot when he is at our house, he likes it, the kids adore him, and when he is watching them alone (so wife and I can go out for a date night or something), I always pay him 50$ an hour (which is what a nanny gets for 3 kids like mine per hour). I called my son last week, asking him to come babysit the kids for the remaining 3 days of the week, then I’d get some leave and stay home myself.He told me he already had plans to go to the beach with his friends and take a roadtrip with them. “
“I told him if he can come for those 4 hours for 3 days, I’ll pay him 100$/hour instead of the usual 50 and if he can reschedule his plans for just a few days to next week, he’ll then have a lot more money to spend on his vacation. He them agreed and was really happy about our deal. His mother called me later furious, saying that I am parentifying our son, that I should let him have a life and that it’s [not] his fault I had more kids I can’t manage,” he concluded.
Newsweek reached out to u/Busyfathering for comment.
As defined by the CDC, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is caused by differences in the brain. ASD is also more than four times more common in boys than girls.
Taking care of a child with autism can be difficult. When preparing to babysit an autistic child, take some time to learn about the disability, visit the child before babysitting, learn more about the requirements in taking care of the child, respect their personal space, follow their daily routine, and try activities like crafts, puzzles and video games, according to kidsit.com.
Many Reddit users defended the OP for his actions.
“I normally don’t agree with older kids having to watch their siblings but in this situation I’m going with [not the a**hole] because: -There was an emergency (wife in hospital), -You tried to find outside care and that didn’t work, -You are paying him, -He agreed to do it,” u/goldensand16 wrote, receiving the top comment of over 12,000 upvotes, “Now if he said no after the pay discussion and you forced him or threatened to ground him that would be a different story.”
“I mean, essentially hiring your son is not parentifying him. He’s familiar with his siblings’ situation and he agreed to higher pay. That’s a business deal. [Not the a**hole], and smart of your son,” u/icedtea4all said.
U/Darth_Hufflepuff commented, “[Not the a**hole]. You are paying him, so it’s work. Also, it seems like he had the option to say no even with the money increase, but he decided to reschedule his vacation in order to make money. Sounds great.”
“[Not the a**hole], you’re asking him not forcing him and paying him well. It sounds likes he’s happy with the arrangement, and hopefully if he ever wasn’t happy with it you would find alternative solutions,” u/Megotchii exclaimed.