What do you do when a child is in your care, and they misbehave or swear? Should they have to face the consequences of their actions, or should you bite your tongue and let their parent deal with them when they return? What if the child is your niece? Is it ok to reprimand a child if they are family? One man has been left confused after his sister-in-law became angry at how he dealt with an incident whilst he was at home caring for 3 of his own children plus 3 additional children.
My (39M) sister-in-law (31F) had her bachelorette party on Saturday. I volunteered to babysit her daughter “Tammy” (fake name, 9F) and my wife’s cousin’s kids (9M and 7F) at my place while my wife (37F), her sister and their cousin went to the party. Also present were my own kids (11M, 7F and 2F).
For dinner, we decided to have pizza. I made the order through an app. Now, I still don’t really get what happened, but the order was taking forever and I was unable to contact the delivery guy. The pizza place wasn’t helping either. After waiting for 90 minutes, I decided to cancel the order and pick a different restaurant.
The reason I’d waited so long to cancel was because this was both my daughter’s and Tammy’s favorite pizza place. I managed to get my daughter to support the new restaurant by telling her they put ketchup on the pizza (don’t kill me), but Tammy was insistent in the first one.
She had a crying fit while we were placing the new order. Even after she calmed down, she was still grumpy and short with the rest of us. At first, me and the kids made efforts to cheer her up, but then she started telling us to “shut up” or “leave her alone” whenever we tried.
Throughout the wait, I reminded Tammy and the other kids that if they didn’t behave, they wouldn’t eat the pizza. She still complained about the new restaurant multiple times.
When the pizza finally arrived, Tammy opened the box and said, “I’m not eating that shit.” She said that in front of the younger three. At that, I put leftover chicken pasta in the microwave and told her that was her dinner.
She started crying, saying she wanted the pizza and would behave herself, but I held my ground. Tammy didn’t eat any of the pizza, but all the others did.
My SIL is calling me unfair and cruel for forcing Tammy to have leftovers while the other kids ate pizza. She’s also accusing me of favoring my wife’s cousin’s kids (and my own), and insisting that there were better punishments that didn’t involve excluding Tammy.
My wife’s completely on my side. Her cousin is on the fence.
Shocked by the young girl’s language, many commenters praised the way the man handled the situation, and followed through after clearly stating what the consequence would be if Tammy continued misbehaving.
She is 9. That’s too young to speak this way, and she’s simultaneously too old to behave this way.
You did good OP. You said if they misbehaved they wouldn’t get pizza. Tammy misbehaved. She also said she “isn’t eating that shit” which a 9 year old shouldn’t say, and she didn’t want to eat it! So you respected her initial decision and gave her harmless consequences for her actions. She didn’t behave and so no pizza. You did good not giving into her any after she started crying and saying she’ll eat it. Actions and consequences. I wonder if her parents give in often when she’s a brat. (Sunshine__riptide)
Many people agreed that Tammy’s behaviour was indicative of lazy parenting on the mother’s behalf.
She’s probably never faced a consequence before.
If I’d done that at someone else’s house, I’d have been terrified of the repercussions from my parents. (GiraffeThoughts)
Commenters agreed that the punishment was fair and fitted the crime, with many suggesting that if tehir own children had acted that way they’d have been dealt with more harshly.
NTA – this is a good lesson. Don’t refer to food as shit and expect to be served it – esp in from to of younger kids. (Apsara7)
Exactly and she still got a hot nice dinner. My sons are the same age and if they said that about any food they’d be eating cereal, sandwiches or anything they wanted but I sure wouldn’t be doing it. Difference is I’m a hard ass and those are my own kids. If it was someone else’s I would’ve done the same as OP. (tequilamockingbird37)
NTA – that was the ideal punishment. If she’s not going to listen, complain about the food and announce she’s not eating it, then she doesn’t eat it. Perfect solution. (Odd_Yogurtcloset2891)
If Tammy hadn’t been such a pain, she would have gotten pizza.
The danger with allowing one child to say “I’m not eating that shit” is that it tempts the others to also get on the bandwagon. You nipped it in the bud.
That is not favoritism, it is consequences. NTA (Quick Possenssion)
However, not everyone was in agreeance, with a handful of commenters thinking that it was not his place to dole out a punishment.
I dunno, when I’m watching someone else’s kids, I give them a little more leash than my own kids. To me this is a parenting type punishment. Humiliating a kid in front of everyone can be pretty harsh and it’s hard to repair that damage moving forward if you still want a relationship. I personally would’ve pulled them aside and had a moment to let them gain better control. I don’t think anyone would argue that she was out of line and totally inappropriate. (Active_Visual_1942)
Others thought that he had acted like an arsehole, and should have made allowances for the fact that other stressors may have been at play.
YTA. Next time just make her apologize and then give her pizza. Yes she was having a fit and acting inappropriately, but she is also nine, very hungry, and probably stressed due to her mom about to remarry. (Breadmaker9999)
YTA Food should always be neutral ground and not used as a reward or punishment. (Potential-Skirt-1249
What do you think? How would you have dealt with this situation if you were in his shoes? Did he make the right call or did he overstep?