Internet Slams Step Mom For Leaving 5-Year-Old Home Alone When Sister Couldn't Babysit

Thousands of commenters questioned one woman's parenting abilities after her sister revealed she left her 5-year-old stepson home alone for hours while embarking on an unexplained escapade.

In a Reddit post titled "AITA for refusing to watch my sister's stepkid and exposing her lies to her husband?," Redditor u/RoomNum99 recounted an intense confrontation with her sister and detailed the aftermath of her decision not to babysit. Posted on Reddit's popular r/AmITheA**hole, the viral post has received over 17,200 upvotes and 2,100 comments.

Beginning the original post with an explanation of family dynamics, u/RoomNum99 said that every Monday morning, her 30-year-old sister asks their mother to watch her 5-year-old stepson for a couple of hours. Explaining that she had begun to recognize her sister's Monday morning routine, the Redditor added that this week, their mother was unable to watch the 5-year-old—leaving u/RoomNum99 as the last available option.

"Yesterday at 9 a.m. my sister called asking me to come watch her stepkid for a few hours because she had an important thing to do," she explained. "I said no because I had to go study and also she does this every Monday so clearly it wasn't important or urgent... I told her sorry but no."

Hours later, u/RoomNum99 said she received a call from her brother-in-law, wondering where her sister was, as he had just returned home to find his 5-year-old son left completely alone.

"He proceeded to tell me he just came home at 1 p.m. and found his son by himself at the house," she explained. "I was in shock that my sister left her stepkid by himself so she could go God knows where."

While no federal laws determine how old a child must be to be left home alone, certain state laws do. According to data compiled by Latchkey-Kids, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oregon all enforce laws that determine the minimum age children can be left home alone: 8 years old in Maryland and North Carolina; 10 years old in Oregon and 11 years old in New Mexico.

Child left home alone
One Redditor said their sister left her 5-year-old stepson home alone for hours before the boy's father finally found him. Siri Stafford/DigitalVision

Other states do not enforce laws mandating minimum ages, but have issued recommendations for parents regarding when they should first leave their children home alone, including Colorado (12), Delaware (12), Illinois (14), Michigan (11), Tennessee (10) and Washington (10). However, 5 years old is younger than any known state recommendation, and is widely considered much too young for a child to be left home.

Following the phone call with her brother-in-law, u/NumRoom99 said her sister confronted her about her refusal to babysit, and accused her of creating a rift in her marriage.

"In the evening my sister came over and started making a scene by yelling at me for bailing on her after she sent me a text message telling me she was already out the house to force me to come watch her stepson," she wrote. "She said I did this deliberately and also exposed her to her husband because she told him she'd be at home with the kid."

"Not just that, but I also told her husband that mom comes over every Monday morning to watch the kid for a few hours which caused a huge fight between him and my sister," she added.

Although a 2017 YouGov survey revealed that 14 percent of people have lied to their significant other once, 49 percent said they've lied to their partner on multiple occasions. The Redditor's sister, who hadn't told her husband about leaving her stepson with her mother every Monday, was caught in the middle of multiple lies herself.

In the post's top comment, which has received nearly 17,000 votes, Redditor u/64TY speculated that the original poster's sister was either having an affair, or dealing with drug addiction. Other Redditors focused on her willingness to leave a 5-year-old home alone.

Redditor u/justobsolete assured that the original poster was not wrong to refuse to babysit, and tore apart her sister's behavior.

"[Not the a**hole]. A 30 year old does not need this coddling. She left a 5 year old alone who who knows how long to get into who knows what trouble," they wrote. "The 5 year old needs some coddling. Not the grown woman who made a knowing and conscious decision to marry a man with a young son."

In a series of fiery responses, many commenters lambasted the original poster's sister for leaving such a young child home alone, and continued to wonder about her mysterious Monday mornings. Redditors u/tenkindsofsalt and u/poppurplepuff, echoing that the original poster did nothing wrong, commented on her sister's dishonesty and said they hope that any other lies are eventually brought to the light.

"I don't think going out on one morning a week is a problem," u/tenkindsofsalt wrote. "But lying to your husband about it and forcing your relatives to cover it? No, sir."

"I hope her husband questions her on what exactly she does and where she goes when she's supposed to be watching the kid," u/poppurplepuff added. "That's sketchy [as f**k]."