Recently, we posted a list of stories from babysitters about the most sketchy, toxic, and bizarre parents they've ever worked for.
There were enough shocking comments on our article — and responses to the Reddit thread — to compile a whole new post filled with jaw-dropping stories. Here are 24 tales that might just make you reconsider babysitting...for the rest of your life:
Note: Some submissions include topics of sexual harassment.
1. "When I was 14, the neighbors asked me to come over to interview for a babysitting gig. They were on a couch and I was sitting on the couch opposite them. Every time I looked at the dad, he would shift his eyes down to his lap. Eventually, I also looked down at his lap. He was wearing very short shorts with no underwear and his penis was hanging out against his leg. Needless to say, I declined the offer."
2. "I used to work for a family of three little kids who were wild. Their mom taught them that when they were in the car, putting their seat belt on was a punishment for bad behavior...We were pretty close because I was working there for a while, so I told her she shouldn't have that rule anymore (because it's obviously extremely dangerous) and she started crying. But thankfully she stopped with the rule."
3. "I babysat for a single mom for an entire weekend so she could go to Vegas. I had never met her or the baby. She just showed up on Friday, gave me a quick rundown, then peaced out! Turns out there was zero — and I mean ZERO — food in the house besides baby food and her protein shake mixes. I was so terrified, I couldn’t believe I agreed to an entire weekend. The baby cried the entire time, and I had to call my boyfriend to bring me food."
4. "I was to keep my skin entirely covered because they were concerned that the newborn drooling on me was too intimate. I had to drape a fresh baby blanket over my entire body every time I held him."
5. "I babysat for a hippie neighbor. They didn’t leave instructions about bedtime, and the children were spoiled 3, 5, and 6-year-olds. I thought 8:30 on a school night was reasonable. Several other people I knew used 8:30 as bedtime for kids that age. The kids threw a fit. They whined, and when the parents got home at 10, they got mad and said the kids didn't have a bedtime. They just waited until they fell asleep, then brought them to bed. I was not asked to sit again (not that I would want to anyway)."
6. "I was 12, so I didn’t know any better, but my pay started at $5/hr. But then she’d have me come over when she was home, and she decided she was spending too much money on me, so she cut my pay to $3/hr while she was home and $5/hr when she was gone. She would lock herself away like she wasn’t home and I never asked for anything. But then she’d undermine me in front of her kids...I’d say 'no cereal right now, how about some fruit' and then she’d walk into the room and they’d tell her I said no to cereal and she’d give them cereal."
7. "I was told not to read a story to a little kid who was 4. Their reasoning was if I read it, he would not learn to read."
8. "I went to babysit for a single dad. I was 18-ish. They didn't have real beds — just sort of cushions on the floor with a bunch of blankets. Right before he left I asked what he would like me to feed the little one, and he said the chicken in the fridge. This baby was like 8 months old, so the dad took a bite of chicken, chewed it up, spit it back out, and then fed it to the baby. I never babysat for him again."
9. "I babysat for a family when I was a teen. The parents were divorced, and the father lived in the basement while the kids and mom lived in the rest of the house. I was forbidden to discuss the very subject of divorce, including the fact that my own parents were divorced (the mom was actually hesitant to hire me because of that fact). When asked if my dad lived with us, I was to tell the kids that he traveled for work. And no mention of my stepmother or stepsiblings was allowed, ever. If we were watching a program or movie that mentioned it, I was to turn it off immediately, and if they asked any questions, I had to tell them to ask their mother when she came home (I have no idea what she actually told them). If she went on a date, I was to tell the kids it was a business dinner."
10. "I once had to join the kid on a playdate. The mom made me follow him around at his friend's house. The friend's parents were home too. It was fucking weird."
11. "I was expecting and had planned on babysitting two kids, but the mom invited four more kids to come over for the afternoon to play in the underground pool (I had told her before that I was not a great swimmer, and was barely comfortable with the two kids swimming). I was also told I had to feed them lunch while they were outside swimming and playing. The afternoon actually went okay. The kids were safe, healthy, and fed. The house was clean because they stayed outside for the most part. But the kicker? I got fired because I forgot to wipe the powdered Kraft dinner cheese (literally just the powder, not goo) off the stovetop. Dishes were done, but she couldn’t have a babysitter who would leave that kind of mess on her stove. It was apparently 'disrespectful.'"
12. "One time when I was in high school, I was babysitting for my neighbors' kids across the street. The mom told me she'd be home from work around 10, so I fed the kids and got them to bed. I was watching TV when the dad got home around 8 and I went, 'Oh, your wife said I was on the clock until 10, but I guess I can head out now.' NOPE. Turns out the husband was a recovering alcoholic, and to earn his wife's trust back, I was supposed to watch him until she got home from work to make sure he didn't drink. Nothing untoward happened — we just watched Family Guy until she got home. But it was awkward AF and I would have appreciated knowing the whole assignment ahead of time."
13. "I interviewed with a family that asked me to spank their children. I told them I was extremely uncomfortable with that and wouldn’t be doing so. They kept insisting it would be an extension of them, so it would be expected of me. I said no and that it didn’t sound like we would be a good fit. The kids were 10 and 12."
14. "As a babysitter, the kid I found most disturbing was one boy whose parents would let him smash his toys with a hammer. He had a whole bunch of toy cars that had been smashed to smithereens. He also loved to watch on repeat the parts of animated movies where characters came close to being hurt."
15. "They refused to let their kids eat raw veggies for absolutely no reason. They never told me this, so I gave the kids raw, washed, and cut broccoli with some ranch for a snack. They were happily eating it as the mom was getting ready for a party. She walked by, saw the kids eating the broccoli, took it from them, microwaved it, and said they like it much better that way. The kids did not like it better and even they thought it was weird. I was then instructed to never give them raw veggies."
17. "I’m a professional nanny and one of the families I worked for had a strict 'no games' rule. Not as in video games, but as in any game that could have a winner and a loser. No board games, no tag, nothing. 'Winning and losing leads to hurt feelings' was their explanation. I’d have to stop the girls any time they said something like 'I bet I can get to the end of the driveway faster' and remind them, 'Mom and Dad say no competition, remember?' Everything had to be perfectly equal or the parents would lose it completely."
18. "My sister babysat and wasn't allowed to leave (the parents refused to drive her home) until she did all the dishes — dishes that were there from the family BEFORE she showed up to babysit!"
19. "The mom got annoyed I used the phone charger that was left plugged in next to the sofa. She literally trusted me with her daughter and not her phone charger."
20. "I babysat for this family for the first time ever and the mother was walking me around the house, giving me instructions and showing me around, and then stopped at the fridge. She explained to me that when I sent her son to bed, I was to give him one hotdog out of the fridge. No heating it, no bun, just a cold, soggy hotdog for her son to munch on in bed. Apparently he ate one every night."
21. "I had one parent who said her 4-year-old son had to be held while taking a shit. He would sit on the toilet, then she would pull up a chair and wrap her arms around him. I refused to take care of that child."
22. "They told me to NEVER use more than two squares of toilet paper when I or their child used the restroom 😳. They always bought single ply toilet paper and their sewage never backed up/they were hooked up to the city line, so I could never understand that."
23. And finally, "I remember administering 'herbal neurotransmitter' drops to a couple of kids in the '90s. It was something like eight drops under their tongue before bedtime. I remember the one kid freaked out and said she was gonna get sick because she thought I gave her nine drops instead of eight. Looking back, I wonder what was in that stuff."
Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.