Babysitters and daycare professionals have access to a unique vantage. As the trusted adults left in the room with a child or children, childcare workers are the ultimate flies on the wall.
And when a childcare worker performs that role for an extended period of time--an entire career in some cases--they become privy to a whole collage of different kids who come from different homes.
Sure, general trends and tendencies of parents create normal expectations, even monotony.
But there are times when kids do some WILD stuff that leaves a childcare worker raising their eyebrows.
And as a handful of Redditors clarified, the parents are nearly always a part of the final analysis.
Some Redditors shared truly bizarre occurrences. These kids just seem to tick on a whole other wavelength, and it's a wonder how they made it as far as they did, let alone the whole rest of life.
"I used to work at a daycare and this one kid kept trying to stick his finger in the electrical sockets (the sockets were taped off so he couldn't) and would fall from pretty high places and hit his head."
"I have no clue how he's still alive but I now believe he is immortal."
When In Doubt, Ice Cream
"I was babysitting my little brothers one day and they wanted to know about Bigfoot so I told them and I said it probably wasn't real so nothing to worry about."
"Then my littlest brother (4) said 'if I see Bigfoot I'll climb onto his back and rip his skin off' I didn't know what to say so I gave them ice cream."
"I'm not a babysitter, but a relative of mine was for a short period of time. She said this 4 or 5 year old kid would tell her about how he wanted to cut into his pets to 'see how they work.' "
"The creepy behavior continued, she brought it up to the mother who didn't seem to care. One day she arrived, and the kid brought her a handful of various teeth that weren't human, still bloody."
"That was the last time she babysat."
Plenty to Be Concerned About
"Babysat this kid while I was in high school. He was like 8, I was 17. He got thrown out of mainstream school for flipping a desk on his teacher."
"I think the biggest 'this kid is going to be screwed up when he's older' was either when he showed me his collection of knives he stole from the kitchen or when he took me to see his dads porn collection."
"Yeah, didn't work there too long"
What's Cool for Adults May Be Neglectful for Children.
"When I lived in Canada and worked as a nanny, I used to do casual babysitting on the side for a number of local families. One of them, well - the parents were cool people with basically good hearts, but they should never have been parents."
"Their youngest son had the video of the original Michael Keaton/Jack Nicholson 'Batman' screened at his fourth birthday party, then 'Army of Darkness' at his fifth; the fifth birthday party was attended by the then four year old that I was nanny to, and I had to play dumb and tell my employers that I had no idea why their son was running round the garden with a Super Soaker shouting 'This is my boomstick!' "
"The parents were also ex-hippies who hauled their son and his two older sisters round in a bus following the Grateful Dead, and they bought their son a 'Can You Find Stoned Waldo' T shirt at one of the shows..."
"...when the kid wore this shirt to school before he turned six, he was made to take it off and turn it inside out before putting it back on, and when asked if he knew why he'd been told to do this replied, "'Cause there's illegal activity on it, but my dad says it's not illegal if you're sick.' "
Other childcare professionals highlighted some truly sad scenarios they've encountered.
These situations hinged on parents who were simply not prepared for the task, struggled with trauma of their own, or were simply so disinterested that neglect was obviously at play.
Afraid of Home
"I'm a teacher, not a babysitter. But, when kids are afraid to go home or have their parents contacted about anything, there is something going on that raises red flags (and will, possibly, leave the kid fu**ed up for years to come)."
"I had a student a few years ago who broke down in tears in front of me, begging me not to email his mom. He had cheated on a test and was so scared of his mother finding out that, after the crying, he threw up in the trash can."
"If you are that scared of your parents, then something is majorly wrong."
When It's Time to Take Action
"I have a friend who worked in a daycare right out of college."
"There was a baby who came in everyday dirty and hungry, so when she changed the baby's diaper at the end of the day she would write the date and time on the diaper with a sharpie."
"That baby came back the next day with the same diaper.... 12 hours later. After a few days of that she called CPS."
Not the Best Plan
"Not a babysitter, but a Paraprofessional at an Elementary School."
"First Grade teacher goes around the classroom asking the kids what they want to be when they grow up. One of the boys says 'I want to go to prison like my Dad!' "
Luckily, None of Them Took
"Had a kid who doused his mother's bed with her and her current pump in it, with lighter fluid, and was sitting in the floor trying to light matches."
"He was just shy of 5. 😳"
Illustrated in Socks
"Shi**y parents that doesn't care."
"I once babysat a little boy, from the time he was 1-3. His mom was busy going on vacation and partying."
"I remember as he grew he had less and less clothes, because he outgrown the ones he had. I remember he only had 1 pair of socks, because his mom would lose every fu**ing sock."
"I felt ashamed delivering him to the daycare with two different socks, all the time. It may not seem like a big deal, but look at it from a different POV: if you can't take care of a pair of socks, how are you gonna take care of a baby?"
"Not a babysitter, but I think my cousin might be a good example in this situation."
"He moves around so much that he literally lives in a boat, he has done school virtual schooling his entire life, so his only friends are his cousins, and his mother is both a Covid denier and an anti-vaxer. I feel bad for the poor kid"
Sadly, Not a Priority
"Honestly, parents who don't care about the kid's education, for whatever reason. Probably, the parent didn't graduate high school in the first place and doesn't place a whole lot of value in education."
"Many of those kids (source: former teacher) end up working at McDonald's or struggling to find some other work. They don't even get into trades because you have to go to some kind of school for those, and school just isn't something they can 'do.' "
"This happened with my step-daughter, who is an absolutely wonderful person but her mom never cared how she did in school or even if she went. Hence her trying to make a living now at 25 by working in day cares, which does NOT pay very well."
"She wants to do other things but they'd all require school and she just says 'I hate school.' "
Other Redditors encountered kids who were at the whims of some atypical parenting decisions. They were raised to accept a reality that may never jive with the real world waiting for them after childhood.
Redditors could only sit and wonder how that would all turn out.
"Knew a kid whose parents thought it was funny to tell him the wrong names for things. Socks were called turtles. Put your turtles on. Sh** like this."
"Wondered why he had screaming meltdowns in daycare then kindergarten etc until he was finally able to read by himself. In grade 4. Because spelling turtle s o c k doesn't give you any head starts."
A Very High Bar
"I babysat a 6 year old and his parents has a few strange rules, but Smooth Time was by far the worst."
" first day while walking through the routine, I was told every evening after bath time, I was to cover this kid head to toe in petroleum jelly to 'prevent cracks in his skin"'aka dry skin."
"It happened every morning as well, but the mom or dad did it then."
"I really don't think it was anything malicious, the other rules were similarly overly-cautious like the kid had to wear shoes at all times to prevent him hurting his feet, but that kid is gonna have a hard time at his first sleepover."
"Not a babysitter but had a classmate that had parents that knowingly taught him the wrong things to avoid him getting confused and eventually pulled him out of school after only a few years of him being in our school."
"They said for example that negative numbers don't actually exist, decimal points are just full stops for big numbers and so on and so forth."
"Parents also gave him waaaaay too much free reign; I live in an area of London that isn't the best for crime, i.e. you shouldn't really be letting children go to school by themselves until at least age 14-15 and if so at least with a few friends."
"By age 8 his parents allowed him to go to school by himself (he lived about 15 minutes away). He was also extremely clumsy and could be very rude."
Their Way or the Highway
"I was a casual babysitter, but when I lived in LA I babysat for a family that lived in a giant house on a hill and they refused to say no to their kid, and I wasn't allowed to either."
"She wanted to do something dangerous and I wouldn't let her, and she told me her parents let her do it. I said 'well I'm responsible for your safety right now so I can't let you do that.' "
"When her parents got home they scolded me for saying no. That was the last time I babysat for them."
So if you haven't had kids yet, take a good hard look at this list, and commit these faux pas to memory. When it's time, you'll be able to avoid at least a few glaring no-no's.
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Rules are something babysitters get used to. Every household is going to be a little bit different: a different bedtime for their kids, maybe somebody has allergies, etc.
Sometimes it can get a little weird though.
Reddit user Foraring asked: