10 year old babysitter

A 10 year old babysitter was arrested recently on child abuse charges.  For weeks prior to her arrest, she had been caring for a 23 month old girl and a 4 year old boy.  She admitted to grabbing the little girl by the hair, pulling her out of her crib and onto the floor, slamming her head in the bathtub, and kicking her – all during the seven hours she was babysitting one of the days.  She also hit the child with a plastic bat, a belt, and toys.  The toddler was taken to emergency care with severe brain injuries and a skull fracture, and it was discovered that the injuries that the child endured were inflicted over a period of time. 

There is so much wrong with this story, it’s not even funny. 

In case you didn’t catch it the first time…

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was in charge of a 23 month old and a 4 year old.

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was watching these young children on her own for several weeks, apparently 7 or so hours each time.

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was abusing this child over a period of time and it wasn’t noticed.

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was arrested on child abuse charges. 


Frankly, I’m floored.  The whole story sends chills down my spine.  Just the description of the abuse is hard to read.  But when I read about a 10 year old being left alone for 7 hours to care for two young children?  I don’t even have words to describe the horror I feel about this.  I mean, we all know the stress involved with caring for young kids.  There’s the attention and entertainment they need.  There’s the meals they need prepared for them.  There’s the tantrums, the whining, the disobedience, the need to test limits, the natural curiousity of a 2 year old…  A 10 year old is not equipped with the maturity and the knowledge to be able to solely care for children of this age for long periods of time. And what if something goes horribly wrong?  What if the child starts to choke?  What if the child runs out of the house and into the street?  What if they need to be taken to the hospital?  What if the 10 year old is brought beyond their limits and they fight the toddler in ways their little bodies can’t handle?

The abuse this toddler endured was unspeakable. And if an adult inflicted these kinds of injuries on a child we would be read to string them up and persecute them.  But it was a child who did this – a child given responsibilities way beyond their years.  And now a child who has been arrested and remains in a juvenile detention center.

What about the 10 year old?


16 thoughts on “10 year old babysitter

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  1. What were the parents thinking? Both parents? The parents of the children being baby sat, and the parents of the 10 year old?? If I had a 10 year old who was asked to babysit, I would tell the persons asking that she’s not nearly old enough for the kind of responsibility. I’ve often thought back to babysitting at 12 and wondered what all of the adults involved were thinking allowing me to do so. 12 is too young. We think of leaving our kids with a young teen as a normal, ok thing to do. It’s not. I’m not sure how or why it started. It’s one thing to have the kid next door mow your lawn for money, but quite another to have a kid taking care of your kid. I’m as floored as you are.

  2. I must respond to the ‘where or how it started’ comment, as I feel it is a little hasty and overly judgmental. Where as I ABSOLUTELY agree that this situation is ridiculous and tragic, and that a child THAT young should absolutely NOT be left in charge of young children, especially children THAT young for THAT long…this attitude of ‘oh, whoever started this crazy teens caring for children craze was off the mark’ is a declaration that doesn’t really take…life, I suppose?…into account. It used to be that families would have a large number of children to do stuff like help on the farm or what have you. The older children often were in charge of looking after their younger siblings, or in a more populous area, perhaps their cousins or neighbors. Yes, we are more cautious in this day and age and most people hiring a person to care for their children requires them to not only be old enough to drive but also to have taken first aid courses, and possibly child psychology courses for fear that the babysitter might inadvertently scar their childrens’ young psyches.

    I know this comment is probably out of place and over the top, but suggesting the practicality of long-ago and the friendly neighborliness of a little less long ago were a sinister and reckless choice in childcare. It was just…the way it was. One must also keep in mind that people often…I suppose…grew up faster in those times. As soon as they were old enough, girls were often married and reproducing, and they were often responsible for many of the chores involved in running the household that today’s young people wouldn’t be required to do until they were a fair bit older. Today’s children are generally younger than they were in generations and eras past.

    That being said, as I mentioned, this situation in particular is absolutely unbelievable and tragic…as an adult, interacting with toddlers can be really frustrating. A child that young is not up to the stresses of the situation and the parents involved are responsible for some horrible things. I hope it haunts them.

  3. I wasn’t saying that you were from the time of long long ago…I was suggesting that your comment,
    “We think of leaving our kids with a young teen as a normal, ok thing to do. It’s not. I’m not sure how or why it started,”
    was a little on the judgmental side, particularly the last sentence–it’s not like people suddenly, in the past couple decades, decided ‘Hey! Lets have teenagers watch our precious children!’ People tend, in general, to be a bit more cautious in choosing child care than was once the norm…but the history of having teens and adolescents provide child care is a long one, and is still practiced by many.
    Perhaps your wording simply mislead me concerning the intent of your statement…the way it was phrased, it just seemed a rather hasty and unfounded judgment of a practice that wasn’t simply ‘taken up’ one day, but has pretty much existed as long as people have been reproducing. That’s all.

  4. It was more of a pondering than anything else. It wasn’t meant to be judgemental at all, since as I stated, I was a 12 year old babysitter. I mean legally kids aren’t even allowed to be left alone by their own parents until they are 12, so why at that age do we heap on the responsibility of not only being able to take care of themselves, but other little ones as well. I know it’s been a practice for a long time, and I know there was a time when 12 year olds became parents themselves and it was the norm. And it probably did start with older siblings being left to care of younger siblings, and hey, if they can care for their little baby brother, why not the kid down the street. I guess what I am really trying to say is maybe it’s time we rethink the preteen/teenaged babysitter.

  5. Clearly, there was a pattern of neglect here that surpassed merely the children the ten-year-old was caring for and extended to the ten-year-old themselves. If this child was put in this position in the first place, that suggests the mother in the case was putting some other responsibility or duty ahead of caring for her older child, putting that child, in fact, in charge of child care long before she/he is able or qualified. We don’t know the exact specifics of her situation either. If I was a police officer trying to establish the pattern of events, that would be important; does the mother have a job she has to do, leaving her older child in charge? From a psychological standpoint, what kind of rage toward the younger siblings did this spawn? Were these even her siblings? Are we talking about filial resentment or the opportunity for a damaged psyche to act out feelings of anger or revenge against helpless victims? The mere act of putting a child as young as ten in charge of caring for children is troubling, yes, but what is even more troubling is the abuse that took place. As Str4y points out, during a bygone era such things were not unheard of. In days past, during harsh economic times, the strains of work forced much younger children to grow up far before their time. However, the rage and anger taking place here does indeed boggle the mind.

  6. The parents of the baby should be held responsible as well. I’d imagine all of the abuse didn’t occur in a single day, they should have noticed it. And leaving a child to take care of your children should be considered neglect.

  7. I just want to point out that the 10 year old in custody now is NOT the sibling of the younger children. She was employed by the mother to care for the younger children.

    On the point about kids once being able to care for younger siblings and kids in days of yore, those were also kids that grew up with lots of responsibilities as a way of survival for a family at a time when they didn’t have modern conveniences. (Stray, I don’t disregard that you made this point: “Today’s children are generally younger than they were in generations and eras past.”) They were expected, at a very young age, to work alongside their parents on their farms or in their family businesses. These days, even the most responsible children do not have as much expectations and duties as kids in the olden days. So, IMO, giving them large responsibilities at such a young age is now way out of their realm of understanding and abilities.

  8. “days of yore” Hmm. Nice mockery. Whatever. Just speculating. Still doesn’t explain the rage, however.

  9. Oh, agreed. Something is wrong all around when a 10 year old is capable of inflicting that kind of rage on a toddler. But IMO, something is even more wrong when a 10 year old is put in charge of a nearly 2 year old for 7 hours on her own, and expected to responsibly handle the stress that comes with a toddler.

  10. I was earning money babysitting at eleven. I cared for toddlers and their siblings, prepared their meals, put them to sleep, and substituted for their mothers even when I, really, had no earthly clue how to do so. But in so doing, I learned how to be a responsible adult, and one day have children of my own. I’m not saying it was right or even advisable, and of course, every last concern is notable and worth a stop to reflect on. Perhaps my own parent should be reprimanded for her lack of judgement, but the parent in question here could not and may not have had any idea regarding the rage present in this child she mistakenly, all around, left in charge of her children’s care. I would further submit, that no one did.

  11. First – WCM, I absolutely agree, concur, whatever..today’s children are, in general, simply NOT responsible enough to provide (especially extended) child care.

    As for the ‘rage issue’…I’m not trying to exonerate the 10yo’s actions, but do want to reiterate that toddlers can be very difficult to deal with…even adults can find themselves at the edge of tears trying to get a terrible two to cooperate, and a 10 year old that doesn’t know HOW to manage that frustration (when left alone with no adult supervision for hours and hours) might give in to more violent urges. I’m not saying it’s right, or that it might not even come out during the psychological profiling that this little girl is a sociopath that saw no wrong in hurting her charge…but I’m also saying that if that isn’t the case, this ‘rage’ toward the child she was left in charge of might be, if not acceptable, at least understandable? She should not have been left in that position, pure and simple. That 22yo mom needs a babysitter herself, if that’s the kind of decisions she’s making.

  12. I know of parents who are both outside mowing their yard while a 7 year old babysits her 4 year old brother.

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