Would you use a teenage boy as a babysitter?

Filed under: Work Life, Health & Safety: Babies, Childcare, Media

When my sister was a teenager, she made quite a bit of money babysitting for neighborhood kids. Although I was as responsible and upstanding as any young man has ever been, the only thing our neighbors ever trusted me to take care of was their dogs. Or their cats. Or their lawns. It always felt like there was just a presumption that people wouldn't hire teenage boys to be babysitters.

When we first put our daughter in daycare, I learned that the individual who would be taking care of her was a man. I'll admit that despite my best PC-leanings, I was initially uncomfortable with this. The daycare that I was sent to as a child had a male employee, and he was later arrested and sent to prison for molesting children at the daycare. Then there are cases like that of Brandon Jaffe, the 15-year old Florida babysitter who was caught on by a nanny cam forcing his two 8-year-old charges to perform sex acts on him. If I was those kids' father, who taped the footage that caught Jaffe, I'm not sure if I wouldn't be in jail for beating the crap out of Jaffe, who currently faces 11 felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child. This should be Exhibit A for why nanny cams are a good thing, otherwise this sick mope would still be watching those kids.

Now I know a female babysitter can also abuse kids and that one shouldn't make generalizations based on gender. I eventually came to terms with---and came to love---the man who took care of my daughter at daycare, and I think men can be capable and outstanding nannies and childcare providers. But call me whatever bad names you want, the safety and innocence of my daughter would come before some gesture of equality, and I just don't think I would ever trust a teenage boy to take care of her.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.