Friday

Do you think what the nanny did was out of line?

This is more a solicitation for advice than a nanny spotting. This afternoon, I was walking down my driveway to get my mail when I noticed something fall out of my across-the-street neighbor's upstairs window. This crash was immediately followed by shrieks of horror coming from inside the house (but audible to me, standing in my own driveway). I was concerned about the yelling and wondering if I should ring the doorbell and check to see if everything was okay, but before I could do that, my neighbor's 6 year old son came running from the garage, crying and screaming, with his nanny following him. He threw himself to the ground on the driveway where the crash had occurred. Apparently, the 6 year old had intentionally broken one of his older brother's Lego creations, and as punishment, the nanny threw his Lego castle out the window. The 6 year old was devastated as he picked up the pieces of his creation, and when the Nanny came near him, he got up, yelled "I hate you!" and ran away from her (toward the back yard). The nanny chased him around the yard for a bit, urging him to get into the car because they had an errand to run. He kept running from her and she kept walking toward him, sternly and angrily, and finally, after verbal threats, he conceded and got into the car.

So my question is-- do you think what the nanny did was out of line? Certainly everyone is entitled to their own philosophies of discipline, but throwing a child's toy out a window seems to me to be very aggressive and probably scary to the child. If it was out of line, should I tell my neighbor what I saw? We've just recently moved into the neighborhood so it's not as though we're great friends and I could just casually mention it. Part of me thinks I should mind my own business, but the other part thinks that if my neighbor ever witnessed my nanny treating MY child like that, I would very much want to know.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Throwing his toy out the window seems brutal and inappropriate to me. If I were the parent I would definitely want to know. There were so many more constructive ways for the nanny to approach this. But I understand how you would feel awkward bringing this up with the parents too. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

so wrong...what happens next..she cant control herself she WILL kill the child one way or another and you said and did nothing...i feel you must tell the mother...this is nuts...anger is okay but she MUST be in control at anytime...we are the adults and should act like one..
i am a mother of 5 kids and i no we can get very mad but and i say but we allways have to be in control...( i just walk away and return when i am ready to deal with things)

Anonymous said...

INEXCUSABLE. God knows what happens behind closed doors! She sounds like a rageaholic.

Anonymous said...

Nanny was completely out of line. I would be furious if my nanny did something like this. What kind of role model is she for the child? I would let the parents know. I wonder if the child told the parents what the nanny did, or did the nanny threaten him if he told his parents?--even worse.

Anonymous said...

Way out of line. You don't teach a child anything by frustrating and enraging him.

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty funny. Maybe the brat will think twice before he puts his grubby little paws on his poor baby brother's stuff.

Anonymous said...

Tell the parents. If she is so angry and out of control over such a mundane thing as knocking down his brother's legos, and deals with it in such a childish way, she is dangerous.
A nanny

Anonymous said...

Inappropriate? yes. However, I don't think that it's up to you to say anything unless you see that the child is being abused. Besides, I suspect that the kid would tell the parent anyway!

Anonymous said...

1035 is IGNORANT
A child is not going to rat out an abusive nanny that scares the piss out of him!

Anonymous said...

There is no question that the parents should be told about what happened. Please tell the parents. I can understand your hesitation as you are a new neighbor, but it is important that you speak up. Why not start off by saying that you saw something that, if the situation were reversed, you would want the person who witnessed it to tell you. After you explain what you saw, the parents can also ask their children to recount the incident to them (the parents). Surely this is not acceptable behavior according to the parents. (If it were me I would be so grateful that someone told me! And I would get rid of this nanny.) Please re-post later, and let us all know what you did, and what the parents did. Thanks for helping the children and their family by speaking up.

Anonymous said...

10:35, it is abuse. It is emotional abuse. And it is highly inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Completely inappropriate. All she's doing is teaching the child that when someone does something you don't like, it's perfectly okay to do the same thing to them.

I'm also torn on what to do. Like the OP said, I know *I* would want to know if that happened, but it would be a really awkward thing to bring up with someone you didn't know.

lauren said...

Everyday we have the chance to be advocates. Seize those opportunities. I can't imagine being a child left alone with hell nanny.
Advocate-verb/to Push for something, Speak, plead, or argue in favour of.
Always speak up for those people who are weaker than you! (Children!)

Anonymous said...

10:07 funny.?????. were are coming from????
this situation is dangerously out of control..for you to think this is funny...i hope you are not a mom or a nanny

roxie said...

PLEASE leave an anonymous note in the mailbox. Send it today. She doesn't have to know it was you. I am sure there are other neighbors. Please don't let this go on. Please!

Anonymous said...

10:07: There's always at least one idiot poster. This time it's you.

Anonymous said...

just another disgruntled nanny. No doubt.

Lauren said...

Update from OP:

Thank you all for your constructive advice. The responses overwhelmingly support my original intuition that what the nanny did was inappropriate, and I will speak to my neighbor about it as soon as I see her. I'd rather not do it anonymously. If it's the principled thing to do, I have no problem speaking to her directly. Thank you all for your input, and I will let you know how it goes!

Lauren

P.S. Prior to law school, I worked for a non-profit agency that advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children (C.A.S.A.), so in hindsight, it seems odd to me that I even second guessed myself. It's funny--and a bit scary--how our judgment can be clouded when these things hit closer to home.

Anonymous said...

Well...first off he destroyed his brothers lego creation. Maybe this kid kept doing this and the Nanny was trying to make a statement to him. Maybe this kid is a terror to his brother and the Nanny clearly stated "I WILL throw your castle out the window - it's a promise - if you continue to terrorize your brother in such a mean, violent way. Then YOU will know what it feels like to be so violated" Maybe the kid pushed her. None of you know the real story. It could be bad, it could be very justifiable and if she's a Good Nanny than the Mother and Father already know what happened, why and what both of the children learned from it. If she's a Bad Nanny then she is explosive and no, I wouldn't want my child around that. Re: telling the parents....I'd tell another parent in the neighborhood, just casually. "Oh, you know what I saw happen at so and so's house the other day?" This other parent, a fixture in the neighborhood (remember, she said she was new in the neighborhood)will shed some light on the situation. For all you people that want to string up this Nanny: there are always more details than you know about with regard to Nannies. Most are really great: some are horrible. I hope the horrible ones are found out and stop working with children. It's a field that needs to be regulated and it's not. There is a lot of Nanny Abuse, too, you know. Parents think nothing of leaving their children from "get up time" to way pass "go to sleep time" with them and some of them crack. Consider all sides, please.

fg said...

another dysfunctional nanny showing her stuff.

jmt said...

I don't think fearing an awkward moment with the parents is enough reason not to say something. It's not the best timing in the world, since you barely know your new neighbors, but we have to look out for each other. Why not say that you saw how their nanny handled the situation and that you would want to know if something that emotional and angry had happened to your own kids.
Do what you feel is right and don't worry about the outcome.

Anonymous said...

How do you know the nanny threw it out the window and not the kid? You're assuming a lot here.

Anonymous said...

totally inappropriate..and just plain stupid. what sort of example is that nanny teaching the child?

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I am a part time nanny during the summer months, and go to school during the year. The way i look at it is no matter who this was the behavior is inappropriate. If this was the parent "mother or father" throwing their childs creation out the window, threatening them, it's out of line!
I bet your behind that the parents would like to know what is going on .... wouldnt you??? This should have never happened, and we all know that sometimes you can get a little flustered but thats the thing about being a parent "or a nanny" you handle yourself differently in situations. She is definitely not a positive role model in that childs life, and those parents are depending on her to nourish her children while they're not there ... i urge you to initiate some sort of contact with your neighbor, they'll appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

I am a 21 yr old nanny myself. I go to school in the morning and babysit the rest of the day. I handle 3 boys and sometimes i must admit i want to CHOKE THEM! but i just ignore them and try to calm myself down... one time I knew i was about to explode on them and i just walked outside and sat on the porch for 5 minutes and came back in and punished them accordingly. What this nanny did was not WAY OUT OF LINE but it sure was out of line! I hope the parents take the critizism ok because sometimes, the parents believe the babysitter more than the child and since you are a new neighbor, they might not trust you as much as they trust their babysitter. Either way, you know you did the right thing by telling them.

Anonymous said...

I still say it's pretty damn funny.
teehee

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am a nanny too, and that is so out of line! Boys knock lego things down... and if it drives you crazy enough, and they have had a warning or two, just put the toy away! I commend you for approaching your neighbor, you are clearly not a person who will sit back and watch something like that happen, then pretend it never did. I wonder if the boy told mom already his version of the story... she should be glad to hear it from you, even if she sounds defensive at first.

Thank you!!!! For paying attention!

Anonymous said...

mayhaps it is a dark sense of poetic justice and humor that makes me (at a glance) agree with 10:07 and think this is a fantastically amusing type of punishment.

On the other hand, I know I'd never do that to any of the kids I've taken care of, no matter how frustrating, infuriating, etc. I'd use my words, just like I would have them do.

So yes, while a part of me thinks it's funny to read about, that doesn't make it acceptable behavior. Just make sure you know enough of the story to be able to actually tell it to your neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Leave a note so she wont know its u, just make sure its in a sealed envelope. I am allowed to bring up the mail for the family i work for..

Anonymous said...

You are "allowed" to bring up the mail? Are you "allowed" to use the household bathroom or are you relegated to a nearby field?

Kate said...

Dear Nanny,
I would not be comfortable with you who said, "I am a 21 yr old nanny myself. I go to school in the morning and babysit the rest of the day. I handle 3 boys and sometimes i must admit i want to CHOKE THEM!" working as my nanny. Sorry, but that spooks the hell out of me!

I have two children, sometimes they do misbehave and I think I would prefer a caregiver that didn't have those kind of punishing thoughts in her head!

Anonymous said...

A lot of these nannies seem to border on the deranged side.

Anonymous said...

Kate,

Everybody has those moments. Just because the nanny doesn't necessarily handle her annoymous blogging phrasiology responsibly, does not mean she isn't handling her stress at work responsibly.

Anonymous said...

Anony 3:06 (longer post)
I see what you are saying, but at the same time all she is doing is mentioning to the mother, so if there is another side there is no problem. Its not like she is going to kidnap the kids and take off because of what she saw.
It can't hurt to mention it, maybe they do the same with their kids, ok, but at least she tried to help these kids.

Anonymous said...

Kate:
I don't think she meant it literally! The other day I said I could just kill my husband for something he forgot to do. Nobody called the police.

jmt said...

The most important part of that CHOKE comment is that she felt like she wanted to strangle the three little boys who were working her last nerve, but LEFT the area to cool off, returned with a cooler head and was able to discipline the kids properly with personal control.
I also laughed when I imagined the nanny chucking a bratty kids toy out the window - tit for tat. But for me it's a fantasy. Most people would never do that because of the awful, childish lesson it teaches. Better would be to put the beautiful Lego castle up on a shelf for a week or two where the destructive brat could see it but not touch. I'd also make him help his brother reconstruct the broken lego toy, if the brother wanted help. Get them to play together.

I once saw Supernanny Jo Foster do something great to build respect and trust among siblings by making every sibling give their most prized toy to another brother to protect for a week. I think there were four of five of them. It was hard for them to do bec all these kids did was destroy whatever didn't belong to themselves. But at the end, every toy was protected and returned intact to every child's amazement. She taught instant compassion! I like her show bec she actually teaches techniques that I've used, and they work.

Enjoy the Nor'Easter today everyone!

Anonymous said...

7:07 I still say you are sick!!!

With things like this going on wheter parents of nannies, this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable. This is why we have a generation of ANGRY children.

You learn what you live!!!

Anonymous said...

12:58 correction....I meant to say "Parents OR Nannies...

Anonymous said...

To take something away from a child for a period of time as punishment for such behaviour is one thing, but this type of discipline is ABUSE. If I had a sitter or nanny who did this, they would be let go immediately.

Anonymous said...

You do not know what happened inside. I think this child sounds like he behaved like a brat and now knows how his brother felt to see his creation destroyed. Much better she toss the legos out the window then smack the child.

Anonymous said...

It's still a VIOLENT act just because she didn't throw the kid out the window. What if the nanny had punched a hole in the wall? Would you still be throwing her a parade? These are indicators of an out of control, violent person.
Never ever have someone taking care of your children who punished your child out of anger.

Anonymous said...

5:40-- Nobody's throwing her a parade, and most of us think that in the end what the nanny did was out of line. She reacted rashly but I wouldn't consider her reaction Violent.

And do you usually punish your child out of joy, pleasure, amusement, or other positive emotions? I suspect not. I would imagine that occasionally your child behaves in such a way as to draw a reaction of anger and frustration, and if that is the case I would imagine that you punish your child for their unacceptable behavior.

If you do not, then I would never want to watch your kids either. Never agree to take on a charge that doesn't know what it is to be disciplined.

And this isn't an anti-mom statement. I love the mom's I've worked for, I love my mom, I love the kids I've had as charges.

The nanny's reaction was Not violent, it wasn't well thought out at all. While I would, for a second, consider an "eye-for-an-eye" approach to the situation by doing to one boy what he did to the other, I would not consider striking the child or damaging the house. This is an extremely melodramatic reaction on your part.

casp said...

wordy one,
sounds violent to me.

april said...

Dear OP,
I think what the nanny did was CRAZY. Lord knows what she throws out the window next weekend. Please update on us on the resolution to this story of the psychopathic nanny on the second floor.

Monique said...

Yes, it was inappropriate as all disciplinary actions should be discussed with the parents before doing so (if they fall into a grey area) This action very clearly was in the grey area! In fact, this action could be grounds for immediate termination without upholding any written contrat/agreement between the family and nanny.

jessi said...

No offense Monique but if my nanny has to ask me if it is okay to hurl a lego toy out the second floor of a window, she is as good as fired!

I am all for teaching children to respect other people's possessions. But come on, why not lock it in a closet or put it on top of a refrigerator???

This is the kind of nanny that will be in the newspaper 6 months from now for having done something horrible. And her employers will be asked by newspersons, "were there any signs".

Hell ya. This is a sign.

Anonymous said...

Take heed. Think on what just happened at Virginia Tech. There are always forewarnings but there are those who will overlook and not take action. Always better to be safe than sorry.

Anonymous said...

you heard a crash- you didn't SEE anyone throw anything- it could have been the brother for all u know- I would highly doubt an adult would do such a thing.