..."My job is becoming increasingly hard"....

Received Sunday, July 15, 2007-Perspective & Opinion
I need some advice from all the parents, and nannies out there! The family I have been working with for over a year now, has recently expanded to include another child. Their 2 1/2 year old son is adjusting fairly well, but is having a few problems. I have tried a few times to casually mention these new problems, such as increasing violence, and a combative, pushy attitude. I have made a few suggestions on how to change these behaviors, as I am a child development student and have learned all about and dealt with this already. But, for whatever reason I don't seem to be getting through to them. My job is becoming increasingly hard, and I am becoming more and more dissatisfied daily.

I was just curious is there another way that you can think of for me to address my concerns with her, such as sitting her down? But, I fear she may become defensive like she has in the past. I always try to start out with all the amazing things about her son, and how much fun I have with him, and what I think she is doing a great job with, then move on to my concerns. Yet still, I think she feels attacked, or judged because the message just doesn't seem to be getting through to her. Or, is this a lost cause?

I would appreciate feedback from either parents, or nannies on how they have dealt with these situations. Thanks in advance for all your replies!

Update 07/23/07- This is the OP. So I am finally done with the family I was working for. Things just got to be too much for me to take, and when I told her I was leaving, she totally freaked out. Even felt the need to call me twice after I quit to tell me what a mistake I was making and how I am not fit to work with children. Now, if I was such a terrible nanny, why use me for over a year, and only tell me I'm unfit to work with children once I leave. Overall, I am happy with my choice to leave. Things weren't getting any better, and I need to put myself first! Thanks for all the support and suggestions.


A Nanny in Baltimore said...

First I want to say it is great that you
1) Feel comfortable communicating your concerns with your employer
2) Care enough about this precious child to want to help

That being said, I worked for a family who had a 2 1/2 year old when their baby was born. The 2 1/2 year old, naturally, acted out and actually began regressing in behavior and other ways. However, in my situation the parents were not blind to this behavior and we worked together to try to make things better.

The 2 1/2 year old was evaluated for autism, ADHD and various other "causes" of the behavior. In the end, after months of meeting with a behavioral therapist once a week, the 2 1/2 year old outgrew it all. It seemed the key was on those nights of meeting with the behavioral therapist, the 2 1/2 year old was getting the one-on-one attention from mom and dad that was so desired - something that was limited when the baby came along.

Now, that 2 1/2 year old, is 9 years old, very involved in several sports, is happy, loving, well behaved and gets great grades in school.

While I don't know the details of your situation, you may want to suggest that mom and dad take a couple hours each week to spend alone with the 2 1/2 year old, while you care for the baby, out of the way of their special time.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Tell them that it is NORMAL as can be for the older sibling to act out when the newbie arrives. Then, suggest ways to head off his new-found bad behavior. Tell them that it will only work if you're all on the same page, since I'm assuming you don't work 24/7.

You definitely have to acknowledge that it's normal, because it definitely is.

DomesticGoat said...

I agree with 9:15. I've dealt with the addition of a sibling as a nanny three times. Each child reacted differently. I've also dealt with mothers that are TERRIBLY defensive, and think that you are attacking their parenting when you are offering your opinion.

That being said- I know it sound hard, but tough it out with the 2 1/2 year old! It's a huge change to go from being the center of the parents whole world, to having to share the spotlight. He'll adjust. Unless the "violence" you've reported is truly severe and in danger of really hurting someone/the child, I think you may need to talk to her though. Just say, "I think your son is having some issues coping with the sibling. I'd be happy to watch the sibling sometime if you want to spend some time alone with your son."

Are you in charge of both children?

Anonymous said...

This will sound harsh, but consider finding another job. I know EXACTLY what you're going through and you've already tried to communicate with this insecure, unrealistic mother and she is refusing to listen! She will NOT change. Things will only get WORSE. Your dedication and concern will be overlooked and unappreciated. Find another job, give two weeks notice and kiss the children goodbye.
Sadly, this is the only positive option for your own sanity and sense of self-worth.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I would ask for a time to sit and have a talk, preferably with both parents. Put it in terms of let us talk about what kinds of things we can do to help ---- make this adjustment.
9:15 PM made some good suggestions. I find that one on one time with each parent and me is very important so the sib doesn't feel pushed aside. I also try to have them help me with the baby, hand me a diaper, sing baby a song etc. I emphasize how much the baby is going to love them, and how many things they can teach the baby. Good luck
A nanny

Anonymous said...

It's very typical for the older sibling to act out when a newborn is introduced into the family. However there are some "bad seeds" that could actually place a baby in harm's way. I saw a movie about this.

jmt said...

9:15 took the words out of my mouth. I would absolutely take the role of educated professional nanny, sit mom down down and tell her what's what. Also tell her what will happen in the near future, developmentally speaking. You'll look like a genius. lol.
Of course, if she's really that dense and defensive, you may have to move on to a family that wants your knowledge.

Elizabeth said...

The terms in which you describe this child don't ring true to me -- not in the sense that you are lying -- but in the sense that you have no understanding of toddler behavior. Describing a toddler's behavior or attitude in adult terms such s "pushy," "combative," and "violent" is simply inappropriate.

I agree with the other posters that you should move on. You have no understanding of child development or cognitive staging. No wonder the mother doesn't take you seriously.

A Nanny in Baltimore said...

11:12 & 8:22

You have clearly never worked with children,and especially not in this capacity. These actions are very normal. Yes, she is using "adult" words to describe the child, but I think we are adults here.

By violent I would assume she means the child is hitting, kicking, or expressing their emotions through similar actions. I doubt she was implying that the child was attemping to shoot the nanny.

You cannot run away from every child that throws a temper tantrum or swings and arm or leg at you, or else you will never find the right family to work fact, if you are going to run, than nannying is the wrong profession.

As I stated before - and several others have stated, this is normal behavior given the situation. Encourage mom and dad to set aside some "special" time and understand that over time the problems will be solved. I love having the older child help out with the baby!

Anonymous said...

I think you should try and talk to the parents the best way you can although it might not work, in the mean time if you look after the 2 kids try and get the older brother involved in what you are doing like feeding, changing, singing to the baby, do everything you can with the 2 kids together and let him know he is great big brother and what a great job he is doing. I am a nanny and that worked well for me. Good Luck

Elizabeth said...

8:53, you completely missed my point. I AGREE WITH YOU -- this is normal toddler behavior, i.e. temper tantrums. It is nanny that doesn't get this.

Anonymous said...

This is the OP:

I am sorry that I used adult words in a forum for adults. Clearly everyone on here are not adults since you feel the need to not actually address my problem, but use it as a forum to get out your anger. I am very confident in my skills as a nanny, and no amount of badgering is going to make me doubt myself.

Thank you to the adults who actually answered my questions. I do get the toddler to help out with simple tasks that he can do. He loved his new baby. It the mother who refuses to dicipline him that is my problem. He is 2 1/2 and this behavior is normal, I know this. But, it's his mother's behavior that has me concerned. The fact that she has hired some with an AA degree in Child Development, and who attending a Cal State school for Child Development shows she wants a nanny who knows what she is doing. Yet, she refuses to take my advice.

I believe I have pretty much answered my own question here. I think it is time for me to move on! Thanks again, for all the HELPFUL comments!

Allison said...

I Have been in child Dev. For 25 years and Nanny for 5 years so I understand fully your frustration.

I wondered if you received an increase in pay for this added child? You should have. You hired on as a worker for 1 not two. Two makes it Twice as difficult.

Also, as you are dealing with the child more frequently, you can explain the situation to the family and ask for their input on how They want you do deal with it. You can give them a list of ideas that you have and as a team work together to get the child’s behavior in check. Don’t forget to remind the older child that you will have special activities when the new baby is sleeping, just the two of you. Have special kudos for the older child when they become part of the team to help keep baby happy. But I am sure you are already doing many of these things good luck

Anonymous said...

Everyone goes through rough patches at work. I'm surprised that so many people are so flippant about their jobs, expecially when there is a personal relationship involved.

Anonymous said...

Oops. Typo. That should say "touching."

Anonymous said...

This forum seems to never give Moms a break. You don't say how long it has been since the birth of the second child, but I was just not myself the first weeks after giving birth and I don't think I am particularly unique. I was physically exhausted, highly emotional, cried at the drop of a dime (not at all typical for me), and just feeling very overwhelmed and incapable of handling my growing family. It was passing emotions due to hormones and I was back to myself by the time my maternity leave was over. My first two children I did not have in home help--I planned daycare coverage for both my first and second child after I returned to work--and it was very difficult. By the time I had my third child, I had moved from daycare to employing a full time nanny and it was a very different experience. She is an angel. I have to admit I was not very receptive to criticism at that time. She recognized talking to me would just add stress and took it on herself to talk to my husband about him taking extra time for my oldest children in the evening and arranged some special events and outings for them during the day while I cared for and bonded with the baby. Try giving Mom the benefit of the doubt and talk to Dad. The toddler's behavior is normal and he likely just needs some extra attention, but if Mom is recovering from childbirth she is not necessarily the right parent to deal with it right now.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the OP for making the decision to move on!! I was the the nanny who made the "harsh" suggestion that the OP find another job. I'm glad she decided to do so.
She sound like a skilled, compassionate nanny and I wish her the best in the future (with an employer who values her and LISTENS to her).

ble said...

It really sounds, OP, like you have it down on how to speak to/with her. Go with your instincts. I think you will do fine.

Anonymous said...

This is the OP:

So I am finally done with the family I was working for. Things just got to be too much for me to take, and when I told her I was leaving, she totally freaked out. Even felt the need to call me twice after I quit to tell me what a mistake I was making and how I am not fit to work with children. Now, if I was such a terrible nanny, why use me for over a year, and only tell me I'm unfit to work with children once I leave. Overall, I am happy with my choice to leave. Things weren't getting any better, and I need to put myself first! Thanks for all the support and suggestions.

Jane Doe said...

Thank you for taking the time to update us on your situation. We wish you the very best of luck in your next position.