"I really can't stand the child I'm sitting for."

Received Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I really can't stand the child I'm sitting for.

I started a new job recently and I have a huge problem. Not only can I not bond with the child I'm caring for, but I literally can't stand her! Since I get paid well and they are very accommodating, I'm wondering what I should say to the parents.

I know I have to quit, but they spent so long looking for the right sitter, screening people for months, etc. I feel guilty. I know for a fact I was on their short list and beat out several candidates because of my experience and references but I can't stay! I'm never going to bond with this child or even grow to like her.

I've been with them 2 months and already mentioned to the mother I don't think it's working out and she was upset and said they are counting on me. I realize I will put the mom in a bind but I also cannot possibly continue to care for a child I dislike. This has never happened to me in the 12+ years experience I have.


Anonymous said...

I recently had the exact same experience. I was only part time, and the mom guilted me into staying, because she couldn't find anyone else. The fact that I couldn't stand a child made me feel like an awful person.I can't even say for sure what it was about him that creeped me out, but none of the kids on the playground would play with him either.

One day he hugged me and I flinched, and he looked so hurt. I felt like the worst person in the world. I gave notice that day. Quit before the child realizes you dislike her!

nycnanny said...

I would just quit. Not liking your charge is a definate problem. No one benefits. Quit now and do not think twice about it.

ericsmom said...

Wow, I felt sad reading that first response. The child hugged you and you flinched. That is sad. Poor kid. Couldn't you have at least pretend to have a heart around him at that moment.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I know your looking for a way to tell the Mom, but I would be curious to know what it is about this child that you dislike so much? Could you please fill us in?

Anonymous said...

ericsmom, it is called being human. Unless yu are a person who is used to bullshitting your way through life, situations like this will often catch you off gaurd. The nanny did the responsible thing, she quit asap. She only stayed because of a guilt trip mom layed on her anyhow.
If you are telling any of us that you have never allowed your true feelings to show, I would have to call you a fibber!

What part of " I felt like the worst person in the world" did you miss? jeesh!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is just not a good match. I am a parent and a nanny employer and it took a few nannies to find a good match for our 3 kids. When you find it, it's mutual. You aren't doing the family any favors by staying.

I recommend you give them plenty of notice (3-4 weeks) to find someone new since you do seem to feel the parents are good employers, but remind the Mom of your earlier conversation and be firm when you tell her it's just not fair to her child to keep you on if you are not bonding well with her. And tell her right away--the summer going into the start of a new school year is a good time for a family to find a new nanny and for you to look for a new position since that seems to be the time of year people re-evaluate their childcare needs.

Metronanny said...

First of all, this sort of thing happens from time to time. You're not a bad person. Children are people, and we can't like every person we meet.

Since you have years of experience, and judging from your post, solid references, be honest, if not gentle with the mother. Sit her down and tell her that it's not working because you and the child are not connecting. Give adequate notice and look for another job. Leave the last family off your resume and if asked about the gap in employment, be honest. Tell them you worked briefly for a family but could not connect with the child to your satifaction in a way you thought would be the most benficial to the child. The parents should respect you for your honesty as well as your desire to put the child's emotional wee-being before your economical one. Best of Luck OP!

ericsmom said...

I was wondering the same thing, Marypoppin. What is it about this child that gets on her nerves.

Yaya said...

Eh, quit. Nanny jobs are a dime a dozen and hopefully you'll love the next kids. I wouldn't be able to stay at a job where I did not love the children. When I have switched jobs I am soooooo picky. I mean, I judge the family, the kids, everything. Sometimes I can tell right away if I like the kids or not (ie; if they are ugly and bratty, probably never gonna happen). With me, if the kid is at least cute, then there's hope. but I just can't look past rude behavior while I'm trying to rehab them if they are ugly....Lol!
Give notice and start looking.
I'm curious too...what is the issue?

kathleencares said...

I'm not sure it matters why she doesn't like the child - she just doesn't. I think it is totally normal, and I've experienced something similar. Thankfully, in my experience, it was a temporary job, but when the parent asked me to continue on permanently, I had to decline. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I just didn't like their daughter. She got on my nerves, and I didn't see that changing. I think you should quit because it's only going to get worse. I would make up an excuse as to why you have to leave. I don't think you need to tell the parent you just don't like their kid.

Anonymous said...

This happened to me once, and I felt like a horrible person for not liking a child. I've come to realize that, as someone pointed out, children are people. People have their individual temperaments, character traits, and personalities. Sometimes you meet one you just don't like. The sooner you quit the better, for both you and the child.
Don't feel guilty. The fact that you are not willing to stay in a job with a child you can't bond with is a sign of a good professional nanny who takes her job very seriously IMHO.
A Nanny

UmassSlytherin said...

yaya, why the hell don't you like ugly kids?

That's like, totally mean. Do you not like ugly people in general? What's the difference what the freaking kid looks like? I'm surprised you said that. Obviously I disagree. I sort of think ugly/cute are relative terms.

That being said, I think OP should quit if she is that unhappy. I would also be curious to know what it is about this child that OP dislikes.

Anonymous said...

Did you honestly think you'd be able to post something so mean and wrong and not get a response?

("Sometimes I can tell right away if I like the kids or not (ie; if they are ugly and bratty, probably never gonna happen). With me, if the kid is at least cute, then there's hope. but I just can't look past rude behavior while I'm trying to rehab them if they are ugly....Lol!")

There is something really wrong about your attitude towards children. I feel sorry for any child "less than cute" ever left with you. The poor kid will probably receive substandard care.

K said...

I've had the same experience where the kids and I just didn't click. There were 3 little boys and the younger 2 were fine, but the older one was awful. He would always lead his brothers into trouble and wouldn't listen to me when I tried to punish him.
They paid a TON of money, more than I've ever been paid, but I had to quit. I pretty much just told the mom that I needed some personal time for myself. My name got tarnished a bit after she told her friends, but it sure as hell beat watching her kid!!
The job I'm at now is HEAVEN regardless of crappy pay, compared to that family.

Anonymous said...

calif nanny here....I too have had a job where I just didnt click with the child. He didnt want anyone to be with him, not even his own father...his mom nursed him till he was like 2 and he was overly attached to only her. It was a chore to be with him. I didnt work there very long, I loved the mom and the other two babies were just born when I went to work there. It was hard to leave but I know myself, I watch 5 kids now (all part time) and I love them all. It is not even like work to be with them. I honestly think its not fair to the child if you stay in a job where you dont think you are going to bond with the children.

O.P. said...

Thanks for all the support and I feel a lot better knowing that I'm not the only person who's been in this position.

The child is overly attached to her mother by her mother's own doing. She sleeps in bed with her mom almost every night. From the comments the dad had made, he's not happy with that arrangement! She cries for her mother any time I say no, although, I must say, the mother supports me. The poor child constantly whines and it grates on my nerves. I plan to give 2 weeks notice Friday and will stay on an extra week if need be but that's it. Thanks again!

MissDee said...

This is an interesting post, because I am kind of going through the same thing in daycare. I think that the work environment has a lot to do with how quickly you bond with a child, regardless if you are a nanny, daycare provider or babysitter:

When I was a nanny for a "WAHM", I too, had a hard time bonding with the children. I use the WAHM in quotations, because I never saw her do any work. What got me with this position is that why did this mother, who always appeared to be exhausted, rush home to tend to her children while out shopping? Not that I think that's a bad thing, but I was hired for 1 day per week which increased to 2 once she pulled her preschooler from daycare. I felt as though I wasn't needed, and I learned alot from this position, especially communications and the WA.

We all know about my ex boss from last summer, and no, I didn't bond with any of my class, since the work conditions were horrible. I did, however, bond with my ex boss' nephew, who bit me numerous times. Strange, isn't it?

Just a few weeks ago I babysat for a single mom with a 2 year old. The first time I babysat for a few hours and the little girl cried most of the time I was there-I was a stranger-how was she supposed to feel? I babysat last weekend, both Friday and Saturday nights, and Friday night the little girl kept crying-I tried to calm her down, only to no avail. She cried herself to sleep. The next night, Saturday, she did the same thing-and I figured out what worked with her to calm her down. The next night was a breeze, and I love babysitting for this little girl.

Which brings me to my current job-I work in a daycare and have toddlers. I love my class, only one child I am still bonding with, since he just got there a month ago. I have seen countless nanny positions that I could apply for, only I don't want to leave my guys yet-when they start kindergarten, fine, but not just yet. They are the funniest, most talkative bunch and they brighten my day.

You have been there for 2 months. Don't give up hope that you won't be able to bond with this child, because you will!

LindaLou said...

i don't think you should feel poorly about a bad match, but you should resign with appropriate notice because the situation isn't good for either of you.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I agree with Lindalou. If it's not meant to be, there's nothing you can do.
You're just being honest with yourself and hopefully the Parents will appreciate it, too.
There's no need for you to be miserable in a job that isn't a good fit. That will only rub off on the child, and make it worse.

Good luck finding a better match on the next go around.

Move On said...

I agree with the last two posts. I also think Yaya's post was pretty much honest. It's real life!

mikela said...

OP, Do you live in VA? Your situation seem very similar to one I had.

Nanny of 21 YEARS said...

Wow to be a STUCK UP nanny with money to burn that you think you're special enough to be picky. I bet you became a nanny so in a business type job where you were made to do your job you hated it. You're probably the horrible nannies that are in every other posts because you THINK you're the center of the universe and from your comments I'm sure your moms and dads taught you to be a spoiled princess. If you can't sit on your keister and ignore the kids there's no click, there's no chemistry so you would rather look for more work. Learn from YOUR mistake you deserve to be jobless so live with it.