Wednesday

Nanny concerned about children's safety

Received Wednesday, August 6, 2008. - Perspective & Opinion
I've been working with this family for almost two years. I'm taking care of two girls. Three and two years. I really love them, however, sometimes their own parents are making things a lot harder. Since the very first moment I started working with them, the mom told me, "We have to work as a team." However, I'm finding this impossible for the following reasons:
1st - Their mom is always worried about the girls, which is nice. She removes the knives from the dishwasher to avoid possible hazards, however, the dishwasher soap is reachable for the girls. I always try to remove this hazard, but the girls parents do not cooperate with this. They always forget about this. I find new hazards everyday, but the parents seem to not care whatever I do or say.

For example, a few days ago, while I was walking to their home, I found the girls walking barefoot in the street (their mom was wearing shoes.) When I told one of the girls to put her shoes on, she got really angry and started crying. I explained to her that she could get hurt but she rejected the shoes. The mom notice this and she got really mad at me. She told me, "The girls will do whatever I want while I'm in charge." I tried to explain to her that it was a hazard for the girls, but she did not care at all. One of the girls had some time ago several wounds on her feet due to this problem, but the mom said, "That's just the shoes."

Like this problem, a lot more... The mom always says I'm right, but she does not want to improve.
2nd - Their dad is a big problem. He does not give the girls any discipline. Actually, he ignores the girls. I saw several times how one or other of the girls was trying to speak with him, and he just ignored her. The girl got really pissed off. Some other times, I saw how the mom sends the girls with their dad, but he sends the girls back to their mom, avoiding the responsibility of taking care of them. Lately, we have been having problems due to this. Their mom is putting at risk her girls and I do not want this. I know she is the mom, but I do not find this right, because sometimes, they even threat the girls' life. Can I do something to avoid this? I tried anything I could. We spoke several times, but the mom just says I'm right.
Thank you all for your advices!!

18 comments:

Manhattan Nanny said...

Honestly, these parents are not going to change. You can do your best to make the environment safe, and ask the mom to back you up and make it clear to the girls that when you are in charge they must follow your rules. Beyond that there isn't much you can do. They are the parents.

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Casey said...

I don't see what is so wrong about what you have listed. Not wearing shoes is not a big deal... kids used to run around barefoot all summer. Sometimes you need to relax. The dish soap is a hazard but all you can do is put it away when you get there. They are the parents and you can't make them parent differently, you can just do things your way.

Sometimes just letting kids be kids, barefoot, naked or whatever is much better for their development than always trying to restrict everything. just something to think about!

UmassSlytherin said...

I do feel for you, OP. I'm sorry this has been difficult for you. But the above posters have a good point: you cannot challenge a parent on their house rules, you must only enforce them. So in other words, what the parents say goes. If they have a laid-back attitude about stuff like what you have listed (dish soap, barefoot) then I would just try to go with the flow. If one of them were to get hurt it would not be your fault. Do you think the parents would blame you? Sounds to me like they would not.

If I could give you any advice, I would say: if you value this job and do not want to leave, try to relax about these issues. I know it's hard because you do care about the children and want to do the right thing. But part of your job is working together with the family and learning to fit in with their way of doing things. I am sorry if that doesn't help: as I said, I do feel for you.

Good luck!

FrmrNannyNowAMom said...

How exactly are thier lives in danger? By going barefoot? Thats pretty much the only examply you gave, other than dish soap, which is also not life threatening. It sounds like youre being paranoid.

DowntoEarth said...

There is nothing wrong with a kid going barefoot and you did challange the Mom by insisting the child put the shoes on.
Just move the dishwasher soap and let it go.
Many parents don't like to be corrected by the nanny even if the nanny is right,and maybe it is time for you to find another job?
You don't seem to like the parents
and are pretty critical of them.
Maybe you should find a job with people you like.

Midwest Nanny said...

It seems like it would be a really good idea to make sure that everyone is on the same page at transition time. WHen do you (nanny) take charge and when do the parents take charge. With the shoe incident, it seemed mom was with the girls, you saw something you didn't feel was appropriate . . .and so you took charge. However, it doesn't seem as if mom had relegated control over to you. Not to mention...that If I had been the mother, I would've totally felt like you were trying to parent over myself. It's not like the child was playing with knives and the parent didn't notice, and you came in and saved the day. Barefoot. I actually love being barefoot, but that is beside the point. Talk to the parents, tell them you feel awkward about what happened and make sure that you guys are on the same page about who's in charge, when. Don't parent the parents, and try to relax. After all, did you know that those children who are kept so immune to germs 24/7 are actually sick more then other kids? Yeah...they've had no chance to build up immunity to things. I know we're not talking about germs here, however, the point is is that sometimes we all just need to chill a little bit. Do your best, be safe, but there's a couple things that if they happen . . .kids going barefoot and getting a splinter in their foot . . .aren't exactly the end of the world.

PinkNanny said...

I agree with UMAS that if you really don't want to leave, you will have to just lighten up about the issues.

but if it was me personally, i could not work for a family like this. the parents need to back up the nanny and support the same rules as the nanny, even when the nanny is not there. if not, it is going to be an uphill battle for you.

Kelsey said...

I live in FL and my entire life have gone barefoot. To this day I still go outside without shoes on. Yeah, there have been a few times where I've stepped on something like a rock, but nothing really bad.
Sometimes the parents aren't going to think what you're doing is important to their kid's safety. Like the other posters have said, you can't change the parents and don't waste your time trying. Once one of the girls gets hurt because of something stupid that they did, they'll learn their lesson (hopefully).

chick said...

I think that you need to have a sit down with your employers and find out when you are in charge and when THEY are in charge. Once that is defined, you can (hopefully) set YOUR rules and enforce then when you are there.

One of the most important things I have realized I must make clear to my charges is this:

"Everyone has some different rules. My rule is xyz. Mommy's rule is abc. When I am here, you must respect my rules."

Of course, that's easy when the parents make it clear to the kids that when you are working, you are in charge, lol!

I hope you can either clarify what your employers expect, or possibly relax a bit about safety issues that are more minor. Dishwasher detergent = major. Bare feeet = minor.

Nanny said...

I think you are going to have to give us more examples before we can give you advice on your "problem".
I kind of chuckled when you said that you tried to explain to the mother that her children being barefoot in the street was a "hazard". You seem a little over dramatic. She removes knives... but not dish soap? Maybe she realizes that while knive are hazardous... dishsoap is not.

JerseyXJacqui said...

Yeah, sorry OP, but I actually feel kind of sorry for the parents that have to deal with your "advice." They aren't your kids. Walking barefoot is not a hazard. And, as nanny stated above me, knives ARE hazardous..good thing she put them out of the kids reach. Dishsoap is not though. It's very unlikely the kids are going to chug soap...

chick says store the stuff said...

Um, actually....

chick says it again said...

OP is right about the danger of DISHWASHER detergent.

Maybe that's why those cute little tablets/packets are being sold nowdays? Much harder to swallow....

ericsmom said...

no...I think those cute little packets are being sold because people are lazy. No measuring soap in the dispenser. Just throw in a tablet

JerseyXJacqui said...

OK OK fine...of course it's dangerous if your kids get their hands on it...but come on...she used that as an example as to why she's so concerned about their safety?
I don't know. I can't explain the point I'm trying to make. I suck at this thread. Hah.

kathleencares said...

Wow, this sounds like a difficult situation! It doesn't sound like the parents are listening to you, so there is not much you can do - unfortunately. You could try to have a serious talk with them about your concerns, but it doesn't sound like it will do much good. Sorry.

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