23 July, 2009

Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA

Received Wednesday, July 22, 2009
nanny sighting logo Your atrociously behaved daughter Lulu, in the Kindergarten Corner, Weds. 7/22 between 3:45-4:15 pm. was terrorizing her poor little brother (Peter?) for about half an hour that I saw, and your patient but overly mild nanny could not effectively make her stop. Every single time the little boy was playing on his own with something, your daughter would drop what she was doing, come running out of the blue, from across the Kindergartener's area, 30 feet away, and pry it out of his hands or wrestle it away from him and he would cry. He was about 2, not verbal yet, and she was likely 4 to 5, plenty old enough to know better. Twice, she was laying down inside the pyramid mirror thing in the Kindergarten area, and he came over wanting to join her inside it. Once, she shoved his face away and shoved his whole body away, then jumped up, grabbed him by his head and bit his head so that he cried. The second time it happened, she literally kicked him out, flailing her feet around in the air as she lay on the ground, kicking at his head until he gave up trying to come in. At least twice, the boy was playing in the enclosed areas with the huge padded "blocks" (squishy letters as big as a small child) and she yanked them away and dived on top of them so she and they landed right on top of him, squashing him until he cried. This is an injury waiting to happen.

Many times (too many IMO), your nanny came over and intervened, telling the girl they were leaving because she was behaving badly, but they never did. Each time the nanny approached, the girl would not stop what she was doing right away, but duck away from the nanny and run away, smirking and taunting, confident in the knowledge that nothing would happen and she could beat up on her brother with no consequences. At one point, the nanny seemed pretty serious about leaving and the girl was swinging at the nanny and hitting, or trying to hit her, yet they STILL did not leave due to her bad behavior.

Maybe the nanny is new in the job and hasn't yet figured out how to handle the girl, or maybe the nanny is just inexperienced in general, or needs more leeway from the parents in enforcing discipline, but at the second instance of this girl's bullying her poor brother, I would have made her sit quietly next to me for a 5 minute time out, at least, and if it had happened again, I would have left. I very nearly intervened at one point, when the brother was moving a small child's chair somewhere on his own, by the puppet theater, and she ran up and yanked it away from him, shoving him aside, when there were many other chairs she could play with if she wanted, and he cried and looked pleadingly at me for help as his nanny was out of his sight and his much bigger sister did everything she could to make him miserable. The nanny, when she was not timidly admonishing the girl, was busy texting on her cell phone. If this is your daughter, she needs to have some major limits set and enforced. She was absolutely dreadful, and I can only surmise that either you and your spouse are separating and she is undergoing major issues in her life, or that you have so far failed to provide much in the way of effective parenting, she was so awful.

She was Caucasian with medium brown longish hair, 4-5 years old, and her brother was also Caucasian with light brown hair, about 22 months -2 1/2 years. The nanny was young, probably under 25, and Asian.

29 comments:

nannyohmy said...

I hate when nanny/parents/caregivers allow constantly threaten to leave somewhere but still continue to allow the child to misbehave. Drives me crazy. I do have a nanny friend though that has to deal with a little terror like this one and has a huge problem becaue the parents don't believe in time outs or would get angry if they had paid to go somewhere and the nanny left early with the child. Sounds like the same situation.

mom said...

This story makes me want to cry. That poor little guy. I hope this is not the way he spends his days being treated...although I suspect that it is.

MinuteMuggle said...

I feel bad for the little boy too. But I also feel a little bad for the girl: she is obviously in need of some serious help. Whether it is discipline or something else she needs, this needs to stop! Hurting others is not ok and I don't know why she is doing it but something needs to be done about it or she will have a really hard time as she gets older. And on top of all that a nanny who doesn't put her foot down. So sad: I have a zero tolerance policy for physically hurting others: who knows why this nanny is not stepping in.

Thanks op, I hope the parents see this and get to the bottom of the girl's aggresion before the poor little boy (or someone else) gets hurt!

world's best nanny said...

If you never follow up with your intentions the kids soon figure that out and always take advantage. I would've left the place with the girl kicking and screaming!

mom said...

MM,
Yes, you're right. The girl needs help too.

ChiNanny said...

This makes me laugh, I had a parent scold me today for threatening to leave the library if my charges didn't stop fighting and screaming, and then following through. I was, according to her, "too mean and denying them the ability to develop normally"

I absolutely think parents/nannies need to follow through with punishment they threaten with. Hopefully the parents see this and encourage the nanny to do so.

mom said...

ChiNanny,
That's so weird. Maybe she's Lulu's mom.
The thing about following through on your "threats" to go home, or whatever, is that, in the case of most normal children, you only have to do it a couple/few times tops before the child realizes you are serious and learns to behave as you ask them to.
It's so much simpler and easier in the long run just to go home a few times.

So happy I'm done with kids like this... said...

I recently stopped working as a nanny, I was with the family for a year. The boy (age 6) acted like the girl OP described a lot of the time, and was so terrible to his little sister and to me, it was crazy. I'm sure the parents are aware of their daughter's behavior. With the family I worked for, the parent's had absolutely no control over their son, and therefore it was hard for me to have control over him too. In this case, I definitely would have left the place, and this nanny should have. However, my charge was MUCH worse at home than out in public, and when you are working for parents who aren't going to discipline their children regardless of the situation, sometimes you resort to doing what's easiest- staying out in public so the kid doesn't act much worse at home.

JacksMom said...

Totally off topic, but I know a family that was really committed to following through on threats to go home and once it really backfired. They were about two hours into a six hour drive to Disneyland. The kids in the backseat were doing what most kids do when they're bored during a long drive, and after gently asking them several times to knock it off, the mom lost her patience and said, "If you don't stop, we are turning around and not going to Disneyland." She immediately regretted it. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, the fighting started back up. Mom & Dad felt they had no choice but to follow through, thereby cancelling the long-anticipated trip to the Magic Kingdom.

I totally believe that you shouldn't make threats (or promises) that you're not prepared to keep. On the other hand, you need to be careful about what you threaten...

Black Orchid said...

I worked for a family like that. The boy was horrible to his little sister, and the parents knew about it but weren't willing to lay down the law or be consistent in any way. They actually got one of those big plastic play yards to put the little girl in to keep her safe from her brother. But I just couldn't put her in there for that reason. Why should I limit her play area because her brother is being naughty? That is disciplining the wrong child. If he was mean to his sister, he went to his room by himself. I think his parents thought this solution was too harsh.

StoryNanny said...

JacksMom,

Your story reminds me of one my employer told me about his friends' kids. Exactly the same scenario except the parents knew the kids would fight on the way to Disneyland, so they left a day early than they were really meant to leave! When the kids started to act up, they turned back and went home for the night. By the time morning had come on the day they were actually meant to get there, the kids were as good as gold as the parents had followed through with the threat! They gave the kids "one more chance" and left knowing the kids wouldn't dare fight in the car again!

JacksMom said...

StoryNanny,
I like the ending of your story much better! You do live up to your name! :)

WTF? said...

I would have had a hard time watching that and not saying anything. I can't stand when kids are mean like that. I'd have taken the kids home the first time something like that happened. That's just so unacceptable.

I agree with Minute Muggle that the little girl is just screaming for some boundaries and limits, and the poor little boy being bullied all the time. Just heartbreaking.

mom said...

Story nanny,

That's one of the best ideas I've ever heard. I wish I had heard it when my kids were still small!

I heard a variation on that Disneyland theme once (I believe from a speaker who claimed to be the mom in her story.) But their ending has always made me cringe. The parents actually went on ahead to Disneyland, but somehow managed to find somewhere to leave the kids with some sort of babysitter or family member so that they missed out on the Disneyland trip. To rub it in, they sent the kids postcards about their good time. (Somehow that part has always bothered me.)I always thought that was a little rough because, if I remember correctly, this was a major trip for the family...not like some family that lived in California and could easily return to Disneyland another time.

The moral of all these stories (what's with the Disneyland theme?) is that we parents need to also exert some self control and think about what we are saying before we say it. Maybe we need to think ahead of time about what we might use for punishment should somebody misbehave on a major family outing....like maybe mom or dad will sit quietly on a bench with the offending child while the rest of the family goes on a ride or two...or maybe mom or dad can take the child back to the hotel for a nap. That way, when the urge to threat arises, mom and dad will have pre agreed upon solutions ready in their heads and one won't be glowering at the other all the way home for blurting out something unrealistic and ruining their trip entirely.


MY husband used to make me so mad because he would suddenly blurt out thinkgs like, "OK, you lost your trip to the zoo," when we were, for instance, on the way to the zoo with two other kids who didn't deserve to lose their zoo trip. Then, when I would look at him like, "What the heck did you say THAT for?!" he would then offer the offending child opportunities to "Win it back." Very quickly, his punishments lost their sting because everybody knew their lost privelege could be regained fairly quickly. Somehow they did keep up the bargains to be good to win whatever it was back, so the ultimate goal was still accomplished...but I never did agree with the method, and my hubby seemed powerless to stop himself from making those empty threats...or maybe because it mysteriously seemed to be effective for him, he didn't agree with my objections to the method.


One thing that worked very well for me when a child would start whining or otherwise causing difficulties was to say, very, very kindly, "Oh, you must be getting very tired. Maybe we should go home and have a nap so that you can feel better and play nicely." Usually the child would immediately assure me that they were not tired, and would then proceed to do everything they could to prove to me that they were NOT too tired to keep playing nicely.

I also think it is important to try to think up methods of discipline that don't adversely affect the other children in the family who might be behaving very well, whenever possible. I was a fan of time outs on the bench, loss of ice cream privelege, etc., when one child was misbehaving and the others were still having fun and playing well. Often a family will have one child that seems to be a little more difficult than the others. It is unfair for the others to be unceremoniously drug away from their play time after time because Timmy hits, or whatever. You don't want them to learn to be nervous on their play excursions that at any minute their fun could abruptly end no matter how hard they personally try to play nicely to prevent it.

ct nanny said...

The little girl was behaving terribly, but I think the nanny really dropped the ball. IMO, the primary responsiblity of a nanny or any caregiver is to keep the children safe to the extent reasonably possible. I wouldn't really care if the parents didn't believe in discipline- the bottom line is I am not going to let a 2-year-old be abused like that. Even if she couldn't discipline the girl, the nanny could at least have shadowed the boy to prevent him from getting hurt.

mom said...

ct nanny,
Great point. Absolutely 100% true. Maybe she was kind to the girl, but she SUCKS at caretaking that poor little boy.

Phoenix said...

Wow... this story mad me cry... me. The poor little boy! I cry because I was once mean like that to my sister (out of sight of course) my parents always enforced. this is a nasty little girl. I feel so bad for the little boy. I don't usually get so emotional... well I guess that's the joy of pregnancy eh?

I hope the parents see this they have to know that their son is being terrorized by the sister... just awful. I kinda feel bad for the nanny too... it seems like she doesn't know how to handle the girl and is frustrated with the situation as a whole, The nanny should tape record the girls behavior and let the parents watch how she treats others... serious issues all around.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Phoenix
You are pregnant?!

cali mom said...

Yes, I felt just awful for the little boy, and just after she had shoved him away from the puppet area and ripped the chair away from him so forcefully, she took "center stage" in the puppet window and announced to me directly (since I had been sitting there to watch when my son was putting on the show) that there was now going to be a puppet show. I just looked at her very sternly and disapprovingly and moved away, but I'm not sure if she understood why.

I agree completely that the nanny needed to be more pro-active here, at the VERY least, and shadow the boy if she couldn't make the girl be nicer to him. And definitely about parents needing to not make idle "threats" or warn of consequences if they are not prepared to follow through.

Storynanny, that Disneyland story is HILARIOUS! Phoenix, you're pregnant? That's great!

MinuteMuggle said...

congratulations phoenix!

Phoenix said...

Yup... with an IUD still in place...the doctors are worried because of the IUD and since I am already high risk we are treading cautiously. I am a little scared because I have had three miscarriages in the past. but I have never been as sick as I am right now so hopefully that is a good thing

mom said...

Congratulations Phoenix! Would you accept a prayer on your and your baby's behalf?

Hey, I've had five miscarriages and have three wonderfully healthy kids. It CAN be done! Don't be scared.

Marypoppin'pills said...

We wish you the best Phoenix.

Phoenix said...

Thanks everyone I appreciate the support. Prayers are definitely welcome

just asking said...

Phoenix
I vaguely remember you saying you disliked children or never wanted children. I was just curious if you changed your mind?

mom said...

Phoenix,
If I may answer for you... I recall that Phoenix has had some difficult pregnancy experiences, coupled with some directly corresponding emotional abuse...enough, IMO, to shell shock even the most thick skinned of us into thinking we would rather abandon the entire idea than endure a possible repeat scenario.
Personally, I think she will make a FABULOUS mommy...and I am praying for you and for your child, Phoenix.

Phoenix said...

Thanks mom... i didn't really know how to respond. I am trying not to think bad thoughts but I am really scared and emotional beyond reality. I have this horrible feeling that something is not right. I guess I just wait and see and hope that it turns out ok. I'm tired of crying...

etereia said...

Hey Phoenix, I wish you a very healthy and happy baby :-)

TheNanny said...

I have been in this situation as a nanny ... The parents don't really give me any permission to punish the girls by leaving early / taking away toys or TV time / etc. They tell me to go to a certain place for a certain amount of time, and if I come home early they are upset with me for interrupting their "personal time." It's hellish.