Thursday, October 21, 2010
So I'm unsure how to handle this situation and I'm sure it is quite common among nannies. Recently, about a month ago, I took a job working for a family near my home. They have three boys, 8. 5 and 2 1/2. I'm mainly responsible for the 2 1/2 yr old since the other two are usually in school all day. I am a live out nanny. I was told that the 2 1/2 year old is used to redirection instead of time outs, taking away toys, or any other forms of discipline. I was completely okay with that being as his age, that seemed appropriate.
Little did I know that when I started their form of 'redirection' was simply giving him anything he wanted, even after they told him no. The parents work from home so during lunch they are sometimes around the house when their son is at the table eating. Today I made him a sandwich and juice but he kept asking for a pop. I was told from the get go that they didn't want me to give him soda, so I said no. He started whining for it at first and I stayed firm and kept my no. Then he started crying for it and yes, I still said no. I reminded him that he had juice and his sandwich but the soda wasn't an option. He started wailing and then screamed "POP!" over and over again. The dad charges in like something is on fire and asked what was the matter. I explained to him that I simply wouldn't allow his child the soda and get this, the dad turns to his son, who was clearly crying and goes "maybe just today" and gives him the pop. I couldn't believe it. Then he turns to me and says "He's only two, he doesn't know what no means yet". I was upset on two accounts. 1. now the child won't ever know what 'no' means really and 2. the child will have a hard time listening to me since his dad 'over rided' me.yeah, I know he's the parent and I'm just the nanny but it would be like someone walking into his office and knocking over all his papers to make his job harder.
Another example of this is when one morning I was playing with their 2 1/2 yr old and 5 yr old downstairs in the playarea, which is right outside of the dad's office and the 5 yr old wanted to play monopoly, so I agreed and him and I played while the 2 yr old played with legos right next to us. I was teaching 5 yr old how to play and he was having so much fun and loved it. The dad walks out and goes "maybe you should play candyland with him, this is too advanced" and i replied "at first I thought so too, except he seems to be having a lot of fun and understanding enough of it to play"...despite that and his son saying it was his choice, the dad himself put the game away and brought out candyland. It makes me wonder if he underestimates how smart a child really can be.
One more example includes a morning where I had all three kids and they were eating breakfast and each have their usual seats they sit in. Well the 5 yr old came down to breakfast first and sat in his regular seat and then the 8 yr old did the same. Their mom brought the 2 yr old down to the kitchen and for some reason he wanted to sit in the 5 yr old’s spot. He started screaming about how he wanted that seat and for his brother to move. At this point their mom went back upstairs to change for the day and I told the 2 yr old he should sit in the open stool, his usual spot, because the seat he wanted already was taken. He started crying and would refuse to sit in the stool that was open. I tried distracting him with cereal boxes and fruit, asking him what he wanted to eat, but that didn’t work. He then ran over to his brother and started pushing him off his stool. The 5 yr old got upset and started whining that it was his spot. I was in the middle of telling the 2 yr old that he couldn’t have that spot when their mom walked down and goes “what is all the fuss about” so the 5 yr old goes “he wants to sit where I’m sitting but this is my spot” and the mom goes “then switch spots for today” I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. She then left for work, leaving me with a very upset 5 yr old, who had to switch with the 2 yr old. I know this sounds silly, like no big deal but it’s just another example of the 2 yr old crying to get his way and the parents giving in.
In situations like this I normally have no problems giving a child a time out or taking away a privilege like dessert, a toy, etc at least for a certain amount of time. Whatever is fair, but I feel like they see me as a bad nanny because I don’t give in to their son every time he asks for something I think he doesn’t need, like a sugary snack right before lunch, a pop or something else similar to that. I took child development classes, I know this 2 ½ year old is completely capable of learning the word NO. I also don't view a nanny position as a babysitter. I view it as more then that.
Also, in my interview with their mother she had told me that their son wasn’t potty trained yet and that I was to potty train him once I started with them. So I had taken the 2 ½ yr old to the potty and he was curious, he didn’t want to go on it but then after a week he did try it. After that, which was before nap time one day, I walked down stairs after putting him down for his nap and told the dad that he went on the potty. He goes “I think he’s too young to start potty training” and I replied “All due respect, but he’s at the right age. I was told I was supposed to start potty training him in my interview” and he goes “He’s not ready”…well a little boy who just went pee in the potty seemed quite ready to me, but he’s the parent and my boss, so I stopped the potty training and went back to square one.
Basically, I want to know if this is common, if there is anything I should talk to them about and maybe I’m seeing this wrong, maybe its okay that they give in? I personally feel like its going to teach their child bad manners and its kind of spoiling him, but I’d like to hear what other people think before I decide if its an actual issue or not. Thank you.