Friday, November 19, 2010
I have been working for a family for just over three years as a full time nanny who is with the children from 8:00 am until 7:30-8:00 pm Monday through Friday. I have had a great relationship with the parents and have always been treated well by everyone. The parents and I have always worked together in handling issues that have come up with the children and the parents have always respected my opinion and supported how I address situations that come up with the kids. I have a background as an elementary school teacher and a degree in child psychology also.
When the family moved out of state I contemplated going back to a teaching position or moving with the family since I had no ties and decided I would move and continue to work for the family and pursue finishing up some more schooling.
The parents’ jobs are not working out as they anticipated (they thought they would have a lot more time with the kids, which motivated them to move), and the dad is gone much more frequently now. When he does have time with the kids on weekends his latest solution is to buy them any toy they would like and just be fun dad. In the past getting new toys were reserved for special occasions, not just everyday occurrences. Also, in the past the dad was heavily invested in helping make sure all five children got some one-on-one attention with him and he was involved with any disciplinary issues. One of the children, a six-year-old boy, gets lost in the shuffle in my opinion and seems not to be getting any parental attention or one-on-one time since the move in late August of this year. When things have gotten chaotic and there have been changes in the past, like new siblings, this little boy has gotten especially rambunctious and naughty, which results in extra attention from his mom and dad.
The move has been hard on all the kids, especially this little boy. He has not made friends as easily as he did in the past, his dad is gone during the week and the only waking time he sees his dad is on the weekends, his mom has been working like crazy and has not been getting home until around his bed time, and he misses his extended family who are all still in his home state. With this being said, the little boy has been acting out by talking back to his mom a lot whenever he is with her, pushing and being mean to his siblings, hurting the baby by pinching and knocking her hands away any time she comes near him, and acting out in school by talking back to the teacher. He listens to me, does not talk back, and openly tells me how sad he is that he doesn’t see his parents much.
The little boy’s teacher had a conference with his mom, and the mom came home early the following day to spend time with the kids (this is the first time she has done this since the move and used to do this in the past), and announced the next morning in front of him that little boy is out of control, she doesn’t know how I put up with this everyday without wanting to kill myself. She also informed me that she is making an appointment with a psychiatrist because or his behavior and had already spoken to the therapist who informed her that he probably has an impulse control disorder and will most likely need to be medicated. I was shocked to hear this and I told the mother this and that I would like to speak to her later without the kids around. I told her I am very against medicating a child unless absolutely necessary and there is no other alternative. I also told her I am surprised this is the first option she is looking at as to how to treat the issues occurring. I suggested that she enroll him in counseling and tell the counselor she would really like to wait on medicating him until she knows that it’s absolutely necessary. Her response was that he is out of control with being mean and aggressive to his siblings and the teacher complained about his disobedience in school and she never thought about medicating him until problems in school developed.
I am so upset and disturbed by this because I know he is not a child with a chemical imbalance that requires medication to function as expected. I also know that he acts out when there is chaos surrounding him and I think that his entire life has changed so drastically, but instead of addressing these changes in the family dynamics, the mom has just decided medication is the easiest way to handle the situation. I do not think I can continue to work for this family if the result of parents not being able to spend time with their children is by medicating them. I do not want to leave the family and am very attached to them, but I’m not sure what I can do in this situation. Obviously these are not my children and the parents get to make decisions like this, but it is so hard for me to sit back and watch a big mistake occur. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have not heard the dad’s opinion about the situation and am tempted to talk to him. I know he really comes to me for advice about the kids and values my opinion. I do not want to go behind the mom’s back or disrespect her. Any thoughts on what I should do?