Saturday

Overbearing Grandparents...

Received Saturday, January 22, 2011
opinion 1 I am writing to the readers of ISYN to ask a question and get some opinions.

I want to know how all of you fellow nannies deal with overbearing Grandparents. I am a nanny for a 17 month old boy, and have been his nanny for almost a year. Throughout this time, my charge and I have cultivated a very strong bond. My charges Grandmother comes to visit once a year for almost 6-7 months at a time. My problem is that I feel like his Grandma undermines me. I will give a few examples, and I would love it if you would give me some advice on dealing with this.

We have just started potty-training, which some of you know, is quite a daunting task. The method the parents and I have chosen is a pretty simple one. We have him sit on the potty when he wakes up in the morning, after breakfast, before his nap, after his nap, after lunch, before and after bath, and before bedtime. He knows to sit on the potty until he goes, whether it is poop or pee. During this time we’ll read a book or play a game or just talk. It is a method that works for us, however, Grandma (I will call her Beth) thinks this method is useless. She constantly tries different things which bother all of us. The parents of my charge have said something, but it hasn’t made any difference.

She also likes to tease my charge. Whenever my charge is playing with a toy, she will come and take it. As if she is trying to pry him away from playing with me. She is constantly locking him in her room with her. I always go get him, especially when my charge starts screaming and crying to come out of her room. She has a problem with changing his diapers. We are constantly checking/changing his diapers to prevent diaper rashes. I have hear stories from my charges parents about Beth letting the baby go hours at a time in the same dirty diaper. Once again the parents have said something, but little has changed.

It has gotten to the point where Beth is constantly threatening to leave because she feels as though we are always criticizing her. Which at times we do, but when it concerns the health and safety of a child, I think it is important. I would really like to know how all of you deal with this. Or if any of you have to/have had to deal with it.

16 comments:

bluebell said...

Six to seven months a year? That isn't a visit, I'm sorry, that's taking advantage - and more fool your mom and dadboss for allowing it to happen! As the previous answer said, they need to grow a spine and decide where their priorities lie - with their child's wellbeing or with a mother who seems, from your post, to have nothing better to do than meddle. The next time she threatens to leave, they should offer to help her pack, because people like this never change their ways...and if I were you, despite the bond you have with your charge, I'd look for a new job, because six or seven months of this every year is too much to put up with.

Becca said...

First of all, I think it is really nice of you that you are putting up with all of this and trying to find a way to work with Gma after she is acting this way.
If the parents recognize that she is being really difficult, they need to put a stop to the situation. I understand that it is a delicate situation, as it is their mother/grandmother of the child. However, putting you in this position is not okay. It is interfering with you doing your job. I would have a serious heart-to-heart with the parents and tell them that you are really struggling with Grandma interfering with your daily schedule. It should not be your problem to deal with. It is theirs. It is their relative, in their home, and you are their employee who is being neglected by their unwillingness to stand up to grandma.

i'd leave said...

I wouldn't stand for this. If she is there for 6 to 7 months, it's not a visit, and these parents should have her take care of the kid.

Having a sit down with the folks about their mother won't do any good. They are not going to side with a nanny over their mother. The only thing you can do is either put up and shut up or leave.

I'd leave.

Village said...

How much do you like your job? Six/seven months of a 'visiting' grandmother has got to be stressful. Is it worth it, because, it. isn't. going. to change.

Becca said...

I still think it is worth a try to talk to the parents. There are a lot of families that would do A LOT before losing their nanny. If the family really values you, and they see that this problem is serious enough that you are considering leaving, that might push them to make a change with Grandma.

Little Red Riding Hood said...

You may have to practice tolerance in this case. Doesn't sound like the family is going to do anything to make changes, therefore, you must assume that they are not dissatisfied. Ultimately, it is their choice. This is when a nanny needs to practice culturally-competent care and follow the practices of the family. The adult children may not want to stand up to Mom; there could be deeper issues that are not worth a nanny trying to solve. Family is a sticky wicket! In the end, they will stick together. Stick to your schedule with the child, even if it means knocking on Beth's door and saying it is time for baby to have his diaper changed or sit on the potty or whatever! Maybe you could post a schedule on the refrigerator detailing juniors day so Grandma has a visual. Then you can just blame it on the schedule! Good luck! Life and nannying is not without challenges; use your critical thinking skills and you will be fine.

anon reader said...

repost:
Anonymous said...

If the parents wont lay down the law to her its going to pretty hard for you to do anything. Frankly, Im amazed at parents who arent livid about Gram leaving the baby in filthy diapers for hours, she sounds senile.

Her kids are enabling her..if my mom or mother in law was literally abusing and neglecting my child shed be on the first bus to the old folks home.

Parents need to grow a spine. Try laying this out to the parents and ask what you are allowed to do? Are you allowed to reprimand Gram for her behavior? stop her? If the parents expect you to just sit back and participate in child neglect, Id be job hunting if I were you.

I sympathize with you! said...

The family I worked for only had Grandma a week at a time. It was hard but I just went along with what she wanted because I knew she would leave soon but in your case that has to be awful.

Ms. Vivienne LePeaux said...

I'm still stuck on potty-training a 17-year-old boy... really? What's the rush?

snap crackle pop said...

I think LRRH had a good idea with posting the schedule, so that G'Ma can see you do have a routine that you follow, it's not just your whim.
Also, I would take a kind of "reverse psychology" approach and encourage G'Ma's involvement rather. I get the sense that she feels unneeded and unwanted since you have everything under control, and she doesn't know where she fits into this situation. Try suggesting ways she could fit in. For instance..."Right now is his lunch time. After that, do you want to read him some books before naptime?" Or if you're playing with baby, include G'Ma, so she doesn't feel the need to tease him. Ask for her "help" at times, even if you don't really need it. As far as the potty training, you can take a direct (but lighthearted) approach, like "that's not really what he's used to. But we'll just have him sit on the potty again after lunch."
Just out of curiosity, why do they stay so long? Are they from another country?

Original Poster said...

Thanks to everyone who replied with encouraging words. I really appreciate it.

As for leaving the job, it is something that I am not interested in. I have had this job for almost a year and the bond that I have created with the child is way more important than a meddling Grandma. I have also created a strong bond with both the Mom and Dad boss, who are both like great friends to me.

The Grandmother comes down from her homestate of Idaho, which gets cold in the fall and winter months. She can't bare the cold, apparently, which is why she comes down. She has other family living in the same area as my Charge and Family. So she just ends up visiting everyone during these months, but stays at my charges house.

I have talked to the parents, and they think the schedule is a great idea. We are also going to start letting Beth and my charge start having an hour of time for just the two of them to play, read, talk, or bond. During this time, I will be completely my house chores.

I have also been offered a raise for the "discomfort" caused by overbearing Grandma and a live-in position once Beth heads home. I will be taking over Beth's room so when she comes, she will have to stay with other family members.

another mommy said...

They are lucky to have a grandma who wants to be part of their child's life. Celebrate that! Grandmas are like that..... its normal!!!! so yes, keep trying to get her on track. but also understand that she is a grandma who loves her grandchild!!!

christine said...

Potty training a 17 month is a total waste of time. He may go through the motions, but he will not really be "trained" at this age. Do some reading on the subject and then give the info to his parents.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

Christine, if a child is ready at 17 months, why not get the potty training done? It's only in the last 30+ years that parents have chosen to avoid potty training until kids are 2, 3, even 4. IMO< that's because of the wide use of disposable diapers. Back when Mom was washing cloth diapers, she trained those kids ASAP!

As for OP, I am betting she knows the signs of physical and emotional readiness, and emotionally speaking, a 17 mo is less likely to be balky, respond to pottying with "NO!", or freak out when their "product" is flushed than a 2 yo is - 2 yo's are kind of known for being balky, lol!

Ultimately, the child has to make the decision to use the potty. We grown-ups can't do anything but provide the means and opportiunity to learn. And if a child is ready young, why not go for it?

christine said...

I potty trained four children, and they all trained when they were ready, not when I was ready for them to be trained. For instance, I started training my oldest at 18 months. She was fully "trained" at nearly 2 and 1/2. My second child announced she would start using the potty at 2 and 1/2 and I never had to much "training", more wiping and lifting her on the potty. Same with the other two, although my son needed some gentle urging at 3. Just my opinion from experience.

OP said...

I just realized that I made a typo about his age in the original post. He is 19 months old. The parents and I think he is definitely ready. It's not a matter of what anybody else thinks, you are not here to see the child.
If the child is able to tell you when his diaper needs to be changed, whether he has done a poopee or a pee, and whether or not he needs to use the potty, I think those are signs that he is ready. He is doing great with the body, and that's all that matters. He may not be fully potty trained until 2-2 1/2, but at least he will be more comfortable with the potty.