Thursday

Nannies: Please Help this Mom

opinion 2 I found this blog while searching for possible answers to my 4 year old sons behaviors. I know this is coming from the opposite side but I would love some feedback from other nannies. This is the first time we have had a nanny in our home. We previously took our boys to an in home daycare. Our nanny started with us a few months ago (March). My four year old son seemed to like her at first. The past four weeks have been a different story. Our nanny only comes 2 days a week. On the days that she isn't here he is constantly asking if she is coming over. He gets excited when I reply "no" and sad/upset when I reply "yes". I've only received two answers from him when I ask about his anxieties. He tells me that he doesn't like her because she is a "bad guy". He just recently told me that she hit baby brother (20 months) and begged me not to tell her that he said anything! I'm not sure if this is something that he made up because he just doesn't like her or if it really happened. I'm worried about confronting our nanny in fear that it might make things worse (if there is a problem) or cause new issues between her and my son. I would love some advice!


37 comments:

Michelle said...

As a nanny I find this strange--"my" kids have off days where they don't want to see me and that to me is no big deal. We all have off days and I know that by the end of the day we'll be having a great time. If you've noticed a change in your son from when the nanny started until now I would definitely check into things. They're your babies and if you feel like something is different than follow your gut.

I would approach it as just being concerned about your son. Maybe try asking if they've been doing different things lately because he seems like he's acting strangely lately. You don't have to immediately tell her what your son told you, but if you have true concerns I would either pop in randomly if you can (or have friends/family do so) or flat out talk to her. If it's just a misunderstanding and she's a great nanny then it shouldn't cause any issues.

Sarah said...

Like Michelle said, sometimes the kids just don't want us around. I know my charges get in moods like that (particularly when I am being strict with them about something!) but it's a mood that leaves within minutes. Always.

I wouldn't necessarily assume that she is doing anything destructive, but if nothing else, his response is teaching you that this nanny is not working out. There is no reason for your kids to be entrusted to someone that makes them uncomfortable or someone that you aren't 100% sure about. Just my two cents.

Nanny who loves what she does said...

This is RED FLAGS for me. Your nanny has told your own son not to say anything. He has told you tings that she has done. This is scary. You need to pay close attention. Set up cameras- they have saved childrens' lives. You need to come home "unexpected" and make sure you do. Just to make sure... I pray that your children stay safe.

UmassSlytherin said...

I would honestly 86 her. I mean, unless your 4 year old is special needs, trust him and what he says. Hitting is a pretty serious accusation. If he has never accused anyone of hitting before, I would listen to the boy.

If it is made up, well...that sucks. But better to be on the safe side and find someone else. Don't be worried about confronting her: she works for you. I wouldn't even mention the hitting. Just get her out of there as soon as possible and tell her that it's not a good match.

Good luck.

UmassSlytherin said...

p.s. I did not mean that you should not trust a special needs child, just to make that clear. I have one myself, and if she said someone hit her they would be gone. If she said someone hit the cat they would be gone. My point was just that your son sounds like an intelligent kid: trust him.

Wow said...

A nanny hitting a child is NEVER acceptable, but sorting out the truth can be difficult when a young child is reporting. However, since the nanny hasn't been working for you that long and your son doesn't like her, you might want to tell her that you don't think she and your family are a good match and resume your nanny search.

STLNanny said...

Trust your instincts. That's the best advice I could offer you. You have "gut feelings" for a reason. Trust them.

is it worth the risk said...

bad guy- maybe you need to ask yourself what bad guy means to your kid. trust your kid on this one. from a nanny

Phoenix said...

These are serious accusations and I think that you should consider putting in a nanny cam to see what goes on. I've known kids that young to fabricate stories just so they could get out of something. Maybe the nanny doesn't let him get away with bad behavior or let him eat something he wants to. on the other hand you can't be too careful with your kids and I think you should investigate.

SanDiegoNanny said...

Has your son ever been known to lie/exaggerate things like this in the past for attention? If not, I would say to definitely trust his instincts and try to explore what is going on further and then find a new nanny if needed!

I once babysat for a family where the 6 y o girl told her parents (while I was there) that I had pushed her off the chair, and later that I had hit her. I had not been physical with her at all but I noticed that she had a tendency to make things up for a reaction! I eventually stopped working for this family because I felt uncomfortable with what she might say/do.

I would say to trust your child and to try to investigate the situation further through conversations with your nanny and/or spending time with her and the children together. It's definitely not something to ignore!

t said...

Trust what he says. As a nanny & mom myself this sits uneasy for me. I have times my charges say they don't want me to come, but that's because the little time the get with mom or dad is special (I work 70+ hours) Kids make up stories but I've found that when it comes to real life situations like this they are always telling some version of the truth with some small facts mixed up. Also what have you defined a "bad guy" as to your son? Is it someone who is a stranger, who hurts you, who says bad words etc

Northern Nanny said...

I am a nanny and have worked with children who on a regular basis would not be happy that I was there. They would fuss and whine, and when they got older tell their mom things like 'nanny was mean to me'. This was absolutely untrue, and my bosses knew this because we have built a very strong relationship and they trust me.

My advice to you would be to have your nanny take the children to a playgroup or something where you can check with other parents you know about her behaviour. Also I would make a habit of 'popping in' un announced. I am personally against Nanny cams,because having someone watch my every move is un nerving, and I would hate the feeling of not being trusted. That being said. in this situation why not have a video or audio recording set up and you can see for yourself if your son just needs some time to warm up to the nanny, or if she is bad news.

Bostonnanny said...

I agree with everyone, pop in during key periods of the day unannounced. Right before nap time or lunch is great because that's when they would get upset and you can see how your nanny handles them. I would also set up an outing for the kids where you can have a friend be there to watch.

Also if it comes to it set up a nanny cam, watch it for a week then tell the nanny you have just installed video cams around the house for safety measures. Don't tell her they are nanny cams tell it's for security like robbery. That way she knows they are there but will prob act the same thinking she's not being watched.

I would also make sure she is filling out a nanny log everyday reporting everything that happens. Make sure she knows you care about your kids and this is a job.

But if were you I'd let her go, because its one thing for a child to lie about an action but it's completely different to lie about being told not to say something.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

If you are uneasy, and don't trust the nanny anymore, a nanny cam is a complete waste of time. It'll either show you that in one filmable area, nanny did abuse your child(ren), and then it'll be too late to prevent an issue, or it'll show that nanny did not abuse your child(ren) in that particular filmable area.

Tell her it doesn't feel like a good match, give her the contracted severance, and let her go.

Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, let your son know that you fired nanny based on what he said. That amount of power is scary for a kid to own.

When you interview for a new nanny tell candidates up front that you may use a nanny cam. Then do just that at odd times and in odd places.

Village said...

LISTEN to your child. Either set up cameras, get a new nanny, or both.

Vanessa said...

While I understand that sometimes kids prefer to spend time with their parents, than with their(which is why they get upset when being told that nanny is coming over), this whole "she is the bad guy" situation is kind of worrisome. Please confront her or at least do something to prove your kid is right (if you don't want to rush into it). My caregiver used to hit me, and I never said anything because I was scared of her. My mom found out through a lady who cleaned our building. So please, don't take these accusations so lightly. If she truly was nice, he wouldn't make those accusations.

a mommy said...

I have had several childcare providers working in my home over the past 10 years. If my 4 yo behaved the way yours is and told me what yours told you, I would fire the nanny immediately. If you can't bring yourself to do this, get a camera ASAP. I have had wonderful loving nannies and horrible bench nannies work for me. My three kids' enthusiasm or lack there of regarding when they are coming has been SPOT ON in terms of who was doing a good job and who was not. Your situation would be a HUGE red flag for me. When my oldest was 5 he told me our nanny was hitting my 3 yo. I brushed it off at first until my 3 yo's friend who LOVED to come to our house said he didn't want to come if our nanny was there. His mom questioned him too and he said that she 'spanked his hands'.....kids don't make this stuff up and I deeply regret not listening to my older dc sooner. If you don't fire, PLEASE get a camera.

another nanny said...

I would definitely let her go, although with the benefit of the doubt since you don't know exactly what happened. However, even if your son is not telling the absolute truth, if he is saying things like that it's not going to be positive for the child or the nanny. I would be curious how he acts when she first arrives. I have had a personality mismatch with a child before, or had kids get mad at me (because of something I wouldn't let them do), I've had a child scream that they hate me because I put them in time out...but it passes quickly, and they are still running to give me a hug the next time I walk through the door.

Nanny nanny bo banny said...

Get rid of nanny and find another. The child's reaction to her simply states that he is not comfortable in his home with her there.

Manhattan Nanny said...

I think your concern is justified. I would not waste time with a nanny cam or any other efforts to investigate. Your son said she hit your 20 mo and told him not to tell. That doesn't sound like something a 4 yo would make up. In addition, he seems to be afraid of her, and is unhappy.
Get rid of her. There are nannies out there who love working with children, and will provide the fun and security your children deserve!

sad washington nanny 10/08 said...

Let's not overcomplicate this. Two words: nanny camera

Seriously, they're cheap and as a nanny that has gone out on false accusations of wrongdoing I'd rather be spied on instead of dumped "to be safe".

Preschool Teacher said...

Just want to say there's definitely two sides to this.

On the one hand: YES. If you have a gut feeling that this isn't working, reconsider employment, talk to the nanny about it, etc.

On the other hand: I teach a classroom full of three and four year olds. A 4 year old wouldn't make up "she hit my baby and told me not to say anything"? Nonsense. Four year olds have incredible imaginations, often people them with credible encounters, and have no sense of the impact of what they say. I have watched a child walk up to another child who was absorbed in his play, smack the little boy in the face, and walk away, and when I intervened and said "Why did you hit him?" the child has responded with total believability "Because he was running at me with a pair of scissors right now!" I've also had to start making sure I'm never out of sight of my co-teacher with one little girl, since she likes to run up to about two feet away from me, plop onto the floor, giggle, and say "The teacher pushed me!" And these are kids who, certainly in my classroom and to a large extent in their homes, never even hear voices raised, watch little to no television, etc.

Especially for little boys, the whole "good guy/bad guy" language is also one of the ways they tend to deal with the world, and you certainly can't expect a four year old to distinguish between "This person is evil" and "I don't like this person" (after all, many grownups can't do that! :4) ).

You need to protect your children but also other children. If you let this nanny go because it's a "bad fit," she's may want to know whether or not she can list you as a reference and you will need to decide whether or not you'll torpedo all her future employment by telling them about this abuse allegation. And if she IS even verbally threatening to hurt your kids, then you need to first let her go and THEN report her to, at minimum, local nanny agencies and moms' groups, even if the laws in your state won't merit CPS investigation of her. If this isn't true, it's your call whether to hope the relationship improves with time or let her go with your best wishes; if it is true, she needs to not work unsupervised with children. It sucks that this landed in your lap, but now it's a responsibility you've got as a mom and a member of the community.

Preschool Teacher said...

I just want to add to the above that in the examples I gave, the kids don't think of it as "lying;" your concept of that is REALLY shaky at that age! The wonderful thing about kiddos that age is the way their imaginations are blossoming AND their cognitive reasoning skills and verbal skills are suddenly leaping ahead. The one downside is that it DOES mean they can suddenly offer you very detailed, internally consistently, believable stories that are entirely false, and they do this without any awareness of deceiving you. Kids this age are also INCREDIBLY sensitive to adult guidance in what they're saying. So while you can try to question your son and get more details, it's all going to be potentially false, and if you push too hard he's either going to start embellishing his account to fit what he thinks you're asking or back off entirely out of anxiety.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I would do what everyone else said. If your instincts say something is wrong, then something must be. Plain & Simple. Our instincts are given to us to USE them!! How many times have we ignored them and then regretted it? They are our defense mechanisms and need to be utilized fully. My personal opinion is that the child is telling you the complete truth. Do not allow them to be cared for by this person by any means!!! I do not think a 4 yr old child will lie and say his sibling was hit when nothing like that ever happened. I have worked as a Nanny for a long time and no child has ever told their parents I am a "Bad Guy" or that I hit them. In fact, they always ask when I am coming back and look forward to my "visits." Why? Because I honestly am a great Nanny. I love what I do and it shows. I treat my charges like my own children and I think the children can sense that. If I were doing this line of work for "easy money," I bet my charges would be able to sense it. Kids tend to act on their instincts as opposed to adults who always think, "I may be overreacting....."

Please keep us updated and let us know what happened. God Bless those precious children of yours....

oh well said...

To me it is a red flag that your son does not like your nanny. Could you set a webcam or come back in the middle of the day or have someone you trust stay in and listen in on what goes on? Even if she is innocent I would not keep her, but it would help if you could find out whether she is just not a good fit or truly someone you cannot recommend.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

"I'm worried about confronting our nanny in fear that it might make things worse (if there is a problem) or cause new issues between her and my son."

This quote from OP concerns me after reading her post again.

OP, you don't "confront" a nanny over something like this. You do one of 2 things:

1) Sit down and talk with her about your concerns, saying **you** have noticed that your son is having some adjustment issues after the change in his care situation, and asking her to brainstorm with you about ways to help him adjust. For example, if he is missing his daycare friends, can there be playdates, or if he is missing other daycare type activities (outings, arts/crafts, etc.) how you and nanny can add some similar things to his day.

If the nanny reacts badly, implicitly or expressly blaming your son for the issues you mention, then you know you need to move to the next possible response, and let her go.

2) You can do what I suggested above. No nanny cam, just notice that things are not working out due to a bad fit and severance. Have her stop working immeadiately in this case.

Only you know if your son is in the exageration phase of life. Does he routinely tell tall tales about people harming others? Does he love to assign people the role of "bad guy" if he is upset about something they did that is trivial to an adult but important to a 4 yo?

If he does those things, then you might consider watching and waiting, and asking calm questions of him occasionally if you can disguise your concerns and not plant ideas about nanny being bad in his mind. That takes some skill that you may not have as a worried parent, to be frank.

As far as future reference calls, there are also 2 possibilities:

1) She has done something wrong, and knows somehow that you know, and therefore never uses you as a reference.

2) She did something wrong and thinks you haven't got a clue, and uses you as a reference OR she did nothing wrong and uses you as a reference.

When you get those calls, you simply say, "She worked for us for X months, but she and my older son didn't have a good fit, so we let her go." Asked for more info, you politely decline to say anything about her other than what you DIRECTLY observed when she was with your children. "I saw her doing XYZ..."

That set of responses doesn't condemn her, but doesn't offer wholesale praise either. Parents can take your info as they will, in combo with her other references.

Stacey said...

Fire her. I'm serious! Find a care situation your son is excited to be in and do it now! Ten years ago I would not have given this advice, but in the world we live in now, fire her. (And I have been a nanny and care provider for many years).

Ohio Nanny said...

Protect your children. That is first and foremost. If my child told me this, even if I was not 100% certain, I would err on the side of caution. IMO, it is not worth it to even potentially be wrong about what I believe is happening or not. Not worth it at all, just to save the nanny a job.

I am a mom AND a nanny. If your child is unhappy and anxious, THAT would be reason enough to deem the nanny not a good fit for our family, and then find someone else.

I know kids can and do say things that are not entirely accurate. As a mother, I would simply not take the risk. There is a difference between a child saying, "Nanny was mean to me today!" but unable to give specifics because it was really the fact that she told him no more cookies that he interpreted as 'mean'. I've had one of my charges say to me, while bobbing his head back and forth, "I tell Mommy that you be mean to me!" when I have not allowed him to do something. I shrug and say, "Go right ahead, birdsong!" But the kids were always excited that I was coming.

It's quite another thing when a child gives you a specific example, or examples, and then fearfully begs you not to say anything to the nanny about him telling. THAT is what I find troublesome, and a child who is seeking attention and having no concept of 'deception' would be concerned about.

The point? IMO, your son's true anxiety and fear is enough to let her go. You don't want that for your child, even if she hasn't done a thing to him or his brother physically. You don't owe her a job; the nanny is there for your kids, and you owe your kids someone they are truly comfortable with.

Ohio Nanny

WhatIsTheTruth said...

4 year olds are tough! I Nanny for a little girl who is now 6. When she was 4, she went to a Pre-school program, and I picked her up at noon every day. On the ride home I would aske her how school was. One day she blurted out, "Mr. Y yelled and hit me on my face!" I was concerned, but remained positive and calm with her and asked, "Well, I wonder why he would hit your face?" She said, "I don't know, maybe he's bad." I told her Parents, and we all thought it was concerning, but she seemed excited to go to school the next day, and we knew that Mr. Y would not be her Teacher that day. We let her go. I picked her up, and asked how her day was. She said, "Miss K yelled at me and pushed my arm!"
Well, one of the things I love about this school is that it has multiple observation rooms with 2 way mirrors so the child (and Teacher)can't see you. The next day we ALL dropped her off, and told no one that we would be observing for the entire time.
We saw her having fun for some of the time, but then we saw her trying to cut other children in line for different activities, taking away other kids toys, and even pushing a little girl. Each time she did one of these things, her Teacher would be very firm with her, and send her to a beanbag chair. She responded with, "YOUR MEAN!!" and then would sit and pout for about 5 minutes. No Teacher yelled at or harmfully put thier hands on her. Those 2 way mirrors were fantastic!
I walked in and picked her at noon (Mom and Dad snuck off to work). I asked her how her day was, and she said, "Mr. Y yelled at me again! And her took my toy and pushed me!" I did not respond at all.
Her Parents talked to her later that night, and said that she cryed for half of the night because she was mad that they HER bad behavior at school.
I am not saying that your Nanny is not a bad Nanny, and you probably do need to do some pop ins, and perhaps a Nanny cam for a couple days. It could be that your Nanny didn't let your Son have a candy before lunch and hence, she's a "bad guy", or that your Nanny told your son not to hit his little brother and hence, Nanny hits baby brother.........OR he could be telling the complete truth.

WhatIsTheTruth said...

Yikes! I made a buch of mistakes!

*She was mad that they SAW HER bad behavior at school*

Tiny dancer said...

This is a very messy situation. Yes it is normal for the kid to be excited mom is staying home and not the nanny coming. And I do have to say that I have had children lie about what I do. Though they always have seemed to fess up that they are lying. I would try to get your child to role play with toys. Have one toy be the nanny, one thee child and one the baby. Pay close attention to what toys the child picks and how they "treat" each other in his play. The big red flag I see is that he says the nanny told him not to tell. Do your research and if you have doubts fire the nanny. I may get slammed for this but your nanny, even if these things are false and she's great, is replaceable, your children are not.

imo said...

I would proceed with caution. I had a child once tell their parents that I told her not to tell them something and it was NOT true, but I was fired for it anyhow... or rather I left before they fired me.

But that doesn't mean you should do anything, I'm not generally an advocate of these, but I suggest a nanny cam. You can rent one for a couple of weeks, just to alleviate your fears. My only caution on this is that you can become too mother hen-ish watching the cam and you should know she may not do everything the same way you would do it, but if it's safe for the kids it's OK.

you never know said...

I too suggest a nanny cam to see if she is the same person without you there.

If I had to go with my gut I would trust my 4 year old but as a nanny I have seen a 4 year old say to another nanny at a playdate that if she didn't let him watch more tv that he would tell his mommy that she punched him and then he made a little fist at her and hit her. That kid had issues.

NVMommovedtoTX said...

I agree with most people here. Don't let this go another day. You may not like confrontations but these are your children. No adult's feelings go before them, IMO.

This does not sound like just a made up story. Your son is having daily anxiety about this person, that's enough of a red flag to end it right there.

Shanna said...

I wouldn't use a nanny cam in this situation. Using nanny cams is legal, yet very unethical OP. Plus,think about it...if you are suspicious of your nanny and are going to video tape her, then doesn't that show that you do not trust her??! Any parent who is considering videotaping their nanny or babysitter should realize that there must be a lot of red flags waving around and that there are issues that need to be addressed. I have a sister who "spied" on her hubby a few months ago....she suspected he was cheating on her so she had him followed and had a cute co-worker flirt with him, etc. Of course he fell for it all, hook/line/sinker, and now the are living apart. I told her when she started having her suspicions in the beginning that if she had suspicions about him then, she should move on then. But she felt like she needed tangible proof in order to prove to herself that she was not over reacting. Same as you would be OP if you used a nanny cam. Forget the nanny cam. Fire her tomorrow as soon as she walks in the house.

Adele said...

What Shanna just said.

I think it is so stupid when people install secret cameras in their homes to "catch" their nanny abusing and/or neglecting their children. It's like they need tangible evidence in order to prove to themselves (and possibly others) that they are not overreacting. I believe if a person is suspicious of their nanny in the first place, that in itself should be a HUGE RED FLAG {!} that something is not right w/their nanny. She should be fired effective immediately. Period. Why leave your child{ren} w/someone you suspect of child abuse/neglect another day just to catch them on film??!! As a Mother, I would never in a million yrs leave my child{ren} in the care of someone I am suspicious of. This is just stupid to me.

Bottom Line: If you use a nanny cam, you are better off using that energy in finding a new nanny for your family.

repost for anon said...

Anonymous said...

Even if the problem is just that your child doesn't like her it's not a good situation. I would hire a different nanny. It sounds like your kid is actually scared of her though. Get rid of her.