Advice on Dealing with an Angry Older Child?

opinion 2 I am having problems with a very rude charge of mine. Currently, I have the best nanny job that I’ve had since becoming one. I have wonderful employers, one of which used to be a nanny herself, and I also get paid very well and they treat me with respect and sincerity. My ‘family’ structure is a bit different than others I have worked for, because I technically have 3 employers. The original mother that hired me is a newly single mom currently going through a rough divorce and has a 9 year old girl (L.) and an 11 year old boy (R.). Her sister and her husband live nearby and have a 6 year old son (B.) that I also take care of at the same time. Here is my problem:

The 11 year old boy is extremely rude and disrespectful to me, almost on a daily basis. I know he’s going through some tough family stuff and probably doesn’t know how to deal with it, except in anger and frustration. Not only does he not listen to instructions, but he says rude and mean things to me and I know he’s just eleven, but it still gets to me! I don’t lash out back at him obviously and I do my best to discipline him, but it’s just getting worse, in regards to him getting increasingly meaner and also me getting pretty fed up with it. Additionally, he is very nasty to his 9 year old sister, more than normal sibling rivalry, and to me is on the levels of bullying. His family is very well aware of the situation, and we do discuss it together. There have been threats of no after school sports, taking him to after school care, and even enrollment in a military style boarding school. These threats don’t seem to work, and I do keep his mom up to date on my daily interactions with him.

I’m used to taking care of younger children, and mostly girls at that. I’m not really used to such extreme levels of backtalk and I just don’t know what to do. Has anyone had to deal with issues like a rough divorce and rude, older children? I’ve been ‘given permission’ to be as hard with him as I can as far as punishments go, but it’s getting increasingly difficult, and honestly…his comments are beginning to really get to me. Advice?


Truth Seeker said...

Whew!! I once had a boy who used to say mean things to me, kick me and lock me out of rooms. My problem with that situation is the the mother did nothing to discipline him and when I tried to on my own, she interfered. Needless to say, that job is history. Anyway OP, if the mother is letting you do what you need to discipline him and is not being a wimp about it, you can also take away privileges and/or ground him. Make him stay in room for say 30 min or so until he can behave. Tell him no video games, computer time or T.V. until he respects you. DEMAND respect from this boy. And remember to be consistent. If you falter at all, he will surely take full advantage of it. I would also try to talk to him more on his level. Tell him you understand he may be going through a trying time and that you have gone through tough times as well. Let him know you genuinely care for him and want to be his friend as well, however you deserve to be treated with respect. It is best to tell him all of this when he is not in one of his moods. Hopefully his mother will support you on this and will reinforce whatever punishments you have bestowed when you are no longer there.

Good Luck OP. I hope this helps.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

My first question is:

He's getting lots of "threats" - is he getting any actual consequences?

If his parent is all talk and no smack-down (metaphorically speaking), then he has no incentive to behave.

I would start off by sitting down and talking to him. Keep it short and sweet. "You are being very rude to me. I will not put up with it anymore. If you mouth off to me, this will happen..." and outline the consequences. Start by taking away what he likes best, then work your way down the line.

Use the same approach to deal with his attitude toward his sister once he is treating you with a little more respect.

You can also employ the time tested "deafness" approach.If he is rude, you don't hear him. You ignore him until he is at least slightly polite, then you speak with him.

I feel for you - a tween in an emotional hurricane is a tough child to care for, but you do need to let him know that you won't tolerate whatever behavior makes you most annoyed. Extinguish that behavior, then work on the next most annoying thing he does, and keep going.

RBTC said...

this does not look good, it's clear that the boy's father is not in the picture effectively and that can cause rage in boys. He also may be looking at his cousin having his dad and mom together and that makes him mad.

They need to get him into intensive counseling as military school will just traumatize him further

pretty lame that they are making you and his sister be his scapegoat

try to let us know what happens

Anonymous said...

OP here:
truth seeker, thanks so much for the great advice. i've been doing most of this already, minus the extended time outs or taking something away. the problem with this is that he still would find some loophole. this kid LOVES loopholes. and it drives me insane. but you're right, i need to be more demanding of respect. i suspect that the fact that i'm a younger nanny (23), he think he can walk all over me. thanks for the support :)

tales from nanny(hood)- well, it seems like half the time, they are just threats. from what i hear, he might be going to this boarding school because he actually does want to go. so we'll see. but it does seem like a lot of his mom's threats come across as empty, unfortunately. i am most definitely going to employ the deafness approach though! thanks!

RBTC- you're right, it is an unfortunate position to be in. i do know that he really close to his dad, and when my charge and his family moved up here, his dad followed them and does live about 5 min away. i haven't met him thankfully, because he sounds awful, but i know that they do see their dad once a week and every other weekend. so, he's not completely out of his life.

bippityboppityboo said...

This family sounds identical to a family I used to work for. I wouldn't be surprised if it was them. But regardless I eventually just had to leave the position as the nasty words turned violent from the child. Threats from pareants at that point in my opinion are useless, I mean when are threats ever useful unless there is any follow threw. Without parental follow through you are fighting a losing battle especially at that age.If he isn't going to respect his parents do you even have a shot? I'm so sorry for the position you are in I felt helpless myself. I tried to show him as much respect as I could but at the same time I refused to be verbally abused even by a child all day. Good luck I hope you get the results you want!

Phoenix (the real one) said...

Young boys can really suck sometimes. My friend has a 17 year old son. Most of his behavior is her fault. But anyway she works at a club 50 minutes from home. At any time during his liking he will call his mom and demand food. Like drive all the way home, cook me food then drive all the way back. If she doesn't do this. He will physically abuse his younger sibilings. He will damage walls, try to throw knives,and leave her abusive voice messages. WARNING VERY EXPLICIT.

I listened to one such message and it said this word for word. This is very bad. If you don't like cussing don't read this "You are the worst mother in the whole entire world. You fucking cunt! I can't believe that you would let your son sit at home and starve. You better get your ass home you stupid bitch. I can't believe you are neglecting me like this. I am going to call CPS on your ass and tell them what a shitty mother you are. What a fuck-up you are."

He will leave these messages all day long every 5 minutes till he gets what he wants. Naturally after being abused she goes on home, feeds him (or whatever his demands were), and then drives back into work. I've never witnessed something like this before and all their doctors would do is put him on anti-depressants.

So in this case. Since he may be depressed and I highly doubt he is that bad. I would ask the parents to take him to a therapist to try and work out his behavior issues and maybe even put him on medication. If nothing else has worked this may do the trick. You don't want him to get any angrier.

Heidi said...

I agree with Pheonix, it sounds like the child and the family need outside professional help, or his behavior could escalate from verbal to physical assault, threatening the child and sibling's safety, and could even result in DCFS or law enforcement involvement. Are there problems with academics, social skills, communication (nonverbal, receptive,and/or expressive)or anything else?

I'm assuming MB has spoken with his pediatrician about his behavior, but it sounds like he could benefit from a referral to a neurologist to rule out medical conditions with uncontrolled rage as a side effect, plus neuropsych and developmental testing. With all medical and organic psych issues ruled out, a behavior management team could set up a behavior plan that could be used by everyone;teachers, parents-both of them,and OP in order to create a structured, consistent set of rules and consequences. It sounds like his behavior is way past the "time-out" stage and it's time for "big guns" in order to make life more bearable for the other children, as well as to attempt to catch this child before he takes a huge fall.

Good work OP, I hope you and the family find a solution, and that you can update later for people in similar situations.

RBTC said...

i have a single mother, an independant contractor who does some work for me, her 21 year old son lives at home.

called her at an agreed upon time - 11 pm, woke the young man up, he used similar language as above and threatened my life

she does not understand why i do not call her for work anymore, i am such an unreasonable person