Update: Manipulative Nightmare

opinion 1
Hi, I am the OP from the recent post Manipulative Nightmare. I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who gave me advice on my situation. I appreciate that so many of you gave me advice for what I should do if I stay and also the kind words for if I decide to leave the position.

I decided to try some of the advice that was given, including ignoring rude behavior/tone/words, telling K that I did not want to play when he was acting that way, responding with a positive about whatever negative he said- for example, the parking thing: when he would complain about where I would park I would just say "Oh I think this parking spot is just great. Look how close we are" etc. I also tried positive reinforcement reward system that seemed to work, however I could tell by Friday he was growing bored of it.

To sum up the week, it was better than how it had been, there was some small progress, however I continue to feel that this is not a good fit for me and that this is not a position that I am going to be happy in long-term. I have decided that I would like to leave. On one hand, I feel guilty, selfish, like a bad nanny, and lazy for not "sticking with it" and waiting it out to see if it gets better. On the other hand, I find it a disservice to everyone involved for me to stay when my heart is not in it, I know that my happiness and well-being should be my first priority, and I know how happy I have been in past jobs where I have a great relationship with the child(ren). In my position before this, I worked with a child who would have frequent tantrums and meltdowns, but we had such a great relationship that I could deal with her bad behavior and was always really motivated to help her to express herself in better ways.

So, now that I have made up my mind, I am asking for advice once more. I want to know how you guys think I should approach giving notice. I am terrified because I have never left a job on bad terms and how exactly do you tell someone you are leaving when it is because you don't want to work with their child? The parents are great, and K is not a bad kid by any means... he is difficult yet he is a great kid. It is just simply not a good fit and I want to be respectful in my delivery of the news that I am leaving. How should I go about this?


Laura said...

Do you have another job lined up? Are you contractually obliged to give them a certain amount of notice before quitting?

Just tell the parents what you told us here: that although K is a great kid, you just don't feel like it's a good fit for either of you. Tell the parents how much you appreciated them hiring you and maybe point out some fun times you did have with K. But they don't really need to know your reasons, so just make it short and sweet.

I'm glad you've chosen to leave a job that isn't the right one for you. You are your own best advocate! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think the best way to resign is in writing, on a Friday afternoon. And I don't think you should mention the child at all, except to say you will miss him as you will the whole family.

This exit should be on you. It's probably a good idea to get a job first. Then when you have a new job lined up, give the family no more that two weeks notice. If they want to know why you are leaving, tell them a lie. For instance, you want to work with babies, or you want to make A LOT more money, or some such. But don't say their kid is a pain, and you want to be happy, or any version of that. It's not fair to the kid.

Good luck. I hope you find a family that is a great fit. You deserve to be happy.

MissMannah said...

You don't technically have to tell them any more than "I don't feel as if this if a good fit for us." Odds are, the parents already suspect you're not happy and they won't question it but they probably will try to entice you to stay with a higher salary. I agree with Village, you really should get another job lined up before you turn in your two weeks' notice, just to play it safe.

Bethany said...

Sometimes less is more when leaving a job. That's a lesson I learned the hard way.

Have a job lined up. Truly lined up contract signed and all that.

Give two weeks notice. In my experience is best to have a conversation and a letter of resignation. Keep a copy for yourself.

If they ask just stick to it wasn't a good fit or be vague something along the lines of pursuing other opportuities.

Saying aynthing negative no matter how nicely you frame it won't be perceived well.

Also, good for you for giving it your best and being honest with yourself about your limitations.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I wouldn't tell the family that you are leaving because of their son. You might burn a huge bridge if you mention it...even if you say it is not a "good fit" they still might not like it.

Will you be okay financially if you are out of work for a few months? If so, then I would give my two-week notice. However, if you NEED the income to live off of now, then try to stick it out until you find another job.

With the economy being what it is now, it may take a few months to find a new position.

Best of luck to you OP.

Aries said...

You can't just expect it to change in 1 week. You need to continue to be firm and you need to continue with the positive reinforcement. He didn't get this way in the course of a week, he got this way because it was how he was raised.

Be patient, be strong, don't give in to the little brat, hehe. YOU are the adult, YOU are the Boss, not him, don't let him run you down and out.

Aries said...

On the other hand, if you find another position that you enjoy then go for it. Don't feel selfish because at the end of the day its every man for himself and don't think for 1 second that if the parents find some other childcare that they won't drop you in a heartbeat. They will. These parents already know there childs behavior and they want you to deal with it. They don't care about how you feel, it's all about how there spoiled child feels. (hence the reason they don't want you to 'try' and 'change' there child.)

I say start looking but in the meantime, stick to your guns and let him no who the boss is and he needs to respect you.

Aries said...

The family knows there child is difficult so when you give your notice, try not to point that out because even though they no this, they might get offended by you saying it.

Just tell them that you found a Job that is a better fit for you. (better hours and pay.). They can't get angry at you and if they do then they are ignorant and selfish. Just give them ATLEAST 2 weeks notice, more would be better. If they say something disrespectful or start going off, just keep a smile on your face and turn the other cheek.

Truth is, they need someone who knows how to deal with these type of children. This child obviously has issues that can't be fixed if they parents aren't allowing it to be fixed so therefore the parents need to continue to deal with the childcare problems they will continue to get (because you probably aren't the first and probably won't be the last to quit.)

(Btw, sorry for typing 3 comments. I wish there was a delete buttom so i could just put all 3 comments together.)

Rosegirl said...

I would give another excuse for leaving if you can think of one (schedule, location, other neutral things). From someone who is terrified of quitting, this idea has helped me immeasurably when I've been faced with this situation.

Nanny S said...

I read your first post and it sounds to me as if the parents aren't taking a strong position in the kid's interaction with you. It's been my experience that if a kid feels that there will be consequences regardless of if the nanny is around, they shape up really quick.

I'd say, go with your gut and feel it out in their reaction. If you think that the parents might flip out and tell you not to come back, be prepared. Also decide if you're willing to stick it out for the professional 2 weeks or not. If you've accepted a new position that starts before that, oh well.

If it were me, I would write an email on a Friday after you've collected a paycheck to say that you feel as if it's "not a good match". If you feel comfortable say you know how important it is for children to bond with their caretakers and you're very regretful you have not been able to be that person for their son and feel as if staying longer could be detrimental to his well being so you have decided to move on.

Then take it from there.

And tell us what happens! Good luck.

bostonnanny said...

First off this family didn't treat you poorly so I would give them at least a months notice so they can find alternative care unless you have a job lined up. This gives you time to search and hopefully end on good terms. I would also recommend to the parents that their child enter preschool. Tell them that he is extremely intelligent and unless they find a nanny with preschool experience that he may continue to act out because of boredom.

I honestly think this child isn't being challenged enough and is seeking attention in any form to be entertained. Also he wont change overnight it takes weeks to correct poor behavior and to undo bad habits.

bostonnanny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mom said...

I would just tell them you're leaving for personal reasons. And don't feel guilty. When a nanny and charge don't click, it's not a good fit for the kid either.

Sarah NY said...

I had a difficult child like that and eventually her violence and horrible attitude caused me to to need to quit. She had me so stressed out I became lactose Intolerant again...ugh bummer. But I wrote a letter, not accusing the MB of anything, just saying that it would be better if we went our separate ways. Musta done it right because I still babysit for them 2 to 3 times a week!

UmassSlytherin said...

Tell them you are leaving for personal reasons.

or if you really want to go out with a bang, just casually light up a cigar right before you know they are going to come home.

I've always wanted to do that.

Phoenix said...

you have to think that you are NOT leaving a job on bad terms. You intentions are good. Whenever you have good intentions, even if they seem slefish, they are not. Taking care of your sanity is important. If you are not happy how will you be able to make the people you work with happy? The energy will never be right and it will hurt everyone more in the long run.'

I don't have advice on how to break the news as I don't work in a domestic situation. Corporate world is way different but it is the same in the aspect you need to be happy.

The only advice I can give is to make sure you have another job before you quit this one.

N is for Nanny said...

If you have a written agreement, absolutely follow the terms in it. I agree that for parents, one month is more reasonable than two weeks. And while, yes, you do need to look out for yourself, doing so doesn't require you to be a jerk.

In the absence of a written agreement, I would give them four weeks notice. I would draft a simple, but vague, "thank you for the opportunity to work with your last day will be x." If you have a new job lined up, definitely cite something benign such as schedule or commute. If you do not, I would give no reason or say "poor fit" - not suggesting the fit is on their end alone. Like PP said, they know their kid isn't the easiest.

Just out if curiosity - and more for employers - don't people find it harder to find a new job, without a reference from their current one? And also with potential families knowing that they are interviewing while employed?

OP said...

Thank you everyone. I began interviewing this past weekend . I received four different job offers. One is offering me an amazing salary and contract, so that is taken care of. My boyfriend and best friend told me I should tell the family that I received a better opportunity,however I don't want to say that because it is not the truth. Had this been a good fit, I would not have been looking around. I am very loyal and value long term commitments. I did not start looking for other jobs until I was certain this was not a good fit. I am not sure how the parents will react. They are very nice but I know that they had a tough time finding me (even though they went through an agency) and I know MB is stressed at work, so that is why I am feeling bad. Also, although our contract states that they would like the best effort to be made for me to give them 30 days notice, my new job starts in 3 weeks. Also, I have a planned vacation next week (unpaid since it is within the first 3 months, this was agreed upon by all parties before I began) so does my vacation week count as part of that notice? I feel that in the future a trial period will be something that I ask for. You never know how a nanny job really is until you are in it. I hate feeling like I am being a flake and telling the family is not going to be fun, but I know that I need to do it.

UmassSlytherin said...

don't listen to the four weeks notice crap. This is america. Take whatever time you need. As far as your vacation week, they have I assume already planned for it, so you do NOT have to worry about that!

You are not being a "jerk" as Nanny N said for not giving a month's notice. You are being more than reasonable. Look out for yourself. Count on the fact that MB is looking out for herself as well!

Good luck, and good for you for getting those job offers already. You will be just fine!

N is for Nanny said...

Hi OP,
First off, congratulations on the new job! Sounds wonderfu1 and I'm happy you had so many good offers to pick from. Apologies, as I had forgotten how briefly you have been with this family. For the record, I do still think notice is appropriate, but that the three weeks you have between jobs would be sufficient. If you feel like you'd like to offer them more, you can always offer to additionally available/flexible during those three weeks, so they have extra time to work on their search.

I've always given notice by the calendar. It seems like notice is often based on the length of time it will take your employers to conduct the search for your replacement.

To clarify my previous comments about "being a jerk" I am talking more extreme than not fulfilling every transitional expectation. I consider being a jerk quitting via text/email and giving no notice. There's an above comment that suggests as much, and that is what I was referring to with my "being a jerk" comment. Sorry that I wasn't clear before. There is a lot of appropriate space between ideal and jerk and it sounds like your plan is appropriate to your situation. (And my opinion about what's professional/appropriate is likely not going to match everyone else's.)

I also hear you on not wanting them to think you weren't planning to be with them longterm. I'm not sure if this is any better, but what about something like "K is a positive adjective, positive adjective child and MB and DB, you are both such positive adjective parents and positive adjective employers. Unfortunately, I do not feel that my skillset and style are an appropriate match for your needs, and as discussed during our interview, I am committed to finding a mutually positive, long-term arrangement - and wish the same for you."

MissMannah said...

In my opinion, you should take your one week vacation, then turn in a two weeks' notice right after. That will make it three weeks, right on time for when the job is set to start.

I also want to point out that just because you've had offers doesn't mean you have a job lined up. I can't tell you how many times I've had an offer immediately after a great interview only for it to all fall apart after a couple of days (or even weeks). You don't have a job until you and the parents have signed a contract.

OhhPlease said...

Please keep in mind that no matter how nice people seem they will ALWAYS look out for themselves. And you need to do the same. This is the problem with us nannies. We are always looking to make others happy and we compromise our happiness in the process. Are you looking to keep in touch with this family? Are you interested in a good reference? I can tell you since you are leaving before your contract is expired that they most likely will not give you a great reference anyways. Especially if you give your notice while you are on vacation since it could appear shady. Even the nicest family can quickly turn to your worst enemy in 2 seconds flat once they find out they will be nanny less. Is it ethical even if while you were working for them you did a great job? Absolutely not! But it's a sad truth with in the nanny business. Either way, if you are certain you have the new job or you can survive being jobless for a bit, give them as much notice as possible and move on. You did your best and if it's not a good fit it's NOT your fault. And it's not your responsibility to worry about MB's stress level. You need to worry about your own like I said above. Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Britney said...


It is entirely up to you how much you want to give notice. Since you know your new position starts in three weeks, I would tell them now. Expect the next three work weeks to be awkward however.

bostonnanny said...

You mentioned MB went through an agency, make sure you communicate with the agency to make sure you don't get blacklisted.