Friday

Do you Feel Like your Nanny is Taking Over?

GUEST COLUMNSubmitted by Molly Cunningham
Photobucket
Ideally, the relationship between a nanny and her employers is one that is close enough that she becomes a valued member of the extended family in addition to being an employee. More often than not, however, a working relationship that gets too close becomes bereft of boundaries, in which nannies feel comfortable assuming far more control than is warranted and parents feel comfortable heaping more responsibility on her than she originally bargained for. If you find yourself in the position of feeling that your nanny is performing more of the tasks that keep your household running and is effectively taking over control of your home, it’s not too late to set those essential boundaries:

1) Institute Family Time – Most nannies understand that family time is just that, so make a production out of instituting a regular game or movie night, or a family outing. Let your nanny know that she’ll have that time off to do as she pleases, which sends a subtle but pointed message that you’re spending time with your children as a family, and that her services aren’t required during bonding time.

2) Relieve Her of Duties That Aren’t Related to Childcare – When your nanny does your laundry, makes your bed, and shops for all of your food, it’s easy for her to begin to feel as if she’s got a stake in the running of your household and justified in making decisions that affect it. Rather than blaming your nanny for the amount of control that you perceive her to have or even outright bossiness on her part, make an effort to narrow the scope of her responsibilities back to where it should be: caring for your children while you’re away.

3) Communicate Your Concerns Respectfully and Calmly – Your nanny has no way of knowing how you feel if you don’t communicate your feelings to her, but these situations can be so fraught with emotion that the conversation spirals out of control and degenerates into a shouting match that ends in tears and possibly the loss of a nanny. Approach the conversation as calmly and reasonably as possible, resisting the urge to level accusations or display resentment. Keep in mind that your nanny is almost certainly not trying to seize control of your home and children; she’s probably trying to do her job to the very best of her abilities and doesn’t realize that you feel she’s crossed a line.

4) Consider the Possibility That You’re Suffering from Nanny Jealousy – Being forced to spend the bulk of your day out of your home and away from your children while your nanny witnesses every milestone and major triumph can make even the most pragmatic parent a bit jealous. Unfortunately, this jealousy can cause you to feel subconsciously angry at a nanny whose only goal is to provide exemplary care. Before approaching your nanny with concerns or accusations, take a moment to carefully examine your true motivation; do you truly feel that your nanny is overstepping her bounds, or are you simply envious of the time that she gets to spend with your little ones?

5) Set Firm Rules About Discipline – One of the most common causes for contention between nannies and their employers is a fundamental disagreement about proper discipline. Your nanny should understand that, in the end, your style of parenting and methods of discipline should be respected above all else, as you and your partner are the ones who ultimately make decisions regarding the rearing of your children.

6) Play an Active Role – Sometimes nannies take on more than their fair share of child rearing responsibilities when they feel as if there’s a void left by busy parents. Rather than blaming your nanny for attempting to ensure that your kids get all the love and devotion that they need, try to take a more active role in their daily lives.

7) Avoid Being Passive-Aggressive – It’s easy to resort to passive-aggressive tactics in order to regain control that you feel you’ve lost to your nanny, but such methods are almost sure to backfire in the end. Instead, make the effort to confront the situation decisively and with as much respect and consideration for your nanny’s feelings as possible in order to effectively resolve the situation with a minimum amount of hurt feelings or resentment.

Nannies that actively try to take over a household in order to establish dominance or control are few and far between, because those that approach the profession from that angle tend to have short-lived careers. Keep in mind that the vast majority of nannies genuinely want to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities, and to keep their employers happy.

27 comments:

caring mom all day said...

Great article!

I love the last name Cunningham btw. :o)

Lex said...

On my first day, MB had asked me to fold whatever is left on the rack and leave it in the laundry or put it on her bed, so once a week when I do my charges washing I fold anything that's left on the rack and put it on her bed or leave it in the laundry. Well the other day MB left a note in the communications book saying ' just leave our old crusty washing on the rack! - but thanks for folding it' I thought she didn't like how I folded things but maybe it's in relation to point two and taking back control of some household things. Interesting read- thank you -it won't let me post a name under name/URL so: from lex

as a bat said...

Caring mom, who the hell is Cunningham? I didn't see it in the article anywhere, I must be blind.

caring mom all day said...

You're not blind "as a bat" lol, its just hard to find. Its at the top next to where it says Guest Column.

Lyn said...

I would think most good Nannies know when to back off and what areas to not get involved in. Especially when it's a live-in (like it sounds like this was written for). That being said, I really enjoyed the article. And definitely the summary in the last paragraph.

OceanBlue said...

Do not care for this article. As nice and helpful as it pretends to be I still see the attitude of naany is less than and evil coming through.

Honestly I'd say outside of Lifetime movies a nanny truly taking over occurs in less than 2% of nanny situations.

What is far more common are jealous parents especially the mothers,the passive-agressive control freak parents and parents that refuse to accept that a nanny ( not some babysitter you hire and call a nanny) can have extremely helpful input on child rearing.

Where are the articles on that?

Lyn said...

I agree Oceanblue! I think we (the frequenters of isyn) should write some articles and send them on in.

Kate Feathers said...

I don't think live-ins should do the parent's laundry, but that's just me! Right off the bat, you're giving the nanny too much responsibility and too much intimate contact with the parents. I did it for a family once when I was younger, but now, I don't want to fold any adult's underwear.

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RBTC said...

caring mom - i think your comments are interesting

there are a small group on here that accuse posters of being other posters to create controversy - 99% are intelligent enough to know you are an individual

best wishes

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HUh..... said...

what the heck are the PP's referring to? Lol, I know I'm overtired but the comments aren't making any sense to me.

But I do with you caring mom about how some people try so hard for kids and then act bothering by them once they have them. I have a friend who spent thousands on IVF and then thousands more on adoption. All she does is complain about her baby....ALL THE TIME. I think she had this idea of how it was supposed to be and since the baby is well....acting like a baby...she is almost resentful over how much money and time she spent trying to get to this point, and it is not as perfect as she envisioned it.

RBTC said...

caring mom - i am not actually tactful - i speak up too much for some of the people here

i look forward to seeing some of your opinions

Rinster said...

RBTC/EBN/Caring Mom - it's called an IP address. I'm sure some tech savvy reader has found a way to track yours.

Also, caring mom you admitted earlier to being on the bay area and now you say you're not, which one is it?

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caring Mom All Day said...

...............RBTC..................


I look forward to hearing your opinions as well!

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rinster said...

Actually I'm not Lyn but thank you. I actually have a mind of my own.

RBTC said...

c-mad i am sorry you are being treated this way - if you have been on this blog for a period of time - you will see that the gang mentality needs someone to go after

there were a couple of regular posters in the past who filled this need and they are out of pocket right now

so- you ebn and me are the focal points

they know you are not ebn and they do not care where you live - they just need the adrenaline rush they get from picking at you - kind of like a back of rottweilers barking lol

Future Nurse :) said...

I'm sorry, but this is hijacking the thread. Take it back to the original (IVF) post where the topic originated PLEASE.

Same thing goes for the statements on the craigslist WTF posting. Be respectful to ORIGINAL POSTERS who don't want to read this bs.

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhiannon said...

I just went up to reread the sequence of the comments and you did, in fact, bring it to this thread first, caring east bay nanny mom.

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.