30 November, 2012

Custody Battle

OPINION
Have any of you ever worked for a couple involved in a custody battle? How did you handle things with the kids? Parents? What did you do? How did you cope? - Anonymous

6 comments:

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I currently work on an occasional basis for a family who is going through an acrimonious divorce, etc.

The mother is trying to get me involved, however I remain professional + neutral at all times.
When she complains to me about the father or tries to get me to make a statement against him, I tell her it is my policy to not get involved with such matters.

Nay The Nanny said...

I have never been in that situation, but, like many, my parents went through a terrible divorce when I was 11. My advice to you is the same as Amy Darlings...STAY NEUTRAL!!! Do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to say anything negative about either parent to the other or to the children. I was very defensive and still have issues with some people in my life as a result of them getting involved and saying something about one of my parents. Keep it as positive as you can and if the kids come to you about this, assure them that you love them and that both of their parents always will love them no matter what, the same as they did when they were together. The divorce has absolutely nothing to do with them. Things will be different but different doesn't have to be bad. Good luck, hopefully it won't be too messy for the sake of the children.

nanny s said...

I was a nanny to a family that decided to divorce. I was very, very part time before the separation so it was actually a surprise to me. One day the dad moved into an apartment about 10 blocks away.

My advice is definitely to STAY NEUTRAL. In my particular case, what happened was that DB was divorcing MB and wanted 50% custody even though he was working very long hours. MB needed to get a job. Hence, I actually started working for them MORE during the separation period.

MB continuously asked me details about DB and if he was dating. I tried to tactfully sidestep them but eventually it just became too difficult. Because I was more of a babysitter for her, I eventually just started to tell her that I was busy every time she asked. I had a younger sister who would also babysit for this family. The last straw was when MB found out DB had asked my sister to babysit and asked me if they were "dating". I was extremely taken aback and told her that no, my sister dates people her own age, not people old enough to be her father.

Now I just babysit for DB. The divorce is finalized and he has half-custody. He keeps his private business to himself and is always professional with me. From what I gather from MB's nanny I've met, she is still quite a nutter and very bitter about DB's decision to still keep me and my sister as babysitters and tells everyone she thinks there is something more going on.

As for the kids, they DEFINITELY don't need any of the adult details. The explanations I gave the kids were things along the lines of, "Mom and dad are working out some grown up things now. It hurts a lot, so if you want to share your feelings with me, I always want to listen." That was that. The kids were ages 4-10.

Remember your role is to be professional with the parents, but to provide emotional support to the kids. Do NOT take sides. Even if (in my case) one parent is clearly unstable, don't say anything more than, "The adults will figure it out, and will make sure you are taken care of."

oceanblue said...

Stay neutral! Stay professional and if needed shield the kids from their parents outbursts.

MissMannah said...

I can't agree with the PPs more...stay neutral! With my last nanny-family, the mom would drag me into conversations about what a jerk the dad was. I liked her and agreed that the dad was a jerk, unfortunately he was the one signing my paychecks.

gr8tst said...

It is a hard situation to be in, as one of my past jobs I experienced it. And honestly, I don't really wish to face it again.
I personally stayed neutral for the sake of the kids. They noticed something wasn't the same, and the youngest charge was becoming very attached to me, yet I always tried to maintain a safe and healthy environment, treating the parents with respect even when they would not even speak to each other in front of them. But I loved the family so much that eventually it started affecting me. Being over 4 years with them is like your own family, and seeing them going through that situation is very hard to face. Sometimes the parents would speak to me telling me about their issues, but my neutrality was the best. Being the child caregiver I kept in my mind that the kids are the most important and my concentration, yes I loved them so much that I even cried alone when I had to face the questions of why my mommy or daddy don't treat each other well but only yell when they could speak nicer. In those moments I told them that they were still loved and adults go through hard situations but that doesn't mean they, the kids, are less important.Though there was one time when one of the parents said to my charge about a plan but asked to not to tell anything to the other parent, I was present when it happened, then the parent practically commanded to me that I must not say anything. I would say that was the only one time I respond back (not in front of the kid) but in private saying that to not to do anything stupid that would compromise my trust with both of them. Again, it is a very overwhelming situation that I do not wish to be in again.