Defusing an Abusing Situation

So I'm a nanny of two boys; 2 and 4. In the interview I was told they were very active, rambunctious boys. I could go on and on about what the real issues may be, but what I'm more concerned about is what to do when the nanny is being physically and verbally abused all day, 50 hours a week. These boys constantly hit, kick, bite, head butt, and throw things at me. I've tried googling information on the topic and all that comes up is nannies abusing children. It takes everything I have in me to make it through the day with (mostly) a smile on my face.

The parents understand that this is an issue and the children are both in different therapies, however they are not diagnosed with anything and no treatment has been successful thus far. The majority of people that surround me and the children (teachers, therapists) tell me it is not ok for me to be hit, kicked, etc. and encourage me to quit, but the parents don't seem to be that affected by their behavior and accept it as "normal". I understand it is not my responsibility, but I do not want another person getting sucked into this job if and when I leave. I also take my job as a nanny very seriously and don't want to bail out on these kids who are so clearly in need of help. Any advice is appreciated! - Anonymous


workingmom said...

These children need a nanny with more training and experience than you have. That is not meant to be a slam, but simply an objective assessment of the sitation.

Quit for your own safety and sanity, and move on. It's ok; let it go and find a job in an environment more suited to your skills, where you feel more appreciated and effective.

Do not worry about the 'next person getting sucked into this job' - you cannot control that, and it's not your problem. While I understand your desire to "help", it is also important to recognize that sometimes the only one you can help is yourself.

If these children already have parent, teachers, and therapists in their lives already, then you need not worry about 'bailing' on them, as it sounds as though they already have a sufficient network of support around them. Besides, you can't be considered 'bailing' when you can't offer what they actually need.

Rest assured that if their agressive, anti-social behavioral issues aren't managed beforehand, the time will eventually come when their parents will have to pay attention to them when they are denied entrance to a coveted school or social program.

It will be ok. You can move on.

Kat said...

Get out now. If you stay you will give them the message that it is okay for you to be treated like this. I'd also keep tabs on them so that if/when they hire a new nanny you can tell her/him about what you went through.

ericsmom said...

OP so sorry this is happening to you. To keep yourself safe you really need to think about leaving. The parents are probably just grateful that you are willing to stay. It seems like you really want to give it a try. Did you talk to the therapist on what they suggest you to do? If they have certain strategies will the parent back you up? Lets say a certain form of discipline? If the parents are not going to be on board with you its no use. They really need to be the backbone.

These kids may need a person trained to deal with this. Maybe intense ABA therapy?

p.s. Quitting doesn't mean you failed. It means you adknowlege that you cannot help this particular family. There will a perfect match for you out there!!

Courtney said...

Have you tried talking to the parents about discipline and what they do when this occurs? It sounds to me like they do this because you allow them to put up with it. Every time they throw something at you, take the toy away for the rest of the day and put them in time-out. As far as hitting and kicking goes, make it clear to them that it is not okay to hit/kick and send them straight to time-out. You have to be consistent! Good luck!

Young Nanny said...

I was previously in a very similar situation; however, the boy was slightly older (6) and there was a girl (8). In my particular situation, the parents were in denial about the boy's behavior, and it was condoned by them. They thought it was perfectly normal for a young boy to have violent tendencies, so all of the work I did when I was with them (only 3 hours a day after school) was always undone by them. While it looks like your family has recognized the situation, it still might not be the best place to be. If you truly aren't happy, then it is not the right situation. Honestly, you have to look at it as, "Do I want to do this for another __ months?" When I thought about staying at my job for a long time, I realized that the best thing for me was to leave, and to let someone else take care of the children. This situation can also be a liability; if one boy hurts the other while in your care, you can be held responsible. I would recommend discussing your feelings with the parents, and perhaps setting at trial month or so to see how things go. Tell them that if the behavior improves and you can make a difference, that you will stay on. If there is no change, then you are free to move on. While it is obvious that these children need a loving nanny who can help them, that nanny also has to be happy in her job, or she doesn't do much good to her charges. Good luck and let us know what you decide!

thatswhatisay said...

The parents don't care. They are in treatment and no one can fix them.

Truth be told, they need a good spanking from their parents but it won't happen. Or maybe the parents already spank them and that doesn't work either. Maybe they were sexually abused. Who knows.

I took care of a kid who hit me and he wasn't as aggressive as the ones you wrote about. I told the mom and it ended there.

But those parents won't help because they don't care. Quit.

nanny s said...

Often when a family is dysfunctional, the person who disagrees with the situation can second guess themselves because they're out numbered.

I have been in this situation. I nannied an 11-year-old girl who was really verbally abusive toward me. She would comment on my weight and tell me I was stupid.

Ultimately, it comes down to your happiness. Are you happy going to work each day? If not, I would leave. You don't owe these kids anything. They have their parents and other adults in their lives. If you do leave, you should tell them that you're leaving (as to not give them any sort of false hope you'll return) but that's it.

anon reader said...

I used time-outs. How do the children behave with other children?
The two year old must be mimicking the oldest one because violence usually starts at 3 in my experience and 3 is young enough to be corrected because they sincerely do not know any better.
The parents I worked for acknowledged that a kid had shown a temper and they were trying to make it better. This family however had a successful father who had a habit of yelling constantly, he loved his family, life, and job but to be honest he came from a passionate background and quite literally shouted constantly. Maybe the parents are not the calmest of folk. If parents seem aggressive at least observe whether or not they have come to terms with this reality and understand they must control their behavior so that the kids do not follow. I have never come across bad parents just people who believe that there is always room for improvement. Then you can decide whether this is too much for you.

RBTC said...

bottom line - you do not have to take this, it's not right and if you can leave - do - you need to take care of yourself and a toxic envvironment can hurt your health- let us know what happens - we are behind you !

Lyn said...

"p.s. Quitting doesn't mean you failed. It means you adknowlege that you cannot help this particular family. There will a perfect match for you out there!! " -ericsmom

This. I 100% agree. This is going to continue to take a serious toll on you chicky. I don't think the problem lies with solely you or the family. I think the problem here is a bad match.

Nina said...

Nobody deserves the kind of treatment you're receiving, no matter the circumstances. The parents aren't plugged in the way they should be. If they were, they would move on to Plan B, then C, not stopping until their kids received the help they needed!

For your health and sanity, please leave OP. Who knows, maybe these parents will take notice and do something more for these children if they keep running through nannies? You've put up with way much more than you needed to and the next nanny will most likely feel the same!

Bethany said...

I think the best option here is for you to resign. This does not make you a failure or a bad nanny. Just means this family and their needs are not a good match for you at this time.

You have to think of your own well being.

Maybe just maybe you resigning might get parents to realize their children need more help than a nanny can provide.

Good luck.

Village said...

I seriously doubt you can fix this.

I think it stems from the parents and their treatment of each other, and lack of discipline for their children who are collateral damage.

Move on. It's sad. But at the end of the day, only the parents have the ability to provide the stability to get this stopped.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

OP it is nice of you to be concerned about these kids and all, but you do not deserve to be treated like this. It is an unhealthy work environment and no one is benefiting here.

Seek a new position as soon as you can.

These boys need specialized treatment that may be beyond you.

katydid said...

The truth is nothing will change for these children because their parents do not want to deal with them, all the therapy in the world, and any ideas you can find here or on the internet won't help because the parents won't implement them.

It's not ok for you to be abused. Good nannies realize when they are in over their head, and a family needs a different skills set than they can provide.

that's the case here you are a good caring nanny, but these boys need a nanny with a different set of skills that you can provide. That's not a bad thing.

As for the any future nannies, the responsibility lies with them to ask the tough questions including if they can speak to any prior nannies.

I hope you find a better fit in your next job.

been there said...

I was a nanny for a family that had a wide rage of ages for their 3 children. The middle child was actually at the age of 11 bigger than me and very abusive. Im only 5'1" and he was nearly 5'9". The final straw was when he threw me down the stairs and dislocated my shoulder as I was thrown into a wall. Trust me. Quit. They will be ok. There is no reason to be abused especially by a child, no amount of money in the world is worth it. I told ALL the children that I loved them still (including the 11 year old) but that I couldn't come over anymore and left it at that.

ericsmom said...

Been There

Did you seek medical reimbursment for your injuries?