Nanny Wants to Offer Her Help to Parents

Hi! I was hoping to get some advice from my fellow nannies & perhaps some parents about my current position. I'm a full time nanny for sweet eight month old E. He's an absolute joy & I love working with him. He has a five year old brother B for whom I am not responsible & only see in the mornings before he goes to preschool. The last week has proved to be not so healthy in the house (MB was sick on Tuesday & stayed home, DB was sick Wednesday-Friday & stayed home & B stayed home Thursday & Friday) so I've had almost zero space for E & me, which is fine, but I've gotten to know B & his habits a lot more in the past two days. I've always known he was disrespectful to his parents (he doesn't listen, says "no," throws phrases back at his parents "you took that away without asking" or "you need to be patient" when they tell him to do something 'now') & it pains me to sit by & watch him act like that to his dad because I know *I* would *never* let children act like that towards me. The parents & I have a fantastic relationship & have each separately complained to me about his behavior but fail to do anything to correct it. For example, B was sitting at the table with a bowl of soup in front of him not interested in eating because he said he wasn't hungry. He was also flipping through a coloring book & ignoring his father's directives. DB would say "take a few bites of soup," B would ignore, DB says if he doesn't listen he's going to take the book,doesn't do anything, DB takes the book, B says "you can't take things without asking," DB doesn't respond, DB says "if you take a few bites of soup you can have the book back," B takes two bites & gets the book back. This literally happened three times back to back within a few minutes. My last position was with a six year old & four year old triplets so I have plenty of experience with children in this age group & especially children who don't listen (those four were fairly bad until I got there) so I want to offer my help so badly but I don't know if it's out of line because I neither actually care for B nor am around him that often. It's just so frustrating to see his parents frustrated with his behavior but not taking active steps to correct it because I know these behaviors will only intensify with age. Do I offer my help?? Sorry this was so long I am just really in need of some advice. Thanks!!


Siriusly_James said...

First off, I understand how you feel. I've been working for more than one family where the older child(ren) has been more or less "difficult" for the parents.
But.... They're not my responsibility, just as B is not yours, so I don't think it's appropriate to give the parents advice on how to raise him.

However, you say that the parents and you have a good relationship, and that they each have complained to you about B. When they do that, even about the smallest things, it's polite and professional (in my opinion) to say: "If it's okay with you, I could give you a few tips as I am very experienced with this age group." If they say yes, you can say, "what worked for me was..."

Of course, if B starts to be disrespectful to you or to treat the baby badly, it's time for a serious talk with the parents, but I sense that's not where we are right now - hopefully you will have a chance to help him and his parents before it gets that bad.

freespiritedm said...

I agree with Siriusly_James. Although I completely understand how irritating it can be to sit by and watch this behavior, since B is not in your care, I don't believe there is a whole lot you can do about it. How would you even go about being able to correct the behavior without having time with him? In my opinion, children need consistency, consistency, consistency in order for progress to be made, and that doesn't seem to be an option for you with him in school.

Since DB and MB has both brought up the behavior to you, I would do as Siriusly_James suggested, and take that as an opportunity to offer up some suggestions. Many times, even if they don't directly ask, parents will bring up topics hoping for some words of wisdom. After all, this is your area of expertise. :-)