ADHD Advice & Responsibility

Hi Nannies & Moms,
I am a nanny for a single Mother. When I first started her oldest child had just been diagnosed for ADHD. She had tried the child on two medications over the course of less than two months and not liked the results. She began her own research and consulted friends. I never gave the child the medications.  She brought me articles on organic coffee as a free range kind of cure all for ADHD. I stood back. She began giving the child coffee in the morning. The child did not like hot coffee. The child did not like cold coffee. She would not add milk to the coffee because she didn't want the child to have dairy. As this grows more and more frustrating, she ensnares me in this desperate pursuit to medicate her child with coffee. All sorts of brands of coffee green Mountain, Jims, Seattle's Best, Cafe Altura, Yadda yadda. I am new to this job but I began to grasp that she doesn't get that coffee doesnt have that much of a variance, particularly when she isnt adding anything to it. I offered many suggestions, she dismissed each.  She begans to grow frustrated with me. I suggest that perhaps she didn't try the medications for long enough. She looks at me like I am crazy. We have an argument. She asks me if I "want to be here". I tell her I do, but I don't know what magic she expects from me. She tells me that she will think this over after the weekend, that she 'appreciates' that I have my own 'ideas and notions'.  I return to work on Monday. Older child is drinking a chocolate shake. Single Mother educates me on caffeine powder, this wonderful organic potion. She suggests that maybe while I am out today I can get "some fresh berries, yogurts and milks" to try mixing with it to give older child 'more variety'. This morning, since all she got was the powder, she mixed it in True Moo chocolate milk with some ice cubes in the blender. I try not to let my blood pressure climb. I have no idea what this women's end goal is. I really don't know what she wants from me. I almost wish I could say the child went spaceballs on the caffeine powder, but the child's behavior has seem more regulated the past four days. This woman is a professional of who is highly respected in her field. I have been on this job for only three weeks. Last night I went to see a movie after being released from work. I returned at almost ten and the house was dark. I enter thru the mudroom by the kitchen and track down the stairs to my room. I stopped in the kitchen to get something to eat and drink. I noticed a bottle of organic wine in the refrigerator. It had been opened, a portion missing. In the morning, I notice that where "older child" sits for "evening activities" there are cheeze cracker crumbs and a cup for specific to the child. I clear it while I wait the children coming downstairs. In taking it to the sink, I note that the cup, with only drops in reserve smells like alcohol. I bring it to my nose. It clearly smells like wine.  That is the history.

Here is the problem.

I was too intimidated to ask this woman if she gave the child wine. Mecicating a child with alcohol is something I would be most uncomfortable with, especially living in the same home as the child.  I rinsed the cup and put it in the dishwasher. When single mother comes downstairs, she whips up a caffeine drink for oldest child and hands it to child. Oldest Child takes it without complaint. I study child carefully. Child appears to be acting normally. After Single mother leaves, I go so far as to trot upstairs and sniff the oldest child's pillow and toothbrush. During this whole time, I am conflicted. Is this my business? If she is giving her child alcohol, certainly she can, or can't she? What is my role here? She hasn't asked me to blend a caffeine powder drink. I don't imagine she would ask me to give oldest child alcohol, but I don't know.

The most conflicting part of all of this is I really like oldest child. Oldest child doesn't seem to have had the happiest of lives. Oldest Child has really bonded with me. And I'm a brand new nanny making more money than I've ever made in my life, a fact not lost on my employer who met and raised my salary requirement and point of hire.  I don't know that this is bad for the oldest child. Family has access to top tier mental and medical professionals. Oldest child's behavior has seemed much better this week. I don't want to do the wrong thing, but I don't want to risk my new job.

Going Crazy in New Jersey


GiveMeMyLatte said...

If at any time you can confirm that mom is giving the child alcohol, you MUST report it (anonymously) to CPS. The coffee drink is one thing, but giving a child alcohol is child endangerment plain and simple.

justaneastcoastnanny said...

You're problem is your employer.

Your solution.

1. Report the suspected alcohol use by the mother for the child.

2. Find a new job.

3. I repeat find a new job. Your problems with this woman will be endless. No amount of money in the world will be worth it.

The truth of the matter is this woman and her child need more help than you can give them.

UmassSlytherin said...

if you stay at this job, you will regret it.
Leave, and then call CPS and report what you have told us.
You don't want to be employed by this family.

BKmommy said...

All the money in the world isn't going to magically fix this situation. I suggest you run, not walk, away from this job as quickly as you can. And I ditto calling CPS.

CANanny said...

Former nanny and current clinicall Social Worker working with children who have behavioral and emotional challenges.

While I have not heard of caffeine therapy before, most ADHD prescription meds are stimulants. I can see how caffeine might be used as a "natural therapy". Maybe do some more research before writing it completely off?

The alcohol is completely unacceptable if true. However when reading your account I wasn't convinced that mom had given the child wine.

CANanny said...

Here are a couple of articles to get you started-

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who doesn't think this should be reported to CPS? I don't know how old this child is, but I went to a wedding in the UK about 2 years ago and kids as young as 7 were given a small (1-2oz pour) champagne for the toast.

Don't get me wrong, I would not give a child alcohol, but I don't think it's "abuse"...


Snow said...

This is not a wedding and a quick sip from mum's glass.

This is a mother trying to medicate her daughter with alcohol among other issues.

I don't think it is unreasonable that the nanny is being told to report to CPS.

I may wait a bit and see what is. I may even ask mom before calling.

But I also don't think it is wrong to call straight away.

I agree with the poster that said this nanny is in way over her head and this mother and her children need someone with more experience if not professional help of a counselor and physician.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just meant that I don't think ONE incident would justify a call to CPS. If mom is giving the kid alcohol regularly, different story. Plus, the "evidence" is weak.

But this situation (even w/o the booze) seems very high maintainance and complex. I'd move on....


forreal? said...

this lady sounds bat-shit-crazy!
Not the point, the point is, if you are already this conflicted, it WILL get worse. There will be other issues that will have you reconsidering your position over and over and over again. One issue in nannying that cannot be fixed, no matter how hard you both try, is when you vehemently disagree with MB or DB's parenting. You will never be able to really team up and support each other if you do not approve of their parenting in general. This will ultimately get worse, and then you will be stuck dealing with a whole lot of bat-shit-crazy, and the heartbreak for both you and the children when you realize this job isn't for you later down the road