The Nanny with the Very Difficult Situation

     I want to leave my current position and get another nanny position. I have been here almost a full year and dealt with all kinds of things. I am very bonded to the daughter and I have tried to work with the family to resolve some things. When I brought these things to the family's attention, they behaved punitively towards me, shutting me out, not talking to me for awhile, being curt, etc. The problem has been the behavior of the five year old boy. The behavior has me in a very difficult position because I am from Ireland and this is my first nanny job and I need a reference. I have references from Ireland for nursey, but you can see why I would need their reference. The problem with getting a reference is not going to be my job performance, but that I will need to make some sort of formal report about the child before I leave because his sister is just not safe so long as the family continues to ignore his behavior problems.
     A handful of examples I will give you, he put sewing pins in the dog's bed in his crate and shut the dog in there to "see what would happen", he poured his sister a glass of orange juice and a glass of purple colored household cleaner in side by side glasses and challenged her to a taste test. Here, he said, he wasn't really going to let her drink, he just wanted to see what she chose. The family has a gas stove and he plays with the knobs, usually only when I am cooking, to shut things off or turn things higher, but as you can imagine, this could be deadly.
     He also takes very dangerous risks with his own behavior, sliding down a banister, hanging over the upstairs banister, tying a rope from a downstairs door to an upstairs door and trying to hand slide down it. Just to be clear, the reason I am leaving is because since coming to work here, I have had so much anxiety and am always on edge. When I go home, I am worried about the younger child. The parents do not take anything I say seriously. I am an outsider in this community and don't know who I would approach for help, so I have been advised that I should make a phone call to Children's Services. I don't have any problem doing this and using my identity, because the parents do not want to deal with their son's issues. They are both extremely detached from both children. My question to you is how do I time this? I am alone in the US and have one roommate. She has become a friend but is a roommate first so she has no friendly loyalties to me to help me should I become short on rent. I want to extricate myself from this situation and know that both children will get the help they need, but that I have my reputation intact and another job to switch to. Has anyone ever been in such a situation?


Wednesday said...

Wow ugh. This is so, so sad. The only thing I would say to do is write your own reference letter. Just "Jane Doe has been with our family for this length of time. In this time she has done task, task and task. She has never been late and was always reliable." Don't gush about yourself but when I was in an unfavorable situation I wrote just that, sat down with the parents, and they just signed off at the bottom. Now I have an amazing job. You need to get out. If something happens on your watch and it sounds like it's only a matter of time, the parents will go all out on you. That's what's scary. They don't believe their son would do these things so when something happens they'll blame you. Get out as soon as possible! Good luck!

Sarah said...

Wow!! This is very hard decision. I've been in your shoes. A family I worked for: drove me out. Not literally. They gad a son that
Was 3 1/2 yrs (size of 6 year old) at the time with 1 younger sister. In the 3 months I was there. He threw toys at me- giving me a black eye and breaking two pairs of glasses ( I had to oay for new ones). He slammed his bedroom door breaking rwo of my fingers. He ran away from me constantly putting himself (and myself) in danger. I tried time-outs but mom would just pull him out. Oh, its fine-he doesnt need a timeout. One time, we were at the mall insude kids pottery barn-he ran with a knife!!! I'm telling him to stop, no-trying everything-his mother just stood there looking stoned- no clue. We also went to toys r us and wanting to ride a bicycle ariund. He ran into a few people ( after my warnings to be careful)-Including an elderly lady who fell and broke her hip. I pulled him off the bike and he turned his body, and bit me so hard (in the stomach) that he broke the skin (mind you- i was a 6 month in after my surgery. I had to go the hospital- after work!!! His mom treated him to McDonalds after that whole day of hell. I foubd a huge, black bruise on his bottom and when I asked him about it- he said my dad hit me. I called CPS and reported it. Nothing happened that I knew of- I had to leave. Nothing was getting solved and I was totally miserable-crying to my hubby ever night. I had no choice!! Listen to your own heart. Go with your own instincts.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bensonhurst said...

Its awful that your financial situation is tied to such a toxic work environment. STart looking for work now. Look close to where you are. There is a chance people will know you by your reputation already & whatever the parents have to say may not have merit. I was hired from an extremely awful situation and didn't even have a reference but one of my charges was in a soccer league with one my old charges and my current employer knew the reputation of my previous employers. (Batshit crazy). I have been with my current family for two years and will stay through the summer because I am getting married in early October. I go home at night and feel happy and I look forward to work everyday. It is great to be part of a team and it is important to know that the children you care for are okay. I am so sorry you don't have that.

Ashley said...

Wow, this is a terrible situation- I'm so sorry. I would definitely recommend calling the state family services department. If the parents are in denial, you are the next closest caregiver who has witnessed this boys disturbing behavior. He needs help, and his sister needs to be safe. This is also important to protect you. If the child's behavior creates a dangerous situation while you're in charge, you could be held responsible- especially if the parents aren't accepting responsibility and giving attention to the situation.

As far as your job goes, you should start looking for another family to work with right away. Could you possibly contact some nanny agencies to see if they can help? I wish you all the best.