Monday, August 4, 2008

Nanny Says: "I'm your Mommy"

"My nanny told my son, "Scott, you have to listen to me, I am your mommy." is this ever okay to do? when I told her that it was not okay, she got very defensive, told me that she needed to be like that with the kids and that I am at work and she is with them more than me. She did not understand that it was simply the words that I did not like. Also, then she changed her stance and said that she did not say that, she said nanny. i feel like it is obvious that i should fire her but i worry about the effect on my kids. She has only been with us for 4 months. any advice?"

Your nanny is absolutely in the wrong here. Her stance and approach is devisive and manipulative and if it continues may harm and confuse your children. Parent & nanny should be working together as a parenting team. It also sounds, at least based on your e-mail she wasn't able to integrate the feedback and concern. Was this due to a language issue between the two of you? Was she scared of you? Sometimes under stress individuals lie and muddle their words.

Now, let's get down to it. You have a couple options here: make it work or plan an appropriate ending. A lot of this depends on the age of the children and your nanny's ego strength. First things first, if you think you can salvage this and she is able to learn from this, then sit down and have a discussion clarifying what is ok and what is not ok. This is not a negotiation- you are the employer stating what you expect.

If she is unable to accept this, then you move to planning an ending. You may also choose to skip right to the ending and not even have a discussion. The best thing to do is have a planned ending. You should speak with the nanny and let her know of your concerns and that you have made a decision that this relationship isn't working out the way you had expected. Think, do you want her to stay for a couple of weeks or a couple of days or a couple of hours?

Plan ahead! Speak with her at the beginning of the work day so that if she just wants to leave the children are present and you are present to manage the situation. Be prepared to stay home that day if necessary. When speaking with her just stick with the facts - make statements that are free from emotion and judgement. If she is able to stay for a few days, or weeks and you feel safe with this and are not worried about her saying or doing harmful things to the children plan a good-bye. Inform the children, decide what you will tell the children. Have a good-bye "party" have the children draw pictures, take a picture of the children with their nanny and give a copy of the pic to the nanny and frame one for each child- nannys are a part of your childs story and children like to hear about who took care of them. Talk about favorite memories, events,etc. Answer the children's questions about where the nanny is going, or why the nanny is going in the least angry and judgemental way possible. They need to understand that they didn't do anything wrong and this is part of a natural transition, a change.

Now, if there is to be an ending, you will need to consider if you will pay severence, if you will write a letter of reference, etc.

Best of luck, please let me know if you have any further questions!


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