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to complain about this nursery worker? I honestly can't tell if IABU, please help!

(90 Posts)
Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 02:36:06

DD1 is four. Very verbal, very confident, very physically affectionate. Her best friend is likewise, and they tend to play together constantly, lots of role play games.

A is a new carer in the 'kindy room' at nursery (4-5y/olds), and very junior; because of this, A is usually allocated to general supervision of play, whereas the more senior staff are often doing the more structured stuff.

DD1 and her friend seem to have adopted A as their personal adult playmate, and both speak very enthusiastically about A. Which is great, in a lot of ways; it's nice for them that there's an adult there who is willing to join in their interminable pretend games and things. A seems really nice and has lots of energy, plays chase and gets out drums and generally joins in the fun.

But. DD1 has reported that their games involve "being little girls who run away from the monster who catches them and tickles them". Or "pretends to eat them". Or "ties them up". I don't think any actual tying up is going on, but it's all physical hands-on games. And BF's mum has picked her up early before and she's been sitting on A's lap.

And it seems - although obviously four year olds are not always reliable narrators - that A spends a lot of time playing with the two of them, as in, disproportionately to other kids, bearing in mind that there's a 1:10 ratio in that room. I have had chats with A when picking DD1 up - oh, you're with DD1 and her friend again, they both tell me how much they like you playing with them - that seem to support this: as in, A agrees that they've played together lots, had lots of fun. And this might well be initiated by the girls.

All of this might be initiated by the girls; both of them are very physically comfortable around adults, BF sat on my DH's lap the first time she met him (at a class where the adults were sitting cross legged on the floor), it might be that A is young, naive, wanting to please and not wanting to turn the girls down when they ask for adult company, in order to impress the senior staff and show willing.

But is it reasonable of me to have a quiet word with the boss? Just check whether there's a policy around how much hands-on-ness they encourage? Obviously the younger children need more intimate handling anyway, because of nappies and wiping clean after meals so of course part of being a child carer is being hands-on with kids as necessary. And it's a very reputable centre, I have no doubt that A's qualifications and security check (CRB equivalant) are up to scratch, the boss is very good and very involved. So I'm probably just being precious, right? Only, BF's mum brought this up with me yesterday as well, so we've both noticed and wondered.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 06-Feb-13 10:56:00

It's things like this that put blokes off working with children. How sad.

He's doing his job, he sounds great. YABU.

ApplePippa Wed 06-Feb-13 11:04:58

Yes, I've seen the pied piper effect too. There's a lovely man at my church who helps in the creche and the little girls absolutely adore him! He usually has a trail of them following him around. I think it's lovely to see.

whattimestea Wed 06-Feb-13 11:10:48

I so wanted it to turn out that A wasn't a male sad My lovely, gentle natured 14 yo DS is a wonder around small children and is thinking of a future career in childcare. An industry which could do with many more men within it IMO. Its the attitude of the op - albeit a reluctant attitude - that does cause me to worry about others opinions of male workers in childcare - in other words possibly my son. What a shame.

steppemum Wed 06-Feb-13 11:10:53

do you go to my church apple? grin

WilsonFrickett Wed 06-Feb-13 11:14:47

The thing your DM said about boundaries - I know where she's coming from but does she really think no woman ever abuses children?

It certainly isn't too early to start talking to your little girl about boundaries - things like its her body, she's allowed to say no to tickles and cuddles (and make sure everyone (including your DM) respects your child's boundaries on that). That's all good teaching, but it shouldn't be gender slanted.

WorraLiberty Wed 06-Feb-13 11:17:15

The fact the OP went to great lengths to keep A's sex out of the opening post, screamed 'male' to me grin

ApplePippa Wed 06-Feb-13 11:22:41

grin Steppemum - the man at my church is retired and a grandfather!

Floggingmolly Wed 06-Feb-13 11:23:41

No, it doesn't sound like it's tipping over into a little bit... kind of wrong at all, based on what you've posted hmm

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 11:23:54

Worra, yes, I was actually assuming that would be picked up, it seemed so awkward to me when I was writing it. I was awfully surprised to get the first responses referring to 'she'. But I guess that we are just so used to nursery workers being female.

(I wasn't, of course, trying to 'trap' anyone, as I said upthread)

MariusEarlobe Wed 06-Feb-13 11:39:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummytoMog Wed 06-Feb-13 11:44:42

All sounds fine to me - DD is very physical with her TAs and teachers (she is 3.5) and we often go to collect her to find her curled up on someone's knee, half asleep. I'm glad that they're fine with cuddling her as she really does need regular cuddles throughout the day.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 06-Feb-13 11:45:03

That's awful marius sad they r still so young at nursery they won't understand at all y no one will touch them sad

They all need a cuddle when they hurt themselves! They have their whole lives to learn what a horrid place this world can be, they don't need to be rejected and unloved at three sad

notyummy Wed 06-Feb-13 11:55:43

I am glad the OP has examined her own feelings on this in such a rationale way. My DDs after schoolclub (4 year olds and up) is run by 2 mean, with lady key workers as well. They are fabulous child carers and run really imaginative sessions. They also run a holiday club as well as dd loves going there (thank god!!) and they do the physical stuff so well, as well as doling out cuddles and care to the younger children when necessary. I am not niave - I know abuse does happen - but I really hope that people dont tar everyone with the same brush.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 11:59:32

Marius, that is awfully sad.

This has got me thinking about how I never really see the female carers cuddling or tickling or doing physical play with the kids. Absolutely in the younger rooms they do. Just not the 4-5 year olds.

TiggyD Wed 06-Feb-13 12:19:21

He does need to remember that 2% of people (in Britain) don't like male childcare stuff and bear that in mind when with the children. It's a fact. He has to learn to live with it and think about how some things might seem to a distrustful person, but not let it stop him from doing his job. I hope I'm sure all the staff he works with are very supportive of him and will give him advice when he needs it.

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 06-Feb-13 12:31:10


yes. Alter care for everyone because of 2%. hmm

And the OPisnt in the UK.

lockets Wed 06-Feb-13 12:35:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory Wed 06-Feb-13 12:44:03

"I DO think this guy is being a bit naive, to be honest. He is way, way more physical and hands-on than the other carers; probably because he is male, sure, but if I were the only bloke in a centre, in an industry which is notoriously suspicious of men, I would probably not be letting little girls sit on my lap. Sad as that is."

As this nursery is not in the UK, the man may not be aware of the suspicions of the UK industry- or if it were pointed out, he may not necessarily see why he should adapt his behaviour to the concerns of a different culture.

Not necessarily because he is naive but because he knows the norms of his own society.

Sunnywithshowers Wed 06-Feb-13 12:46:42

He sounds like a great carer OP.

WhatsTheBuzz Wed 06-Feb-13 12:47:00

of course yabu but there are reasons for it such as statistics, horror stories, the fact that there seems to be more women than men working with children (could be wrong of course). Definitely wouldn't complain.

Fightlikeagirl Wed 06-Feb-13 12:47:13

Where did you pluck that 2% figure out from Tigga??!!!! hmm

Fightlikeagirl Wed 06-Feb-13 12:53:19

And Tigga have you never heard of equality??? Would it be acceptable to say that a certain percentage of ignorant people don't trust people from a certain cultural or religious background so these people should be aware of that when they try to do their job?! No, of course it wouldn't.
You are bring ridiculous and attitudes like yours make me very angry.

CaseyShraeger Wed 06-Feb-13 12:56:35

Fight, it may be worth mentioning that Tigga is a male nursery worker so (whether you agree with him or not) he's bringing to his posts the benefit of many years of experience working with nurseries and parents and seeing how they react to him as a man.

CaseyShraeger Wed 06-Feb-13 12:57:59

Sorry, Tiggy not Tigga blush

Fightlikeagirl Wed 06-Feb-13 13:02:06

Well that's sad then if he feels he has to work like that and if that's how other male nursery workers feel then its no wonder they are so few of them.
Thanks for pointing that out to me Casey.
Sorry Tiggy ( and also for getting your name wrong!)

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