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AIBU - nanny affection towards DC

(391 Posts)
GallopingFox Thu 25-Apr-19 18:50:32

First time poster so please be gentle as well as honest.

I employ a nanny full time to look after my DC who is just over 2 years old. She has worked for us for over a year and so knows my family and DC well. She is highly experienced, qualified and generally very professional.

Recently I have been off work for reasons I won’t go into but which have meant that I have been at home a lot more and able to witness first hand the interaction between my DC and my nanny. They get on very well and I have no concerns about my DC’s welfare or happiness - DC is safe and well looked after and for that I am very grateful.

However, I have noticed my nanny is quite physically affectionate with DC - fondling DC’s hair a lot, massaging DC’s feet, occasionally kissing them on the head or cheeks and very frequently cuddling DC / cuddling up to DC on the sofa and making DC sit on her lap a lot (all while I am around the house or in the room - I rather suspect it goes on even more when I’m not there).

It makes me very uncomfortable. Whilst I want my DC to feel loved and looked after, I don’t feel I am paying my nanny to give DC all the physical affection I instinctively give. Of course if my DC hurt themselves or was upset, I would want my nanny to comfort DC and hold them. But kissing and massaging them routinely or seeking cuddles / proximity from DC throughout the day feels too much. I should stress I am a very affectionate and cuddly person and so I shower my DC in cuddles and kisses all the time - DC does not lack physical affection and is extremely confident (DC is not the clingy type at all so it is not as though DC seeks physical reassurance). Instead, it feels like my nanny just likes cuddling and the affections of a little person.

Am I being unreasonable / should I tell my nanny to rein it in? I don’t want to hurt her as I think she means well and I don’t want to lose her. However, I am finding it increasingly hard to ignore and feel for what I pay her (v decent London salary) I should be entitled to tell her how I want her to behave toward my DC. How would you raise it with her?

greenpop21 Sat 27-Apr-19 18:29:50

Also, people have different norms for affection. I am quite touchy feely but I have a friend who hates a hug or a kiss. How are you with open displays of affection generally?

Westside1 Sat 27-Apr-19 18:49:34

I am actually in agreement with you that the nanny shouldn’t be this affectionate. I am a qualified childcare worker and whilst you can cuddle a child if hurt/upset you shouldn’t be doing so on a constant basis.

I witnessed this with a colleague and it was very uncomfortable and worrying to watch. I felt like she was way over familiar with the children. She was spoken to about this. Maybe in a home setting she is just over familiar but I don’t blame you for being upset

nuxe1984 Sat 27-Apr-19 19:20:45

UABU - totally. Be pleased your child has such a caring loving nanny. Nobody will ever replace you as their mother but she is one of your child's main carers. It's natural for them to develop a bond. She is also, obviously, a very tactile person and your DC doesn't seem to mind this.

Long may it continue.

DeeCeeCherry Sat 27-Apr-19 19:30:10

Cuddles and comfort yes. Smothering my child with kisses, hair stroking, constant touching - No.

Trust your own instincts OP, you will know as a woman that if you're uncomfortable about certain behaviours then you will mostly be dismissed as being silly. That doesn't mean you are being silly.

None of us can see what's going on. You can. If you're uncomfortable enough to seek advice then I'm minded something you've seen is worrying you.

You will have to address it and/or get rid of Nanny.

Pippinsisgr8 Sat 27-Apr-19 19:34:41

I'm an Early Years teacher and childminder. Relationships are fundamental to wellbeing and wellbeing is central to learning. Quite simply relationships build children's brains, developing emotional resilience and creating the cognitive capacity for learning. This brain development happens in the first few years of life so it is vital that your child experiences this nurturing care now and consistently. Touch releases dopamine, dopamine opens up the pathways in the brain to learning. Children learn the fundamentals of literacy by sitting on a 'loving lap' for a story. What you describe seems to me to be 'professional love'. As a mother you will always be the most important person in your child's life but whilst you are not there your child needs and deserves this nurturing relationship with your nanny.

We are taught to maintain 'a respectful uncertainty' about anyone so if you have other concerns then you should remain vigilant to safeguard your child.

i always ask a child if they would like a cuddle, this gives the child autonomy and control over who touches their body. I don't kiss them a lot but putting a little one down to sleep I might give them a little kiss on their forehead. If children offer up a kiss when they leave, I kiss them on their cheek or forehead, avoiding their offered lips as much as possible. I take my lead from the child.

Ohjustboreoff Sat 27-Apr-19 19:47:59

Sorry but you are BU. I’m now a mother who employs a nanny, she is loving and caring and shows my DC’s the same amount of affection I show them. But 25 years ago I was a Nanny who gave the children in my car that same amount of affection.
One incident was when the mother and I went to see the eldest DC in their gym exam. DC hurt themselves and DC instinctively ran to me for comfort, what was I supposed to do push them away? I gave them a cuddle and then directed them to their mother. It was so cringe and Mum did have words with me but we worked it out when she realised we both wanted DC’s to be loved and secure.
Unfortunately when you have other caregivers it’s something that you need to just get over.

OopsIdidittentimes Sat 27-Apr-19 21:34:43

Wanted: Nanny, Attentive, kind, loving but not so much that it makes me feel that my child will view you more favourably than me.

Aridane Sat 27-Apr-19 22:11:33

If you're uncomfortable enough to seek advice then I'm minded something you've seen is worrying you.

You will have to address it and/or get rid of Nanny.

Ah yes, the paedophilic boundary crashing nanny

Aridane Sat 27-Apr-19 22:12:12

Oops;has it spot on

HarrietM87 Sat 27-Apr-19 22:43:27

You’ve lucked out with this nanny. Don’t mess it up for your child.

cinderfeckinrella Sun 28-Apr-19 00:17:49

I don't think YABU at all OP. She doesn't sound like a great nanny to me, you don't need to be massaging kids feet, kissing and cuddling them to show you care or to build a relationship. I have 3 dc, they all went to nursery not nannies and their key workers would lift and cuddle them but never kiss. Tbh I agree with op and think that's overly affectionate too. It's not jealousy, I don't like people other than family kissing my kids or asking them for a kiss. I've worked in nursery and schools and as an au pair and always hug children if they need reassurance or are injured but not a chance would I kiss anyone else's child. I agree with you op, plus she works for you so should follow your rules. I was given a typed set of rules as an au pair so I knew what my role was and duties expected of me and it avoided any awkward conversations as we had guidelines to refer to. Hope you get it sorted, horrible to feel awkward about a situation with your child in your own home.

cinderfeckinrella Sun 28-Apr-19 00:59:51

I've also been a SAHM and taught 3/4/5 year olds and I cuddle children and sit them on my lap for stories etc, children are always hugging teachers but it should be child led and kissing is crossing a boundary in my opinion. I don't see why op is being attacked or called "batshit crazy" when she is a bit shocked and as pp stated has sought advice.

Greeborising Sun 28-Apr-19 01:10:45

Your dc is spending most of her time with this person.
It’s lovely that there is a close bond between your dc and nanny
But
You really can’t complain that your child has formed a strong bond with another person when you haven’t been there

ss2011 Sun 28-Apr-19 10:46:58

I don’t understand why the OP is being given quite so much grief. I think some of the child care practitioners that have replied have given really good answers....there are actually clear boundaries and rules about this sort of thing in nurseries etc (for some very good reasons) so I would expect that people employing private nannies might want to think about where they want boundaries to be set....but to me this is something that is best discussed right at the beginning when you first employ someone....I agree with others this should be child led. I would want anyone I am paying to looking after my children to be responsive to them if my kids are seeking comfort, reassurance or affection but would not necessarily expect the adult to be asking for a kiss etc. All the nursery staff at my children’s nursery’s and their early teachers have got his just right in my opinion and still managed to be really nurturing whilst maintaining boundaries. I would prob want a nanny to be similar if I had one but that would have nothing to do with coldness or jealousy on my part and I don’t think the OP is either. OP- I bet there are forums for people who employ nannies or even nanny associations where you can get some good advice on this and be judged less harshly than you have on here. That said though...you will need to be really sensitive and careful if/when broaching with your nanny as you did not set any boundaries when she started work with you and chances are she is just doing what comes naturally to her, loves you kids and won’t feel like she has been doing anything wrong.....

DeeCeeCherry Sun 28-Apr-19 11:10:40

Errrmmm Aridane why are you thinking of paedophilia when nowhere has it been mentioned? That's an odd thing to suggest. There are people who get into their head that someone else's child is 'theirs', for example...

There could be a myriad of reasons.

OP is concerned about her child. She's allowed to be.

Hanywany Sun 28-Apr-19 11:29:32

Totally agree with cinderfeckinrella kissing other peoples children is crossing a boundary and you can comfort and reassure children with out that!

caringcarer Sun 28-Apr-19 18:00:21

Honestly she sounds kind and loving towards your children. You are lucky to have her. Don't take affection away from your children it is not a contest of who they love the most. If you love your children and you cannot be with them at home 24/7 the best thing you can do is leave them with someone who loves them. Your nanny clearly does love them and is kind to them. Would you be happier if you found she was being mean to them?

PriscillaLydiaSellon Sun 28-Apr-19 18:41:16

I have 3 dc, they all went to nursery not nannies and their key workers would lift and cuddle them but never kiss . What a shame for your DC, @Hanywany. I'm not immensely kissy and never have been, but I was with my DC when they were little, and I was with good friends' DC (as they were with mine). I remember DD going out with one of my friends and her DC when she was very small, and coming back with a black eye. She said it hurt but it was ok because said friend cuddled her and kissed it better. That's surely what we want people to do for our DC, and what we would do for other people's DC?

GeorgeTheFirst Sun 28-Apr-19 18:49:23

My GP once had one of my toddlers on his lap, to examine I can't remember what now. He kissed him on the top of the head as he handed him back. I thought it was so sweet. And that was just a routine 5 minute consultation!

Delatron Sun 28-Apr-19 19:01:48

Don’t children need affection during the day though? Cuddles are important. If you’re not there to give them then the Nanny needs to.

Hanywany Sun 28-Apr-19 19:12:54

PriscillaLydiaSellon what are you on about i think your thinoing about skmeone elses post as i never said i had 3 children as i dont i have 4 and none of my have been to nursery or had nannies as mine are all at home with me in a lively cuddly kissy household as my household me and hubby are very affectionate towards our children and teach the same aswell all i said was that i personally wouldnt kiss somebody elses child not just for the sake of it anyway!! I would comfort and reassure another child if they came to me or if they were hurt and thats if i was a nanny! Sorry not sure who you was aiming at!!! smile

Broken123 Sun 28-Apr-19 20:14:33

Am I being unfair? I have two children and I do everything for them. Husband won’t go to their dance shows, parents evenings or generally engage with them. I was away for the weekend for someone’s hen party and for once he had to be in charge. He had already been to the pub three times in the week and on the Friday had to take them to dance practice. He refused to wait for them and they were only half an hour - instead he went to the pub and made them walk to the pub when they had finished. On Saturday one daughter had a dance competition and he refused to cancel a football match he was playing in (he’s 50) to take so I made alternative plans for her but asked him to pick up the other daughter at 5.15 after her dance lesson. I phoned home and he said he hadn’t gone to get her his dad had and then they were meeting in the pub. Well I lost it at that stage. There is no reason why he couldn’t get her, he just wanted to be in the pub with his mates. My kids hate the pub. I never ask him to do much of the collecting but I’m devastated that he can’t put the pub on hold to do the right thing by his kids. Today when I got back no one was in. Husband has taken daughter to the pub. We are not speaking and his friends say I am unreasonable for being cross. Am I unreasonable?

Broken123 Sun 28-Apr-19 20:17:45

Am I being unfair? I have two children and I do everything for them. Husband won’t go to their dance shows, parents evenings or generally engage with them. I was away for the weekend for someone’s hen party and for once he had to be in charge. He had already been to the pub three times in the week and on the Friday had to take them to dance practice. He refused to wait for them and they were only half an hour - instead he went to the pub and made them walk to the pub when they had finished. On Saturday one daughter had a dance competition and he refused to cancel a football match he was playing in (he’s 50) to take so I made alternative plans for her but asked him to pick up the other daughter at 5.15 after her dance lesson. I phoned home and he said he hadn’t gone to get her his dad had and then they were meeting in the pub. Well I lost it at that stage. There is no reason why he couldn’t get her, he just wanted to be in the pub with his mates. My kids hate the pub. I never ask him to do much of the collecting but I’m devastated that he can’t put the pub on hold to do the right thing by his kids. Today when I got back no one was in. Husband has taken daughter to the pub. We are not speaking and his friends say I am unreasonable for being cross. Am I unreasonable?

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-19 20:20:37

You are married to an alcoholic, Broken123.

Of course you are not being unreasonable.

You can repost your post (copy and paste it) in a thread of your own, in Relationships. You will get some good advice there.

Copy your post, go here www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships, click on Start a New Thread, and Paste your post.

BJ1978 Thu 02-May-19 09:21:03

She doesn't kiss her on the lips I have an issue with ANYONE kissing a child on the lips ever. Children have weaker immune systems than us and viruses such as herpes etc can be deadly to young children or even last them a lifetime of coldsores. That is besides the point you have stated "I don’t feel I am paying my nanny to give DC all the physical affection I instinctively give." It is normal for someone who cares for a young child most of the time to grow to love that child. It is fair to assume that anyone who feels affection/love for your DC is going to show that affection just as you do...instinctively. I feel you are jealous because you feel she is acting the way a mother (or parent/carer) of a young child would but that is just what she is...the carer of a young child. You could have a Nanny who is cold and indifferent/professional towards your DC which has actually been shown to cause all sorts of psychological problems later in life. You should feel lucky not jealous. If you say something chances are you will permanently damage the relationship you have with your nanny and she may move on to find a family who appreciates her more. Children NEED affection it is part of their social development requirements. If it really bothers you that much perhaps look after your child yourself until they start school and a nanny would be required to have less time/interaction with them.

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