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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?

ReganSomerset Sat 04-May-19 22:31:30

Better to have loved and lost as they say. A parent can also leave the family home.

Generaliy, a parent doesn't leave never to return. If they do, it's very traumatic for the child.

jerrysbellyhangslikejelly Sat 04-May-19 17:14:18

Haven't read the full thread but I do find your reaction a bit strange. Slightly different for me but I am a paediatric nurse so obviously deal with upset babies and kids all the time, especially coming out of anaesthesia. I cuddle them and rock them, massage their bellies and stroke their heads, sing to them, wrap them and me up in blankets and hold them close, anything it takes to provide them with comfort and a feeling of safety until mum or dad gets there (I obviously don't kiss them). But whenever the parent comes into the room and sees me caring for their baby in this way and them nice and settled, their relief is palpable and several mums have thanked me for caring for their little one like they were my own. When you take care of children, affection in an appropriate form should be natural and isn't something to be jealous of and is usually good for the child, kids need love and affection, it seems cruel to withhold it. I could not bear to see a distressed child in my care and not immediately pick them up and cuddle them.

forestafantastica Fri 03-May-19 23:13:01

I guess think about the alternative - your DC spending the majority of their awake time with someone who doesn't show them affection or make them feel loved and protected. I feel like that would be more damaging.

Gwenhwyfar Fri 03-May-19 23:05:22

"Some people may consider it to be a negative as they want to be the most important adult in their child's life."

Only if they're selfish people.

"because of potential for the emotional harm when that important attachment figure disappears at some point in childhood."

Better to have loved and lost as they say. A parent can also leave the family home.

ReganSomerset Fri 03-May-19 19:51:56

@Gwenhwyfar

Some people may consider it to be a negative as they want to be the most important adult in their child's life. Also because of potential for the emotional harm when that important attachment figure disappears at some point in childhood.

cinderfeckinrella Fri 03-May-19 19:12:01

@marycanter I agree, was trying to highlight that there are clear rules for working with children in schools but less clear rules for nannies at home. I also worked as an au pair abroad when I was younger and had a great relationship with the family. I worked and lived with them and their 5 children. The Mum set out clear expectations, in writing,of my role so knew exactly where I stood.

jellyfish70 Fri 03-May-19 17:26:10

I'm not about to go kissing kids on the lips who aren't my own but a little kiss on the cheek is nothing.

Only in a culture where that is standard greeting and the children know it and expect it.

Gwenhwyfar Fri 03-May-19 08:41:59

"When I was researching child care, one of the stated negatives was that the nanny and child may well develop a very close bond and, in cases where they had a nanny from a very young age and more hours than they spend with their parents, they may seem to prefer the nanny."

How is this a negative though? Of course, a child will form a bond with its primary caregiver.

marycanter Fri 03-May-19 08:00:53

cinder teachers have a very different relationship to kids than a nanny. A nanny often spends 10 plus hours a day with one child.

marycanter Fri 03-May-19 07:59:38

This is the hardest part of being a nanny - the jealousy of usually mothers.
Children know who their parents are and love them.
And nannies are very different from nursery workers.

Noonooyou Fri 03-May-19 07:07:41

This is why I loved teaching in Spain so much. Seeing all the Spanish people greeting the children with a kiss on each cheek just felt so lovely. Much more relaxed. People in this country have such a backwards view on kissing. I'm not about to go kissing kids on the lips who aren't my own but a little kiss on the cheek is nothing.

cinderfeckinrella Fri 03-May-19 06:10:25

@PriscillaLydiaSellon also there's a big difference between kissing someone's knee better if they're hurt and kissing them on the face/lips without the child seeking the affection. It's not to do with how we want our friends to behave around our children. My friends are affectionate to my kids as I am to theirs but OP is about nannies and people who are paid to look after children. Which is the whole reason for op's post. I teach in a school and we cuddle children all the time but I've never seen teachers kissing children and wouldn't expect to.

SusieQ5604 Fri 03-May-19 06:05:16

OP you need a therapist.

cinderfeckinrella Fri 03-May-19 05:52:26

@Priscilla. What a shame for your children. Are you having a laugh! Why because I'd rather they didn't get germs or herpes? I was with my children when they were little and still am. I only work 2 days a week so I CAN be with them for the remaining 5 and keep registered in my profession and pay bills. Not some cruel person who doesn't spend time with her own children. I also have friends. Of course I kiss my own children all the time but I don't go about kissing other people's children or children I am in care of on a professional basis as expected. I hug them and am affectionate to friends children but don't kiss them and none of my friends kiss my children either, it's unnecessary. Get of your SAHM high horse

ReganSomerset Thu 02-May-19 10:29:37

Maybe switch to a nursery gradually if it really bothers you. When I was researching child care, one of the stated negatives was that the nanny and child may well develop a very close bond and, in cases where they had a nanny from a very young age and more hours than they spend with their parents, they may seem to prefer the nanny. I do think just firing the nanny outright would be emotionally damaging to the child in this instance.

my2bundles Thu 02-May-19 10:11:16

Your child sees the nanny as a loved family member, his main carer If you employ a nanny to work with your child for this length of time you need to understand beforehand that this us how tne relationship will work. I worked as a nanny almost 30 years ago and the eldest child age 3-6was closer to me than his mother because he spent more than 3 times the amount of time with me. Was I supposed to not show this tiny child any affection during the majority of his life?

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.

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.

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?

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?

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

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.

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!

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?

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?

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