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a parents advice please

(13 Posts)
nannyk Tue 10-May-05 15:23:54

Hi I posted this on a well read nanny board and wanted to get a mum/dad point of view too. I really don't want to criticise the parents but I see that the kids are not growing up into happy children, and I would so love to be able to help the parents get to know the lovely, polite, happy children that I know instead of the crying, tired and manipulative children they know. Please read the replies on nannyjob too (advice please thread) , as I hope to get a well rounded and fair assortment of advice so I can have a Little Chat this evening. Thanks for reading this, and I am very grateful for any advice you could give me.

"Is it worth sticking in a nanny job you're mostly happy with but the parents are making life very difficult by allowing their children to rule the roost? Every day I deal with extremely tired children they are up til 11pm most nights and are only just 5 and 2. So from their tiredness comes tantrums and uncooperativeness and a complete inability to concentrate or do anything after morning nursery except sleep for 3 or 4 hours. I then feel useless as a nanny cos we don't do activities in the afternoons and so the cycle continues. The kids cry 95% of the time with the parents as they've learnt that is how to get cuddles/tv/chocolate/no bedtime yet/etc. It is pure manipulation by the kids as soon as mummy and daddy have gone (often 30 mins late each morning due to tears and delaying tactics) they turn into little angels cos they know I won't accept such behaviour. Its very difficult to watch the parents be ruled by the children, and even the 2 year old is showing signs of manipulation now too. I want to say to the parents that its ok for the children to go to bed at a reasonable time, most kids their age are asleep by 8/9pm, and that tantrums are a control mechanism. How do I tactfully tell the parents to get a grip and take the control back from their kids before the kids turn into complete monsters??!!!

I'm all but a nervous wreck most days cos of this and I am seriously considering handing in my notice as I feel totally useless cos I can't see things changing. Half of me (the Supernanny half) says that I need to sit them down and say how I feel this is absolutely NO good for the kids how things are going. The other half of me (the Complete Coward) says I should allow the parents to continue and make a rod for their own backs and I should leave as I'm the one with the issues not them. I just think life could be so much happier if the kids had firm boundaries from their parents and this would then mean that I'm not always the Bad Guy for telling the kids off, imposing tv bans, etc.

Please help!!!!"

colditz Tue 10-May-05 15:32:59

Hmmm.... What you ^could do is have your say, and if they don't like it (which I feel it is only fair to warn you, they probably won't) then you can leave. Either way you won't have to put up with spoilt brat kids any more!

nailpolish Tue 10-May-05 15:38:40

so do you look after them say, breakfast til teatime? thats most of the day.

they sleep for 3 or 4 hrs after nursery? it would be hard for a few days but why not make them miss their sleep and go out and feed the ducks or go to the swings or something?

then they will be asleep before 11

anyway, what i would do is draw up a plan, put it on the wall ala supernanny, and tell the parents this is what is happening while they are with you. tell them you would welcome comments or suggestions, and see how it goes. they will probably be glad of some help, but make sure you dont slag them off or critisise their parenting

good luck

nailpolish Tue 10-May-05 15:39:28

just read that post and it sounded a bit harsh, sorry. i do understand the predicament you are in

uwila Tue 10-May-05 16:39:32

I don't think nailpolish was too harsh. I think it's a grand idea to deprive them of 3-4 hour nap time. They will of course be ehausted and crabby for parents. But, what they are doing is not at all fair to you. But, more importantly it is not fair to the kids. I do try to follow the same rules that I set for the nanny. This is not always feasible. For example our weekend are packed with chores and running around so I can't realistically be home for naptime. But I do try to stick her in the pram at the right time. I would never allow her to stay up until 11:00 and then expect nanny to just make do with an over tired toddler the net day.

In fact, just the opposite recently happened in my house. DD was taking 3 hour naps everyday, which I didn't think was normal for a 2 year old. I think the problem was that I keep her up until 8:00 and get her up at 6:00. I do this for purely selfish reasons: so that I can see her before and after my work day. But, it sort of screws up her daytime schedule. So, I have given up 30 minutes on each end and she now goes to bed at 7:30 and gets up at 6:30. This has shortened her nap time to 1-2 hours (within normal range I think). Nanny, however, did seem to think this was such a great thing. Presumably she liked her 3 hour break.

uwila Tue 10-May-05 16:41:18

Meant to say "nanny didn't seem to think this was such a great thing..."

SoftFroggie Tue 10-May-05 16:47:57

I think you need to separate the sleep / bedtime issue from the behaviour management issue, even if they are closely related.

I think it would be very hard to TELL the parents how to manage their children, but you could try either: asking to discuss behaviour management so that you and they are ,happy with how each other are doing it; and / or: gently saying that if they ever want to chat about any concerns they have wiht managing tantrums, you'd be happy to comment based on your training and previous experience. Maybe they're quite happy with the way things are? Are you finding managing the behaviour hard or are you just concerned for them?

With the sleep, it could be that the parents like to spend the evening with their children, and prefer that they catch up on their sleep with you! If so, thye are probably not at all bothered that you don't do many afternoon activities (my 2.5 yr old until recently slept 12 hrs at night AND 3-4 in the afternoon, and I never managed afternoon activities). Is the 5 yr old in school? how's he coping with that?

I don't yet use a nanny, but when I do I would be aghast if the nanny announced to me what time I should put the kids to bed / how to manage them. On the other hand, I would be very disappointed if she were having problems with the kids (tiredness or behaviour) or routine / activities (not feeling she's doing enough) and didn't say anything, just left.

I also suspect that kids often behave worse with parents than carers. I hope you feel able to reach a happy resolution for everyone.

binkie Tue 10-May-05 17:05:31

softfroggie, you said just what I was going to ... except that part of employing a good nanny is, I think, realising that her experience, advice and input can be very very valuable - so a nanny making suggestions about behaviour management should/could be a good thing - depending on how it's done, of course.

Nannyk, what sort of parents are they? Do they appreciate they've got a professional working for them? Or do they just want you to do what they say?

Stilltrue Tue 10-May-05 17:29:23

Difficult line to draw... If there is ever (is there?) an evening or 2 when they go to bed earlier and behave better next day as a result, could you hint strongly about the great change in the children, and how you were able to do so much more fun/creative/stimulating things with them when they were well rested? You could maybe also draw their attention to a rewarding activity you'd like to do in the afternoons with your charges, but that their sleep routine atm is preventing this, either because they're, err, fast asleep, or grizzling and whining with fatigue. As a parent of 4 children, I'd say that age 2 and 5 (btw isn't the 5yo at full time school yet?) they shouldn't be up so late, regardless of their parents' need to see them. It's just not fair to deprive them of the sleep they so clearly need.

elastamum Tue 10-May-05 17:55:23

You have my sympathy, we have a great nanny and we talk a lot to try to all be consistent and make a happy houshold for everyone. Children are always worse with their mothers, but I think that if you want to stay you need to talk to the parents to see if you can all some sort of consistent approach going. On the late bedtime issue, if they dont put their children to bed at a reasonable time then they are likely to end up with children who become disruptive at school because they are over tired. Im sure that they dont want that to happen...Its a difficult one, we have been very lucky in that we have always been able to talk with our nanny (and hopefully she would say the same!) If you want to stay I would go for it - tactfully of course!

saadia Tue 10-May-05 18:09:29

If I were the parents I would hope that you would tell me what you thought. You sound like a very sensible, thoughtful and caring person and this kind of pandering to the kids that the parents do is not doing the children any favours and can't be good for the parent-child relationship.

If the parents don't understand this then I think there will be real problems ahead. I don't feel at all qualified to tell you what to do in this situation, but I just think that if the parents have entrusted their children to you they should take your opinion seriously. But of course the reality is not always what we would like it to be.

SoftFroggie Tue 10-May-05 19:50:20

what I mean is, I don't think you can just say "'ere, guv, you've got to put the kids to bed at 7:30 sharp"; but can say "I'm finding the children are very tired and irritable, so they don't seem to enjoy their day, and need a long sleep so we can't go to the park / make biscuits / other fab activities after lunch".

It is impossible to stop my DS from sleeping during the day - he simply passes out - so the "keep 'em up" suggestion wouldn't work here.

Stilltrue Wed 11-May-05 08:14:11

If all else fails after tactfully bringing the matter up, you could always print off this thread and show it to them!

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