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Problems with our nanny

(20 Posts)
Indigobloo25 Tue 28-Nov-17 16:43:41

Hi everyone,

I would be really grateful for some views/advice. Our children’s nanny has been with us a little over a year, and she is fantastic in most respects, and we have a good relationship.

In recent weeks she has seemed very tired, and has told me that she is finding it very difficult looking after my youngest who is having temper tantrums daily. DH and I sympathise with this, and we also find his tantrums exhausting. But we understand that it is something temporary (having gone through this with our eldest a few years ago), and what worries me is the nanny’s attitude that this is not normal behaviour. She keeps telling me that she has never seen anything like this in many years of working as a nanny, and doesn’t think it is normal behaviour. We have suggested approaches for her to follow (so we are consistent), e.g. asking him to sit down until he stops screaming and not giving in to whatever he wants, but often I will overhear her being overly emotional when dealing with him when I leave or return from work.

On top of this, I am concerned because she sometimes says slightly inappropriate things, eg when my eldest (3.5 years) was being cheeky and said he does not like her anymore in front of me (as very bad joke), I explained to him that was not nice and to say sorry - but she then said something like “to be honest I really think he doesn’t like me” in front of him. This seemed really immature, and it surprised me that she would say something like this in front of him - in particular because he is very attached to her.

Finally, the thing that probably bothers me the most is that I do not feel as though she cares very much for my children. She views this as a job, and is brilliant at it, but from my perspective it feels like something is missing - which is maybe why the other things are bothering me as much as they are. She was with her previous family for almost ten years, and I think has taken a conscious decision not to form a strong bond with our children.

I am not sure whether I am making too much of these faults, and would be grateful for any insights if you’ve been through something similar in the past.

Many thanks for reading this!

Twofishfingers Tue 28-Nov-17 16:51:14

It's a tough one really. Maybe she is trying to tell you that ultimately, not every child goes through the tantrum phase and that you should be trying to find a solution to it? Do you think she might be trying to tell you, in a not so subtle way, that you are not trying hard enough to sort out the tantrums and you are just accepting them, hoping that maybe your nanny will be able to solve the problem?

I think it's time to have an honest discussion with her. It's your decision really, either you let her go and find someone else, or work together to try and sort this out.

laurzj82 Tue 28-Nov-17 16:54:39

I agree with the above poster, sorry

Indigobloo25 Tue 28-Nov-17 17:00:26

Thanks for your comments - our son has just turned two, so from our perspective there’s not much we can do to control his tantrums, except for what we are already doing. I know that some children never really go through this stage, but it seems like he is frustrated at his lack of speech, and we are not letting him get away with his behaviour when he screams.

Twofishfingers Tue 28-Nov-17 17:25:25

OK how about supporting your nanny in dealing with a child that has issues with speech development? There is a very good charity called ican which has lots of tips on handling children that have speech delays, and also on how to support speech development. There is also an excellent book called 'It Takes Two to Talk' that you can read, and your nanny can read, to help make play more pleasurable for both the adult and the child, and shows various techniques to deal with a child who is struggling to speak. There are also other online training courses to support this, and various tools that parents and childcare professionals can use such as sticking photos on the fridge of various foods and drinks that the child can point at then thirsty/hungry, pictograms showing things like putting coat on, putting shoes on. This might help with the speech issues and the tantrums.

It's obviously not unusual for children that age to have tantrums, but there are many things you can do to lower the frustration. The first one is to try and listen to them more, give clear warnings and instructions, speak in short sentences and get his attention before speaking, and give him time to answer listening carefully to whatever sounds he makes. If you give him choices, give him two choices only. For example don't say 'what would you like to drink' say 'would you like MILK or WATER' (repeating the key words clearly and slowly).

Good luck!

Playdoughcaterpillar Tue 28-Nov-17 17:28:44

Erm just to add I don't think a just turned 2 yo would be considered speech delayed unless they had no single words at all. Bit of a leap by PP there!

Hellywelly10 Tue 28-Nov-17 17:28:52

Make a plan with the nanny to manage his behaviour and review in a few weeks. Also ask her directly how she feels about her job.

Battleax Tue 28-Nov-17 17:33:55

If he has little or no speech at two, and there's a feeling that maybe his tantrums are a bit off the scale, even for a two year old, then running through an ASD checklist and/or a preliminary appointment with a developmental paediatrician might be in order, if only to rule some things out.

Is he getting SLT input?

Battleax Tue 28-Nov-17 17:55:38

purpleme12 Tue 28-Nov-17 18:05:38

I'm going to go against what other people have said and say from what you've said it does sound like something's up. I think perhaps a talk with her would be best like about how she feels about her job, the best way to respond to certain situations with the kids...

nannynick Tue 28-Nov-17 19:06:53

Terrible twos are called that for a reason. So the tantrums I don't think is really the issue. She is an experienced nanny so has no doubt dealt with tantrums before and knows how to try to make situations where there is less chance a tantrum will start (simple choices, going at child's pace, doing things the child likes to do).

Maybe it is winter blues - are they out of routine? Is your nanny not coping that well with cold dark starts and cold dark finishes?

Twofishfingers Tue 28-Nov-17 21:31:58

StringyPotatoes Tue 28-Nov-17 22:49:49

Ignore the posters who are leaping to speech delays and autism.
(At least, I read your comment as being a general lack of speech as he's only just two rather than a worrying speech delay)
You sound like you are supporting your nanny well and trying to talk to her. She needs to remember that she has been with the same family for 10yrs so whilst she may be experienced - she is experienced with one family so hasn't see the full spectrum of 2yr old behaviour.

Leaving a family you've worked for long term is a wrench. It can really, really hurt. But she needs to know that that is not the fault of your children and every child deserves to feel valued by their caregiver - even if their caregiver is being paid to look after them. Saying she doesn't feel the child likes her (whether or not he was joking) is inappropriate and will make your son feel terrible.
I'd be curious to know what you mean by her becoming "overly emotional" in dealing with a tantrum too.

If things are not clicking you need to have a serious chat. Explain exactly what you find isn't working and give her a chance to be completely honest with you about her feelings. Give her an out if she wants one, or a warning that she needs to change her attitude if she is to stay.

Twofishfingers Wed 29-Nov-17 10:04:35

sorry but I will defend my point. OP thinks that a) 'there is nothing we can do to control his temper' and that b) he is frustrated by his lack of speech.

Therefore, it's easy to come to the conclusion that if his speech was to improve, his tantrums might become more controllable.

We need to remember here that the nanny has 10 year + experience and that she has never seen tantrums as bad as the one the OP's ds has. It might be an indication that there is an issue with the behaviour, and maybe the OP should look at different ways of supporting her son. That may mean admitting that there is an issue, and also admit that the ARE things she can do to help him. Maybe she has the wrong attitude in just accepting that he will have multiple tantrums a day and nothing can be done about it. In my book, that's totally unfair on her son, and unfair on the nanny.

So looking at speech development as a way of supporting better communication, alleviate frustration would be the obvious place to start.

Indigobloo25 Thu 30-Nov-17 10:43:21

Thank you so much for all your responses, and sorry for delay in coming back to you, have been dealing with very sick household!
I think my post was unclear, apologies for the misunderstanding - my son’s speech is not delayed as such, but since he’s started speaking (more and more words each day, but still not full sentences), we have noticed increased frustration on his part. He typically has one or two tantrums per day, lasting around 10 mins - although there have been odd times where he has screamed for longer, eg when he’s been unwell. My eldest was similar at that age, and although this is unpleasant to deal with as a parent or nanny, I do not perceive this behaviour as abnormal. He is perfectly behaved when with other people/at part time nursery.
Our nanny has good and bad days, but the reason I said she was overly emotional is that she seems to take these tantrums personally, and rather than ignoring them, or trying to calm him down (if he’s completely over the edge), she sometimes loses her temper.
We never undercut or undermine what she is doing with our children, and the three of us are trying to maintain a joined up approach in dealing with the tantrums, but I feel that her approach lacks maturity - and that ultimately it is not helpful or constructive to keep saying that this is abnormal behaviour.
I will continue speaking with her to see if we can find a solution.
Thanks all!

Notreallyarsed Thu 30-Nov-17 10:45:39

Autism Speaks are a horrendous organisation. They are NOT supportive of people with autism and are misogynistic arseholes.

OP maybe the nanny isn’t right for your family, is finding another an option?

Battleax Thu 30-Nov-17 14:21:02

Autism Speaks are a horrendous organisation. They are NOT supportive of people with autism and are misogynistic arseholes.

They haven't "done things" to the screening tool, I promise. It's the standard, updated, one.

Notreallyarsed Thu 30-Nov-17 16:16:17

I didn’t click the link, I just wanted to warn people that if they’re looking for support or advice from agencies regarding autism, Autism Speaks are not the organisation to use.

Melabela10 Fri 01-Dec-17 14:47:48

all children are different and although some of them do tend to go through terrible twos with easy the others are really struggling. this is normal and not necessarily mean a child has ASD.
however, being a nanny is a sort of customer care job when you work one to one with the customer ( a child), so both really need to get along in order for nanny to do the job properly.

if nanny admits she does find it tough i would let her go and find somebody else.

OVienna Sun 03-Dec-17 15:05:14

I agree with the poster who said that your nanny has experience of one family fir ten years. Did she work fir anyone else before then? What sort of qualifications does she have? That's a long time out of school in any case. I think she is struggling to adjust to a new setting. The comment she made in front of your child was definitely immature.

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