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My otherwise fab nanny told my kids not to be surprised if I die (because I smoke the occasional fag)

20 replies

Medea · 16/04/2007 11:41

My 4-yr-old started crying when she saw saw me smoke a cigarette this weekend. My 7-yr-old explained why.

So I'd a BIG talk with my nanny this morning. She admitted she'd said it, but not in that context. I said I was glad she was hammering in the message that smoking is bad, but that it's unacceptable to scare my kids by telling them that their parent(s) might die.

It's a sackable offense IMO, but she's held things together for me for a year, has never been late, works hard, couldn't be better really. But I do think she has bad judgment re kids' psychology (this being the most serious example).

(By the way I smoke maybe 2 -5 fags a week IF that. Sometimes none. Even my doctor isn't too unhappy with that.)

So even though I believe I'm right, I hate confrontation and now feel really bad about having had this chat, even though I was only trying to prevent these scare tactics from being repeated.

After she claimed her remark had been taken out of context, I asked my 7-yr-old if the nanny had said exactly what he claimed. He admitted that she may have said something slightly different. So what to do now? Drop it, or have yet another conversation in which I acknowledge that maybe her remarks were taken slightly out of context.

OP posts:

madmarchhare · 16/04/2007 11:42

Drop it given that she is great otherwise. YOuve already mentioned it and Im sure she gets the message.


pageturner · 16/04/2007 11:47

Drop it. Whatever context it was said in, it's still pretty ing. Sounds like she's unlikely to say anything like it again, and that's the main thing.


PinkChick · 16/04/2007 11:48

i would ask her to speak to the children whilst yo are there and tell them(clear it up) that although smoking is not good for you, it doesnt mean you are going to die from doing it and that nanny got ' mixed up'..terms that a 4yr old can easilly understand


Brangelina · 16/04/2007 12:02

I'd just drop it too. After all, technically she said nothing that was incorrect, I'm sure it was presented in a much gentler way than what was reported. Children do pick up things out of context, they focus on one word and blow it out of all proportion. She probably said that smoking can cause death (which is true) and your 4 yr old probably latched on the word death. It could have been worse, your 7 yr old could have read out the warning on a fag packet, where death and serious illness is mentioned all the time.

BTW, unlike alcohol there is no safe quantity for smoking. Even 1 fag a week could set off lung cancer. Smoking very little may be better in terms of heart health but makes relatively little difference in the cancer stakes. Also, IMO (and it is just my opinion) one really shouldn't smoke in front of one's children. At least, it's not an example I'd want to set.


Eleusis · 16/04/2007 12:42

I would drop it. You made your point. If it happens again, I'd give a written warning. But, I wouldn't say anything more on this occassion.

And, while I understand you are upset with her, I don't really think it's a sackable offense.

Brangelina, that is interesting that smoking fewer cigarettes doesn't reduce your chance of getting cancer. So much for everything in moderation.


Brangelina · 16/04/2007 13:54

Apparently so, it's the "it only takes 1 to act as a catalyst" theory. The point is there is no moderation with smoking, particularly in women as we are much more prone to the risks. There was an article somewhere, where they did a study with heavy and moderate smokers and they found that for women in particular there was no decrease in risk when smoking even only moderate amounts. Much to my dismay I might add, I'm an ex smoker who quite liked smoking but ended up having to give it up completely. Am so glad I did, though, esp now I realise how much one smells after a fag!


ScottishThistle · 16/04/2007 15:42

Hardly a sackable offence imo, I'm sure she's not likely to discuss the issue again with the children.

You'd be as well quitting if only smoking 2-5 cigarettes a week surely???


Genidef · 16/04/2007 16:02

How irritating! I can understand feeling like you want to sack her. She should not be talking to children about their parents dying in this context. The mitigating factor is that you heard what she said secondhand. Don't feel guilty at all about taking it up with her.


nannynick · 16/04/2007 18:54

I agree with those of the view: Not A Sackable Offence.
Reason being, it is more than likely that in the Gross Misconduct section of the contract, you didn't state that telling the children a parent may die would be considered as Gross Misconduct.

So far I think you have given a verbal warning, as such... if you feel you need to reinforce the point, then make it a written warning, following your usual disciplinary procedure.

I do wonder how the situation arose that the subject even got mentioned... perhaps the children asked your nanny something about smoking. At least your nanny didn't say that smoking was great and hand them each a fag!


NannyL · 16/04/2007 19:12

I agree its definitley NOT a sackable offence.

You have now discovered that what she have said was taken slightly out of context...

the words smoking kills a clearly visible on all cigarette packets anyway, which i assume your 7 year old can read, and my 4 year old charge would be able to read that as well!

therefor even if she did say if you smoke it may kill you 1) she is correct and 2) unless you have never let your children see a packet for themselves, at least the eledest is likely to have read it anyway.


Genidef · 16/04/2007 22:30

If you going to go down the road of the warning, I would actually make it clear the issue is about what you said in your first post, that you're not always confident about her judgement re kids psychology and this is an example of that which you felt important enough to actively address. If you do this, you should probably have given some thought as to what your expectations for a nanny in this area. This is the tricky part. It's easier on one level to stick to don't talk about death and fags and me but it may make you look petty and doesn't actually solve things.


expatinscotland · 16/04/2007 22:35

I wouldn't sack her, Medea.

But I agree with you on every other point.

It's your life and your business.

I smoke the odd fag now and again myself.

Many things can kill me.

Or anyone.


moondog · 16/04/2007 22:38

i thought capton read my fat nanny which made me laugh.That would have really set folk off.

I smoke the odd fag too.
I can take it when people tell me it does me no good,because it's true.
Most of the peopel that tell me this can't run 10 km like I can though.


FloatingLikeALeadBalloon · 16/04/2007 22:45

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moondog · 16/04/2007 22:47

Steady on now Floating!
Any whiskey in the house?
Have a snifter to recompose yourself girl!


FloatingLikeALeadBalloon · 16/04/2007 22:48

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moondog · 16/04/2007 22:49

Bless you.
Move onto a lighter thread.
That Footglove one is funny!


Medea · 17/04/2007 11:48

Thanks for all the responses.

Oh no my post was so unclear! What I meant was, do I drop the subject or apologize to her because my son later admitted he was "maybe" exaggerating what she said. During the course of the day I got him to admit that she didn't actually say that at all.

What she apparently said to themwhich was perfectly correctis that smoking kills people.

She apparently never said that I, their mother, was likely to die immediately from smoking a cigarette or two a week.

So I talked it out with her and apologized. And I made my sonafter giving him a bollocking!apologize too. That was a big lesson for him: that someone could have been sacked on the basis of his exaggeration. He felt terrible. (Not that I'd ever have sacked her, given how great she is.)

So thanks everyone, and sorry I riled everyone up unnecessarily.

OP posts:

FloatingLikeALeadBalloon · 17/04/2007 12:06

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ScottishThistle · 17/04/2007 19:56

I assume a lesson was learnt by all, children often extend the truth or change the context in which somethings been said!

One child once told me "Mummy said she doesn't like you!" ...Which obviously upset me & I had to pull my Boss up about it...It turned out my Boss had said "I don't like when * comes home late on the bus!"

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