Parents and Nanny: you are a team…all invested and wanting the best for “your” kids. But what happens when your child-rearing philosophies are not aligned?
“I don’t do for children what they are able to do for themselves,” one of White House Nannies’ best nannies of many years was quoted as saying. ”My goal is to make them self-sufficient and responsible,” she continued.
What parent wouldn’t think those are laudable goals? Well, it turns out, a lot of parents prioritize other qualities and goals, at least in the D.C. area.
Around here and other metropolitan areas, many parents do not care if their children make their beds in the morning. These parents are happy if their kids simply manage to excel academically, play three sports, and master at least one musical instrument. If those things are happening, parental expectations are being met.
So, if their 9-year-old asks for ice cream, is it wrong for the nanny to respond, “You know where the freezer is. If you need help scooping, let me know.”
Well, according to some parents, that would be the wrong response. It is the nanny’s job to scoop the ice cream if asked.
This is a hard pill to swallow for many nannies who truly care about instilling a sense of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and responsibility in their charges. Traits they were raised to value.
Here’s what they are thinking: “He should be able to make his bed. He’s 12!” Yes, he should. But it is not a parental–read the boss’s–priority. In fact, it’s nowhere to be seen on the list of parent priorities.
The failure of parents and nannies to discuss priorities and goals related to child-rearing upfront is a leading cause for relationships to end. As in: I quit. Or: You’re fired.
We hear from parents who feel judged: “I’m not a bad parent because I don’t care if my son makes his bed.” “My nanny makes me feel as though I’m not doing my job.” “I hired THEM to make the bed. It’s THEIR job to take care of the kid’s bedroom, clothes, toys, etc. That’s why I hired THEM.”
We also hear from nannies who are frustrated and offended. “I’m not lazy. I wasn’t trying to shirk my responsibilities. I was just trying to help her be independent! I was nearby ready to help if needed.”
So, before taking a job with a family, before hiring a nanny, or as the job morphs from babies to children, make sure to take the time to talk about your goals and vision for child-rearing to ensure you’re all aligned.
Self-sufficiency. Self-reliance. Responsibility. It’s hard for parents to argue on the merits of these qualities. Being on board for the implementation…That may be another story.