April 23, 2008,
S.T. asks from Ferndale, WA on March 18, 2008
Help! 4 Yo Boy That I Nanny Is Out of Control!
I am a nanny of a 4yo boy and a 9mo girl. I take care of them 2-3 days per week & have just grown exhausted with trying to correct the 4yo's behavior. Literally EVERY time I ask him to do something or tell him to stop doing something, he doesn't do it the first time. Every time I make a request he either asks "why?" or just ignores me. I then say something like "If you don't obey, you will be on your trouble chair" (or will lose a privilege). Immediately, he just starts screaming for his Dad & totally wigging out. I immediately place him on his trouble chair until he calms down & stops screaming. I then calming go talk to him about why he was in trouble & what he needs to do to correct his behavior. Usually he'll be okay for about 5 minutes and then it's the same thing over and over. Another important thing to share: his dad works from home in a separate part of the house & this boy knows his Dad can hear him if he screams loud enough. Dad is also very lax in his discipline & allows this boy to boss him around while they are together. The Mom & I are very much on the same page as far as disciplining & getting him to respect our requests but things aren't getting any better for me... in fact, they're getting worse!
So What Happened?™
Thank you everyone for your wonderful advice! I went to the library and checked out all sorts of discipline books. Some were very helpful, others not so much. Unfortunately, when I spoke with the parents about discipline, it seemed like they were very offended and defensive of their child... they ended up saying that they don't ever have problems with their boy and that they are concerned because he is scared of me (which is very interesting to me because I know it's not true). So, basically, I'm thinking I'll have to move on... this makes me very sad though :( But, if anyone knows of a family who needs a nanny on M,W,F (or something like that) let me know! :) Thank you!
A.W. answers from Anchorage on March 19, 2008
hes looking for dads attention. dad needs to play more with him AFTER work. But on the other hand im hoping dad backs you up on time outs to
T.H. answers from Seattle on March 19, 2008
GET A LOVE AND LOGIC BOOK! I have a 3 yr old boy and it is helping tremendously with discipline and behavior problems. good luck.
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B.L. answers from Jacksonville on March 19, 2008
I think it would be good to have a definite game plan to present to the dad so that he has something concrete to expect. Something like "I'm going to try this method with him, and this is how he has responded in the past (screaming). If I need you I will come get you, however for me to be successful I need you to be off limits to him except in an emergency..." I would recommend reading some books on the subject. The tv nannies have books out, and I love John Rosemond, a family psychologist. One thing that he recommends when a child is having a tantrum (that worked on his own kid) is to have a special "screaming place", such as in the bathroom on the rug. You just tell him matter of factly that that is where he can scream, all he wants, and when he is finished he may come out. Good luck.
J.S. answers from Portland on March 18, 2008
I have taken a class called Love and Logic that has some wonderful advice that may help you and is very easy to get the parents doing it to. Most kids act out because they are always being told what they are doing wrong and they fill like they don't get to make and decisions of there own. I use it all the time with my two little ones. When it comes to some thing you want them to do and you know they will through a fit over it I say for example. You can either eat your dinner or you can get you pj's on and go to bed but you have 10 sec. to decide or I will make the decision for you. There are other was of saying things also that will get them to respond to you better. For example
instead of saying (Please sit down. We're going to eat now) say (We will eat as soon as you are seated) not phrase (Clean your room so we can go shopping) say (I'll be happy to take you shopping, as soon as your room is clean) this is my favorite instead of saying (Don't shout at me) say (I listen to people who do not yell at me) I have many more. If you are interested in a few more idea send me and email at ____@____.com
I hope this will help I know it did for me.
1 mom found this helpful
E.K. answers from Seattle on March 18, 2008
Honestly S. there's little you can do to correct the problem if the parents AREN'T willing to do their job. They are responsible for laying the foundation and if the son is unruly with them, he will not act right for you especially if you only see him 2 days a week! What I have learned is that the parents have to be on the same page when it comes to disciplining--how the child acts with others is merely a reflection of what's going on at home! I don't mean this to sound crude but training a child is like training a dog (if you've ever trained one you'll understand the analogy). You have to be CONSISTENT in your discipline as well as reward their good behavior. You can't tell a dog not to sit on the sofa and then allow him to sit on it every now and then because he won't know which rule to follow.
Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in how to deal with the child and pray for the parents. You may need to express this concern to them because their lack of agreement in how they discipline is the root of the problem. Two things the Lord has taught me regarding disciplining my boys are:
Whatever I permit, I allow and Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
K.N. answers from Seattle on March 18, 2008
If the parents are not on the same page there is not much you can do. I assume mom is having the same sort of problems that you do with her son? Honestly, unless she can get her hubby to step up and make thier son see they are united in dicipline, things are just gonna get worse.
I don't envy your position in this and if things don't resolve I would suggest quitting if possible. I have been through something very very similar, and ended up being "let go" after 6 months because they felt I didn't "fit" with thier family. Honestly I just couldn't fix the problems that were out of my control!
E.W. answers from Portland on March 19, 2008
First, pray for this little boy and his family. Something is obviously bothering him. There has to be a source of this behavior. Did they have a nanny before you? If so what was his relationship with that nanny? Talk with the parents. They NEED to support you in this if you want to make any progress at all. Dad needs to back up Mom and you. If not the behavior will only get worse and they will never be able to keep a nanny around. Dad will not be able to work if he is the one taking care of a disobedient child! I think if Dad would only make an appearance when the child is acting like this and tell him it is not appropriate and not allowed then return to work the boy will stop. He is probably only doing these things to get attention!
D.S. answers from Portland on March 19, 2008
I too was a nanny for 15 years and am now a mother of a 3 year old boy. In my experiance, some children need different behavior modification and do not respond well to typical methods of disipline. My son for example does not take heed to what he "can not" do, but responds very well to what he "can" do. So if he is standing on his chair I say" Please put your bottom on the seat." Instead of "Don't stand on the chair" or "You may put your feet on the floor" instead of "Stop jumping on the bed". You might want to check out the Waldorf method and offer it up to the parents. It would be best if both parents were involved 100%. Best of luck to you.
A.J. answers from Portland on March 20, 2008
Have things changed for the child any major changes in life, a birth a death, you being a new nanny? Talk to the parents you all need to be on the same page and expect the same behvior and as much as possible have the same consequenese for non desired behaivor. Maybe you all need to sit down and talk with him...keep it short. Use the "chair" sparingly, it will loose it's menaing to him quickly if you don't.Maybe go to the dollar store and pick up five little treats, tell him when he's been good for a whole day he'll get to pick one out.
A four year old has been discovering his independance and just is trying to figure out what everyone is expecting from him. Also maybe a trip to the doctor to rule out things like ADD. A child hwho is four only has about a four minute attention span.
R.O. answers from Eugene on March 20, 2008
Hi S.! You only have one option here, refuse to care for him! Tell the father that you have other children that are left in your care, and his behavior sets a very bad example. I would also tell him that perhaps he could be a little more stern, this kid is only going to get worse if he doesn't. You have to stand your ground on this, it is the only way the dad will wake up, and if he doesn't at least he's not under your care. My guess is armed with this information dad will buck up, and maybe you can care for the boy again! Good luck, R.
N.C. answers from Portland on March 19, 2008
Power and control are big for 4-year olds. They are just beginning to figure out they have options in this world and are a separate person from parents and other authority figures. Try to find ways to give him options when you ask him to do things. Do this in a way that either option is one you need him to do. "Do you want to put on your right shoe or your left shoe first?" "Would you like to sit in this chair or the one over there?" "Would you like to brush your hair first or your teeth?" He needs to feel like you value his opinions and that he is able to make some choices. Hope this helps. I have three children of my own... 9, 7, and 5 year olds.