November 24, 2010,
T.R. asks from Chico, CA on September 25, 2010
Nanny Is Yelling at My Child
I would like to ask your advice. I have a 7 years old daughter who is sweet, bright but not very obedient child. I am very soft and eveveryone says that I am spoiling her. I am a single mom working full-time crazy schedule that frequently involves work at early mornings or evening and/or weekends. We have a live-in Nanny who was with us for over a year, officially employed (I am paying taxes for her etc) who also helps with housekeeping and cooking.
I firmly believe that yelling at anyone including children is not an acceptable way of communication, so I do not yell at my daughter, but the problem is that my daughter doesn't listen to me. My nanny believes that yelling is an acceptable pedagogic tool and ok to use. She believes that if she would not yell, my daughter wouldn't listen to her too, and it means she will be late for school, all activities where nanny drives her etc.
I really like this nanny and she helps me a lot but I really cannot accept yelling at a child. I discussed this with her on employment interview when she told she doesn't yell at children. After she started working it were several situations when I heard her yelling and I always discussed it with her and she tried to be nicer but my daughter actually stopped listening to her and was doing whatever she wants (like playing instead of going to school on morning at a risk of being late, or not going to shower and to bed on time, or being extremely picky with food).
Today when I was at home nanny started to yell at my daughter for a very minimal reason. I felt it is wrong and told this to nanny later when my daughter was at school. Nanny didn't seem to understand how serious my request is. So I wrote an official first notice and gave it in writing stating that if the yelling continues after 3rd notice the employment will end. Nanny became angry and told that she will stop yelling but she is sure my daughter will not listen to her and she will be always late for school etc. On evening she told me that she don't have timet do errand that she promised to do previously and that we have planned 2 weeks in advance.
We have several nanny's over the years but this one both my daughter and me like the most because she is usually fun, reliable (always helps for example when my daughter gets sick with minor illnesses she would go and pick her up from school even if this means missing her classes in college), helps extra with running errands like buying some household supplies, tutoring my daughter so she does very well in school, and also she and me became friends discussing a lot of personal stuff and emotionally supporting each other. I am sure my daughter would miss her a lot, she doesn't do well with changes like that. We both became attached to this nanny and I am sincerely grateful to her for all good extra things she did for us.
On the other hand my nanny doesn't seem to be able to understand that yelling at a child is wrong, and that is very distressing for me too. I feel awful and do not know what to do. She went for a weekend off to visit friend out of town and will be back on Monday.
one thing that makes it even more complicated is that she asked me recently to lend her a large amount of money so she can buy a better car, i agreed, and she planed to return it over a year, while working with us. She has a boyfriend who can lend her too but she doesn't want to accept it from him.
1. How to make your child listen and obey without screaming?
2. Would you keep this nanny or find a new one (she will likely continue yelling just do it when I can't hear :( ?
3. would you still lend money for a car given the fact that I am not sure how long can I continue her employment with us if she doesn't stop yelling?
4. Am I overreacting???
Sorry for a long message, will appreciate your s advice greatly
So What Happened?™
Thank you very much for helpful advice. We actually tried several times to solve yelling problem by finding a better solutions. I even took my daughter to a psychologyst, her testing showed she is normal, but counceling didn't help to change behavior. Timeouts did not work because she wouldn't stay in the room even for 1 minute. If we don't speak to her she would just read books. The punishment I usually use is taking away favorite activities like movies, going to library, going to pool , to farmers market etc. But it works very little. I can't come up with a plan that would work.
PS. Thank you all very much for your responses and my warmest thanks to those of you who gave actual advice what to do with my daughter and in a situation with nanny. I understood that majority of people feel it is not a good idea to lend monies to a nanny and I will not do this.
Regarding parenting I would like to add that I have read plenty of parenting and child development books including "Love and logic", and it is actually an approach I use with my daughter. the teachers in a private school she goes to also use Love and Logic approach. I have attended parenting classes too trying to find a way to get my daughter to listen and an alternative to a nanny's yelling.
I discussed this many times over the last year with a nanny trying to find a mutually acceptable parenting strategy. We did it with nanny, my daughter and therapist together as well, with little improvement. I was also very clear on her interview prior to hiring her that yelling and hitting should not be used at all, and she at that time told me she wouldn't do it, so I hired her and now having this issue. I'd like to clarify that as per our agreement nanny can help when the child needs to be picked up earlier (if I can't do it myself) for extra payment with overtime rate IF SHE WANTS TO, I am not "making her" to do it but I do appreciate when she does.
My daughter is and always been my top priority but unfortunately I cannot cut back on my work hours or to have a better schedule for now (it is more complicated than I can discuss here) and yes I am her sole provider.
I also had been consistent with consequences and everything and always supported nanny if she gave any discipline except yelling. We used a number of approaches as per Love and Logic book. Despite all of this I run out of options and that' why I posted this trying to get a specific helpful advice from more experienced moms who know how to make a child to obey without yelling.
L.B. answers from St. Louis on September 25, 2010
I am sorry, but you are out of line here. Re-read what Diana K. wrote until it sinks in and please be a parent.
S.S. answers from Chicago on September 25, 2010
I hate to say this but if you don't figure something out you are going to have a huge problem on your hands in the future. Your daughter is in charge and she knows it. And children want to be disciplined. They want to feel safe and secure by you showing her the ropes. They want to be taken care of. As far as yelling goes, I don't like to yell myself, but have done so. I also hear teachers yelling, we cannot curtail that. If you don't yell once in awhile you will get sick and I am serious. We are made like that. I am not talking about screaming like a bangy, I am talking about a firm disciplined tone of voice. The plan that will work and I guarantee this will work is that you show her who is in charge. You show her who will protect her and keep her safe. Do not let her get away with this another minute. You are too caring of a mom to lose your daughter to a world of pain,
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J.L. answers from Minneapolis on September 25, 2010
Don't let your personal attachments get in the way of facts.
Fact 1: You do not share the same parenting philosophy.
Fact 2: You are her employer and she is your employee, and that line should never be crossed by either of you, if you expect her to continue to be professional and reliable.
Fact 3: You are not a bank or lender.
Fact 4: She has not responded to your concerns let alone try an alternative method. She clearly is not very educated or skilled at her craft. A good nanny would actively work with you to find a suitable method of discipline. What is her training and background? Sounds like she's not licensed or educated in the area of child development. Did you get her through an agency, or is she someone who answered an ad? Don't blame your daughter's behavior. She's a child. The nanny is supposed to be the experienced professional here. If she can't deliver, she's not qualified.
Fact 5: You are not over-reacting...she's not fulfilling the requirements of her job, and you're rightfully frustrated with that.
Bottomline: It's not working out, you're dissatisfied, and the worse part of it all is you're being too nice with her. There should be no compromise when it comes to your daughter.
We are not there, but yelling can be abusive. The way I see it, if there isn't a life-threatening emergency or imminent danger, there is no need for a parent to yell as a form of "discipline."
Under any other circumstance yelling is the result of "anger" or lazy parenting because someone is getting impatient with the child. In the end it doesn't work, and will cause your daughter to be a yeller also when she encounters things she doesn't like or is frustrated. Depending on when (circumstances and frequency), how (is she physical and/or menacing), or what words (is she cutting the child down or threatening her) the nanny is "yelling", it can undermine your daughter's confidence, instill unhealthy fear, etc.
Yelling should not be confused with speaking firmly with a child by using the word no, or avoiding giving in to a tantruming child. When I think of someone yelling, I think of the interaction being very emotionally charged, sometimes physical if the person is in the child's face or pointing, and the person using very loud angry words and tone. On the other end of the spectrum, I'd describe someone being firm as being very strong yet controlled in their resolve as they carefully choose powerful but poignant words that clearly convey you won't be snowed over by tears and antics. The child knows who's boss without you having to demonstrate it in an out of control emotional way. Big difference. Since we don't know what you mean by yelling, I put this definition in here.
Your gut instincts are probably right on, and she needs to go. Why would you pay loads of money and benefits to keep a potential emotional abuser in the house?
I think her asking for a loan was crossing the line of professionalism and reveals something about how she views her relationship with you. There's a lack of respect indeed. If you are paying her benefits, and a salary, it is not your responsibility to manage her budget so she can get a car.
She needs to go to the bank like everyone else. If you're concerned about the nanny driving your daughter around safely during the day, there may be a benefit, but in the bigger scheme of things, if this isn't working out for you, you might be better off getting rid of her and then making it a point to hire a new nanny who has reliable transportation, can follow direction, manage her own budget/finances, and most important respect you as her employer.
Hope this helps shed some light from another perspective. You and your daughter deserve better.
One more observation or point: Your daughter is probably unresponsive to discipline because there are too many people doing the disciplining. She has too many people doing their own thing, and no consistency in discipline. If you are the primary disciplinarian, follow the same consistent method, she should come around. I agree with Janey J's assessment and recommendation.
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J.M. answers from Boston on September 25, 2010
First of all, I would not lend her the money, only because you don't want that to be a deciding factor in anything in this relationship. Never lend an employee money, period.
Secondly, having been a nanny, I'm telling you that you need to work _with_ your nanny to find an effective discipline method, now, or she is going to quit. You are putting her in an impossible position - she's responsible for getting your daughter to school on time, but you're not allowing her any tools to make that happen. She has to get the errands done, but your daughter rules the roost. Not fair.
What kind of yelling is she doing? There's screaming at someone in an illogical and cruel, and then there's yelling that is simply raising one's voice. If she's doing the latter, she's not harming your daughter, she's trying to get her to pay attention. She's not causing lasting harm. I think you are overreacting.
Finally, you mention that you've taken your daughter to a psychologist. It doesn't sound like there's anything wrong with your daughter - she sounds like a normal 7 year old who has no boundaries or discipline. I actually recommend that you go to a child psychologist _yourself_ to help learn some effective parenting techniques. I don't mean that in a cruel way at all, but if your 7 year old is like this, she's going to be much worse as she gets older.
The long and short is that you sound like you feel a little guilty about being a single working mom, and you try to make it up to your daughter by always being nice to her. That's not helping her, it's doing a disservice. Children require boundaries, even if it makes them unhappy.
I wish you luck.
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E.B. answers from Miami on September 25, 2010
I'm sorry to tell you, but you need to get a grip on your daughter. She's taking full advantage of you and your Nanny. I don't like yelling either but if I have to say it more than three times which should not be done the yelling is going to come out because your frustrated because your daughter isn't listening. She's 7 years old and old enough to understand what discipline is. Ground her, take things away from her punish her reasonably. If I were your Nanny I would probably yell as well. IF you like her so much and are really happy then both of you need to come to an agreement in discipline. Your Nanny is raising her just as much as you are. And it has to be on equal terms. It would be the same if her father were in the picture or a father figure where in the picture. If you say no tv and he says you can watch it for 5 minutes who do you think she's not going to listen to. "YOU". You need to develop discipline habbits with her and you need to share it with your Nanny and yes, you are spoiling her from the sounds of it.
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D.K. answers from San Francisco on September 25, 2010
There are so many issues here. Your child is disobedient and you can't/won't control her. What nanny will want to care for her? You are the parent, you set the rules, you set the punishments, NOT your child. If she has time out and leaves the room after one minute, what happens next? In my house the child goes back to the room and the length of the time out is longer. You must be consistent. If you give in, then she knows she doesn't have to do what you say because eventually you give in. If you don't parent now, it will be hell when she is a teenager.
Next the nanny - if yelling is the only method your child reponds. How do you expect the nanny to perform all the tasks you have assigned her? If your daughter won't do as she is told then the nanny needs to spend more time getting her to do what she is supposed to do and has less time for other things. Your daughter not responding is your problem!
Actually it sounds like you have little respect for the nanny and I don't think it would be just her. You said she will miss her college classes to take care of your daughter when she is sick? That is your job! If she doesn't have things to do and is willing to do it, is fine. I would never have my nanny miss her classes for my sick child! I too have job with strange hours. I also can't walk away from my patients until I know someone else can cover them. My husband also travels frequently. Kids always get sick when he is gone.
Your the employer, not the bank! Keep those relationships separate. This nanny seems very good. You need to get your daughter under control, THEN you can expect the nanny to not yell. You need to do your job as parent first.
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E.E. answers from New York on September 25, 2010
This may sound harsh, but it doesn't sound like NOT yelling is working so...what would you like her to do?
It sounds like your daughter rules the roost. Does she have any discipline? What, in your eyes, is an effective punishment for not listening? Do you follow through on them?
My son is much younger, but I have noticed that sometimes yelling is the only answer (there's different types of yelling, too, there's raising your voice and then there's mean yelling which, I think is an obvious difference). Sometimes my son gets so involved with something that I have to raise my voice in order to get him to understand that what I'm saying is serious (whether it's because he's intentionally ignoring me or because he's fully engrossed in something else).
To me, it sounds like yelling is the least of your discipline problems.
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M.L. answers from Kansas City on September 25, 2010
Maybe you can put in a few less hours at work, so you can be with your kids more and you won't have any need for a nanny.
Perhaps your child is acting up because she needs more of her mommy, not a nanny!
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J.C. answers from Sacramento on September 25, 2010
Mom, time to get a new nanny but better yet find a job that allows you to be with your daughter more, she should be your the top priority in your life I feel and from the sounds of things she is not, your career is. I can tell you this will come bk to haunt you in the future when she is in her late tween and teenage yrs. It sounds like your daughter is being primarily raised by someone else and thus the reason for her behavior problems, she sees she is not a top proprity for you, your post was pretty sad to me. I would get some parenting books on child disciplining at the book store and read them for some pointers. Also, I would definitely not give out any more $ for a car. Please do the right thing for your daughter.
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