Help with Nanny - Orange,VA

Updated on May 14, 2012
S.P. asks from Orange, VA
15 answers

We have a male nanny that works with our children frequently. Both my husband and I work a lot and we are not always around, but the nanny is there helping with the kids. The kids hug the nanny a lot and will sit with him and cuddle on the couch. Is this odd? When we come home I get hugs and kiss but my husband whom is not affectionate does not get more than hi. He is frustrated and wants to find a new nanny.

What can I do next?

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answers from Washington DC on

wait- your dh is not affectionate, but wants to get a new nanny because the kids are getting what they need from THIS one?
so, he wants your kids to be unilaterally starved for affection?
i'm glad they've got their nanny, and YOU! (is he jealous of you too?)

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

It is not your nanny's fault that your DH is not affectionate. Even if you find a new nanny nothing will change until HE changes his behavior.
My DH was/is the same - he is just not the affectionate type, so for the most part of her life my DD has had a STRONG preference for me. However during times where I am busy with school or when he simply makes a real effort to show her more affection, she gives it right back to him and becomes a little daddy's girl.

So, don't fire the nanny if you like him - but rather tell your husband he needs to be more involved and emotionally available for his kids and they will come to him with their affection as well.
Good luck.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well, if your husband is not affectionate, why is it the NANNY's fault? This won't change HIS behavior, it'll only make the kids feel betrayed.

My father was not affectionate when I was a kid. You don't want kids to grow up feeling uncomfortable about hugging their dad cause they think they don't like it. The kids may even feel rejected a bit because they feel that daddy doesn't want hugs - since he's not affectionate... it might not be true, but that's how kids think - they assume it's THEM and not the grown-up.

How about Daddy taking some time and spending it with the children one-on-one and making an effort to be more affectionate. If he LOVES them - which I'm sure he does - he needs to WORK at giving them the affection they crave, even if it feels weird to him at first.

I am assuming you are more affectionate than your husband? So the kids hug. The nanny shows affection, so the kids hug. Daddy needs to learn from you and they will hug him too. They know he LOVES them, but they also have learned that he isn't "huggy".

Maybe, instead of getting rid of the nanny who is modeling affectionate male caregiver behavior, your husband should suck up his pride (this will be hard for him, probably) and ASK the nanny for advice on how to show his kids how he feels about them. Or if not, WATCH the nanny and learn from him.

Good luck!

Now, if you aren't comfortable with a male nanny, that's different and some other moms have addressed this. That's a separate issue completely.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I dont think its odd. Most children crave affection and your nanny, whether male or female, is their primary caretaker. Your kids probably are with him more than your DH.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It's not the nanny's fault that he shows love to your children and they love him back. If your husband is not affectionate he isn't going to receive love back from his children. You can pay someone to care for your children but it is your job to teach them love, show them love, and make them a priority in your life. You will get what you give when it comes to parenting. Sorry, but your husband needs to step up here. His children are not going to automatically show him affection if they don't feel it from him, or they are not shown love from him. Again, the nanny is doing his job, he shouldn't be fired because your children love him. And what will that do to your children if you replace the person they have learned to count on, and love!!! If you are both not around then any nanny is going to become close to your children, then you and your husband.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

To your first question, no, this is not odd. But it is a sad situation...

I was a nanny for years, myself. Many of us who have studied child development *know* that kids need hugs and caring touch to grow. Some kids are more affectionate than others, just as some adults are. Kids who want affection, who feel comfortably bonded and happy and trusting with their caregivers will freely seek this, and will continue to express connection and affection if the caregiver reciprocates, giving the 'green light' to the child that their affection is welcome.

When my son had a caregiver ( a neighbor, stay at home dad) while I was working, he got loved up a lot by this other father. I really enjoyed that he had other people in his life who he was close to, whom he felt he could depend on and trust. They are still close, and I appreciate that relationship so much. So does my husband.

Your husband has to set the precedent with his own kids and let them know he is open to affection. If they have been getting a red or yellow light (so to speak) about hugging and kissing dad, it's his job to start demonstrating 'green light' behavior. That means that he's going to have to be assertive in giving them love and affection in ways that feel comfortable for him. Even if you fire the nanny, *you will still have the same problem* with the next one, male or female.

Would your husband be willing to examine his own feelings and possibly go to talk to someone about *how* to bridge this gap? I think that would be a great first step. Firing the nanny will only create distress and loss for the children who have bonded to him. Very good, loving and responsible nannies aren't the easiest people to find. I truly hope your husband can work through this, because I'm sure it's hard for him, too. Good luck!

Added: after reading a comment or two, I just want to confirm what many of the more open-minded moms have suggested: male caregivers can be wonderful for children. I've worked with several great guys in my line of work and it's often said among other female caregivers: we need more men in this line of work. Men bring a great sensibility and many children need to experience caring, involved males. I've encountered *far more* unstable/emotionally unsafe women in this business than I have men (only ONE).

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

This is not a nanny problem.

Your hubby needs to restructure his at home time and learn to be with his kids. If he begins to initiate hugs and kisses from the kids they will respond in kind.

Affection is a learned response. Your hubby needs to learn to show affection to the kids in order to get affection from the kids.

Switching the nanny to appease your hubby will effectively punish your children for their natural reaction to a person who cares for them. Do you really want to turn their lives upside down?

Good luck.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like your husband is frankly jealous of the nanny. Would he be as frustrated by the lack of affection if the nanny were a woman? I'd bet not.

Young children get very attached to the people they are with most of the time. This would happen whether your nanny were male or female, young or old, a good nanny or a lousy one. It's not something you can control. Get a new nanny and eventually that nanny is likely to get the same level of affection too.

If you have a good nanny, who is trustworthy and honest with you, someone with whom you feel it's safe to leave your kids -- why would you ditch that to start a hunt for a new nanny when good nannies are hard to find?

The post also gives an impression that maybe you, too, are not fully comfortable with having a male nanny. You seem to imply that there is something "odd" about a man cuddling on the couch with young kids. Nothing odd about it if it were a dad. What if it were an uncle? An older cousin? Grandad? Would it still feel "odd" to you then?

If there are other red flags of course you would be concerned. But are there? Or is the real issue that your husband is jealous about another man seeming to get the affection due to dad? And ask yourself if you truly think it's odd or if you are letting your husband's issues color your own attitude toward the nanny.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Children give spontaneous hugs to their caregivers, whether female or male. If your husband were greeting the kids with a giant bear hug, your kids would probably respond in kind. I think you'd expect a nanny to provide nurturing care to your kids. It really sounds like your husband is complaining about his own jealousy and insecurity and would prefer that you get a female nanny who might not provide the same level of care or who would provide hugs and cuddles that you don't provide when not at home. A good nanny is hard to find. If this is his only gripe, your husband should quit being jealous vs. getting rid of someone who is good with your kids and that they love.

Separately, while a male nanny may not be common, it doesn't make him a creep, weirdo or pedophile as a previous post implied. The playcare where my child goes regularly has a young man as a caregiver, and he's fabulous with the kids especially the elementary aged boys who who want to talk Star Wars, Superheroes, and video games. A lot of the kids are from single parent households with just a mom, and kids benefit from healthy male interaction. (He doesn't participate in diapering, pottying, or clothes changes.) We need to do diligence on whoever cares for our kids -- male or female.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I agree with Dad on Purpose (that was a funny comment!) but that doesn't mean to get a new nanny. It does mean that the kids at least have a male model regarding affection, and that's a good thing. Why you would worry that this is odd, I don't get. Would it be odd if they cuddled with a female nanny? No! Your husband needs to change his own behavior and show the children some physical affection. Not trying to MAKE them respond, either. By spending time with them, reading books to them, getting in the floor with them and playing, helping with their baths and pajamas, and bedtime, he will slip into the role of the nanny when he is home. THAT'S what makes the kids affectionate.

No kid will just give affection to someone who just "happens" to have the designation "parent". It's what a parent DOES that makes a kid want to love them. Does that make sense?

Read some of the threads about moms here asking how to fire their nannies. Read about what a bad job those nannies are doing. Then think about all the reasons you like your nanny. And don't hold the fact that he's a male against him, or that your husband hasn't learned how to be an affectionate father against him. Tell your husband to stop being jealous of the nanny and step up to the plate with his kids.

Then you will ALL be happy!!!

Happy Mother's Day!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

When I had someone watching my son (about 3 1/2 months to age 2), I wanted them to 'sit with him and cuddle..." I did not allow TV except for during his naps so they spent their days eating, napping, playing or cuddling up while reading books. I am not sure of the ages of your children but I wanted my son to receive loving attention. I worked from a home office so it was easier for me to observe them..I could walk out to the living room and see them whenever I wanted. Anyway, you said your husband is not why does he expect to be met with more than a "Hi" Its not the nanny's fault. Maybe he should try and work on being more affectionate to his own children.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Nope... Not odd at all.

So is dads problem that he's NOT getting loved on, or that they're loving on someone else?

If its the first he has to change that by getting physical with his kids. Popping them up on his shoulders, pulling them into his lap while watching a flick, etc. Your kids are smart, they see daddy is reserved and are showing him was they think he wants... Distance. Kids anticipate parental wants (not how we'd want, like when we're running late;). Battered wife type kids start swearing at their mom (for dads approval), rough and tumble dads get tackled at the door, soft spoken dads get kind words, reserved dads get distance, etc. he has to SHOW them what he wants them to do by doing it first... And repeatedly.

If its that they're loving on someone else... He's never going to be happy... Because as long as you have a GOOD nanny, they're going to love on them.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I would be worried, actually, if I didn't see some cuddling and physical affection between the nanny & the kids. It sounds like your husband is perhaps jealous of the physical affection he's seeing. Also, because he's not comfortable with it, he may feel that its "not normal" to for a male caregiver, regardless of who the caregiver is (dad, uncle, nanny).

You don't say how old the kids are, but some ways Dad can show his affection, and get more than a "hi" is to do wrestling, swinging by the arms, tickling, holding kids upside, etc. (check out the Art of Roughhousing book for more ideas). Dad should also make special effort to spend time with the kids (if he's not already doing that), in order to develop the bond more.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Would this bother your husband if HE (your husband) was physically affectionate? Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't, but that's what you need to ask yourself. If I never hugged and cuddled my kids, but a female nanny did, I'd be very threatened. That wouldn't happen, because I AM physically affectionate. But ask yourself what your husband is capable of, what he's comfortable with, and act accordingly. It's not fair to the nanny to be fired if your husband is not affectionate and refuses to become affectionate, but people have the right to choose their nannies.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Like others have said it's not the nanny's fault. Our nanny plays the kisses game (something she made up) with our toddler. That woman gets five million more kisses than either of us but we just laugh it off when you see their mutual delight at this game. She has created a very loving dynamic with our son and that's what we love and focus on. At first it sort of bothered my husband because he felt jealous I believe. His response has been to create more affection with our son so now he gets tons of hugs and kisses too. If your husband wants more affection, he needs to lead by example.

1 mom found this helpful
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