Author Topic: Should I call mom or stay out of it? UPDATE #75!!  (Read 17704 times)

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Lexophile

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Should I call mom or stay out of it? UPDATE #75!!
« on: September 13, 2013, 12:38:05 PM »
BG: My DD just started Pre-K. The teachers open her classroom exactly at the start time for class, so many of the parents hang out in the common art area together and chat if we arrive early. If a parent is unable to drop off their child because of work schedule or whatnot, sometimes a nanny will do it. This post is about a nanny who drops off and picks up one of my daughter's classmates, I'll call her Rachel.

Rachel has a younger brother, I'd guess him to be about 2 years old, who I'll call Billy. The two kids are quiet, well-behaved (when I see them) and seem like normal, bright kids. The nanny, however, comes off as a total shrew. She's constantly scolding the little boy if he's not holding her hand, walking when she tells him to walk, or being perfectly quiet when she tells him to. She talks to him as if she's just had enough - frustrated sighs and raised voice included like he's being overly naughty - when, from what I can see, he's being a perfectly normal little boy in a fascinating new environment.  As in, we wait in a whole room full of big, colorful art supplies that are meant to be handled, touched, and used, and the moment this little one lets go of nanny's hand, she responds with an intense scolding, asking him repeatedly if he "left his listening ears at home" and getting frustrated if he doesn't respond.

I've tried addressing him gently when talking to his sister, and the nanny jumps in and answers for him. I've tried talking to Rachel and the nanny jumps in and has to put her two cents in there as well. I asked Rachel if they have a dog and the nanny launched into a long story about her own pet, preventing either of the kids from answering. I've met the mother once at a family picnic before school started, but otherwise, we don't know these people. I am starting to feel really bad for the kids, especially the little boy, who she harps on relentlessly. <End BG>

The way she talks (and talks, and talks), she's been with this family for awhile now. I sense that some of the other parents are put off by the way she treats the kids as well. People don't really talk to her that much anymore, and I've noticed the subtle distancing that tends to happen with people who just don't want to deal with the drama. Moreover, I seriously disagree with the way she treats those kids.

Now, the parents might be perfectly fine with that - maybe there is a situation I am unaware of or they have a parenting philosophy with which I would not agree, but is none of my business. I am empathetic to the kids, though, and I see some major problems down the road if this person continues to treat them this way.

So my question is this - Do I do anything at all? If so, what? Do I call the mom from out of the blue and just say, "Hey, FYI ..." or do I stay out of it? I would definitely want to know if someone were treating my child this way, but I'm not their parents. I do not want to put myself in a situation where I'm in the middle of something like this, but again, those two kids.

We have a parents night coming up next Tuesday and, if the mom is there, I will have an opportunity to discreetly put the bug in her ear. What would you do?

« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 05:22:34 PM by Lexophile »
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Zizi-K

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 12:50:15 PM »
Tough situation. It sounds as though you've witness enough so that you feel fairly compelled to say something. I wonder if the best medium for this message isn't an email? That way you can put in all your caveats up front, and be careful about how you describe what you've seen. You can include your phone number in case she wants to talk more about it. Then the parents can decide for themselves what they want to do. It sounds pretty miserable for the little boy, and so unnecessary. I think it would be a good deed to speak up, however difficult or awkward.

Redsoil

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 12:54:21 PM »
I tend to think "what's the worst that can happen?"  If you feel any potential fallout will not rebound on the kids, then go for it.  You may well alert the parent to less-than-desirable nannying.  If you feel the kids will be worse off (and bear in mind, if this nanny is well-established in the family, they may not want to go to the trouble of finding another), then leave it be.

You could start by commenting on how well-behaved the children are, but then express your concern that the nanny seems frustrated with them in spite of this.  Elaborate as much as you feel is warranted.
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gramma dishes

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 12:55:25 PM »
Could you maybe mention that you've had opportunities to meet the Nanny during those 'waiting' periods and just ask a few innocent questions such as:  How did you happen to chose this particular Nanny?  Has she been with your children since birth?  ... stuff like that.

If the parents are full of praise "Oh yes, we just adore her.  We found her through an agency and it was obvious from the moment we met her that she was very much in tune with our parenting philosophy.  We adore her." then I'd drop the subject.

The problem is that if she wants to know why you ask, you're kind of stuck. 

I honestly think that if I were in your situation, I'd be concerned about the children just as you are.  But I don't think I'd say anything.  I would presume the parents would see this in her too and apparently either don't care or even support it. 

It's too bad the teachers aren't around to observe this.  I think it would be more appropriate for them to bring it up with the parents.

EllenS

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 01:09:12 PM »
Are any of the teachers or school staff there to see this? I think it might be best to approach them and see if THEY might say something.

Otherwise, I would try to cultivate the parents' acquaintance before saying anything, maybe via playdates between DD and Rachel. I have learned enough from my own two kids, that if somebody only saw me with them for a certain 5 minutes of the day, they could get a completely different idea of my parenting.  I have also learned that they really CAN drive me to the end of my rope for the hour leading up to school dropoff, and then be absolute angels when other people are looking.  I have gotten looks in the grocery store over why I am so exasperated with my little darlings, when the "lookers" did not see the 45 minutes of screaming/kicking/defiance/meltdown that it took just to get them from the car into the store.

I also had situations, with my dd2 in particular, where I would have to watch/monitor her much more closely than dd1 because she would just do stuff that was totally random, unpredictable, and dangerous.  She is the one who flipped herself out of my arms at 10 months and cracked her head on the counter.  She is the one who repeatedly split my lip by head-butting me as a baby.  She is the one who figured out at 14 months how to unlock the front door and escape into the street.  She is the one who until she was over 2, would eat ANYTHING off the floor and stick ANYTHING up her nose.  She is a lovely, kind, highly intelligent, happy and and generous kid, but I had to keep her on a really, really short leash until her rational thought and impulse control caught up with her. 

I'm not saying the nanny is right to speak harshly - it is not a good way of dealing with little kids, you're right.  I just don't think a random call or email criticizing someone they have known and trusted for years, is going to get much traction. If you demonstrate that you actually care about their family and know their kids, you'll have more standing to speak from.


m2kbug

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 01:12:49 PM »
Stay out of this one.  Some parents are really strict, and some parents are really loose, and not everyone is going to blend with your own parenting style.  They hired this nanny and are probably quite okay with the disciplinary actions.  I'm wondering if the boy is an exceptional challenge and being very strict is the best way to work with him, as he doesn't really know boundaries or when to stop yet.  You give him an inch and he runs wild all over the place.  Of course he's super excited, and nanny is trying to draw him back in before becomes a little terror.  I would really try to reign back in on judgement.  This nanny does seem to bend in the direction of overbearing, however.  If something like with the dog, she'll say what she needs to say, then re-address the child with your question and keep drawing attention back to the child.  Maybe even say, "I was asking Billy."  At some point if you have opportunity to talk to the parents, you can mention the strict nature to the parents.  Outside of a dangerous and abusive situation, I just don't think you should involve yourself in this one. 

Lexophile

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 01:14:10 PM »
Are any of the teachers or school staff there to see this? I think it might be best to approach them and see if THEY might say something.



I thought about this too. The teachers are phenomenal and I think if they witnessed it, they would definitely see something out of sorts. I might discreetly bring it to their attention and let them decide whether it bears speaking up. They see far more variety in parenting dynamics than I do on a daily basis and are in a better position to recognize whether something is not acceptable. They also have the opportunitiy to watch Rachel in the classroom. Kids will sometimes manifest certain behaviors if they are in a bad situation.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 01:18:49 PM by Lexophile »
"Submission to what people call their 'lot' is simply ignoble. If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another." - Elizabeth von Arnim

Lexophile

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 01:17:31 PM »
Stay out of this one.  Some parents are really strict, and some parents are really loose, and not everyone is going to blend with your own parenting style.  They hired this nanny and are probably quite okay with the disciplinary actions.  I'm wondering if the boy is an exceptional challenge and being very strict is the best way to work with him, as he doesn't really know boundaries or when to stop yet.  You give him an inch and he runs wild all over the place.  Of course he's super excited, and nanny is trying to draw him back in before becomes a little terror.  I would really try to reign back in on judgement.  This nanny does seem to bend in the direction of overbearing, however.  If something like with the dog, she'll say what she needs to say, then re-address the child with your question and keep drawing attention back to the child.  Maybe even say, "I was asking Billy."  At some point if you have opportunity to talk to the parents, you can mention the strict nature to the parents.  Outside of a dangerous and abusive situation, I just don't think you should involve yourself in this one.

That's just it though - to the bolded - he doesn't act super-excited. He's quiet and calm. I don't think I've ever even heard his voice. He gets one millimeter away from her and she's all over his case like he's just committed a felony. If anything, I'd say he's super-shy.
"Submission to what people call their 'lot' is simply ignoble. If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another." - Elizabeth von Arnim

EllenS

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 01:27:13 PM »
Yeah, I think if you're going to get in, you need to get actually IN, like getting to know the family.

A drive-by is not appropriate, and if it's all you're up for, I'd stay out of it.

Zilla

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 01:29:03 PM »
I was racking my brain trying to think of how to bring it up to basically a "stranger" that her childcare provider is well kind of mean and overbearing. (but with better wording)  And it's so incredibly awkward and I just cringe.


But then if I was that mother, I would most definitely want to know how the Nanny acts when I am not around.  I would be livid actually if they acted like that with my kids who I already know to be already well behaved.


I really like the suggestion of approaching the teacher privately and sharing your concern.  See if she is willing to watch for it or perhaps she already noticed it if the Nanny comes in to drop off/pick up and when you mention something it will click with her.



Alpacas

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 01:54:27 PM »
I would also vote for informing the teacher. The teacher probably knows the parents at least a little bit and could decide better whether or not to contact them about the issue with the nanny.
As others have already said. Contacting the Parents yourself, without prior contact, could come off as rather nosy and meddlesome to those parents.

cicero

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 01:59:55 PM »
If the tables were turned, wouldn't * you* want to know? I would. This is a little kid we're talking about.

It sounds like the boy is either shy or terrified.

Just state the facts - what you observed and when.

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BarensMom

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2013, 02:05:26 PM »
I would also vote for informing the teacher. The teacher probably knows the parents at least a little bit and could decide better whether or not to contact them about the issue with the nanny.
As others have already said. Contacting the Parents yourself, without prior contact, could come off as rather nosy and meddlesome to those parents.

POD to this.  Definitely talk to the teacher/principal/school counselor about this. 

Hey, if the nanny is acting like this when other adults are watching, how is she treating the kids when there's no one else around?

It may be overreaction on my part, but reading the OP's post makes my hackles rise.

Sophia

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2013, 02:11:44 PM »
I would want to know if I were the parent.  Nanny might act entirely different when the parents are around. 

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Should I call mom or stay out of it?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2013, 02:11:56 PM »
Tough situation. It sounds as though you've witness enough so that you feel fairly compelled to say something. I wonder if the best medium for this message isn't an email? That way you can put in all your caveats up front, and be careful about how you describe what you've seen. You can include your phone number in case she wants to talk more about it. Then the parents can decide for themselves what they want to do. It sounds pretty miserable for the little boy, and so unnecessary. I think it would be a good deed to speak up, however difficult or awkward.

POD - best choice right here IMO