No discipline

I have worked for this family for about 9 months, it is a 2.5 y/o little girl. She is constantly spoiled and given whatever she wants whenever she wants it. I have tried so very hard to be patient with the toddler, as I know that children lead by example and push their boundaries only as far as they know to push them. Her parents were not forthcoming about their disciplinary plans when I interviewed for the job. Basically their philosophy is zero discipline. They don't believe in timeouts, raising your voice, taking away privileges, etc. When I first explained to her mother my concerns with her behavior, she simply told me they don't believe in discipline and that I should just "ignore" her bad behavior. That only goes so far, when she is throwing things at me during a tantrum (once while we were driving on a freeway even!), saying No to every single thing I ask her (what do you want for breakfast? Where should we go today? Can you please put your shoes and jacket away? it is time to change your diaper because it is soiled!) and whining over every single thing. She even whines just to ask for something or to talk about anything. Literally every thing that comes out is a whine. I have tried to address by asking her to please use her big girl voice, just ask "please" if she would like something, ask for help if she's frustrated, etc etc. Also have tried to make things "fun" or a "game" to entice her to comply, with no success. The mother is also someone who works from home anywhere from 2-5 days per week
(which they also chose not to disclose when I interviewed) and that only worsens the behavior of the toddler. As soon as she does something she shouldn't be doing or if I tell her no to something (such as wanting sweets for breakfast, watching shows on her iPad, etc) the first thing she does is ask for "mommy" because she knows mommy will not tell her no. And mommy always runs straight to the room as soon as she hears any sign of her being upset over not getting her way so she can cater to her demands.
I am ready to have a conversation with them about my frustrations in hopes we can start to work together as a team to get the toddler into better behavioral patterns but I do feel as though it's entirely a team effort for us to work on together, and if they cannot agree to work on things I don't think I can continue here. I have tried to have the conversation before but it seems they don't view her behavior as an issue. Any advice on what to say, how to say it, etc would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Comments

Discipline is a big thing I question in interviews for this reason. I don't work for families who cater to kids every needs. And MBs who undermine the nanny by letting their kids complain like that and clearly showing their kid that the nanny's opinion is disposable are even worse. I would sit with the MB in a face to face conversation and approach the discipline problem and approach the undermining the nanny problem. To put it simply I think you should threaten to quit if she can't work as a team with you. Definitely at the very least you need to negotiate so MB doesn't undermine you. If she has a problem with what you are doing she needs to keep to her work and tell you her problem when her daughter is not around. This toxic interaction she is having, rushing in and catering to her spoiled child is going to very quickly teach this toddler that the nanny is not a human but a doormat and that is not ok. But I also would talk about discipline systems with MB. Explain how there are discipline systems that do not punish or raise the voice but they are still disciplining. A conversation based discipline system has no time outs and no yelling no punishments. Instead you sit with the child and talk about how actions or words make others feel and the child comes up with the solution to the problem. This may be a better path then simply ignoring because what is happening with ignoring is that the toddler only knows she is not getting enough attention which makes her mad so she does more mad things which makes the adults ignore and she gets less attention which makes her mad and the vicious cycle repeats. Someone needs to explain to her that her actions are what is causing her upset feelings. Because she is so young she probably needs this lesson explained several times a day and simply ignoring the bad behavior is not doing that.

Good luck!

Because you have already addressed the issue; theres really no need to repeat yourself..this Mother [& Dad] obviously think their precious little child shits sunshine out her ass...I would definitely be giving a notice & find another family=its not even worth the stress theyve already given you...plus, theres no physical way I would endure a whiny-scream-crying child ALL the live-long day! I told the Nanny Mom I currently work for=when the baby scream-cries, I will be putting foamy-ear defenders in my ears [foam ear plugs that you squish between your fingers, put in your ears, then they expand] to muffle the screaming, because that literally HURTS my ears, especially my right ear, its VERY sensitive ... use the 2 week notice time to apply to positions that interest you, then set up interviews [so when you get off work for the day, you can go to an interview]. Be sure you post & let us know the resolve!
Best Regards,
Lone62star

Ok. It will seem harsh, but there is no meet in the middle here. The parents have told you that they don't believe in discipline. That is no way to raise kids in my opinion. You can positively parent a child. And you can do it without timeouts, but no discipline at all won't work. If you need to stick it out for a while, do so. But look for another job at the same time. And in the next job, ask those questions at the interview.

Thank you so much for this information.Very interesting story and good to read.Discipline has very important role in society.

Run to amazon and grab a copy of the book positive discipline. It's old but good. And the parents should like it because there's no punishment involved at all. It's based on a problem solving/ growth mindset - kids act out to get their needs met, so how do you help them get their needs met in an appropriate way.

Your jib sounds super frustrating!!!

Have you tried offering very limited choices you may have x or y for breakfast which do you want. And then when the child asks for sweets just repeat you may have x or y... when she tantrums you can say I'll be happy to give you x or y when you are ready and then ignor the tantrum.

And also listen and validate what she's feeling. It sounds like your really want a sweet. It's upsetting not to get one whenever we want one. I'm so sorry but today your choices are x and y.

The hard thing is you have to be sincere and sometimes I really don't care if they want a sweet at breakfast and I don't feel like empathising because we are in a rush and I just want the kid to eat something but it actually does work.

Tell the pants you need to talk and say what's going on and how best they approach. From a developmental stand point yelling and timeout aren't the best tools in teaching and supporting a child. But that's just my opinion! Good luck!

Just for the record, I'm not saying I think I should yell at her or give timeouts. I was simply listing different disciplinary techniques to explain that they don't believe in any form. That being said, I don't believe that "zero discipline" is doing their child any favors or preparing them for the real world where, for instance, in school they need to sit in their chair, do assigned work, etc or later in life where their boss assigns them with a Duty and they have a mentality instilled in them that they don't need to listen to others. That's my job here, to teach the child right and wrong and help them grow into a good human being(and to have fun!) Explanations with the child only go so far when I am explaining something to her that I say is not okay, and my MB comes down and does the complete opposite. If I say she can't watch more iPad (because I was instructed she was allowed only 30 minutes per day) her mom will come and say "okay but just one more", or if I tell her no more juice (this is the instruction I was given directly by them to only give her one cup of 50% juice 50% water per day) and then she comes out of her home office and pours more. I really appreciate the comment from Lone62star about her undermining my authority, I think you have made me realize that is a big part of the problem. Another problem though is the fact that as soon as I leave for the day or am gone for the weekend, they will just revert to their way of doing things and the zero discipline comes back into play. Which is where I feel like the child now thinks of me as the "bad guy" because I don't allow her to run amock. As far as the choices option, that only goes so far as well. I do offer her two choices usually. But she is so stubborn that if I tell her we have two choices for breakfast, she would rather just not eat. If it's two choices of clothing to wear, she will just wear pajamas. If it's what activity we should do, she would just choose to stay home. You get the picture. It's just not a conducive environment. And if I try to make a choice for her, this is when the tantrum comes into play and mommy comes to "save the day". I am a very patient and kind person by nature, but never have dealt with such a situation in my line of work and I'm starting to bring this negativity home with me and it's affecting my home life with my partner. I have worked for many families in the past 8-9 years and have never ran into this problem. As someone else above stated, they think "their precious little child shits sunshine out her ass" Lol and that's another issue in itself.. They see no action by her as bad. They think she's the sweetest smartest best child on earth. They even laugh when she hits them in the face or throws things.

Yeah, I see no way but out for this family. You have invested 9 months in this family and that is Enough!! This is why I will not work for WORKS FROM HOME PARENTS!! Great for them, terrible for us nannies. This 2 year old will only get worse. Just wait until potty training time. I am sure you have been over and over this issue with mom and it is the same weekly. Summer is coming and there are a lot of families looking for nannies. Just give it to her for now and Look Daily for a new job. When you give your notice Tell Mom: 1. you cannot work for a stay at home mom 2. there needs to be rules and discipline and the same rules whether mom is there or nanny is there alone, applied to this brat. If they are not told why you quit, then the problem continues with the next nanny. This kid needs to be in Daycare Daily!!! They will straighten her out or kick her out. miss pat

Yeah, I see no way but out for this family. You have invested 9 months in this family and that is Enough!! This is why I will not work for WORKS FROM HOME PARENTS!! Great for them, terrible for us nannies. This 2 year old will only get worse. Just wait until potty training time. I am sure you have been over and over this issue with mom and it is the same weekly. Summer is coming and there are a lot of families looking for nannies. Just give it to her for now and Look Daily for a new job. When you give your notice Tell Mom: 1. you cannot work for a stay at home mom 2. there needs to be rules and discipline and the same rules whether mom is there or nanny is there alone, applied to this brat. If they are not told why you quit, then the problem continues with the next nanny. This kid needs to be in Daycare Daily!!! They will straighten her out or kick her out. miss pat

Just for the record, I'm not saying I think I should yell at her or give timeouts. I was simply listing different disciplinary techniques to explain that they don't believe in any form. That being said, I don't believe that "zero discipline" is doing their child any favors or preparing them for the real world where, for instance, in school they need to sit in their chair, do assigned work, etc or later in life where their boss assigns them with a Duty and they have a mentality instilled in them that they don't need to listen to others. That's my job here, to teach the child right and wrong and help them grow into a good human being(and to have fun!) Explanations with the child only go so far when I am explaining something to her that I say is not okay, and my MB comes down and does the complete opposite. If I say she can't watch more iPad (because I was instructed she was allowed only 30 minutes per day) her mom will come and say "okay but just one more", or if I tell her no more juice (this is the instruction I was given directly by them to only give her one cup of 50% juice 50% water per day) and then she comes out of her home office and pours more. I really appreciate the comment from Lone62star about her undermining my authority, I think you have made me realize that is a big part of the problem. Another problem though is the fact that as soon as I leave for the day or am gone for the weekend, they will just revert to their way of doing things and the zero discipline comes back into play. Which is where I feel like the child now thinks of me as the "bad guy" because I don't allow her to run amock. As far as the choices option, that only goes so far as well. I do offer her two choices usually. But she is so stubborn that if I tell her we have two choices for breakfast, she would rather just not eat. If it's two choices of clothing to wear, she will just wear pajamas. If it's what activity we should do, she would just choose to stay home. You get the picture. It's just not a conducive environment. And if I try to make a choice for her, this is when the tantrum comes into play and mommy comes to "save the day". I am a very patient and kind person by nature, but never have dealt with such a situation in my line of work and I'm starting to bring this negativity home with me and it's affecting my home life with my partner. I have worked for many families in the past 8-9 years and have never ran into this problem. As someone else above stated, they think "their precious little child shits sunshine out her ass" Lol and that's another issue in itself.. They see no action by her as bad. They think she's the sweetest smartest best child on earth. They even laugh when she hits them in the face or throws things.

If they're unwilling to work with you on SOME kind of discipline plan, you will simply grow more frustrated over time. This is one of those lessons all nannies put under their belt at some point: ask these questions at the interview. "what's your parenting philosophy?" "How do you/how do you plan to handle misbehaving and discipline? "

Most parents don't change how they want to raise their child for anyone... And I don't fight uphill battles, we are either a team or we're not. They're not on your team! This is the age for boundaries and enforcement of rules, it's for her safety as much as it's for your sanity.

I'm dealing with the same thing!! The baby is 16 months and doesn't do anything she doesn't want to. She is bribed basically with chocolate to sit in her chair and doesn't have to sit if she doesn't want to. She doesn't have to drink her bottles if she doesn't want to but then when she doesn't drink all day then it's my fault. Then they tell me that she has to drink and to hold on to her since she doesn't want to sit and drink anything. But then if she cries too much (like 2 mins ) then dad runs in a rescues her. It's getting worse as she gets older and I'm thinking more and more that I need to quit.