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#AskAlyson: Getting the nanny on board

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Dear Alyson,

We have read your books and heard you speak at our child’s school.  My partner and I are both on the same page with your parenting philosophy.  Our issue is actually with our daughter’s nanny.  We have had her with us since Meghan was 18 months old, but now that she is in kindergarten she needs more disciplining and more independence.  We have tried to encourage our nanny to let Meghan do things on her own, like hang up her own coat, and put her plate in the dishwasher, but the nanny is too eager, and does this for her. We have asked her to be firmer about the house rules, like not letting her get down from the table, but she can’t seem to follow through with a consequence, preferring instead to nag or acquiesce to our daughter.  I am not sure she has the temperament to actually do the job anymore.   How do you decide if someone is able to learn your Adlerian parenting methods or if we should just move on to another nanny and potentially have the same problem?


Dear Anonymous,

Every person involved in child rearing has their own ideas and personal history of how they think they should be dealing with children.  While this can be shaped by education and new experiences, they have to be open-minded and have a willingness to change.  When you have been paid to care for children it seems like you are not doing your job if you suddenly stop doing for children and allow them to manage on their own.  It may feel harsh to some people to discipline another person’s child, especially if that child gets angry or emotionally distraught.  While we can understand these hurdles, it doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome.  I suggest you have weekly meetings with your nanny and explicitly lay out one change per week and model for her / him what you would like done, and how to handle any fall out behaviours from your child.   If you’re are doing family meetings, include the nanny in the meetings so you work as a whole team to bring about changes.  If change is not occurring, you can start to give notice that these are requirements of employment and termination will occur if they can’t do the job as explicitly described.  Ask them what support they need to follow your instructions.  See if they would take a parenting class or read a book to better understand the philosophy.  But if no change occurs, you’re best to find someone else.

Happy parenting

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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