What Do You Think Causes Nanny/Parent Relationships to Fail?
With the nanny’s workplace being the family’s home and the nanny’s job centering on caring for her employer’s most prized possession, it is no secret that the nanny and employer relationship is an intimate one. In fact, it’s for this reason that the nanny and employer relationship is often compared to a marriage.
And like with any good marriage, a good nanny and employer relationship takes work. For the relationship to be successful, both parties must strive to fulfill their commitments to each other, to keep the lines of communication open and to do their best to ensure an open and honest relationship.
When nanny and employer relationships fail, it is usually because of one (or more) of the following five reasons:
1. Lack of communication. For the nanny and employer relationship to be successful, both the nanny and the parents must actively communicate. Keeping the lines of communication open is essential in preventing resentment and hurt feelings from sabotaging the relationship. Setting aside a time for weekly check-in meetings can help ensure communication flows freely between both parties. If an issue comes up, discussing it before negative feelings fester can help facilitate a good relationship. Maintaining a nanny journal to leave notes in, encouraging emails, text messages and phone calls when something comes up, and facilitating a communication friendly environment can help ensure the lines of communication are always open. If you want your nanny to feel free to contact you at anytime, be sure she feels like it is okay to do so.
2. Poor matching. Even the most perfect nanny may not be perfect for every family. If a nanny and her employer do not share similar parenting styles, lifestyle choices or values, or if the type of care the employer wants and the type of care the nanny wishes to provide don’t match up, the relationship may suffer. While some nannies and employers are able to adapt to improve their compatibility, sometimes there is just too much of a gap and the relationship goes south.
3. Lack of respect. When nannies and their employers do not share mutual respect, the relationship can suffer. The nanny who chronically shows up five minutes late leads the employer to believe that the nanny doesn’t value her job. The employer who consistently walks in the door the minute the nanny is scheduled to leave leads the nanny to believe her time isn’t valued. The employer that doesn’t back the nanny in front of the child or expects the live-in nanny to be on call 24/7 conveys that she doesn’t really matter. Be sure your attitude and actions convey a professional level of respect.
4. Mismanagement. Not surprisingly, even the most effective corporate managers can have difficulty managing household employees. The nature of the relationship and the workspace can make nanny management tough. Having a written work agreement, household handbook, weekly meetings and quarterly reviews can set the framework for managing household staff effectively.
5. Lack of professional boundaries. When a nanny employer asks what her nanny did over the weekend, she really doesn’t want to hear the type of details that would make your grandmother blush. When you are having a conflict with your spouse, your nanny doesn’t want to be your sounding board, although it may appear she is willing to be by her mere presence in your home. While many nannies and their employers come to be like family, the reality is that they’re not. It’s important to keep that line of distinction present.
The nanny and employer relationship can be a healthy one, if both the nanny and the employer work to ensure its success. If you are prepared to invest yourself in building the relationship, it will thrive. What you are willing to put into the relationship, you will get out of it.