Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nanny Do's and Dont's of Speaking with Parents

Talking to Your Boss About Problems with the Job

All employees (no matter their job title) should be careful not to gossip about their employers or they risk their employers hearing about the gossip.

Instead, whenever you have an issue with your boss you must communicate directly to your employer to resolve the issue. Speaking to a third party doesn't help you deal with the issue directly.

According to Anne Merchant Geissler author of The Child Care Textbook, one of the most common obstacles to good communication is the inability or reluctance to deal with issues directly, honestly, and in a timely manner.

Ms. Merchant Geissler recommends that nannies speak directly to their employers about any problems with the job rather than gossip to their peers when they have an issue with their job.

She suggests setting an agenda before speaking to your boss. Determine the topic for discussion, ask the parents for a time to talk about the topic, and agree on how much time will be allotted with the understanding that there may be future meetings.

Ms. Merchant Geissler recommends the following when speaking to your employers about a problem:

Begin with something positive. Acknowledge the positive aspects or qualities of the situation or individuals involved before addressing frustrating or difficult issues.

Focus on positive results. Believe that everyone’s needs can be met in a satisfactory way. There are solutions that can work for everyone. The challenge is to honor everyone involved in the communication and to be open to all possibilities.

Be patient. Allow the parents to speak without interruption. Listen to what each person has to say with an open mind. Let go of judgmental thoughts. This allows each person to express their feelings freely and comfortably.

Be empathetic. Acknowledge each other’s feelings and concerns. Practicing empathy instead of opposition or intellectual feedback can bring remarkable results in creating nurturing, and mutually supportive relationships.

Talk honestly about your feelings and concerns. You have a right to express your feelings but do so without accusing others or making others feel they are wrong. Take a few moments so that you can state your feelings clearly and directly without being overly emotional.

Develop an inquiring attitude. Ask open ended questions — not statements hidden within questions. For example, "Why do you always so that?"

Use "I" statements. Avoid defensive reactions by coming from your own personal experience. Instead of beginning with accusations that begin with "you," shift the tone by stating how you feel. For example, "When I heard what you did, I felt angry because I felt like my input was ignored."

Paraphrase and use expanders. For example you might say, "You felt sad. Tell me more." This conveys understanding, interest, and inquiry.

End on a positive note. Always end conversations with parents by thanking them for their time and effort for participating in the communication process.

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