Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents: Do Not Take Sides with Either Parent
Nannies don’t want to be put into the uncomfortable position of having to listen to deeply to personal details of her bosses’ lives.
Some parents make sarcastic comments about their spouses to their nannies, putting employees in a terrible position. During marriage disputes, separations, or divorces, nannies don’t want to feel caught in the middle.
Sometimes nannies get caught in the middle because a parent doesn’t want to, or doesn’t know how to, handle a conflict with their spouse so they voice their frustrations to their nannies. But, the awkward negativity wears heavily on employees.
It is also terribly difficult for nannies to get different instructions from each parent. To help prevent this, parents should discuss their nanny’s schedule and job together before discussing the nanny’s schedule or job duties with her each week. When parents spend a few minutes each week to ensure they are both on the same page it helps reduce confusion and frustration for nannies. Another way to reduce confusion is for nannies to send all emails and texts about their jobs to both parents to make sure both parents know what the other is discussing with their employees.
When nannies feel stuck in the middle of marital disputes, or when parents make nasty comments about their partner to their nannies, the caregivers should speak up. It’s always scary to discuss issues with employers but nannies should ask themselves what is the best thing and worst thing that could happen if they speak up? Just privately telling the offensive parent quietly that when they make nasty comments about their spouse it makes them feel awkward is an honest and appropriate to try to stop feeling stuck in the middle.
Once nannies respectfully explain to the parents that they don't want to be put in the middle any more, parents will typically stop making as many awkward comments. Speaking up also helps parents understand that they need to work to be on the same page when giving nannies instructions.