Risks of Mixing Family and Business: Respecting Professional Boundaries
The number one piece of advice I have for nannies and parents is to always remember that nannies are employees, not family members. But, what should nannies do when they are working for family members? Should nannies even consider working for family members?
The greatest benefit for parents in hiring family members is trust. When hiring family members as nannies there is no need for parents to run background checks or reference checks. Family members already know and love the children. The kids will likely adjust to a family member caring for them more easily than a stranger.
But, mixing business and family can ruin relationships. For example, parents and nannies might become more lax than they would in a typical boss and employee relationship. Differences that can lead to disputes such as financial issues, differing child rearing philosophies, or not enough gratefulness can lead to a lifetime of resentment and hostility towards one another.
Most families respect their elders. When an elder family member cares for children in the family their parenting style may conflict with their employers. But no parents wants to scold, criticize, or question the care provided by a Grandparent. No one wants to appear disrespectful to their elders.
Elders may also accept the job of caring for their Grandchildren because they feel pressured to do so. Many well-intentioned Grandparents feel it’s their duty to help out their kids and Grandkids when in reality they really wish they would not have to work so hard.
If at all possible it’s best for nannies to earn a living working for families they are not also related to. Should conflict between caregivers and employers ensue, the risk of ruining a relationship with a family member won't be in jeopardy.