Nannies are Not Marriage Counselors: Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents
Does it feel awkward when a parent you work for complains to you about their spouse? Have you ever felt uncomfortable when the parents you work for have argued in front of you?
It’s inevitable if you work as a nanny that you will overhear a lot of intimate, personal conversations between the parents. It’s difficult to not take sides, especially if the parents argue within earshot. But, it’s important to remember that you are the nanny and not a marriage counselor. And if you feel anxious and uncomfortable when the parents complain to you about their partner, or argue in your presence, you can speak up.
Although you can’t make other people do what you want them to do and you can’t make them stop fighting, you can set your own boundaries. You can ask them not to argue in front of you.
You can say:
"I hate to interrupt, but is there any way you guys could talk about it later? I hate to see you guys argue because I like you both. It just makes me very uncomfortable.”
“It’s hard to bring this up and I want you to know that I like working for you and I like you both you. I don’t want to embarrass you but I feel uncomfortable when you complain about your wife (or husband) to me. I just want to let you know that I like you both and I won’t ever take sides.”
Remember, it's normal for nannies to overhear arguments between parents occasionally and it is okay to just keep quiet and ignore the situation. But, if a parent complains to you about their partner often, or if it makes you uncomfortable when the parents fight in front of you, you can speak up and ask them to respect your professional boundaries and argue in private.
Stop by next Monday for more advice about Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents.