My NK (Nanny Kid) is starting this thing where we have an amazing day together, and as soon as mom comes home, he throws a fit and starts crying. Its like he’s a totally different person! I just started with this family and can tell it’s making the mom question our days together. What do I do?
Dear Inopportune Theatrics,
A critical piece of the Parent/Nanny relationship is open and honest communication. This is especially true in the beginning and relationship-building stages. It eases any sense of unresolved issues or tension later on, and ensures a long-lasting partnership with you and your family.
The fact you are already developing nervousness about how your NK transitions from your time together means you need to have a conversation sooner than later. How you choose to have this conversation will lay a foundation for how you choose to engage issues in the future.
I am an advocate of transparency, but I believe there is a way to accomplish openness without making your parent feel bad. First and foremost, it is important to be direct about wanting to touch base with your parent. For instance, “I would like to have an opportunity to discuss a few things with you. Is there a time that works for you?” This also gives you an opportunity to “soften” your message with other day-to-day happenings, or miscellaneous updates. However, don’t let your key issue get lost. You don’t want to drown out an issue, if it could escalate down the road.
I recommend highlighting the high points of your day and describing how seamless it was. You can express your concern that the parents may not have the opportunity to see this because of the difficulty at transition time. Invite them to brainstorm ideas as to how you can work on the transition as a team. Ask good questions of your parent as to why they think it may be happening. For instance:
How do you think we can create a more positive transition when you come home?
Do you have any ideas why there would be such a drastic shift in behavior and attitude when you get home?
Here are a few ideas I have come up with to ensure we end the day on a high note, do you mind if I share them with you?
Finally, reassure them your ultimate goal is to create the healthiest and happiest environment for their family, and you are committed to problem-solve through tough issues in order to make that happen.
Kay is a tried and true adventurer who has honed her communication skills through 3 languages, global travel, higher education, and a whole lot of work. She started off as a nanny abroad for a family of 5 that evolved into 9, and gradually strengthened those skills with a bachelor’s in Communication Studies and a master’s in Conflict Resolution.
Kay is an advocate of proactive personal development and intentional communication. Her work in community development and engagement has primed her to dig deep into tough issues, which we find to be relevant to the work we do with our families. Her tenure on the executive board of a large corporation as the Organizational Development Director seasons her to identify and work through tough issues.
Kay is an active listener and an exceptional writer. We believe her to have the ideal skill-set to serve our nannies and families in working through the dynamic and pressing questions they encounter along the way.
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