Raising children can be difficult at times and no matter how great the relationship is that your nanny has with your kids, conflicts are bound to happen every once in a while. When they do, how do you respond? Most of the time, the factors that are most frequently at work in a conflict situation are:
- Control issues
- Inconsistent rules
- Differences in communication styles
- Different perceptions of the situation
Oftentimes it could be any or all of these, as they are usually closely related. First, take a step back from the situation and be sure to carefully listen to both parties. Let your child express their feelings and concerns. Letting them be heard is key to creating a solid relationship that’s build on trust and strong communication. The same goes with your nanny. Let your nanny state the issue from her perspective and make sure that she is heard, as this makes her feels respected and valued. The parent and nanny should always have a united front in front of the child, so if the child is the one that needs to be corrected, be sure to back up the nanny. If the issue is with the nanny and her behavior, do not have the conversation in front of the child.
If you think the conflict is from how your new nanny differs in style from your old nanny, this may be a bigger discussion that you will need to have with your nanny about expectations. Talk in detail with your nanny about her specific style in working with children and make sure that it aligns with how you want your children taken care of. If there are red flags or differing belief systems, this could be a deal breaker and something that you will need to consider. The same goes with setting rules for your kids. If your nanny has different rules than you do, you should communicate these things well ahead of time so there are no conflicts that arise. For example, if your nanny does not allow the children to watch television during the day but you do, this could send mixed messages to your child. Talk at length about rules, boundaries, and expectations with your nanny so you can be sure everyone is clear on how things should be operated when you are away. Most importantly, if you require your nanny to enforce certain rules or behaviors (no eating on the sofa or clothes in the hamper and bed made before play time) please be sure to enforce the same with your children when you are in charge so your child does not become confused or negatively view your nanny as a hard taskmaster.
Communication and consistency – both with your child and your nanny – are the keys when it comes to conflict resolution and avoidance. Keeping the lines of communication open at all times and the rules and expectations of your child consistent at all times will help your child and your nanny thrive.