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Discipline: Are You and Your Nanny on the Same Page?

One of the most important topics to discuss during the interview process that can often get overlooked is that of discipline. It is so important to be on the same page with your nanny when it comes to how you will discipline and how you expect her to handle disciplining your children. Even if you are hiring a nanny for your infant, and the topic of discipline seems as though it isn’t necessary to address, you will still want to discuss how it will be handled in the future. Not addressing this topic ahead of time could lead to finding out down the road that you and your nanny have different views. When interviewing nanny candidates, take the time to ask them how they feel about discipline. If you have a very laid-back parenting style, it would not make sense to hire a nanny that is very strict. If you are stricter with discipline and expect for your Nanny to be the same way with your children, you would not want to hire a Nanny who is very relaxed when it comes to this topic. It is so very important to choose a nanny that feels the same or very similar to how you feel when it comes to disciplining your children. Many conflicts can arise creating stress on the Nanny/Parent relationship if each party has opposite views on the subject. 

A good way to find out if you are on the same page with a potential nanny on the important topic of discipline is to discuss different scenarios. How do you plan to handle if your child runs into the street? If your child hits you, your Nanny, or another child, how would you prefer for this to be dealt with? Disrespectful behavior such as throwing food, name calling, or talking back should be discussed. How do you plan to intervene if one of your children is being unkind to their sibling? Ask nanny candidates how they have handled such things in the past. Find out what works for them and what doesn’t. Time out may be your discipline of choice. Perhaps for older children you prefer to take away electronics or other privileges such as an outing or activity. Take the time to talk these things out in detail. Be sure to never ask your nanny to spank your child. It is inappropriate to expect this of a nanny and it should simply never be asked or expected of her. 

Once you have chosen a nanny please be sure to support her when it comes to the discipline that you have discussed and agreed upon. It is so important to never undermine your nanny. If you have discussed how situations should be handled and she has used her authority with the children, it is important to support her. If your nanny told your child that they lost their I-Pad privilege for the day, then there should be no I-Pad for the rest of the day, even once she has gone home. By undermining your nanny, you not only create tension in the Nanny/Parent relationship, but you are teaching your children that they do not have to respect her rules or authority. This scenario should work out both ways. If you told your child that she could not have dessert that evening due to her poor behavior, then your nanny needs to respect that, stick to it, and not give your child dessert. Supporting each other when it comes to discipline is extremely important to keep things running smoothly all around. This will also prevent children from trying to work their parents against the Nanny, or their Nanny against their parents. By showing a united front, your discipline will stick. Your children will learn that there are consequences for their behavior and that you and your Nanny communicate and support one another. 

It is of course acceptable to have some differing views as long as they are not extreme. Your nanny may be a little firmer where you are soft or vice versa. Slight differences do happen and are understandable as long as the support is there. It is so very difficult on a nanny when parents do not discipline, if you let the children do whatever they want without much structure or rules, and then let the nanny always be the disciplinarian or “bad guy”, it will create problems. It is important to make note that when the Nanny is working, she is in charge. By teaming up when it comes to discipline you will see much success in guiding your children, as well as maintaining a strong Nanny/Parent, and Nanny/child relationship.

By: Anne-Marie Ferraro