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Nanny in need of advice on spoiled rotten children.


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This might be lengthy, so if you don't feel like reading for a few minutes, I suggest you move on.



I've been nannying for my sister for over a year. I've been helping raise children for at least 8 years, and I'm 23. My sister 'brittany' is 32 and married and has a 10 year old girl 'nicole' who she shares custody with, with her ex. AND an 18 month old 'stacy' who is, and I'd hate to say it, a spoiled rotten destructive brat, her and her current husband's first child together. I am a firm believer that parents are, the majority of time, enablers to a child's behavior, and in this case, I could not be more right. Nicole, the 10 year old, is a calm girl, very creative and well behaved. But due to my sister's 'free spirit' way of raising kids, she's never enforced responsibilities such as simple household chores kids should be doing. Getting Nicole to do a few dishes or sweep or cleaning of any sort, is like pulling teeth. Of course she has a curfew and a decent bed time and is always watched and not allowed to just run wild, but that's not really the point. I encouraged a daily chore list, which everyone agreed to, and it did not last long. Some kids just do everything poorly, so therefore you won't ask them to do it again, it seems.


These girls have NEVER been yelled at or punished. Late checking in? Leaving messes? Lying? It's a situation where the parent threatens to punish but never does. Her husband is also at his ropes end with Nicoles behavior. Like the all famous "if you don't eat your dinner, no snacks later" That does not apply. If you don't eat your dinner in this family, go ahead and munch on all the snacks you want later, it doesn't matter. My sister enables this behavior because she feels guilty for working all the time, I'm sure.


So about Stacy, the 18 month old. I watch this child and her sister at least 4 to 5 days out of the week, 8 to 9 hours a day. She looks like the sweetest little thing, strangers even walk up to comment on how pretty of a baby she is. Big blue eyes and white-ish blonde hair. All I see is horns. I'm at my wits end, and feeling SO GUILTY for the animosity I am growing toward my family for the way this child is being raised and the absolute HORROR this child brings to the house hold. My sister is a prime example of over-indulging her children, NOT with material objects, but spoiling them in a sense where they go absolutely unpunished and do whatever they want in the household. Stacy has never been yelled at, and many many family members have told Brittany that patience is a very great thing to have with kids, but she has TOO MUCH patience. I agree completely. Here are some examples. Keep in mind, that I know she is only 18 months old, and toddlers do misbehave a lot, but also please consider where I'm coming from, as I've watched so many kids in my life, and NONE were even half as misbehaved or destructive as my baby niece.


1. When Stacy hits Brittany in the face, hard, and pinches or kicks or pulls hair and rips earrings out. Brittany says "ouch...ow....then makes a pretend cry and then laughs and starts tickling Stacy instead of maybe grabbing her hand and saying 'no that is not okay, and not nice' So this toddler thinks that people think it's funny when she punches them in the face or pinches them to the point of leaving good sized bruises. No matter how many other people don't joke about telling her not to do it, she knows she'll get away with doing it to mommy.


2. Brittany lets Stacy get into EVERYTHING!. Other people's purses in the house, recycling bin, cd cases, and thinks people are over-reacting and being rude when they get upset that the child has emptied everything out of their wallets/purse and ripped up every thing that can be ripped up. If it can be broken or ripped up, she does it. And it's allowed. Yes children should be allowed to 'explore' but maybe put a limit on how many things they can destroy in one day.


3. She has to have everything she wants or she will scream and go on a rampage, because her parents never tell her NO. No matter how many times i tell her not to do something, she will still do it, although she knows she's not supposed to, because her parents sugar-coat everything. Speaking of sugar, she has to have several popsicles a day, and all she does is take the popsicle, break it, rub it into the couch or wipe it on your clothes or leave it to sit and make a puddle some place in the house.


3. She has broken my glasses, found my phone and threw it outside, ripped up money, dumped sippy cups of milk and juice in my purse, ripped up homework, in matters of seconds I have hurried to go to the bathroom and rush back. She even does that 'i'm so cute and innocent' smile and head tilt when you catch her getting into something she isn't supposed to be in. She literally climbed a chair, got my glasses off the table, put them on the floor and dropped her heaviest toy on them, on purpose in a matter of 30 seconds. More than once, my friends have left while hanging out with me when i'm with Stacy because they could not handle her behavior and more than a few times, people have compared her to the horror movie star "Chucky"


4. Dinner? Forget it. She will eat pretty well for me IF i feed it to her, even though she knows how to eat by herself, but if my sister tries to make dinner and sit down, she doesn't get to eat, she spends the whole time consoling the screaming toddler who can't stand that she can't hit or punch or do negative things to get attention for 5 minutes. She'll throw her food everywhere, dump her milk out and scream until her mother holds her. Stacy gets every ounce of everyone's attention, so i really have no idea why she does so many naughty things to get attention. In restaurants, she will sit and eat for about 2 minutes before she's doing the back arch, banshee scream act to get out of her chair and run around the restaurant, into the kitchen, under other peoples tables, and my sister is completely oblivious to the waitresses tripping over her and people shaking their heads and leaving hurriedly and angry. It's no wonder my sister is so under-weight, she's not allowed to eat.


All this and more is so overwhelming on a daily basis, and I can't say anything to my sister because she gets SO mad when anyone gives her parenting advice, and I'm not a parent myself, so i know it would be horrible if i said anything to her, parents use the "you don't know what it's like" card a lot, but with my experience, and being with her child almost more than she gets to, and seeing how the baby turns into a straight up monster as soon as she returns home from work, I think I have room to give advice and make statements.


One day she was so inconsolable during a day my mother came to my sisters to visit while i was watching her. My mother even said "My God!! Give this kid a time out for a few minutes!!!!" and she's the most mellow, understanding, patient person I know. So I put her in her crib, and left her alone for less than a minute when her father, my brother in law came home from work. I told him she was having a fit, hitting, kicking, throwing things, breaking things and he said, 'Oh its alright' and went in and got her and treated everything as a normal day and conversed with me for a while. Little did I know, he threw a fit and told my sister he came home to me and my mom just having a great old time sitting at the kitchen table while the baby cried her eyes out so hard she could barely breathe. So I had my furious sister to answer to the next day. Apparently time outs for tantrum throwing kids is out of the question and abusive.


I'm writing this to you people in desperation for some advice or for some recommendations on some good books I could give to Brittany so she can just REALIZE there are better ways to parent kids without spoiling them and that a little discipline can go a long way. We just got back from visiting our grandmother accross the state and I spent 10 hours both ways in a car with Brittany and the 2 girls. My grandmother said she has no idea how i stand it every day, and quite frankly, I don't know either. This is beyond just a child with a behavior problem, it's parents that let their 18 month old run their lives. I've stuck around this long because it's convenient for my family and Brittany refuses to take her kids to day cares. I'm also still here for her and her family because like what my mother and grandmother also said, There's a HUGE chance that the next nanny will not be as patient, as this kid will test your nerves to their last end in a matter of 10 minutes to the point you want to scream and rip your hair out no matter how patient you are, and that could lead to someone hurting Stacy.


Some little kids are smarter than we give them credit for, Stacy KNOWS how to press buttons and test people. She enjoys making people angry, it's obvious. I am NOT over-reacting to this situation. It may be hard for people to consider my feelings on this because of her age, but I'm serious, This is one smart almost demented little child. It's scary how fast she learns how to get into things she knows she's not supposed to get into. Child proof bottles and lids are not Stacy-proof. I know my sister and her husband are enabling this behavior, but i have no idea how to step in.


Please help, and if you're going to be rude, just go to the next post. I need some real advice and recommendations here.

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I would just stop babysitting for them personally and find someone else to babysit for. Most parents are not going to change the way they parent no matter how many books you give them. It won't matter much what you try to do if they do not follow through. It is a lost cause. I would let them find a new nanny. The reason the kid is so demented is because she has no boundaries.

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I agree with Victoria. As her sister, I can see wanting to help her improve things, but I think you're in a no-win situation. If she wants an explanation why you won't nanny Stacy, tell her it's not working out for you, that you prefer working with clearer boundaries.


Did she have the same approach with Nicole in her early years?

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First advice - give your sister plenty of notice to find someone else - not in a bad way, but let her know that you need to take a break from family care because you love your family. Do not criticize her - you may need her as a reference, and she is not going to listen anyway. Tell her you are going back to school or something...


Second advice - take some early childhood learning classes and look for a new job - possibly at a reputable daycare or preschool. My favorite is a Montessori preschool, and sometimes they will allow you to make an appointment to quietly observe their class for a day. You will see some very well behaved students there, at least in another month or two once they get used to the structure and rules. You will see children there EAGER to sweep and mop and wash dishes and windows, as well as read and learn and help out other students in the class. You have some of the right ideas! Read up on the history of Maria Montessori, who grew up in the 1800's and was so perceptive when it came to children's needs and abilities.


Third advice - Take a parenting class. One of the most valuable and helpful one for me as a parent and an educator was "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Kline and Fay.


Fourth advice - My most favorite and helpful parenting class was called "Taking Charge", but I doubt you have it in your area. However, the book covers it all:

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It incorporates sound parenting/behavior management techniques. It really works! And you don't have to yell! Well, well, worth the $11 bucks...


Hope this helps! And by the way, I hope you begin to see your niece with lots of love, because her behavior is a product of the environment and not who she really is. Be a loving auntie to both those children, and get away from that job as soon as you can! And by the way, sometimes loving someone is setting limits too...

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I agree with the other two; maybe, just maybe, when she finds it impossible to get any nannies to stay, and all her friends stop coming round - she'll think that this kid's behaviour is not acceptable.


In the meantime, you're in the invidious situation of having responsibility without power, and this will take a huge toll on your own well being. You owe your sister nothing in a moral sense, and you'd be much better off being somewhere else. In a way, you're enabling their lack of boundaries by still being there. As you say, another nanny will probably not be as patient though, given how carefully nannies are vetted these days, it's very unlikely that anyone would hurt Stacy. Your sister will probably find it impossible to keep them, though, and it's only when she's at her wits' end that she'll consider a different approach.


If it's any consolation, I have a niece and nephew now in their 20's, who are the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. They were appalling kids, though, because MY sister had no idea how to instil consistent discipline and was actually quite frightened of them. Luckily she could afford to send them to lots of classes and different activities where the people in charge COULD control them, so at least they did get boundaries somewhere along the line.


However, you're not going to convince your sister of anything. She is tolerating this behaviour, and while you're still in this situation, so are you. Find yourself another position which is less likely to drive you to drink, or to an early grave!

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Wow. Thank you all for that advice, I thought people were going to think i was being overbearing and expecting too much. You're right about the boundaries, there really are NONE. With Nicole, she was always a really self entertaining kid, she didn't demand constant attention and even at 2 years old, she preferred to eat healthy snacks and sit in a corner by herself looking through books for hours, the same as her dad was as a child. I've seen her throw one tantrum in my life.


My sister has always been considerate in the sense that she would love for me to go do my own thing and will even help find me applications and drive around dropping off resumes so it wouldn't be that hard to give her notice and get a different job, knowing there wont be any hard feelings. Nicole went to a Montessori as a child as a matter of fact, very great place. I'm really tired of feeling guilty for just not wanting to put up with this behavior, and I know kids feel vibes from their elders so I make sure and not show anger or scream at her, I do raise my voice and get stern with her when she's trying to run away from me in a public place, but never straight up yelling.


I think you're right that it might take her losing a bunch of nannies and friends before realizing she could be doing things different.


Thanks a lot, again.

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