I am a Nanny for a 4 year old girl who sticks her tongue out a lot.
At first it was when she was angry but now it is any time. Mom does not discipline this action at all. She just tells her daughter to say she is sorry. The girl is very sneaky about it, too. Makes sure mom is not looking. But I do call her out on it. Mom knows I do not like this but to no avail. What would be your suggestion to this? If she does this when mom is not home, I do take things away and put her in time out. I have tried ignoring it but to no avail. I think ignoring it is letting her get away with it and I don't think that is right. I raised children of my own and if they tried that, it was the last time. I just think this is so disrespectful and do not like it one bit. I am not the only one who she does this to. Mom also knows I do not like it but she does nothing. Trying to deal with it but it drives me crazy. Mom lets this child get away with everything and is very spoiled. My only option lately seems to be to stop Nannying for her. Please any advice would be great. Thanks.
From: Nanny2, Warminster (PA or UK? LW doesn't specify)
What troubles me much more than the sticking-out-the-tongue behavior itself is that you and the mother are in conflict over this and, perhaps, over much more. It's never healthy for kids when caregivers disagree to this extent. You've told the mother you don't like the behavior. The mother not only ignores the behavior itself, but also ignores your discomfort with it. You're so uncomfortable with the behavior that you don't tolerate it. That ends up giving the child an unhealthy amount of power because she knows mom doesn't mind (or doesn't care -- there's a difference), and she knows you do.
There's a lot of passive/aggressive behavior here!
It's the parent's decision which battles to pick and how to wage them. Ignoring a behavior is often a valid strategy; the lack of attention and reinforcement typically takes the "fun" out of it for the child. It's the caregiver's job to follow the rules and limits the parents set.
None of this is working. Not for you, the child or the mom.
The only way something good can happen here is for you and the mom to get on the same page. Usually it's the parent's job to make that happen. In this case, it sounds like it's up to you. That means taking the high road -- that you want what's best for this child, and that you need the mom's support on this particular behavior.
I sense, however, that that won't happen. An even bigger issue is that it sounds as if you don't like this child, don't respect the mom, and as if the mom is pretty entrenched. My bottom line? This isn't healthy for this child. Let the mom know -- that you're looking for a new job, and be sure to tell her -- as non-judgmentally as possible -- why you are.
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