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When parents won’t listen (or change)

2013 May 26

As a childcarer you may sometimes find yourself in the situation where you have repeatedly tried to communicate with the parents about an issue and been ignored, or told that the parents will do something only to find they haven’t. At this point you need to make a decision about how important the issue is, to the children and to you, and whether you can work with things are they are.

Any concerns about the children’s safety or well-being must be reported. If you feel a parent’s actions or inaction mount up to abuse or neglect then you have a duty to get in touch with your relevant local authority.

Where it’s not a safeguarding issue, but makes carrying out your job difficult for you then you need to decide what actions you can take without the overt support of the parents, assuming they are happy for you to do so. Children can be quick to notice inconsistencies so acknowledge any differences between what you say and what the parents say, however they are also capable of learning which behaviours are acceptable with which adult and as long as you are consistent with them they will learn (even if it takes a little longer!).

All this, though, can make your job extremely stressful. Finding ways to wind down at the end of the day, or even quietly blow off steam half way through, are vital for your well-being. Feeling alone and unsupported can really sap your morale so share your feelings with your loved ones or friends. Often as nannies we feel we can’t talk to anyone about what goes on in our job but it’s perfectly okay to reveal our feelings and frustrations. As a general rule talking in ‘I’ terms (I feel I…. etc) won’t give anything away and it will help you acknowledge your own emotions instead of bottling them up. Sport can be a great way to relieve frustration, and crafts that occupy your hands such as knitting or card-making can be a good way to calm down and focus on something positive and productive. Creating a time to work through your feelings and set them to rest is another good way to keep your kind clear and preventing stress in your job invading your life. Work on accepting what you can’t change and seeing the positives in the things you can.

Ultimately if you feel the parents are making it impossible for you to continue, or you are unable to destress at least at the end of a working week then it might be time for you to move on. You can change the children but you can’t change the parents, and sometimes accepting that is the hardest thing of all.

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