Top Ten Reasons Why Nannies Leave a Position: Reason #4
4) The family micro-manages the nanny.
Although economics dictate that many families need to hire childcare, not every family is a good candidate for employing a nanny. Every parent initially has reservations about leaving their child in the care of someone else, and it is true that no-one, not even the best nanny, can be a perfect substitute for a parent. When you hire a nanny, you give up the “perfect” care your child would receive if you were home. Some parents accept this and some parents never do. Most families come to love their nanny (if she’s very good) and form a strong bond to her, but some parents are not able to trust the nanny, even if she’s very good. It’s my own feeling that extremely particular parents should decide which parent will stay home, rather than go through several nannies per year who do not meet their expectations. It is important for parents to honestly examine their feelings about working vs. staying home with their child. If in their heart of hearts, a parent feels some resentment toward the nanny for being with their child, or they feel extremely guilty that they’re not at home, these feelings could unintentionally manifest as unfair treatment toward the nanny that is not entirely conscious. In their mission to give their child the best care, paradoxically– strong, unexamined guilt feelings could be harmful to their child’s development in the form of conflict between them and the nanny, or frequent changes in nannies which disrupt their child’s emotional attachment to a caregiver.
A good nanny will follow your guidelines and adhere to your rules regarding the care of your child and your home. Some nannies are more obsessive than others, and when I am working with a very particular family, I usually send them nannies who are higher on the obsessive scale. (As a licensed psychologist and owner of the company, we run a statistically validated personality screen on all candidates). These nannies have great attention to detail, which works well for these families. The trade-off is that more obsessive nannies will also have a bit more anxiety and may not tolerate criticism well. A nanny who is more able to “roll” with criticism may have a more easy-going personality but may not possess the extreme attention to detail that these families require.
A very experienced nanny with beautiful, carefully-checked references from several families and an excellent personality screen result will rarely need to be micro-managed. This type of nanny is accustomed to gradually earning a high level of trust from her former employers. This type of nanny will be very uncomfortable in a situation where she feels she has to “prove herself” every day. I encountered many first-time parents who never allowed themselves to trust their nanny, even though they admitted she was doing a very good job. It simply may have been impossible for them to let down their guard. This type of parent would probably be happiest finding a way to stay home with their child, at least until their child begins preschool.
To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to: www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency, and The Nanny Answer, an online, do-it-yourself nanny screening service.