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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

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Babysitter As Confidante or Advisor

When is it acceptable for your babysitter to act as your confidante and/or advisor in your personal affairs?  How do you handle such matters responsibly and professionally?

Let’s say that you and your husband have been disagreeing lately.  You know it is not appropriate to speak with your children about your anger at your husband, but you really need to talk to someone.  Your babysitter is handy.  She listens well.  She offers wise counsel.  She may even try to mediate the dispute by speaking with each of you individually to bring you both to a successful compromise.  While these may be tempting, all of this puts your babysitter in a difficult and unprofessional position.  Of course she listens well and offers wise counsel: those are some of the many reasons that she is an outstanding babysitter.  However, she was hired to listen and provide counsel to your children . . . not to you.  Babysitters sometimes have difficulty telling their employer-parents “no”, so if you ask your babysitter to help you work your way through marital discord, your babysitter (who obviously enjoys helping people) may find it difficult to tell you “no” even though she knows that she will feel uncomfortable in telling you “yes”.  It is best if you simply do not put her in that position in the first place.

On the other hand, what happens if your babysitter happens to overhear a marital discord and chooses (on her own) to get involved?  If your babysitter offers to listen, counsel, or mediate for you, it’s best to politely decline her offer.   

In the preceding examples, marital discord was the initial stressor.  However, the advice of this article remains true whether the initial stressor is parent-grandparent discord or any other non-child-related discord.  Ultimately, it is up to you to limit your babysitter’s roles to those for which she was hired.  It is never acceptable for your babysitter to act as your confidante and/or advisor in your non-child-related personal affairs.

1 comment to Babysitter As Confidante or Advisor

  • Ositamon

    I think this is a great article. There were times when a family I use to work for would throw things at each other right in front of me and the children. As well as screaming, cursing, etc. Afterward one parents or sometimes both would try to get me to side with them. It horribly uncomfortable. Then if fights weren’t happening in front of me I would hear about it from the dad when i got there the next morning. Anyway, point being I think this article is good for both nanny and family. Have a good relationship- because your caring for the most precious thing. But be professional and keep deep personal matters to yourself. And try not to be abusive to each other in front of the nanny and ESP not in front of the children.

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