Monday Problem: Nanny not keen on Attachment Parenting

Monday Problem: Nanny not keen on Attachment Parenting


Disclaimer: all emails are abbreviated and edited for clarity. When you submit to The Nanny Time Bomb please note that there will be edits. All names and info kept confidential. 

 
Dear Nanny X,
 
I recently began working with a new family who practice attachment parenting which basically breaks down to this:
 
  1. Pick baby up when ever he cries
  2. Wear baby at all times unless he is asleep in his crib
  3. Feed on demand
  4. Respond to his every need immediately
  5. Let him nap no matter what time it is or takes
I have 15 years of experience working with small children and I feel like this type of childcare approach is going to make problems later on. I want to tell the parents that gently introducing structure around meal-times, naps etc will help the baby to self-soothe and gain control over his impulses. How should I approach this subject?
 
Nanny M.D
 
 
Dear Nanny M.D,
 
attachment parenting is a childcare choice made by parents and as caregivers we should always defer to our charge’s parents when implementing caregiving techniques. 
 
What is attachment parenting or AP?
“Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears,[1] is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences.[2] Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well-being. Less sensitive and emotionally unavailable parenting or neglect of the child’s needs may result in insecure forms of attachment style, which is a risk factor for many mental health problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and eating disorders).[3][4] In extreme and rare conditions, the child may not form an attachment at all and may suffer from reactive attachment disorder.[5] Principles of attachment parenting aim to increase development of a child’s secure attachment and decrease insecure attachment. When parents are taught to increase their sensitivity to an infant’s needs and signals, this increases the development of the child’s attachment security.[6] Sears’ specific techniques of attachment parenting remain under study. The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears.,[11] sometimes referred to as the ‘Bible of attachment parenting’[12] gives practical attachment parenting advice in the form of the following ‘seven baby B’s of attachment parenting’:
  • Birth bonding: The first few hours after birth are regarded as very important to promote attachment.
  • Belief in the signal value of your baby’s cries: Parents are encouraged to learn to understand their baby’s cries and respond quickly and appropriately to them.
  • Breast-feeding: This is regarded to have physical and psychological advantages to both mother and child.
  • Baby-wearing: The term was first used by Dr. Sears and it means carrying the baby in a sling or other carrier, close to the body of the caregiver.
  • Bedding close to baby: Sleeping in the same room and preferably in the same bed as the baby is encouraged, as is frequent (breast)feeding at night.
  • Balance and boundaries: Appropriate responsiveness (knowing when to say yes and when to say no) is needed to keep a healthy family alive.
  • Beware of baby trainers: Instead of taking advice about how to ‘train’ the baby to make it cry less and sleep for longer stretches, parents are encouraged to listen to their own instinct and intuition.
According to attachment parenting advocates this advice helps parents to respond quickly and sensitively to their baby’s needs, thus facilitating development of secure attachment. Childcare Attachment parenting proponents value secure attachment between children and a primary caregiver, preferably a parent or guardian. Secure primary or secondary attachments may also be formed with other caregiving adults and should be supported by the parents. From the biological point of view, caregiver and infant have evolved a coordinated relationship in which the infant seeks to maintain proximity to the carer who responds to its overtures and signals of distress or fear and provides a secure base for exploration. The type of attachment formed by the infant and child is influential in the formation of the internal working model and thus the child’s functioning throughout life. The secure attachment, formed when a carer is appropriately sensitive to the child’s emotional and biological needs, is the norm.[13] Even when engaging non-parental caregivers, attachment parents strive to maintain healthy, secure attachments with their children. AP-friendly childcare is a continuation of the nurturing care given by the parents and focuses on meeting the child’s needs. Attachment parents typically work to make caregiving arrangements that are sensitive to the child while balancing their own needs as well. While in childcare, children may suffer injuries or traumatic experiences, and this may affect their attachment to the parent. An ‘attachment injury’ may form if an AP is not present for a traumatic or severely physically painful event in the child’s life, or the AP does not partake in the primary attachment recovery process (which takes place immediately after the injury until the child is no longer in pain). Although attachment injuries are hypothesized to increase the likelihood of an insecure and unstable attachment to the parent by proponents of attachment parenting, evidence of the existence of these injuries is scarce. In effect, even researchers that have noted some deleterious consequences of child care note that the most important source of influence on attachment relationships is the caregiver and that child care quality is an important factor to consider.[14]” 1 =&6=&
Craigslist Ad: exceptional nanny just looking for a job?

Craigslist Ad: exceptional nanny just looking for a job?

Dear Prospective Employer:

Before you ask: I am an experienced, smart, legal, gifted caregiver although I only speak English I am willing to learn Mandarin Chinese because it will help your child be even more successful than you are. I would prefer a decent salary but when I meet you in your penthouse if all you can afford is $12 an hour I will take it. I am agency screened and come with a contract but DON’T be put off! I’m okay with being treated like an undocumented worker or a human trafficking victim. I do have 4 references and you can waste their time grilling them over the phone about any boyfriends or whether I live in a bad neighborhood. I am willing to travel and can be held hostage through-out the summer somewhere isolated with 5 angry children while you run along the beach or go shopping. Or if you can’t afford to retain me like any other full-time employer you can just let me go for 3 months knowing full well I will come straight back in September when school starts.I prefer to go home at night at the time we arranged and agreed upon but if you decide at the last second to have that drink with your BFF I’m totally cool with missing my last bus. I have work experience with special needs and can overlook the fact that your kids clearly have issues and that you should be paying someone specialized to deal with the problem – but would rather not. I love dogs and while I don’t have dog-walking experience I’m sure I can walk the dog 3 times a day and pick up its poop. When a baby who has been crying all day eventually goes down to nap I’m happy to replace your housekeeper and clean your entire apartment. I will be good at my job but not good enough that the baby won’t cry when you leave to get your hair done.

I will do my best to make sure the kids love you more than me even as I tuck them up in bed at night. I promise never to say ‘no’ and to indenture myself for all perpetuity to your family because you’re right in thinking I have no family friends or social

Monday Problem: How do I go from no contract to a nanny contract?

Monday Problem: How do I go from no contract to a nanny contract?

Disclaimer: all emails are abbreviated and edited for clarity. When you submit to The Nanny Time Bomb please note that there will be edits. All names and info kept confidential.  =&1=&

your employers have an obligation to observe the Domestic Workers law in your state. Legal domestic workers are afforded protection under the law governing issues like basic hours, over-time and vacation and sick pay. Look up the laws in your state. Then request

Nannies: 10 Signs of a Bad Employer

Nannies: 10 Signs of a Bad Employer

=&0=& With all the genuine concerns around abusive nannies, I thought it might be useful to run an article about bad employers. Statistics show that the majority of nannies perform a good job, and that cases like the Krim double homicide are – thankfully – extremely rare. Yet still, we hear constantly about trust and betrayal by nannies in the media. What is often over-looked is a more common form of abuse: bad employers. It takes a beating or even a human trafficking before this kind of violation makes the headlines. The fact is, most nannies at one point in their careers comes across an abusive employer. Abuse comes in all shapes and forms: yelling, shouting, demeaning speech, with-holding payment, unfair work demands, the unlawful retention of legal papers and even actual physical harm. This is because childcare remains the one service industry that is unregulated. While it is routine for parents to thoroughly screen prospective nannies by running rigorous background checks involving the Police and credit history, or by speaking to previous employers, etc, the same is not true for nannies. Nannies attend each interview in blind faith. Nannies are rarely told why a former nanny left. Nannies are not assured that a new employer will treat them courteously and will not take liberties. Finally, nannies are never offered evidence that a new employer can afford to keep them on a payroll for as long as they promise. A nanny’s most private information, on the other hand, is presented often to multiple viewers. With this in mind nannies can be alert to the indicators of a bad employer. They = prospective employers.

They are cool and indifferent on an interview. They

Nanny – Do you get laid off every summer ?

Nanny – Do you get laid off every summer ?

You needn’t get the Summer blues just because you’re a nanny. By Nanny X, It always amazes me just how quickly summer descends in the City. By mid-March parents are feverishly sourcing the best camps. By April/May families are looking at their calendars planning their annual vacation. Come June school is winding down. In the midst of all this frenetic activity a nanny can often feel side-lined. For most nannies, the summer brings along with it a certain kind of dread. It doesn’t matter how invaluable her services are for the rest of the year, over the summer, her very job survival can hang in the balance. Why is this? 1) Nanny herself avoids the issue and simply hopes for some loyalty and a schedule she can work to. 2) Parents find themselves in a moving landscape where their children’s needs are in constant flux, and as such, thinking about the nanny is way down the to-do list. 3) The cost of camp, vacations and out-of-school activities in the City makes it cost-prohibitive to maintain a full-time nanny. 4) Parents deliberately avoid addressing the ‘nanny in the summer’ issue by waiting until the last minute to disclose what their plans are. Just before summer officially breaks the chatter amongst nannies contains a familiar theme: what will they do with me over the summer? Will my hours go down when school resumes? I hope they don’t ask me to live-in at their country house. Nannies with children of their own face a double quandary: how can I remain in service while organizing my own children’s downtime? Essentially the answer to the ‘summer lay-off’ is simple. It is the exact same solution to almost every problem governing childcare. It is this: define in an annual review (beginning in January of every year) a new contract or agreement that governs: pay, duties, sick-days, vacation pay/summer retainer and over-time. =&0=& When you sign a contract with an employer effectively they are buying your time and services for 12 months, not 9 months. You in turn guarantee your labor, commitment and services for that time period. If your employer is unwilling to retain your services over the summer and if they believe they have every right to ‘let you go’ without pay for 3 months of the year, then you are not being treated as a professional childcare provider. You are being viewed as a casual worker and via your consent, that is, returning every September to ‘business as usual’, you are condoning your own mistreatment. Parents who vacation away from their usual location will often cite economic reasons for why they cannot retain their nanny June-September, but this is not a legitimate reason, if they are able to rent a second home it is a lifestyle choice. If affluent employers can get away with employing casual workers without any benefits, they will. But you as a professional nanny also share some responsibility in protecting your rights as a full-time or even part-time worker. Spring is not the time to raise the issue of being retained over the summer, January is. When you begin a new job, lead with a contract. Contracts do the talking for you. In the contract add a clause that states both parties will re-negotiate the terms of the contract annually, at the beginning of the year. Don’t let your employers fob you off with the excuse that they can’t plan that far ahead. Most employers will know ahead of time what school or camp their children will attend over the summer. The summer should not be synonymous with being let go or going weeks without a wage. Nannies, like all professionals, deserve to be retained during any period of time where they are available to work but their employers are not. In other words, it is not your responsibility to guarantee work it is your employer’s. In my next article I will be outlining what your contract should look like. =&1=&