Nanny Bullying by Susan Tokayer

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I have been in business for 16 years and never have I, until now, known about a case of nanny bullying. But, unfortunately I have come to be peripherally involved in an unfortunate situation. I learned from a client that her former nanny has rallied the nannies in the client’s neighborhood to blackball the new nanny. The nannies are also refusing to allow their charges to play with the child the former nanny once cared for.

There are so many disturbing aspects to this situation. One is that the former nanny, that had worked for the family for 4 ½ yrs., would do such a thing to a family that she had a relationship with for so long. But, more disturbing is that the child would be the victim, a child the nanny surely would profess to love. Yes, the mother is angry and saddened, but the 4 yr. old child only knows that he no longer has play dates with his friends.

The second disturbing aspect is that the nanny friends of the former nanny would go along with this hostile scheme. Even if the nanny was angry that she had lost her job, shouldn’t the other nannies be the voices of reason and explain to their friend that taking revenge out on the child is wrong? No, these nannies went along with the plan, even telling the new nanny, in front of her charge, that they were not welcome and there would be no invitations for play dates.

I haven’t mentioned why the nanny was let go from her position because I think it is not important. But, from what I know, the family felt that the nanny was not the best fit for their needs at this time. She was given an extremely generous severance package and an excellent reference.

To me this story is so troubling on so many different levels. Children are now having lessons in school on bullying. School staff and parents are told to be on the alert and intervene when bullying occurs. Schools have instituted zero tolerance policies for bullying. Yet, aren’t we as caregivers, parents and role models the supreme teachers? Do children not learn first and foremost by example? What have these nannies taught their charges by telling another nanny and her charge that they won’t be included in their social circle and turning away when they see the new nanny and her charge coming into the nursery school? By saying baseless, mean things in front of the children they are paid to “teach” and “protect” they have failed in a profound way.

Please caregivers and parents, be aware of how you react to things, what you say and what you do. Children learn by our example! Children are imitators and learn through repetition and example. They learn what they live. By acting with kindness, forgiveness and tolerance repeatedly, your child or charge will grow up to be kind, forgiving and tolerant. The world will only be a better place when we are better people.

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