The Exploits of a Nanny

Food and Ethics September 30, 2006

Filed under: nanny issues — S @ 9:19 pm

The other day my mom sent me a NYTimes article on how parents are getting pickier about what their children eat, and how nannies (or as they put it “babysitters) don’t always know or follow the parents guidelines. I thought it was interesting because in my situation it’s opposite. I’d like to feed the kids healthier more diverse foods, but the parents don’t really care. I’d like to see more veggies and fruits in their diet. They eat a fair amount, but I think they could use a bit more, and I’ve already started introducing more, like adding a few slices of banana to their suppers. In the past they’ve only been required to eat a small serving of fruit at breakfast, and another of a vegetable at lunch and supper. Oh, and the only veggies that Jordan will eat are carrots and cooked broccoli. Anthony will eat a few others as well, but their diets are very limited. Their approach to new foods is an automatic “it’s gross”. Sigh. The other day I made these really good ham and cheese turnovers with pillsbury biscuits as dough and they turned their noses up at them. They were some of my other kids favorite meals! Whatever, it’s easier to make kids food anyways.
Differing ethics has also come into play with my job. Jordan’s in a stage right now where everything’s about violence. Violence or sports. I made a deal with him that I wouldn’t make an issue about the types of shows he can watch, or games he can play if he doesn’t pretend or talk about violence around me. He doesn’t follow it all the time, but I have noticed a decrease. He likes to point out how violent the shows and movies he can watch are. Kind of like a “haha, see I can do whatever I want” type of thing. Another issue came up the other day when Anthony got mad at Jordan for not letting him ride Jordan’s skateboard. Anthony threw Jordan’s helmet on the ground and kicked it. Jordan reached for Anthony’s helmet, and I saw it coming in enough time to stop him. I told him he couldn’t do it back because he’s old enough to know better. His response was “but my DAD lets me! He says Anthony’s old enough to know that if he does something I can to it back to him.” I’m thinking “Oh great, teach your kids that the best way to deal with bad behavior is with revenge. Great…” My response was basically, “I’m not your dad, and it’s not ok with me.” I wish I had had time to sit down with him and talk to him about it. Not that he would have listened to me, because his dad, the highest authority, said something different, but I keep thinking maybe what I say will sink in to some level even if it doesn’t show now. Like when I talk about how I think it’s bad to even pretend that your hand is a gun. There’s enough real violence in this world. We don’t have to pretend there’s more.
I did have a talk with Jordan the other day about his attitude, and how he needs to respect me as an adult and listen to my reasoning for making decisions he doesn’t like and not just flying off the handle. It really seemed to make a difference for the rest of the week. I hope it sticks. I asked him about his view on how things were going, and made it clear that he can talk to me if he has issues with my decisions etc. I also had a specific situation from that day to refer back to when talking about how sometimes my suggestions and conditions are a good idea. Another thing that I think made a difference was that I told him I’m going to be with them for at least two years. I don’t think he really had an idea that I was sticking around. The days where his attitude was better, I really affirmed that behavior.
Monday and Tuesday the boys have off from school which means longer and harder days for me. Wish me luck!

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