The Edmond Sun

Features

July 12, 2013

LIVING WITH CHILDREN: Nanny styles should mimic good parenting styles

BALTIMORE — A mom asked me a most interesting and currently pertinent question the other day: “How much one-on-one interaction should take place been a nanny and a child under her supervision?” The question is pertinent because increasing numbers of upper-middle-class parents are choosing to use nannies for daily child care instead of or in addition to day care centers and preschools. I will say, up front, that I have no general opinion of this trend at all. Each nanny situation should be judged on its own merits or lack thereof.

I have some personal experience with this issue because during my preschool years, when my mom was a single parent and we lived in Charleston, S.C., she hired a woman to come in to our flat and supervise me when she was working and attending college. Gertie Mae, with whom I grew quite attached, also performed housekeeping responsibilities outside of my supervision, but her role was similar, in many respects, to that of today’s nanny. Outside of the fact that she occasionally insisted I eat food I did not like, my experience of the relationship was completely positive. She was an important figure in my life and I remember her fondly.

I am aware that many of today’s nannies are expected to or feel they cannot adequately justify their salaries unless they play with their charges and otherwise provide a good amount of stimulating and enjoyable activities for them. In a word, they entertain. I have no memories of Gertie Mae ever playing with me or providing me with entertainment. Both she and my mother expected me to entertain myself, which is one of the most important life skills a child ever acquires, and the earlier acquired, the better for all concerned. The child who learns to entertain himself is also, later on, more likely to do his own homework without much if any supervision, perform regular household responsibilities without prompting, solve peer problems without coming to adults and so on.

None of the nanny websites that I looked at used the word “entertainment” when describing nanny responsibilities. The website www.nannies4hire.com, for example, listed preparing children’s meals, providing mental stimulation, doing children’s laundry and reinforcing appropriate discipline as primary nanny responsibilities. Facilitating playgroups was mentioned as an “additional” responsibility, but facilitating and entertaining are horses of different colors.

As most of my readers know, I advocate a low-involvement parenting style where children enjoy freedoms commensurate with the responsibility they are willing to assume for themselves and their behavior. To use a political analogy, it’s a libertarian parenting philosophy that allows children to learn, largely by trial and error, how to run their lives with minimal need for Big Parental Government. Speaking personally, it was not so much my mother’s job to be involved with me as it was my job to keep her from getting involved. This creates a mutual state of liberation for both parents (especially mom) and child.

This is the way children were raised two generations and more ago, when they emancipated much earlier and more successfully than has been the case since. That’s why my answer to the question posed in paragraph one above is “As little as possible,” and why it applies to both parents and nannies.

FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST John Rosemond answers parents’ questions at www.rosemond.com.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 20, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crazy spring weather brings frantic pleas

    It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning. Tulips were blooming, squirrels were all a’skitter, my allergy-prone nose was running ninety-to-nothing, and workmen were in my yard leaning on rakes at $18 an hour. You might know I’d be anxious to remedy that! They were waiting to get started on spreading 60 bags of mulch, which I was belatedly on my way to reserve and pre-pay so they could pick it up and get started. Rush ... rush ... rush, and oh my aching back.

    April 19, 2014

  • Oklahoma History Center new home for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame has a new home at the Oklahoma History Center. Created in 1999, the hall of fame, operated by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, has been housed the past several years at Oklahoma Christian University but there was no available space to display photographs and information on the inductees.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit edmondsun.com, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Annual Turkish art and food festival set for April 26-27

    Raindrop Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization that seeks to promote friendship and understanding through shared understanding and community experiences. This free event is set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 26 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 27 at 4444 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City.
    This year Raindrop Foundation will bring cultural entertainment and education to Oklahoma City area by presenting the Annual Turkish Art and Food Festival. The festival will feature Turkish folk dances, traditional music, water marbling art, whirling dervishes, calligraphy, traditional art of felting, China pieces as well as original arts and crafts for sale to the public.

    April 18, 2014

  • Health seminar focuses on Oklakhoma’s high suicide rate

    OU Outreach and Norman Regional Health System are offering a new health seminar titled “Circle of Care Methodology: Risk Assessment and Prevention of Suicide.” The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24 at the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center. Suicide touches many people’s lives. This seminar focuses on the Circle of Care Methodology, which engages a holistic and mitigating approach to the issues and care that is required to address suicidal ideations, attempts, completions and the aftermath.
    The cost is $45 per person, and seating is limited. There will be free parking onsite for all seminar attendees. For more information, visit https://pace.ou.edu/en/programs/health-seminars/.

    April 18, 2014

  • Film documentary explores hunger in America

    The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will host a screening of the 2012 documentary, “A Place at the Table,” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Food Bank Volunteer Center, 3355 S. Purdue, Oklahoma City. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The story documents the struggle of food insecure people in the United States.
    Author Joel Berg will be present as a featured guest. Guests also will have the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion about the issue of hunger in our communities. The screening is free, but seating is limited to 275 people. For more information, go online to www.okchurches.org.

    April 18, 2014

  • Nominations being accepted for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation is accepting nominations through June 1 for inductees into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Oklahoma veterans including Medal of Honor recipients have been being honored by the hall of fame since 1999. A banquet and ceremony honoring those selected this year for the hall of fame will be Nov. 8 at the Tower Hotel, formerly Marriott Hotel, at 3233 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City.
    Nominees can be living or deceased. Nomination forms can be obtained by writing to the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 30658, Edmond, OK, 73003; or on the foundation’s website at www.okmhf.org.
     

    April 18, 2014