For many parents, it is quite unacceptable for somebody other than themselves to reprimand their children in their presence. Today, there are many different schools of thought when it comes to disciplining children. Old school discipline was not to over think the situation but to react in the moment with a slap or loud rebuke which was intended to end the tantrum there and then. Present day methods are quite different and quite varied.
One approach is a “time out” – getting the child to an isolated place – a corner, perhaps, or their room – and letting them calm down while they view this as a punishment.
Another method is a conversation with the child, explaining why his /her behavior is unacceptable.
There are situations where children become very loud and unruly in public and clearly people express their annoyance at the parents’ response; however it is considered inappropriate for a stranger to do anything about it. Most parents become annoyed if even a relative intervenes.
So it is important to give a nanny clear and concise guidelines as how to discipline your child in your absence. Consider also that the child may view your surrogate, the nanny, as less authoritative than you and react accordingly. Above all you want the nanny to be consistent and follow through on her directive when it is called for.
You must also advise the nanny on what her role is when you are present in the event of bad behavior. If you don’t give the nanny leeway to keep your child from creating havoc and mayhem, then she will be ineffectual, miserable, and probably leave.
As with most behavioral phenomena there is a spectrum, but it is best to be as clear as you can about what she can and cannot do in a given situation.
The importance of a planned pattern for discipline cannot be overstated, and a carefully thought out plan will go a long way to insuring a good relationship with your nanny and a happy and secure child.