What is also disturbing, is good parents being the victims alongside the children of childcare abusers. It takes a lot of courage and trust to leave your little ones with a stranger, be it a private nanny or a childcare centre and the one thing you don't ever want is for that trust to be broken.
Anyway, as you can see I am passionate about the issue of child abuse and could go on and on and on. Now, I'm not an expert on abuse and not a psychologist so will not go on about signs of abuse but I can try to let you know the signs to look for when you have a nanny that is not good for your family, be it that she is abusive or neglectful or just not the right fit for your family and your parenting style. These are just signs and might not mean anything bad is actually happening but should be investigated further. The information below was taken from a great website http://www.babycenter.com.au/
- Firstly your baby is not happy to see the nanny and has become withdrawn and anxious. I think that its important that the nanny and the baby/kids bond. It will always take a few weeks for this to happen, but if after a few weeks the baby is not happy to be left with the nanny then there might be an issue. It might not necessarily be an abuse issue just one of a wrong fit, the nanny and the baby just don't 'fit'. But you should see why the baby is still not happy to be left with the nanny. Consider surprising the nanny by coming home at an unexpected time and see how the baby is, sometimes babies/kids protest at parents leaving but are happy once they are gone.
- The baby always seems to have had an accident. Now this is an important point and one that could indicate abuse. As a parents you will know how accident prone your child is and it becomes an issue if your child only seems to have accidents in the nannies care. I say this because I have looked after kids myself that have been extra accident prone, but it hasn't been only in my care, the parents have experienced it themselves first hand.
- Your requests aren't followed. This is an important point, as parents of the child you have the right to request routines are followed, diets are kept and generally things are done as asked. As a nanny myself, I have been in situations where the parents request could not be done but its always been with reason and if I knew before that I had a problem with any of the request I would voice it immediately. If the nanny agrees to requests and then doesn't do them with no explanation, then the nanny is not doing her job. You know whats good for your baby more than the nanny does and if requests are not followed than a new nanny might be needed.
- She's critical of your parenting. Most experienced nannies will have advice and opinions on different parenting topics but they should not be critical of the parents parenting style. Every family works differently and it is the job of the nanny to give advice when asked and not be critical. If the parents and the nannies idea of bringing up children is very different, then it just might be a problem of fit.
- The nanny is undependable. A nanny should be dependable and on time everyday (within reason). You depend on your nanny as your main source of childcare and the nanny should respect that and make every attempt not to be tardy.
- The baby often looks unkempt and dirty. Your nannies propriety is to care for the child's basic physical needs and if she is not doing those, then you have to wonder what else is she not doing?
- Nanny secretive about daily activities. I believe that parents have the right to know what activities the baby had done on a daily basis. I have always kept a daily diary when I worked as a nanny to let the parents know anything that might slip my mind when I see them. When a nanny is secretive about her activities and doesn't want to keep you informed, its not a sign of a good nanny. It is also very important that you believe what your nanny tells you and if her stories don't add up and you suspect her of lying it is time to let her go.
I believe that having a nanny is a great form of childcare and a good nanny that fits perfectly into your family can be of great benefit to everyone. It is vital to get to know someone as much as possible before you employ them and keeping ongoing tabs is never a bad thing either. There are many brilliant childcare providers out there and its such a pity that the only ones mentioned in the media are the ones that are bad.