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What to do if the kid I'm babysitting is competetive and bossy to me?

Stella in Athens, GA
Dec. 28, 2017

Thank you for reading my question and giving me the chance to express my feelings about this situation I experience. Im 24 year old university student who doesnt have any particular education about babysitting but it happened to be my job for the last two years. This year i was asked to babysit a 5 year old girl. The parents are strict and asked me to stick to their kid routine and so i did. The problem is that the kid when the parents leave shows a different character to me. Even though I am always full of ideas, crafting materials, music, activities and really working hard to always have something to entertain ourselves during the babysitting time the kid usually does the following things: 1. she doesnt want to follow the steps needed for the craft to be done and instead with a bossy , rude way uses the materials as she likes, 2. refuses to play any game i suggest, 3. she doesnt wanna play with me any of the educational or not games she already possess, 4. she always stops any game we finally start because she may lose just once, and, finally, 5. she always want to be praised for the things she does and tells me that she is better than me and she cant believe how i managed to win or to draw better etc. I know that this age is always full of arrogance as i have read on several articles and also i have tried to tell her that being rude or not-sharing is bad and her parents wouldnt want to learn about this behaviour but this doesnt stop. I dont know if i should tell her parents or if i must change my behaviour somehow. How can i make this kid undestand that Im there to have fun with her, teach her new stuff and not the silly person she makes me feel? Friends tell me that i should not be that much concerned because its just a kid i babysit for 2 hours everyday and that she cant be logical yet. But this thing frustrates me a lot. Any advice would be great! I looking forward for any help. Thank you.

Answers
User in Holyoke, MA
Feb. 3, 2018

Good question. As a parent, I can tell you that if I were her mother, I would want to know what is going on because as a babysitter you are in partnership with the parents. Since the parents are ultimately responsible for raising her and they hired you, I really think you should tell them, but not in a "telling on her" type way but rather with the idea that you're working in partnership with the parents and value their parenting. The two hours you are with her a day do matter. It's admirable and good that you have been doing research about what children are going through developmentally at the age the little girl is, and I would encourage you to continue to try to understand her because although her mind is quite different from that of an adult, how she experiences life will help shape her psyche. I don't know enough to do more than speculate (as my own child is only a year and a half, so we haven't gotten there yet), but there is probably some underlying need that she's unwittingly trying to impress upon you. There are different parts of the brain, and the part of the brain that controls emotions is very active and more developed at that age, versus the part of the brain that controls logical thought processes. I think you might want to try to understand why she's being "rude" as you say. I think it's important to not so much teach that this behavior is "good" and this other behavior is "bad" (under the idea that her outward behaviors are expressions of emotions that she needs to be lovingly guided on how to channel) but rather try to satisfy what it is that that child (although unable to express her real needs) is trying to get at. Hopefully her parents will understnad her better and will have a better understanding of what she is experiencing. I think the following book is a very helpful resource, and I use it as a guide for parenting my daughter: Parenting with Grace by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak Best wishes!

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I've had dozens of nannies/babysitters do tryouts with my kids and I've seen many do well but most of the nannies that passed through our doors don't seem to have the basic understanding of kids and how to best deal with those who are not "sweet little angels" all the time. Most kids are not "sweet little angels" all the time, so it is imperative that child care providers learn the art of dealing appropriately with children of all ages and behaviors. The kids are not necessarily bad or undisciplined, most of the time they're just being kids and their behavior can vary dramatically with age. Some kids are introverted and others are extroverted and demand more attention. Yes, it takes a lot out of you but that's what the job entails, and you must find appropriate ways to deal with different personalities. That's the job. I have a 4-year-old boy who can be "loud and obnoxious" or "as sweet as an angel", depending on who is taking care of him. Not every adult has the natural ability to take good care of kids, some of us have to do in-depth research and follow good advice when given. "Fighting" with kids does not help, it makes things worse and kids know when you are "fighting" with them. They sense your anger and frustration. The best techniques in dealing with "bad behavior" are those that use the calmer and non-combative approach. It takes time and patience but your efforts will eventually be rewarded. Sometimes it takes perseverance, patience and yes, it takes real love for children to build these characteristics in you.

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Hey there! I get exactly where you are coming from. I recently experienced something in the same ball-park as well. It comes down to discipline, and in my case, the parents didn't believe that their child was so disrespectful. Discipline really shows the child that YOU are the boss, also, it's always a smart idea to keep a note-book on hand and write down every single thing, said and done, per day. That way you have some type of proof to show the parents and you don't get mixed up along the way. I understand how frustrating it is. It's essential that she learns the life-long lesson of, not everything in life is going to be her way. It becomes a pain, because as though that may be something she gets from the family, it's your job as well to make sure that you're a mentor to her. It can be hard being a mentor to a child who has a mind of their own. In my case, it took me having to record the child and sending the video to the parents. Try talking to the parents about ways to resolve the problem, because if she feels that she can be this dominant now, it may lead to her even being physical, which is what happened to my case. Play it safe, because in these situations, you don't want to look like the "bad guy" and have a huge case on your hands, ya know? I hope things get brighter for you. Good luck.

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