When parents hire a nanny they expect the nanny to perform certain functions: caring for their children, keeping them safe, preparing nutritious meals, maintaining a clean house, walk the dog…just to name a few.  However, I often get calls from clients complaining that their nanny, most of whom are from the Philippines, cannot discipline their children and as a result the children walk all over her.  They ask me over and over what should they do about this.  Here is what you should know so you can understand your nanny better and my advice on how to deal with it:

  • First of all you must remember that Filipino women are very gentle, nurturing and loving.  That is part of what makes them such wonderful caregivers for our young children and babies.
  • Culturally Filipino parents discipline their own children by talking to them in a gentle manner.  As children themselves they weren’t given “time outs” or had privileges taken away.  Instead they were taught good manners, right from wrong and how to respect others.
  • Over the past 10 years of traveling to Hong Kong (and over two dozen trips there) we have learned something very much worth knowing : Chinese parents, for the most part, do not discipline their children.  More importantly, their Filipino nannies are FORBIDDEN to discipline the children.  Yup.  Forbidden.  If they do try to discipline the children they will be fired.  So when they come to Canada they literally DO NOT KNOW how to properly discipline children.  The concept is literally foreign.
  • It is essential that parents who want their nannies to be consistent with their disciplining techniques heavily train their nannies in this area.  I say heavily train because you are teaching them something that goes against everything they know.  It goes against their nature and it goes against what has ever been expected of them.
  • Be patient.  Encourage her constantly and don’t expect her to be able to discipline exactly like you do.  Teach them gentle discipline techniques such as time outs and save the bigger punishments for when you get home.
  • The more time you spend training your nanny the better your results.  Write down what is ok and not ok for your children to do, teach her how to handle certain common situations, talk to her and find out what she is comfortable doing and revisit the topic often, especially during the first year.  If you stick with the treaining, over time she will get more comfortable.  Don’t expect her to be as strict as you are…that will never happen…but with your help she should be able to exercise the basic disciplining techniques that you have taught her.