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Breaking Up with Nanny

Nannies and families end their relationships for a variety of reasons. These may include relocation, a change in childcare needs, a change in job needs or because the relationship just isn’t working out. While rarely the relationship may end because a nanny has committed an egregious act or lost the family’s trust, most often, relationships end because there is a natural point of transition or because of issues unrelated to the quality of care.

In cases where the relationship is ending due to due to fault of the nanny and/or there are no safety concerns with the nanny’s relationship with the children, parents and nannies typically have a sense that the job is coming to and end. When there is no need to terminate the nanny on the spot, families should consider how the loss of the nanny will impact the children.

The Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting identifies two types of losses; maturational losses and situational losses. The characteristics of maturational losses include that they are anticipated, they are expected, there is typically some sort of celebration or ritual associated with them, the person experiencing the loss has support and there is a gain that comes along with the loss. An example of a maturational loss may include a child graduating from preschool. With the loss of daily relationships with teachers and friends – and the daily routine that goes along with attending preschool – comes a graduation ceremony, lots of pictures, sometimes a family celebration and talk about looking forward to taking the big yellow bus to kindergarten next year and making new friends at a new school.

But there is also another type of loss that we all experience throughout our lifetime. These are situational losses. Characteristics of situational losses include that they are often unplanned and unanticipated, they are sudden and can be overwhelming, there often isn’t a supportive environment surrounding the experience and with the loss there is really no gain. An example of a situational loss may include the sudden loss of a family pet or the untimely death of a family member. In situational losses the loss happens, it’s often a shock and the recuperation from that loss can be challenge. In general, situational losses can be harder to manage, especially for children.

If you’re considering breaking up with your nanny, or perhaps she’s breaking up with you, consider the effect that the loss of that relationship may have on your child. If you have control over the situation and it’s safe for your child to continue a relationship with your nanny, strive to make the loss a maturaltional loss. When you do, instead of sad goodbye, you’ll be able to honor the relationship you’ve shared and look forward to the new relationships to come.

Michelle LaRowe is an award-winning nanny and executive director of Houston’s award-winning nanny agency, Morningside Nannies and lead educator at NannyTraining.com.


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