9 y/o being uncontrollable — The Bump
School-Aged Children

9 y/o being uncontrollable

I apologize in advance for how long this is. I appreciate any thoughts, though.

 

I'm a nanny for a 9 and 5 year old. The older kid has a temper problem, he has angry out bursts with his brother and hits him all the time, whenever anything doesn't go his way he will scream and cry and throw things... totally age inappropriate and when I reprimand him, he just says, "I don't want to do my homework so I can throw my iPhone!"

Lately he's taken to telling me that he doesn't have to do what I say because his mom is my boss and she can fire me. And, "mommy tells you what to do." Yesterday, he wanted to play in the basement in the toy room with his brother. I needed to make lunches so I told them they had to stay in the living room so I could keep an eye on them. I didn't say this, but I just don't trust the older one because he is always hurting the younger one. He punches him in the back of the head, he pushes him off things, throws things at him, kicks him. And then he gets even angrier when the younger one tells me about it and he hits him some more. So I only let them play together when I can see them because, truthfully, I'm afraid he will really hurt the younger one if he's not careful.

Well, he started with the "Mommy lets me do it all the time and she's your boss. She'll fire you for not listening." Then this morning, his mom said that it was okay for them to play in the playroom alone and I don't need to keep an eye on them. I don't know what to do about this, because I am not comfortable leaving them alone. Should I let them do it and then once something happens revoke that privilege and just explain to their mom that he couldn't keep his hands off the little one?

A lot of the time, if I tell him to do something, he will just call his mom and complain. Yesterday, I told him he had to take a shower while we were in the car and when we got in the house, he immediately ran to the phone and called her and said, "Since it's such a nice day out, do I need to take a shower now or can I do it when you get home?" and she told him that he could wait until she got home (like 4 hours later). So he hangs up and says, "See, Mommy is the boss and you can't make me do anything." and then jumps around the living room playing. I'm not sure if she doesn't realize or doesn't care how manipulative he is, but I have no control over him because he knows he can call his mom and complain and take away any authority I have. But what can I do, call his mom and say, "I know you said it's not a big deal if the shower waits, but I'm trying to make a point here that he needs to listen to me." ...? I don't think that would go over well.

But honestly, I think I'm going to quit. I love the little one to death and the parents are great, nice people. But I can't stand the older one, he is so rude and obnoxious and angry and doesn't listen to ANYTHING. He won't stop hitting his brother, he won't stop throwing things, he won't stop crinkling his homework into a ball when he has to do it, he won't stop screaming whenever he doesn't get his way.

I thought about having him call his mom and repeat to her what he said to me the next time he makes some comment about not listening to me, but I don't think he would.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I especially appreciate parents' opinions and how you would react if this were your kid.

Re: 9 y/o being uncontrollable

  • If you are willing to quit, then you are also willing to lose your job.  Sounds like you need to sit down with his mom/parents and discuss his behavior and how he undermines you and you have little control over him because of this.  If they are good parents and listen well and you address it in a calm manner then they should be happy you came to them and become more of a team with you.  Tough situation...sounds like this kid needs some intervention in many ways.
    Lionyl Osborne "Lio" is here! May 23rd 2012 at 2:54am 8lbs 4oz 21inches Born at 37weeks 6days
    DD #1 born 9/3/2003 - 8 years old - 3rd grade!
    DD #2 born 3/22/2007 - 5 years old - in full time preschool

  • It wouldn't be awful if I got fired. I do this job because I like it (I was a teacher for a long time), but we don't need the money. And it's not like I couldn't get another job. But still, no one wants to be fired. I'd rather quit, if it were going to come to that. And I also really hate confrontation.

    I don't know, I don't want to talk to her in front of the kids. Maybe I should just start telling him he needs to ask before using the phone and he can only call mommy if it's an emergency, not because he disagrees with me.

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  • If I remember correctly, you posted about this fellow before, right?  He was out of control, temper tantrums, fairly abusive to younger brother, parents work all the time and have no control over him, etc.?

    I agree that it's time to lay it on the line for the parents:

    --Big brother needs discipline to keep himself and little brother safe.

    --You are willing to provide the level of structure and discipline needed to get this kid under control.  You have the education background and the strength of personality to do the job. 

    --However, you can't provide the boundaries he needs when he knows he can call mom and pull the plug on your orders.  The parents either trust you or not.  If they trust you, they need to defer to your decisions when you're in charge of the kids.  If they're not comfortable with that, they should seek other child care arrangements.  They have essentially given you the responsibility for this kid's behavior but taken away your authority over him.  That won't work.

    You asked how parents would react in this situation.  I have a babysitter who looks after my kids before and after school and on teacher work days when they are home but I have to go in.  She's a great babysitter, and I really want to keep her happy.  My kids are really good for her, and they know that she calls the shots when she's in charge.  I totally trust her.  Even if she doesn't do things exactly the way I'd do them, she has to have the ability to handle situations independently.

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • Thanks everyone. I really haven't wanted to have a sit-down with the mother because I never see her when the kids aren't around and I'm not entirely sure how to bring it up, anyway. I obviously don't want to do it over the phone, but I don't know a good way to bring it up, either. Just ask if I can talk to her in another room when she gets back from work? But at the end of a day of work, I'm not sure if this is the best timing. Especially since I'm usually on my last nerve with S by then.

    Auntie -- this kid is actually incredibly bright and, as far as I know, perfectly behaved for everyone else (coaches, teachers, etc). I think he just knows he can get away with it at home so he tries it. Then he calls mommy and gets what he wants. Gah, I'm really at my wits end.

  • Do the parents know how bad it is?  It sounds like the younger one might be seriously hurt an you have an obligation to tell them. I would request a meeting without the kids around. 
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • A couple things...

    Don't keep him from using the phone. Believe me, he will use that against you. He will tell his mom and make things even more uncomfortable for you. I completely understand your reasoning and your logic behind it but all he will see is you getting in the way of what he wants and he will throw you under the bus to prove it.

    I agree that you should sit down with his mom and have an open discussion. Ask her how she feels about him calling her constantly. Ask if the two of you can work together to make a chart for her sons. The chart can detail when he can play, when he can shower, appropriate times for him to call her. Ask her again what she is looking for in you. What does she see as your job in her son's lives and how can you work together to make that happen.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Photobucket the right one will always make you feel like you are the most loved person in the world
  • imagemrh2009:

    A couple things...

    Don't keep him from using the phone. Believe me, he will use that against you. He will tell his mom and make things even more uncomfortable for you. I completely understand your reasoning and your logic behind it but all he will see is you getting in the way of what he wants and he will throw you under the bus to prove it.

    I agree that you should sit down with his mom and have an open discussion. Ask her how she feels about him calling her constantly. Ask if the two of you can work together to make a chart for her sons. The chart can detail when he can play, when he can shower, appropriate times for him to call her. Ask her again what she is looking for in you. What does she see as your job in her son's lives and how can you work together to make that happen.

     

    I sent her an e-mail that said we needed to talk and I listed some of the problems I've been having and I asked these questions. I wanted to give her a heads up before we talked so she can think about what she wants the boundaries to be. I am kind of worried that I was too blunt or rude, but I wanted it to be clear that if his behavior isn't changed then I will have to quit. I just can't keep having these tantrums and arguments with a child

     

    Thanks for all the responses.

  • I would not be disrespected by a 9 yo no matter WHO was paying me, I don't care if the kid was the future king of England. 

    I think this is a matter of respect, and you need to make it clear with your employer that you won't tolerate the kind of disrespect that her son is dishing out.  If she disagrees, that's fine, but you can't work there.  I would also tell her that you make rules that work for you "when I am in the kitchen, you must play upstairs," and you can't have her undermining you.  Yes, she is the mother, but you need for her to back you up.  You are not asking for her to ok you beating her kids with a spoon, but they need to know that you are the boss while she is away, THEY are not.

  • Put a camcorder up and record your day's experience with him, then leave it for the parents to decide.
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  • dpdwdpdw member

    imageLeila'sMommy:
    Put a camcorder up and record your day's experience with him, then leave it for the parents to decide.

    Just make sure you let the parents know you are doing this BEFORE you do it. I have a live-in nanny and if she ever did that, I would fire her on the spot.

    You absolutely need to talk to the mom now.  She needs to know there is a problem and that she's the one contributing to it by underminig you when you've made a decision (which you are are empowered to do).  You both need to be on the same page about the boundaries for the 9 year old and she needs to tell the 9 year old her expectations about your role. 

    My 6 year old has told our nanny (and then he told me) that I could fire her if she doesn't let him do x, y, z.  I immediately made it clear that our nanny is my employee and I've told her what he is allowed to do.  If she tells him he's not allowed, that's coming directly from me.

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