We all have our breaking point. And one 6-year-old girl has successfully pushed her sitter to it.
So she quit.
This forced the family to rearrange their lives, and now the bratty girl is unable to do the things she loves until they find another sitter.
Trying to transform this situation into a learning experience, her mom recently told the little one that it was her fault. However, the dad thought it was a mistake and the couple can’t come to an agreement and move on.
Not knowing where to turn for advice, the mom described the situation on Reddit, asking people what they think on the matter.
Image credits: C Technical (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Relative_Ad654
Vicki Broadbent of Honest Mum thinks there might be more to this story than we’re getting
Image credits: honestmum
When Vicki Broadbent, a writer, director, broadcaster, and founder of the parenting blog Honest Mum, was reading through this thread without knowing the full details or context, her first reaction was to explore the reason behind the child’s statements/outbursts towards her sitter.
“It sounds to me like she was unhappy with the situation, the fact she had a sitter in the first place,” the author of Mumboss: The Honest Mum’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work told Bored Panda. “Maybe she wasn’t feeling like her needs were being met (e.g. she might have felt she wasn’t being listened to, had lost all autonomy over even the smallest of decisions, clashed with her personality-wise, or most likely, was feeling a little abandoned by her parents in this scenario).”
Broadbent highlighted that most parents require childcare support and they are not abandoning their children by simply hiring help, however, it’s easy for children to feel let down or that they are not important enough for their parents, particularly if the situation and reasons behind needing a sitter are not fully explained and equally, consistently repeated and reiterated (“We need a sitter because we are working during this time so we can pay for your food and dolls, etc.”).
“Children need you to clearly illustrate the ‘why’ behind scenarios and decisions, especially when they might impact them emotionally. Reminding them how emotionally safe and loved they are, is key too,” the Honest Mum explained.
“I personally hated having a nanny and later babysitters as a young child as I wanted to be with my parents at all times which is completely normal and natural, and although it was explained to me that they needed to work therefore I needed sitters, it didn’t make life that much easier for me.”
According to Broadbent, when children feel hurt or not listened to—when they appeal to their parents that they don’t want a sitter—they act out. It’s a cry for help. A way to express what cannot always be said. “Yes, teaching children that they can’t be rude is crucial but so is listening, and I mean really listening to them (to the unspoken as well as the spoken cues) and empathizing with their behavior while explaining better ways to express themselves so as not to hurt others.”
Don’t get the wrong impression. You can still say, “This comment is hurtful” but you should also get to the bottom of why the child made it.
“If they can’t describe why (it’s hard even for adults to self-reflect and psychoanalyze themselves), then it’s your job as a parent to put in the detective work and ensure they feel more supported,” Broadbent said. “Furthermore, in this scenario, an adult must have at some point told the girl that she was the boss of her sitter, either in jest or in all seriousness as age 6 is quite young to understand the complexities of money and the power that might give someone.”
It is important to explain the connection between actions and consequences to children but Broadbent stressed it has to be done in an open-hearted and age-appropriate way. “Children learn the difference between right and wrong before 2 and experts believe teaching your children how to have a high emotional IQ can start early on as well but it is important to remember that children learn, as adults do, from making mistakes so listening, empathizing, and also modeling behavior is the key in educating your child.”