Does Hiring a Nanny Mean an Absent, Non-Responsive Parent Isn’t Neglectful?

Working for Neglectful Parents

This week we discussed working for parents of different parenting styles as defined by child development researcher Diana Baumrind.

A reader of Best Nanny Newsletter who works as a nanny for a single mother who has asked to remain anonymous emailed us for some advice. Her email reads, “Although the mother pays me to work as a nanny to raise her kids she doesn’t have any extra money to spend on the kids. We don’t have enough food in the house. When the daughter was hospitalized the mother stayed at work despite angry calls from doctors begging the mother to come to the hospital. She doesn’t help with homework, attend any sports, activities, or important milestones for the kids (like Kindergarten graduation). But, when I discuss this with friends, family, and the child’s teacher I was told that by hiring me she’s not neglectful. Just by hiring me does that mean she is really not neglectful? Should I report this to child services? The doctors at the hospital and teacher haven’t reported her so should I  just keep working for these kids without bringing it up to child services?”

The term neglectful parenting describes a parent who is neither demanding nor responsive.

The worst of the four primary parenting styles, neglectful parenting describes a parent who doesn’t pay any attention to their children. At the same time, this parent will let their children do whatever they want without any guidelines to follow.

These parents don’t show much affection for their children and are not involved with their child’s life. They don’t take their child’s emotions and wants into account, and the child usually feels unwanted. Often, children raised with this type of parenting style will force themselves to become independent, as they cannot depend upon their parents.

This has a substantial impact later in life: they may have considerable difficulty with social situations and become delinquents.

The difficulty for nannies working for parents that are neglectful is all the discipline and emotional support of the children becomes the caregivers’ responsibility. Nannies who work for neglectful parents burn-out from having so much responsibility, and little support from the parents. By hiring responsive, caring nannies do you think the parents are not neglecting the children but providing quality childcare for the children?


  1. Yes I worked for parents that didn't keep enough food in the house. I spent my own money to feed the kids! They also went on trips all the time without the kids and would simply stay away longer without asking. They would just call and say we are going to stay 2 more days. I felt so bad to leave the kids but I couldn't work for such neglectful parents anymore, I had to leave.

  2. There are neglectful parents, such as mentioned by the poster above, but there are also super busy parents who work their tails off to afford the roof over their head. A single mom who can't afford to take the 3 unpaid hours off of work to attend a kindergarten graduation or who has already used her alotted paid sick time at work might have to make the choice between spending time with her child in the hospital or losing her only source of income. It's not neglectful…. it's SAD. That poor mom needs some support, and having a loving attentive nanny might be the best she can do to give her children a sense of normalcy and a decent life while she strives to make ends meet. Kudos to that nanny who loves in place of a parent who is sapped of energy, time, and most liekly doesn't feel love of her own.Parents WITH money and time to burn who negliect their kids and chose selfish pleasures over spending time with their kids are those you just want to smack some sense into!

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