Parents Are Allowed to Be Hypocrites

Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents


It is common for parents to direct nannies to limit television watching and not allow their kids to eat junk food. Then, when the parents are in charge, those well intentioned rules are broken and the kids are allowed to watch television while eating McDonald’s.

Parents often arrive home tired from work and want to decompress and enjoy a peaceful evening with their family. At times that means they will pacify their whiny and crying children with the very privileges nannies have been asked to deny their charges.

It is frustrating for hard-working caregivers when their employers instruct them to no longer allow their children to use pacifiers, bottles, and diapers, yet the parents break their own rules. The parents’ inability to follow through with no pacifier or diapers is simply validation of how difficult it is for nannies to accomplish the same instructions.

Just because the parents aren’t always consistent with their own rules, doesn’t mean they are not thrilled to hear of the success their nannies and children have had at napping, feeding, or potty training. Such successful reports prove to parents they made the right hiring decision.

Nannies aren’t hired to scrutinize their employers when they cannot follow through with the instructions they ask their employees will follow. Although consistency between parents and caregivers is helpful in successfully training children, nannies have to look away and bite-their-lip sometimes because they are the hired help. Parents have the right to break rules because they are in charge of how to raise their children. Nannies must follow the parents’ instructions because they are employees.

Nannies are hired to help support the parents, not the other way around. Professional nannies understand that it’s difficult raising kids and aren’t overly critical of parents.

Stop by next Monday for more advice on Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents. 


  1. There is nothing more frustrating! Please write an article about how to talk to parents about this. Consistency is important and when parents aren't consistent it make my job so hard.

  2. How can we support parents who do the exact opposite of what they tell us to do with their kids. Kids do not learn with such inconsistency in their lives. This article is just a cop out for lazy parenting.

  3. There are few things as annoying as parents who aren't consistent. But Teresa the article speaks the truth. Do you confront the parents with such issues? I don't. The mother always asks me to be more thorough checking and making sure I am not overbuying or repeat grocery shopping. But she herself over buys and buys foods we already have in the house. She does it all the time! Do I throw that back in her face? Of course not! I am the employee and can't tell her what she can or can't do. But she can talk that way to me.

  4. Yes they're the parent / boss but then I have problems from the kids obeying because " mom/dad lets me"…. is their response.

  5. Yes they're the parent / boss but then I have problems from the kids obeying because " mom/dad lets me"…. is their response.

  6. I think we can tell the parents they are being hypocrites and when they don't follow through it causes problems. But we have to be very very very careful about how to say it. In most nanny/parent relationships the nanny doesn't have the right to say it.

  7. It pisses me off so much when parents do this though!!!!

  8. It's too easy for employees and employers to criticize one another. I hear nannies complaining about the parents all the time. I agree we are hired to help them not criticize them. But, it happens at every job in every career.

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