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WWYD? Can no longer trust babysitter - Page 2

post #21 of 80
Originally Posted by choli View Post
Well, from my perspective, if you have a babysitter that you like, your DD likes, and she is satisfactory in most ways I would not let a couple of Doritos and Spongebob be the hill to die on.

When I was a kid, my siblings and I loved the nights our babysitter came over. Yes, we watched more TV (or movies) and ate less healthy snacks, but we had a lot of fun and really, in the big picture, no harm was done and a lot of fun was had.
yeah that.

I can't see firing a sitter over this, but then, even though I wouldn't eat Doritos or sit through an entire episode of Sponge Bob myself, I do let my children enjoy both of these things on occasion. I mean, I get that these are things you strictly forbid, and it's your kid, but most teenagers (and even adults) don't see the harm in a few chips and not-so-fabulous cartoons from time to time.

If it were me, I would allow the kid to let loose a bit when the babysitter was coming over. Unless it were an every day thing, I know my kids would enjoy it. In fact, they go to daycare once a week every Sunday night while DH and I are in Love & Logic parenting classes and they love that there are movies they haven't seen and they get to have boxes of cracker jacks and capri suns for snack (the daycare provides these - I guess I could all out ban it, but it's once a week).

eta: I do understand that it would be extremely frustrating to have a sitter who didn't follow your rules - but the examples are pretty innocent, IMO, and not things that would be put your child in immediate harm. I would have some deal breakers myself, but an incident like that wouldn't be included.
post #22 of 80
I think I'd treat this time as a communication issue, not a trust issue. If it happened again then I'd be thinking differently.

ETA: Although these wouldn't be my issues...but just generally.
post #23 of 80
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post
See, I was a high school/college babysitter and I don't think your standards are too high. I think your babysitter has it made, frankly. You prepare all of your dd's snacks/drinks/meals, you allow specific TV, and you order/reimburse your babysitter's food?
Heck, I would like to come and babysit for you!

I would spell out your expectations one more time for this sitter. I would tell her exactly what happened -- you can see what was watched/your dd is asking for shows you don't permit, you don't allow your dd to eat junk food, etc. I'd tell her flat out "I'd like to give you another chance, since my dd loves you so much/we love you/whatever...., but these are the guidelines. Are you good with that?"

If she isn't, or if she's deliberately defying you, I would find another one. College-age kids are old enough to get this kind of stuff.

Yes and this may be part of my annoyance. Make sure DD is safe, change her and play with her and feed her what we provide. I don't thnk it's a lot to ask and because DH and I have both witnessed childcare providers being treated very poorly by the parents of the children they take care of, we go out of our way to make sure she feels respected and treated well. If we come back earlier than the time we've set with her, we still pay her for the amount of hours we said we'd be gone. If we go out to eat I text her and ask her if she wants dessert. I figure the better I treat the person who's caring for my child, the easier it will be for her to follow basic rules. Maybe that is silly thinking on my part.

I like your idea of spelling out the expectations again. If DH is okay with that I'll do it. DD does like her and if things don't work out with her, we wouldn't bother with a sitter for awhile and go back to movie dates on the sofa when DD is asleep.
post #24 of 80
I just want to add that Spongebob being on doesn't mean that they were glued to the tube.
post #25 of 80
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
I just want to add that Spongebob being on doesn't mean that they were glued to the tube.
Yep, you're right but whether she was glued to the tv or not it wasn't something I wanted her watching especially not six episodes in a row. I'm sure the sitter just didn't have a Spongbob fix she needed to take care of right away. LOL
post #26 of 80
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
But there really aren't very many teenage babysitters in the world who will have a problem letting your kid watch Spongebob, or (absent food allergies) feeding her the occasional Dorito. You have some very strict, very high standards here, and you might be better off hiring an adult. I know that's more expensive, but if these are major issues for you, that's what I think you need to do.
I don't think those are very strict very high standards at all, and I certainly don't think they require an adult. Suffice it to say that I am a lot more restrictive in my directions to my sitters, and many of them are younger (some are much younger) than your sitter, and I have never had a problem. I have hired sitters in middle school, high school, college, college graduates, you name it. As long as I made my expectations clear at the beginning, my sitters had no problem enforcing/following them, no matter their ages.

Based on what you said, I would just switch to a different sitter without saying anything to your old sitter. I wouldn't sit down and fire this sitter, and I might recommend this sitter to a more laid-back friend. I certainly wouldn't sit down and "fire" the sitter and tell her why I didn't want her back. But I wouldn't give her another chance either.
post #27 of 80
Obviously don't leave your child with someone you don't feel comfortable with however unless you were so specific before, don't expect that another person will understand what you mean. Esp with the food thing. I know many many (intelligent) people who would not translate "There is food in the fridge for DD" into "Don't feed her doritos". People want the kids they care for to be happy and if the kid expressed a desire for something that the care provider could give, they will be inclined to want to provide that without realizing that you don't want her eating it. People really don't get that unless it is specifically addressed.
post #28 of 80
I don't think it's very helpful to tell gbailey that her standards are too strict or that she should let it go. Just because one family might be okay with Spongebob and Doritos doesn't mean she has to be. We've all met families who let their kids do things we wouldn't let ours do and I don't think most of us would like it of those other parents told us we should just let it go, or that we were too strict.

And I, too, would be mightily peeved if a sitter gave my child a forbidden food and parked him in front of a TV for hours expressly against my instructions. In fact I would be considering firing her also, because if I can't trust someone to follow basic directions, then I would have serious concerns about their judgment and trustworthiness in all other areas. It's not hard NOT to give a kid a food she's not allowed to have. It's not hard NOT to let a child watch TV...unless you just don't care about your employer's wishes. Hopefully that's not the case here.

I hope you find a way to resolve this, OP. I know how hard it can be to find a non-family caregiver who's right for your family. We have one who is an absolute blessing but I would be really upset if she did anything similar.
post #29 of 80
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
... I don't think that's really the point. The sitter knew what was okay with the parents, let them believe (except with the Doritos) that she was following their wishes, but didn't. That's not okay. And, I was a teenage babysitter (rarely). I would have thought the parents were nuts if they had such rigid rules...but I would have either followed them, or not taken the job. I don't think being a teenager is a good excuse for ignoring the parent's requests.

OP: I think I'd probably talk to her, make it clear what your expectations are, and tell her that if she does something unacceptable again, you won't be bringing her back. You could just fire her straight up - but it is a PITA to find a new sitter, and you say your dd likes her, so I'd probably give the one warning.

Originally Posted by limabean View Post
I would probably say something like, "Hey, it looks I dropped the ball and wasn't clear enough about our expectations for food and TV. DD is only to eat the stuff we prepare for her, and she is only to watch Little Bear and Clifford (or whatever 2 shows). Sorry for the miscommunication! She really loves hanging out with you, and we love knowing that she's having fun, but all of us caregivers need to be on the same page. Let me know anytime you have questions, okay?"
yeah, maybe

Originally Posted by velochic View Post
This would be a deal-breaker for me, but then again, my 8yo has never had Doritos or seen Spongebob and those *are* hills I would die on.

However, unless you gave explicit instructions that she deliberately ignored, I'd at least give her one more chance. I wouldn't say trust has been completely broken unless she is defying you.
, this completely!

If these issues are important to you and you were clear, and you feel you need to let her go, don't feel guilty. DD is YOUR DC, and she only has ONE childhood, and YOU are the parents.

Telling her why or not is up to you-- I personally would tell her you won't be asking her back, and if she asks why, I would explain in a gentle way why you made that decision.

post #30 of 80
Originally Posted by gbailey View Post
This is great advice. Thank you! Would you suggest a special phone call to say this or wait until the next time we ask her over if we ask her to sit again? Although it's not likely. My usually very laid back DH is ticked off. He says we pay her well per hour and if he wanted DD stuck in front of the tv while we're out we'd leave her with one of our anything goes relatives who'd be willing to watch her for free and feed her all of the crap in their pantry.
This. I've felt the same way, and we've stopped using a couple of sitters for the same reason. We pay more than the going rate per hour in our area, and part of that is because I know we're one of few families with rules about TV. (And texting. I've started specifically saying that I don't want teens texting their friends while our kids are up after a couple of incidents of sitters not paying attention because they were too busy on their phones.) The bottom line is that when I'm paying a sitter, I expect that they're not just plopping the kids in front of the TV. I don't need to pay a sitter for that level of care. We could just make a nice dinner after bedtime and save money. So, I don't find your rules rigid, and I don't think it's too much to ask for someone to follow them. (I'm saying that especially because you prepared the food. It's not like you asked her to cook it.)
post #31 of 80
When I babysit for my friends' 2-year-old, I watch TV after she's gone to bed. I could easily skim through several episodes of a show in an hour, especially fast-forwarding through the commercials or boring parts. I don't know whether your sitter was there after your child's bedtime, or for how long, but it's possible she didn't watch some (or even all?) of those episodes while your child was awake.

There's no way for you to know her side of the story without having a conversation about it,so I think I would have her sit one more time but invite her over early enough that you can talk frankly about your concerns and what happened. I'd have had no problems conforming to your rules as a college-aged babysitter, but I hope you won't consider trust completely broken until you've talked with her. She came clean about the Doritos so quickly that I hope she'll tell you the whole truth.

I'm not saying she's innocent or in the right. Just that I'd be careful not to assume anything.
post #32 of 80
For me, Spongebob would be a dealbreaker. Especially given that the babysitter knew the rules and the two shows that were available. 6 episodes? No way.
Also, the doritos, while not malicious, would also really, really bother me. I am very strict about food for my DS, and also what he watches on tv. I do not pay a sitter to watch tv with him anyway. I pay a sitter to do things that I would do with him - read, color, play outside, etc.

I would not give her another chance, even if my child really liked her. I would move on to someone who could be very clear about my rules and who I absolutely trust. This is why my son has only had one babysitter besides family LOL..but honestly, this is just how strongly we feel about our parenting decisions and how much we want DS to have a certain kind of childhood.
post #33 of 80
back when I was young and babysitting, I would not have thought twice about letting the kid have one of my Doritos, even if the food/snacks were prepared. UNLESS I was told that the child had food allergies.

of course i also did not typically bring my own snacks.

back when I babysat for people on "occasional" things like this, the expectations typically were that it would be a fun night of movies if the kids wanted that, treats, and play. Usually a pizza or something too.

If *I* were to do this, an *occasional* night like you said...I personally don't have any real taboos other than age-appropriateness on the TV. For my kids, I consider that Nickelodeon/Nick Jr cartoons (yeah even Sbob even though I hate him pretty much, I consider it harmless stupid kid fun humor) which are their favorite anyway lately and PBS kids and G rated movies. My kids won't even watch anything hardly that's not either a Nick Jr cartoon or Toy Story, so I wouldn't worry about it. Me, personally.

and I'd be fairly lax on the snacks for one night. UNLESS somebody had a major food allergy. Of course, common sense must also prevail...letting my kids eat an entire bag of Doritos each and calling it dinner simply would not be cool.

And yeah some ppl have the TV on as background. And in my experience, kids will get *bored* with too much TV....the fact that your kid likes this sitter as much as she does probably means the sitter *is* playing with her.

for ME for the occasional few hours, a time or two a month sort of deal, a couple Doritos and the TV would not be dealbreakers. If this were a daily sitter, or even a couple times a week or so, I'd have stricter rules.

Or, if for you S-bob is totally not something you want, I'd be more specific that she can only watch certain shows....ONLY those shows and not any others. Since you can see it on your TV you'll know if you've got a trust or a communication issue.
post #34 of 80
I understand your concern about the babysitter not following your instructions. However, I do think you may be assuming she understood those instructions. I think you do need to make yourself more clear.

The fact that your daughter likes her, she seems honest with you (If she knew DD was not to have doritos I assume she would not have told you), and she is safe make me think that you have a good babysitter here.

Just be clear. Explain you don't want her eating junk food or watching anything except the two cartoons. Possibly, explain your reasoning for these rules, as many teenagers are not thinking along the lines of a parent. (I worked in a school for years--and before having children--I thought nothing of junk food and kids/too much t.v./etc.)

Good luck. I'm glad this post had nothing to do with any of the TRULY horrible images that came to my head when someone says they can't trust a babysitter. I think you and your family are lucky to have a babysitter who is physically safe w/ your child, and emotionally safe.
post #35 of 80
Unless my child had food allergies, I would try to let the Doritos issue go. If I were eating a snack and a child asked for a sample, I would feel really bad about saying no. In the future I would ask the sitter to save those for not in front of the child.

The TV... I would be ticked. 6 episodes is a lot of tv. How long were you gone? I guess if you were gone 6-8 hours, that is one thing, but if it is just a couple hours you are basically paying for your child to watch tv.

I just wouldn't be impressed with that kind of sitting, myself. I would also be concerned that DD likes the sitter exactly because they are not following your house rules.
post #36 of 80
As someone who babysat from the age of 13, I don't think it's too much to expect that a teen (or older) babysitter follow some basic rules. If they don't like the rules, or feel they're too much hassle to follow, they're free not to take the job. I sat for a family once who gave me instructions on how to let their DC CIO for bed-time. I didn't like it, but followed their instructions that one time, but then was 'unavailable' to babysit for them any more. Some families were happy for me to watch TV or a film with the kids, others wanted me to basically be parent-replacements, helping the kids with their homework, enforcing rules etc. I always followed the parents' wishes - it really wasn't that hard, especially when they were upfront about what they wanted from me.

OP - I think that if you feel there was room for miscommunication - maybe your sitter really didn't understand that you meant *only* those 2 shows - then you could sit down with her again and really spell out your expectations, making it clear that if she can't follow them you'll be looking for someone else. And I certainly wouldn't be above pointing out how well you treat her and that you expect certain standards in return for that. If, OTOH, you think that she knows perfectly well how you want things done and just chose to disregard them - well I just wouldn't have her back. These may or may not be *serious* issues, but even if they're not, who knows what other more serious issues she may choose to disregard in the future?

And FWIW, I wouldn't have a problem with a few Doritos or silly cartoons every once in a while, but that's not the issue here.
post #37 of 80
I also agree that the dorito part was more likely a miscommunication.

You said "her food is all together...here...etc."

but the babysitter probably heard/thought, "oh cool, her dinner is together that was nice of the parents to organize it for me" as in, you were doing her a favor by having it together, not "don't give her anything else at all"

When I was younger, I also gave kids I babysit food that I brought/was eating because otherwise I thought it was mean/rude to eat it in front of them. I don't think I ever had doritos (usually like cashews or something) but anyway, I don't think the babysitter was purposely going against your wishes by feeding the kid chips kwim? IF she was, she likely would not have even told you.

I think just going over your expectations again, and maybe leaving a list of "approved" shows.
post #38 of 80
Originally Posted by Neuromancer View Post

There's no way for you to know her side of the story
I think this is the whole point. Limabean laid out the whole script. MAKE SURE you know what you are accusing her of before you ASSUME she should be fired. I am stunned that some of you would fire a close, year-long employed babysitter without and questions, re-statment of the rules, or explanation.

When dd2 was just starting solids, my parents let her suck on a popsicle for a few licks. I was not happy, she had just started solids. I told them I didn't want her to have it and that was the end of it. By some poster's standards, I should have forbid them from babysitting forever....
post #39 of 80
FYI....Spongebob episodes on demand are usually 13 minutes. So 6 episodes isn't an all night kind of thing.

Not that we watch Spongebob or anything...
post #40 of 80
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for the great comments. I do want to make one thing clear though....there was no way the sitter did not understand what I said about the dinner and the snacks. I don't think I could have communicated that to her better. I didn't just tell her, there's dinner the in the fridge to warm up and she had to look in the refrigerator to figure out what she should be giving dd (i.e. "there's a green bowl with pasta and veggies. it only needs 30 seconds in the microwave. i left plenty of snacks on the kitchen counter.) The only other thing on the kitchen counter was a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. She didn't have to ruffle through the cabinets to find something suitable. Who gives a kid Doritos when they ask for milk? Perhaps she forgot about the extra sippy cup of milk. That's fine and understandable. She also knows there is a special area in our cabinet where we keep DD's snacks. She's been with us for nearly a year...nothing has changed about my routine. Also want to note the sitter and I have engaged in conversation about child rearing, feeding, spending quality time with your children, etc. I know her well enough to know she loves Forever 21 and doesn't watch television but loves going to the movies.

Truthfully, I don't think she was being malicious but I'm still very bothered. I just have a nagging feeling about it.

DH is ticked off about the tv but thinks the best way to proceed is to revisit in a few days when our annoyance has died down a bit.

To the poster who asked, we were gone from 4pm to 8:30pm.
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