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December 08, 2007

Do You Know What Your Nanny Is Teaching Your Children?

Badge "Officer Friendly" visited my daughter's school today. One of the things they stress with kindergartners, is how to identify a police officer (badge, uniform, police patch, handcuffs, etc.) The officer also talked about dialing 911 or 0 if there is an emergency. The idea, obviously, is to teach the children to go to a police officer for help.  Although I know that there are a few bad apples on the police force (indeed, there are bad apples in every profession) I want my children to trust police officers and to got to them if, G-d forbid, they are ever in trouble.  Indeed, that should be the norm, right?

Well, there is at least one nanny out there teaching her ward not to go to a police officer if she is in trouble.  I know this, because I witnessed the "lesson."  I was in my car dealership waiting room when a 2 year old and her nanny walked in.  CNN Headline News was on the television.  As soon as they walked in, I expected the nanny to ask to change the channel, or at least position the 2 year old so that she could not see the t.v.  (I make every attempt possible to prevent my children, 2 and 5, from seeing "negative" images.  When the kids are present, if the t.v. is on, it is tunned to PBS Kids or the Food Channel).

Instead, they plunked down right in front of it.  As you may know, Headline News plays certain stories over and over again.  That day, one of the stories was about a police officer who tasered a pregnant woman.   This story came on at least three different times while we were waiting there.  Each time, the nanny gave a lecture to the child.  "Chloe," she began, "If you are ever in trouble, you call me.  Don't call the police."  Then she explained that the police were no good, she should have been a police officer because it must be so easy to become one . . . you get the idea. 

I was flabbergasted.  I was dying, just dying to say something to little Chloe, such as, "You know, most police are very good people, and you can really count on them for help."  But I decided I'd better mind my own business.   It really got me thinking about nannys.  These people spend a lot of time with our children.  We are lucky if we can find one that is reliable and trustworthy.  Do Chloe's parents want her to fear the police?  Although there are some parents who probably teach their children to fear the police, I assume that most parents want their children to trust them.  Will Chloe's parents ever find out what the nanny is teaching her?  Do they want to know?  Since I don't have a nanny, I'm curious, how do you know whether your nanny is imparting the values you want him/her to impart?  If you were Chloe's mom or dad, would you want to know about this discussion regarding the police?   As a parent, what kinds of things would you like to know about what your nanny is teaching your children?  On the other hand,  if you spot a nanny doing something you think the parents would not approve of, do you talk to the parents about it? 

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