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Mslight
Mslight asks:
Q:

I'm may just be a nanny, but...

I am a nanny, and have been for quite some time. I just started watching a new child who is almost four, and I must say, I'm scared for the child. His home life seems to be decent (his parents are separated, but they both spend time with him, etc) but this child's behaviour is starting to concern me. He is constantly talking about monsters, ghosts, mummies, haunted houses, spiders, etc, which initially I thought was normal. Then I started really listening to his stories. They usually involve death, pain, suffering and scaring people. Now, being as I AM just his nanny, I have been trying to push this aside, because there is only so much I can do. However, at his mothers request I have been trying to get him ready for preschool by going over numbers and the alphabet.
 
Now I'm really getting to my point, I promise, but this kid will not learn. He refuses. When I try to teach him (no matter how sneaky I am or how fun I try to make it) he flat out tells me that he is NOT interested in learning. Usually he goes into one of his truly frightening rants about death and monsters instead of paying attention to me. He lives completely in a fantasy world, and will rationalize not listening to me with ghosts. His other little behavioral issues are fairly normal (hyperactive, for example) and I can usually handle it. It's just the trouble with learning, and the fact that he frightens me a little.
I know I'm just the nanny, but I do try to do well at my job and I'm a little lost on this
In Topics: Learning styles and differences, Discipline and behavior challenges, Child care
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Mar 8, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

It sounds like you have acquired a lot of behavioral data.  It now will be up to you as to whether or not you feel comfortable sharing it with the parent(s). If I were the nanny I would offer to keep a log of the child's daily activities.  Include all of his daily activities, including any learning strategies that he responded positively or negatively to.  Also, any stories he told- typical and atypical.  Then if it were me, I would share it with the parent at regular intervals.  

As for the academic skills, try creative activities which use his interests.  So, when he talks about monsters ask him to draw them, give them names and count them.

Good luck and hope this helps.
Also, here are a few great websites about child development:

http://www.proactiveparenting.net
http://www.kidlutions.com
http://www.micheleborba.com

Good luck!

Louise Sattler
Nationally Certified School Psychologist  

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Additional Answers (2)

Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
I agree with you that this is an unusual situation.  I don't feel that it is "normal" for a 4 year old to be so aware of monster stories, ghost stories, etc., so it makes me wonder what the child has been exposed to.  You were hired by the parents to be the caregiver of this child, therefore, I believe that it is your responsibility in the best interest of the child to have a discussion with the parents and see what their feelings are about his obsession with horror.  Maybe the three of you can make some decisions that would make your situation better and honestly, if you are not comfortable with what you hear and are unable to resolve this matter, I believe I would resign from this job and seek employment elsewhere.  I understand that as the nanny, you have probably became attached to the child and the parents and this is also your lively-hood, but your talents may be better appreciated elsewhere.  

Wish you and the family all the best!
> 60 days ago

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sonofmine2
sonofmine2 writes:
Does he play video games? or online computer games. What does he watch on TV? Does he say he see's these things?  All of these questions need to be asked and addressed.  Their minds are like sponges...Does he see this at his dads? Or where? Ask... Also The letter factory DVD with Leap Frog is great for this age.. Let me know.. thanks
> 60 days ago

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