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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
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    1,753

    Default How to find sitters when your kid is a monster.

    I'm recently divorced. Been apart from the XH 2 years now between separation and divorce. Went back to work full time about that time. Moved into a new home (but same neighborhood/school) 7 months ago. My job, which amounts to 4 weekdays, gets me home most nights around 6:15.

    My DD's school lets out at 3, all the area aftercare programs only go until 6. I cannot get out of work earlier. So, I've relied on sitters--either picking up DD from school, and now lately picking her up later at aftercare. I had a nanny that helped out A LOT in her early years--she stayed with us 4 years until she moved away. In the 1.5 years since, we've now gone through 5 sitters. Three of those have been in the last 6 months. There has always been some reason (got into a school program, etc), but this last one--who picked up my daughter THREE times total (it was her first week on the job) quit today apologizing that she just couldn't handle my DD.

    So now I'm wondering how much/if that's been a factor previously and I just wasn't told that.

    I'm not blind to my kid's problems. She's spirited and intense and wide open. Add the divorce, my back to work, and now a revolving door of sitters, and the negative aspects of those traits are compounded. I see that she's quicker to anger and become frustrated. She has a harder time de-escalating. She's developed a sometimes sassy rebuttal to discipline. It's not great, and we are actually working with the school counselor (with me she's actually improved greatly these last few weeks). In the meantime, though, I'm at the end of my rope with what to do. I see this only spiraling further and further south. Having said all this--she's not really a monster, she's a 6 year old kid having to deal with a lot of shit that is out of her control. She's smart and funny and creative and loves just as intensely as all her other emotions.

    So how the Hell do I find a sitter for a challenging situation? I certainly can't quit my job, I can't leave any earlier (and as a vet when emergencies happen I'm not always in control of when I'm done for the day anyway), and I have no family. I feel like with the right person we could all flourish, but for every one that doesn't work out we make the situation worse and worse.

    For what it's worth, I pay well (the area's going rate, plus I always round up), so it's not that.

    Thanks for letting me vent. If anyone has any helpful guidance please lay it on me. I've been crying all night.
    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 13, 2008
    Posts
    5,632

    Default

    Where are you in the Raleigh area? North, south, east or west?

    And by "vet" do you mean veterinarian or veteran?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    1,753

    Default

    I live south of Raleigh, work NE of Raleigh. And while I feel like I'm at war, I'm a veterinarian
    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2005
    Posts
    534

    Default

    Have you tried care.com? Some people are just not good at handling all types of kids, and I think you just had a bad match with the last sitter. On the care.com website you can list a job and describe your daughter. I would ask what experience potential sitters have with kids that fit outside the box. If they have dealt with kids with bigger issues, your daughter will be a walk in the park. Good luck!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2006
    Posts
    841

    Default

    Be honest when you hire people. I mean really honest. Give the worst examples you can think of that describe her "challenging behavior"

    Give them tools to handle your daughter's behavior.
    What you do that works. What doesn't work.
    What they can do if nothing is working ie - stick her in front of some terrible tv show with candy. I think it has to be ok for them to "just get through" the afternoons with her in the beginning.

    Tell them you don't expect miracles overnight.
    Do more than just round up.

    I babysat like crazy as a young person and now have teenagers so I have been through the "baby-sitter" years from both perspectives.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2007
    Posts
    159

    Default

    I would also look at how you transition the new sitter in. First, be upfront about your daughters strengths and weaknesses. Make sure the new sitter gets to spend some time with you and your daughter before they have to deal with your daughter on their own. Share the strategies that you've been learning with the school counselor with the new sitter and ask her to be honest with you about her experiences with your daughter. Also, just letting the sitter know that they can call if they're having difficulties may be helpful.

    I would also consider putting a reinforcement system in place for your daughter. Some sort of system where if she behaves well with the sitter for X number of days she earns a preferred reward. That way the sitter has some "ammo" to deal with behavior problems if they come up.

    I think you can absolutely find someone to work with your daughter, but you need to set both the sitter and your daughter up for success. I work with kids with behavior challenges so feel free to pm if you have more questions!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2000
    Location
    ~the back of my horse, where the view is best!
    Posts
    4,144

    Default

    Crate train the kid? Sorry, I know it's not any help because it isn't legal.

    I agree with some sort of reward system. Maybe something where she has to earn so many gold stars and can't have any more than so many red Xs on her weekly report car from the sitter. Then she gets to do something special.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,517

    Default

    Do you have an autism program in your area? Or a Child and Youth Worker program? Maybe finding someone who knows about implementing behavioural strategies would be helpful. People going to school for those programs might want to pick up some money doing a bit of babysitting on the side.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    1,753

    Default

    Ugh. Thanks for the replies thus far. The last 2 sitters I've had come in for 2 days while I was still there (but not hovering) or while running quick (30 min) errands, etc. I've sent detailed emails with what they are likely to encounter and ways to deal. I leave all my numbers and tell them to call/text no matter how small/large the issue. And I have told them if they get frustrated to just turn on the TV. I'd rather everyone be alive and sane than care about TV time!

    This last one kept saying she sat for 2 wild boys, yadda yadda. I got good reports Monday and Wednesday ("She was good"). She told me she was tough tonight, and just wouldn't listen, and had a huge tantrum. Then she called me an hour later and said she was sorry for the late notice, and she'd do tomorrow, but she couldn't handle her.

    I try to be as objective as I can with my own kid. She's not terrible. Her teacher says she did not single her out as needing behavioral help--I requested it. But she's never been the laid back, follow every rule with no fuss type either; and now it's that PLUS some anger management issues.

    Its hard not to feel defensive and guilty all at the same time!

    oh, and we got reward systems in spades! If she had gotten a good report tonight, she would have gotten to go to the school store tomorrow--she's been looking forward to that ever since we chose that reward this go-round!
    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
    Posts
    778

    Default

    It sounds like your DD needs attention. I know it's hard for you because you are working a lot. but at schools, they don't get that love, affection, or attention that young children need.

    when looking for a sitter, don't just look for someone who will watch your DD, but someone who wants to spend time with her, doing something special. some hand-crafts, art, quiet games. Someone who can give her that quality one on one time.

    don't look for someone who can "deal" with her, but someone who can Love her.

    If you lived closer I would offer. I love children and would gladly help out!


    6 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,517

    Default

    Just want to add that it might not be all your daughter. I found it hard to find sitters for my kids when I worked full-time and they were easy-peasy kids. There aren't a lot of people who only want to work a couple of hours a day. I ended up finding someone through a nanny placement agency. Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2012
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    544

    Default

    I disagree on the phasing in the sitter part.. I'd like to meet the child before nannying or sitting but I feel like just having mom drop them off and immediately making it clear that... A. i'm their friend and it's going to be ok mommy will come back or B. I'm in control and if you dare to think otherwise you'll find out how true that is. I like to know what will and won't work with the kid and definitely have a good talk with mom about the discipline in the house so no matter what i choose (within reason) I know the parent will re-enforce my decisions and it will lead to a lot more fun for both the child and I.

    I think you're daughter sounds fine as long as she's not biting anyone yet.. or stabbing them with pitch forks(I’ve sat some un-happy campers) I've found that the best way to get the hyper/ stressed/ difficult ones to like you is to take them hiking or swimming or playing outside even if it's "yucky" their kids They need to move alot they’re not all ADHD they just need to move, explore, and pet fluffy critters. I plan things like cupcake decorating contests for rewards, something that always lets them be thinking.

    I've only ever had one kid I wanted to punch but I was sitter #32 so It wasn't shocking, I told him i'd plant him so far under the ground he wouldn't know which way was up when he lept out of the car and let my dog into traffic before kicking him twice to make him run away. He told his dad I threatened him, so I told him I would deck his kid if he ever kicked another creature and the boy got a spanking and grounded. I was 15? And it was one fiasco after another with him, I took him to the park, the library, to get ice cream and it always ended badly.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2003
    Location
    Happily in Canada
    Posts
    4,992

    Default

    Coming at this from a different angle (I don't have kids), so take it for what it's worth. Is there any chance of trying a different sort of sitting situation? When my siblings and I needed after-school care, my mother arranged for us to go to a "babysitter" who was in her 70s. She was a grandmother and didn't take crap. We went to her house, and I remember the feeling of having to behave a bit better because I was at someone else's house, AND it was an "elder" who wasn't taking any crap. We were allowed to play in her back yard or watch TV or play scrabble with her (she always beat us, of course).

    It also worked because it didn't matter if our parents were late sometimes, the sitter was already at home and not worried about leaving or getting a ride etc.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


    3 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    1,753

    Default

    I spoke with my friend who watches DD between sitters (so, frequently recently ). She said she can pull some stunts/tantrums, but nothing any spirited kid wouldn't dish out. I've also set up an appointment with her school counselor next week to discuss.

    She's not bad in the biting/spitting/hitting sense--just stomping and tantrums and anger when things don't go her way (which sometimes is a lot, sometimes not so much).

    Oh well, we'll keep trudging along and work on/fix what we can...the rest will hopefully fall into place eventually.
    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Westford, Massachusetts
    Posts
    4,007

    Default

    Stomping/tantrums/anger...sounds like a lot of kids that age! It's a real testing limits age, even with out all the challenges your DD is dealint with right now.

    Where are you finding sitters? Maybe try to line up someone very kid experienced, a "pro"...a teacher, special ed staff, social worker, camp director...a kid professional who is either retired, out of work or who happens to have a schedule that will work with yours. Many in those fields are underpaid and might be eager to pick up some extra income. Someone who has been there and done that will all kinds of kids, won't be intimidated by your DD and can stay calm and not get sucked in to the drama and won't take backtalk and sassing personally.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
    Posts
    4,343

    Default Pay even better AND TIP!

    For what it's worth, I pay well (the area's going rate, plus I always round up), so it's not that.
    As a petsitter, I'm in a similar situation. I can choose to watch a good dog, that goes out happily for a walk and doesn't try and bite me. Or I can watch the dog that poops and pees all over the house, bites and pulls on a leash. At the same rate of pay, I'm going to not watch the problem dog. It's harder work, stressful and just not fun.

    You are going to need to pay well above going rate. Be honest and try doubling the rate. Seriously. Or find an agency or service.

    But look at it from the providers view. Poorly behaved charges (child or animal) provide an additional layer of stress and liability that you should pay for. I've started passing on jobs that start with "Doggy is a rescue so he does X". And honestly, I feel like I let the client down when the dog misbehaves.... and as a paid provider, you don't feel quite right providing discipline.

    It doesn't make you a bad person to have a difficult child or dog, but the reality is that there is a lot of opportunity for child care providers to NOT have to deal with difficult kids and the pay is so low that adding stress to it is not worthwhile for most people.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
    Posts
    3,010

    Default

    As a former nanny for two spoiled girls, who had learned that screaming, crying fits of rage got them out of x,y,z... it sucks. They were 4 and 10, and I remember standing over the 10 year for 45 minutes one morning, just staring in disbelief as she kicked, screamed, and cried on the floor because I wouldn't let her wear shorts to softball. It was amazing the length of the tantrum. According to her parents, though, she was just a little bit of a handful.

    Sittercity.com is a great site, that I've used to find last minute sitters for DD. I also agree with over-dramatizing your daughter's bad moments to whomever you choose. I would also write down the steps that you take when dealing with her. Part of the reason that I had such trouble with the two girls I formally sat, is because their parents and I weren't on the same page. Spirited kids can be a lot more fun than the ones that just want to plunk in front of the t.v. because they are actually game to go out and do stuff!

    Finally, I would also look for somebody with a degree, perhaps a teacher out of a job? They typically have more tools in the box when it comes to troublesome ones.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2005
    Location
    Mass.
    Posts
    6,680

    Default

    Have you asked the staff at her after-school program if one of them would be willing to bring DD home and stay for that extra hour at your house?
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Colorado- Yee Haw!
    Posts
    3,024

    Default

    I suggest the above. One day a week I often miss the daycare cut off- so I have one of my Daughter's teachers bring her home and I meet her there. I usually only miss by 20 minutes but pay an hour minimum. I do pay about 20% premium for sitters and have never had trouble getting one. My situation is different though in that I don't use them that much, but when I do it's often last minute. So, the premium doesn't make a huge difference to my budget, but knowing I can get a sitter at the last minute makes a huge difference to my sanity. As well as knowing it's a teacher she knows. I usually call one teacher and if they can't do it they find someone else who can and they call me back. That said my daughter is pretty easy.
    What about another family that can take her home with their kids and you pay them so she's in a family environment?



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    19,409

    Default

    I understand that your daughter has had her world upended. I'd suggest family counseling for starters. Then, if she were mine, I would explain that the rules have changed and the behavior must stop. Then enforce it. Whatever it takes, including early bedtimes because she must be tired or she wouldn't be acting this way.

    OP how do you react to a tantrum? I've found the best way, at least in my family, was to say that I'm sorry but until you calm down, we can't discuss the problem, so go to your room until you have calmed down enough to discuss the problem.

    Kids can be great manipulators. Maybe you're letting behavior slide because you feel guilty about the crappy hand she's been dealt recently?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    6 members found this post helpful.

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