So the kid I nanny was being really obnoxious this morning. One of his biggest issues is being a whiny, complainy little shit about everything from his mom's homemade bread, to me making him wear a coat on a cold day. So much grumbling and complaining! I know he is six and no one should be expected to be a perfect angel at his age but I'd like to talk to him about some of the behavior issues that crop up often for him after school today.

I am planning to try to make it a very calm, kind talk about how we should all act, rather than casting this morning up to him so long after the fact.

His class at school has regular empathy workshops so there is a foundation to talk about that concept with him, which is great. I have a list of what I am planning to talk about with him and I would love some feedback.

  • It is always ok to have the feelings you have, but it isn't ok to act on those feelings in a way that is selfish or hurts others
  • It is good to stop and think about what you are feeling and why, so you can decide if you need to talk with an adult about it
  • Before you make a complaint, stop and think: is this a big problem I need help with, or just a small thing I don't like? If I say this, how will it make the other person feel?
  • If someone directly asks you if you like ____ (the bread, the coat, whatever), answer honestly but politely: "i'm sorry, but i don't care for ____"
  • If nobody asks whether or not you like it, be pleasant or be silent. (Is this way too harsh? I was raised this way and I plan to make it clear to him that he can always share if it is a real problem, just not to endlessly complain about how everything in his life isn't good enough when he is such a lucky, privileged kid)

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When I started with this kid nearly a year ago, he never said please or thank you, and every request was phrased like "I WANT JUICE" in the world's brattiest tone. We have made huge strides so far! One problem is his parents let him talk to them in a way more appropriate for a three year old than a six year old. When it is just him and me, he has learned a lot about speaking with a nice tone of voice and asking for things nicely, but when his mom comes home the whining comes back! I know he is old enough to do better and I really believe he can do it, but he is one of those upper middle class kids with a nanny and everything he could ever need, and he has a tendency towards selfishness combined with lack of self-sufficiency because of that. He's not used to ever cleaning up after himself or doing things for himself.