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Young Sons Clinging to New Nanny

Question:

I am a single father with two boys, ages 4 and 5, who live with me full-time. My ex-wife and I have a great relationship, however, she lives two hours away and is in the military. Consequently, she is frequently gone and the boys do not see her much.

I have recently hired a live-in nanny. This is new to us. Not a week after the nanny started working, I am finding that the boys – especially my younger son – are clingy and attached to her. This is upsetting for me because I don’t want them to think the nanny is a replacement for their mother. How do I handle this situation?  Should I have her move out or be less affectionate? 
 

Answer:

Regardless of how good of a parent you are, you are only one person and can only stretch your time and energy so far. It was a wonderful decision to hire a live-in nanny. The boys need someone to hold them just because they want to be held.  They need someone to smooth back their hair and kiss their cheeks for no reason other than that they are cute little guys. 

Children who grow up with nannies do not love their parents less. It just means that they receive more love because a nanny can provide them with the nurturing that parents can’t always provide due to work schedules, social demands and responsibilities around the home.

A good nanny will not mind the clinginess that is typical with younger children, especially in the beginning. The boys will eventually learn that they don’t have to be so clingy because she will be with them daily. She will adhere to your parenting style, implement your expectations for your sons and help them grow emotionally through her reliable care of them. Even though it is her JOB, if she is good at it it will never be apparent to you or the boys.

The decision you have made to hire a nanny will allow you more time to nurture and play with your son's because she will take care of the things that prevented you from having time to play before. Know that the behaviors your sons are demonstrating are not unusual and will decrease as time goes on. 
 

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