Gender Gender

Parents react to nannies behaviour towards kids

LAST week, I brought out the issue of children being abused by those entrusted to take care of them. The abuse can be perpetuated by a nanny or even a relative.
I received a number of reactions, which I will run with this week:
Dear Doris,
I sadly read your story on children being abused by nannies or guardians. I also work with children and relate to the story you wrote of a child who was being tortured by her nanny until the teacher brought it to the attention of the parents that their daughter was troubled.
I had a boy in my class who lived with his father and stepmother. From what I gathered, the stepchild was as a result of the father having an extra-marital affair and had this child with his girlfriend.
The child initially lived with his mother until at some point it was decided it was best he lives with his father and the stepmother as they offered a more comfortable home than where he lived with his mother.
When the boy lived with his mother, the father provided for the child’s welfare and this made the man’s wife uncomfortable as she felt this man was more or less running two homes: the matrimonial home and the home where his child lived.
While with the mother, the child was clearly happy and very active at school.  Towards the end of the year, I observed that the boy’s performance had dwindled and would not want to interact with his friends in and outside class.
Just after the boy moved in with his father, the stepmother informed the school administration never to allow his mother to visit him at school, claiming she was a mentally disturbed woman.
What puzzled the school administration is how suddenly a boy who seemed happy could have been living with a mentally disturbed woman, who was suddenly a danger to his life.
I noticed scars on his face and legs. I brought it to the attention of the headteacher that the school administration needed to seek audience with the boy’s father and stepmother for the sake of the child.
However, before the parents came to the school, the boy opened up explaining how he is mistreated by his stepmother. She even hits him with a wire. He said when his father was not home, she denied him food and warned him against telling the father or she would slit his throat.
The child has since moved away from the school where I teach and my hope is that he is back with his mother.
Concerned teacher.

Hello Doris,
I really enjoy your column; please keep up the good work.
I am a mother of three and reading your story on the child who was tormented by the nanny was sad. I recall before she started school how my first child always cried whenever it was time for me to leave work. My daughter started losing weight and having on and off diarrhoea.
I thank God my mother is still alive, who decided that I drop my child at her home daily on my way to work.
In no time, I observed that my child’s health was stable and she put on weight.
I sometimes felt like quitting my job. I really thank God my mother is still alive and has taken care of her grandchildren before they are old enough to start school.
Kunda K.

Hi Doris,
Your column last week should serve as a reminder to parents, I included, to pay attention to any changes in our children. We sometimes get so caught up with our work, forgetting that we also have a responsibility to those little angels we brought into this world.
Until next week, let’s keep in touch.

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