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  #1  
Old 06-10-2016, 08:00 AM
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Shawn Shawn is offline
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Default Maintaining Professional Provider - Parent Relationships

Hello all. Venting...

I need some suggestions on how to keep parents from wanting a "friend" relationship with me.

I know this may sound a little crazy but it's become a problem for me.

Within the last 6 years, I have encountered parents who want to "hang out" with me. I'm glad they see me as a cool person, it has turned bad in a few situations.

Some parents trust me way more then just being their child's care giver. Some have lead to the point of taking advantage of me.

I've had parents who shared a lot more "TMI" then i would like to know.

Parents who felt they crossed into the friend zone, didn't have to follow the policies.

Even those who decided it was okay to get drunk during their lunch hour and forget their child was at daycare.

I'm just sick of it all. Don't get me wrong I have had families who treat me as extension of their families and include me in major family celebrations but understand that I also provide a service that they are contracted in.

I don't want to come off as a being unfriendly, unsympathetic, uncaring, or stringent. I like that parents are comfortable and trusting. I just don't want to hear about how a dad sells drugs to pay for daycare or about how the mom thinks the dad is bi sexual, or how a parent felt we were "cool" so she doesn't understand why I won't go to dinner with her although she was behind in payment, or why I terminated a mom who yelled and threatened me about why her autistic son doesn't know sign language but thought we were friends because I listened to her constant cries about her dysfunctional childhood.

The last of the "We're cool , right?" clients are now gone. I just want to prevent this from happening ever again. Pick up your kid, ask how their day went, pay me and go home.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:29 AM
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Wow, okay. I think you need to screen prospective parents better!!! That is a whole lot of drama for you to deal with.

Just keep diverting the conversation back to dck. I was good friends with dcf's and recently reverted back to "business only". So you can do it. I'm still friendly, but I run a business. And now I charge late fees
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:32 AM
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1. Enforce all your policies from day one with all dcps. Don't let them get behind in payments. No pay No stay.

2. Work out a drop off and pick up routine that eliminates the possibility for small talk. Maybe you are setting up art while they drop off, or reading stories, or helpin a child go potty - whatever works for you.

3. Politely and consistently ignore or rebuff friendship attempts. "I am so flattered but I have found its best not to mix business and pleasure, have a great weekend!" or "I already have plans"

Its nice you have a fresh group of parents to train I am coming to a place where I am no longer becoming friends with dcps. My original crew were all long time friends, respectful and awesome. I am learning that friendliness and friendship don't need to be the same thing with my newer families.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:50 AM
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Thank you ladies for your helpful suggestions. They will be considered. I have always had policies in place but rarely enforce them. In my 14 years, I've seen so many changes in the families I care for. I feel like a rookie in this field. When I'm actually an old lady.

Now that I'm down to one dck, I'm taking this time to reflect and regroup in the areas that need improvements which included tightening up on my polices.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn View Post
Thank you ladies for your helpful suggestions. They will be considered. I have always had policies in place but rarely enforce them. In my 14 years, I've seen so many changes in the families I care for. I feel like a rookie in this field. When I'm actually an old lady.

Now that I'm down to one dck, I'm taking this time to reflect and regroup in the areas that need improvements which included tightening up on my polices.
I have found that enforcement is very important from day one. It seems the first time you don't, people think then that the rules don't apply to them so they don't follow any of them. I have found it much easier to enforce everything from the beginning, and then I can decide here and there when I can forgive a policy, but I let them know it is a one time thing.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:09 AM
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I absolutely understand! It is hard, especially when you do have a great connection with people. What I would say (and I mean this very respectfully) is that as providers we need to first respect the position we have. Over the years I probably crossed the line too by accepting the graces of certain families which causes certain parents to take me and my business less serious. It's hard enough to get parents to respect our profession as it is.

So I made the decision to maintain the professional relationship ONLY when the child was still in attendance with me. Then, after they leave if we still want to have a relationship that would be fine.

I guess it's kinda like working in the corporate world. You wouldn't necessarily want to hang out and party with your boss, that would be considered inappropriate.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by thrivingchildcarecom View Post
I absolutely understand! It is hard, especially when you do have a great connection with people. What I would say (and I mean this very respectfully) is that as providers we need to first respect the position we have. Over the years I probably crossed the line too by accepting the graces of certain families which causes certain parents to take me and my business less serious. It's hard enough to get parents to respect our profession as it is.

So I made the decision to maintain the professional relationship ONLY when the child was still in attendance with me. Then, after they leave if we still want to have a relationship that would be fine.

I guess it's kinda like working in the corporate world. You wouldn't necessarily want to hang out and party with your boss, that would be considered inappropriate.
It is hard. If we were not loving, caring people we wouldn't likely choose this profession. That means our hearts and our brains fight a lot.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:13 AM
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Annalee Annalee is offline
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I find that most quality FCC providers are 'givers' so we have to work extra hard to take control of our business which, in turn, will take care of US!
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:47 AM
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Cat Herder Cat Herder is offline
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Don't be "cool".

Be professional with high standards.

Practice the awkward silence.

Say No, often.
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Don't be "cool".

Be professional with high standards.

Practice the awkward silence.

Say No, often.
so much yes! Its hard (for some) to not want to make parents like you. But we want them to like us as a provider. They should feel safe and secure with us, but they don't have to want to grab a drink with us
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:12 PM
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NillaWafers NillaWafers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrivingchildcarecom View Post
I absolutely understand! It is hard, especially when you do have a great connection with people. What I would say (and I mean this very respectfully) is that as providers we need to first respect the position we have. Over the years I probably crossed the line too by accepting the graces of certain families which causes certain parents to take me and my business less serious. It's hard enough to get parents to respect our profession as it is.

So I made the decision to maintain the professional relationship ONLY when the child was still in attendance with me. Then, after they leave if we still want to have a relationship that would be fine.

I guess it's kinda like working in the corporate world. You wouldn't necessarily want to hang out and party with your boss, that would be considered inappropriate.
This is pretty much how I've approached it from the get go. I do get the feeling that some parents would like to be friends, or expect special favors because we get along well. But I promised myself when I started this that I was a business FIRST. So far I've stuck to my guns and followed my policies even though it's been hard! But I am glad I have because it has shown my parents that I respect myself, so they should respect me too.

After some kids have left my care I think I would be ok being friends, mostly since our children have seen each other everyday for a year! But while they're in my care, no - we aren't going to go there.

So for a new group I'd say:
a) always follow policies
b) do not socialize beyond your job
c) make it clear you are a business first by acting like a business
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2016, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Don't be "cool".

Be professional with high standards.

Practice the awkward silence.

Say No, often.
Yes!! As much as I hate to say it, because I have been there, this is your fault not theirs When they go on and on do not engage, get out of the conversation as soon as you can by smiling and nodding or simply taking control of the situation by say "ok jimmy say goodbye to mommy and lets go do xyz" or "ok jimmy we will see you tomorrow have a great night" in order to interrupt the potential conversation. It works really well!

Enforce your policies each and every time, no exceptions, conduct yourself with professional standards and they will have more respect for you. In a sense I don't want my parents to like me enough to want to be my friend. I want them to see me as an uptight NERD. Not a cool, fun person, that is how I am with my actual friends (Well maybe I am still mostly nerd but you get what I mean )

Practice the smile and nod. If the above does not work, simply smile and nod and wait for the convo to end. Do not ask questions or engage in any way, do not take sides or offer advice, unless they are asking for parental or behavioral advice....even then give it once and only once.

Good luck
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2016, 02:56 AM
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While I love to talk a bit with parents at pick up and have made close friends over the years I've never had anything close to this happen! Follow the advice given above!!!
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  #14  
Old 06-12-2017, 05:20 AM
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trix23 trix23 is online now
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Yes you need to uphold standards be sure to enforce policies across the board regardless of who the parent is. If you offer special consideration to some people and not others than might feel slighted if they get to talking about it. To ward off this possible situation by enforcing rules and policies with everyone and being upfront about what will happen if they don't. I've had a few parents think that because I make a special consideration for them here or there means that they don't have to follow policies or pay late fees and they've come to find out that I do charge them regardless
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