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home : columns : dear harriette October 20, 2020

8/14/2020 8:03:00 AM
Ex-employee shows up at kid's day care

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a restaurant manager. I recently had to let go of one of my servers who continuously got complaints for being rude. I had trouble with her arriving late and creating issues with other staff during work hours. It was actually a relief to have her gone.

About a month later when I was dropping off my 4-year-old at day care, I was introduced to a new teacher's assistant who had just started. It was my former employee. Our last interaction did not go well, and I am confident that she is not a genuinely nice person. How does a person like that get a job caring for children? I am concerned about her working in the same classroom as my child. I always felt my child was safe there, but now I'm not sure. Should I say something to the day care director or move my child? -- Should I Speak Up?

DEAR SHOULD I SPEAK UP: You should speak to the management of your child's day care center. Request a private meeting, and express your concerns. Be direct but not inflammatory. Describe your relationship with this woman, including the reactions that customers had to her that led to her eventual firing. Suggest that management observe her carefully to ensure that she treats the children, staff and parents well.

She may be better with children than with adults. Her poor fit at a restaurant might become a good fit in this different environment -- but who knows? As her former employer, you absolutely should alert the day care center director about what you know as a fact about her behavior.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I agreed to allow my sister to come stay with me to visit my daughter. My sister and I do not get along, but I remain civil for my daughter's sake. Anytime we get into an argument, she goes way too far and says things about me as a mother. My sister can't have kids, and I feel like she judges my parenting skills, from the job I pick to where I live to what I cook or wear. When she is in town, I feel like I have to tiptoe to protect my self-esteem from her. I don't know how to handle her. She does not have kids, but I don't want to say something unforgivable about that. I've encouraged her to adopt, but she always drops the topic and says she has her niece, my daughter. I am super uncomfortable around her. How should I tell her to back off? -- Back Off, Sister

DEAR BACK OFF, SISTER: Take a step back and evaluate what's happening here. Why do you give your sister a pass to come into your home and enjoy your daughter, treating you with disrespect all the while? That doesn't make sense. It is time for you to stand up for yourself.

While your sister is with you, sit down and have a talk with her. Tell her that you have gone out of your way to be sensitive to her situation and to accommodate her desire to stay close to your daughter, but you have had enough.

Point out how she treats you. Give her several examples of the things she has said and how she said them. Tell her that you do not appreciate her criticism and that you have had enough. If she cannot find it in herself to stop her critical conversation, you will not invite her to stay with you anymore. Regardless of what she says, don't give in. Otherwise, your child will unconsciously learn that your sister's behavior is acceptable and may take on some of those qualities.

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