Are Stepfamilies Happy?


A babysitter in Minnesota told me the following story:

She has been caring for children for 14 years and has taken two vacations during this time. Its contract allows for ten days payable annually and up to five paid days. The few days patients who took years ago were when her baby was born and when her husband and baby underwent surgery.

It took her sick day this summer to attend a parent’s funeral. She had cared for her son for eight years. This month she plans to take her last paid day to go with her seniors to college. All parents are comfortable with this except one.

One parent refuses because he thinks the giver has taken his last date to attend the funeral. She doesn’t want to pay $ 84 (the cost of one day’s care for her three children) on the next trip to college.

I have heard similar stories from caregivers over the years. Caregivers work long hours and take very little leave, if any, vacation or other days. The parents of the children in their care are usually understanding and will not hesitate to offer a rest.

But, there are some parents who fight: “You can’t take a sick day at a funeral because you’re not sick,” “I’m not happy because now I have to pay twice this day,” “Why should I pay for days when my child is not in your care?” And so on.

Obviously, some parents are struggling financially and find it difficult to pay for the care of their children.

But many parents are receiving more paid vacation, sick days, vacations, and other work benefits than most caregivers. In the above scenario the grieving parent took two vacations so far this year and now wants to pinpoint money.

My Planning

I responded to a Minnesota child-care supervisor and told him that it made sense to interpret his illness as a funeral. As a result, he only had one day to spend on his college trip. It is true that no matter how reasonable they may be, there may be some parents who will not see them the same way. Therefore, I asked him to choose the following three options:

1) Tell the parent you took the funeral as a sick day and they owe you $ 84 per day. If they refuse to pay, tell them that you will terminate their agreement with them.

2) Tell the parent you believe you have the right to take the day but you understand that they may not see things the same way. Talk to them. Are they willing to pay half? What if they pay you $ 84 but publish for three months?

3) While your responsibility is reasonable, do not give up trying to convince the parent that he or she should pay you back. Let it go and don’t let it distract you. Life is too short to try to prove to a parent that you are reasonable.

In the end the child caregiver chooses option # 2. They try to talk to the parent and tell the parent that if they agree to the persuasion they may need to find another caregiver who can meet their needs.

We are learning

Caregivers and parents are often the best. Occasionally some parents (and other donors) try to take advantage of every opportunity. When are the caregivers for these parents the best? Probably.

There is no problem choosing the # 3 method above to deal with your parent. Providers offer their own rules on a regular basis. But, if you want to represent a parent, then go for it. There is no shame in doing what you believe is reasonable.

Tom Copeland –

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For more information on how to create your own relationship with your ideas and how you can achieve it, see my book Family Child Care Contracts and Policies.

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Categories: Agreements & Policies

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