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Difficult situation with parent


JJA
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Hi - this is quite a tricky one to get down but I'm interested in hearing how other managers would handle this one! It's kind of in two parts...

 

I have a two year old here who has a really sore nappy area. We use mum's provided wipes (with aloe vera) as mum believes these help.

Mum has brought up on at least 6 occasions (and very rudely) that when her daughter came home the nappy was dirty (as in, smudged - not full - as though she hadn't been wiped properly.) After the first time I re-trained all staff on nappy changing procedures and set up a 'buddy system' so the team helped each other out even though it's normally the key-person who changes her nappy. It appeared at the time that mum was unhappy with her key-person (not because of the actual person but because of who it wasn't if you get my meaning - she wanted the supervisor to be her daughter's key-person as she knows her from her last child at nursery.)

The second time she said it happened I apologised again, but I was also a little suspicious so I set up a 'check'...The supervisor checks the child's nappy for marks just before collection so that we know it's going home clean.

She complained again last week but asked the person she complained to not to bother saying anything to me about it as 'nothing will get done anyway'. The supervisor asked her to come in for a proper meeting so that we could really chat about it all and clear some things up but she's refused.

Then this morning she was visibly quite upset saying that there was actually a bit of poo 'lodged' in her daughters bits when she got home. I have asked her to come in again and talk it all through and hopefully she will this time.

I genuinely believe my staff are cleaning the little one thoroughly - I can only think she's may be doing a bit more after she's collected...I can't see any other explanation as we don't have this with any other children at all.

 

Right, to make it more complicated, this parent is also owing a lot of money (over £900) - she has refused to meet with me to discuss payment options. She has now started paying her monthly bill via standing order but has not cleared the debt. I may be being paranoid, but I feel the two issues are connected...

 

So what do you all make of that???

Edited by FFL
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I would say she is planning to leave anyway because she can't pay the bill but she wants to make it look like it's the nursery's fault so she is trying to come up with a reason. Then she can leave in a huff, not give the appropriate notice period and not pay her bill.

 

If you say you and the supervisor have both monitored the situation and seen correct procedures followed at all times (make a little record sheet to show when you did this and you can always show that to her at the meeting).

 

You might like to have someone else in the meeting with you and as well as discussing this also present the unpaid bill with a copy of your fees/non-payment policy attached, while you've got her there.

 

Good luck.

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Sadly I agree with Edlee as we have been in situations like this before when parents can 't pay their bill and turn the tables by raising petty and unfounded complaints. Make sure you document everything. I would also try to separate the two issues, so don't mention the debt at the 'nappy' meeting and vice versa.

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I agree she is probably just making waves but invite her in for a chat to discuss this , put her mind at rest explain to her everything your doing , peel away those layers.

 

Regarding the debt , discuss both separately as suggested , not sure if you do already but if not put in place parent contracts regarding payments.

This year we have re-emphasised our payment policy etc and thankfully all money came in 10 days after the bills were issued as stated.

£900 is a lot of money and to be honest , we would not have let it get this far , I try to be understanding but have been burnt in the past so am now much more cautious.

This parent could be struggling financially and emotionally hence the need for attention over what to us might seem petty issues.

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With regards the nappy changing and marks left after changes.......it can be quite difficult to get into all the nooks and crannies, if you get my meaning, with little girls. In this child's case, maybe you need to gently make sure all her 'bits' are clean.......some poo can travel inside her and then of course it would appear later, as a smudge.Rememeber that female 'openings' are very close together, not to mention the fleshy bits where poo can 'hide', so it might be that is how the problem arises??Perhaps the answer is to have tow staff change her.....one to deal with it and one to oversee things. not something i would normally do, but apart from anything, if the child DOES have trapped bits of poo, she's going to get sore.

As to the money, set up an affordable payment plan, get mum to sign it and then stick to it. Even if she takes her child away, the debt remains. Good luck

 

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I agree with others. Separate debt and nappy issue. Send a solicitor's letter as someone advised on another thread. Check child with mum before she leaves, could be that she's regular and likes a clean nappy to go in. We had a parent who regularly complained her child was going home with wet clothes on, despite two members of staff checking. We started inviting Mum to check herself before leaving and problem seems to have resolved itself.

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I was reading your post and hadn't got to the end before I thought- does she owe money?

I'm afraid she is definitely setting herself up to leave, I agree with others.

She owes such a lot of money, I too would not have been able to let it build this much as I've also been stung in the past but not for this amount,good advise to set up manageable repayment structure as this is probably her real anxiety.I have done this before and it has been such a relief to the parent. If she leaves as mentioned above, the debt remains...

Asking mum to check nappy is also good advice.

Good luck.

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Thanks for all the responses. I know what you mean about setting herself an excuse to leave and that was what I wondered that you'd suggest!

 

The reason the debt has been allowed to get to this point is that the family have been with us for quite some time (5 years in total) and she's had money difficulties/work problems in the past that we have been understanding with and helped her sort through with payment plans. I expected the same kind of conversations this time, however she has refused to come in and talk it through. I still feel hopeful that it won't come to a situation where she leaves with bad feeling and a debt, but we'll see!

 

As for the nappy area, thanks again for all the ideas. One I hadn't considered was having mum check her before she leaves - this is where I think we'll have to head for. I have managed to get her to agree to a meeting about this on Friday so I'll see how that goes.

 

Love this forum!

Thanks everyone.

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Nappy - every day when Mum arrives, get her to go to nappy changing area with a member of staff and check the child and get staff to write in diary/whatever record you keep that they checked it together and it was fine.

 

Debt - send her a letter stating that she is required to meet with you by (date - say one week) to agree a payment plan, if she doesn't her place will be suspended and you will commence legal proceedings to cover the debt. As long as you have all documentation (including signed contract) then county court will award in your favour and she cannot use being unhappy with service as an excuse for not paying as she chose to carry on leaving her child there. Once you have judgement - she will have to pay or costs will continue to be added.

 

Maybe harsh but she has been quite happy for 5 years and she cannot be that unhappy now as she keeps coming in and she refuses to meet with you.

 

Make it clear to her that the two issues are not related and she has to pay for her childcare as it is being provided.

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