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Am I being a bad parent... by telling my childminder what she should be doing?

One reader is is wondering if she’ll rock the boat by asking her son’s minder to change things up.

IF YOU HAVE A childminder or relative who regularly cares for your child, you’ll know it can be a bit of a minefield figuring out who’s responsible for what.

You’re the parent, but if your child spends hours at a time in someone else’s care, there may be some decisions you’re not privy to. So who gets the final say? That’s what one reader is wondering this week.

Each week in our new series, Am I Being A Bad Parent?, we hear from a reader who can’t figure out if they’re on the right track with a parenting decision, or if they’ve gotten something 100% wrong. To get a balanced view of the situation, we put the dilemma to a group of Irish parents, keeping things anonymous to encourage honest answers.

This week’s dilemma

Am I being a bad parent by… telling my minder how to care for my child? We have been blessed with a minder who has welcomed our toddler into her home wholeheartedly. He is well looked after there, genuinely cared for and loved. One thing I’d love would be for her to bring him to some more structured activities during the week (eg. toddler groups for music/play) BUT I am worried I could insult our minder by asking. I really want to protect our relationship with her but also want the best for my son’s social development. Am I being unreasonable to raise the issue with her?

Our anonymous readers’ responses

You’re not being unreasonable, but you should be tactful. Give examples of specific activities and bring it up in a nice way. So ‘we brought him to this playgroup and he really loved it, do you think you might be able to bring him someday?’

Yes, you’re being a bit unreasonable. Younger toddlers don’t necessarily need paid-for activities as long as they are getting quality play time with their caregiver. However if there is an element of care you feel could be improved, you should be able to have an open conversation about it. Keep it conversational and ask the minder what they think about certain playgroups so that it’s not framed as a demand. It sounds like your minder is fabulous so it shouldn’t be problematic.

No, you’re not being unreasonable at all. If you have a childminder you should be comfortable enough with that person to discuss any aspect of your child’s wellbeing. Raising your child should be a two-way process.

No, you’re not being unreasonable, but it’s not all on your minder. Both you and the minder (in theory at least) want the best for your son, so treat it as a shared problem. If you feel like he needs more social activities, it’s much easier to say, “This is the issue as I see it, do you have any thoughts on what we could do?” than “Um, please do more things with my son”.

So what’s the final tally? Is our reader being unreasonable?

No – 3

Yes – 1

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Help! Am I being unreasonable? We’re looking for parenting dilemmas from our readers for our Am I Being A Bad Parent? feature. Drop us a line with your reader dilemma on

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