Entering the World of the Affluent Child | Camp Kailina

“Camp Kailina” has come and gone, and I’ve discovered something strange. Rich kids don’t like child’s play.

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There are obvious pros and cons of this. I’m a big fan of treating kids like adults because then they grow into adults, instead of big children. However, that philosophy has more to do with how you talk to children and what you expose children to. The kids I was working with were almost the opposite of this. You couldn’t talk to them like adults because they fundamentally couldn’t understand, and their exposure to anything is almost nil. However, the one thing they had been exposed to was their parents frantic behavior.

A common problem with affluent families is their tendency to think that everyone lives like them and, consequently, that their lives are incredibly important. The women I work for don’t work. Yet, they can’t find the time to do anything for their children. Laundry, cleaning, and cooking are impossible tasks to fit into their “busy” schedule. They just “can’t find the time anywhere in the week.” It baffles me because they don’t work, and when I’m there they go shopping, or out to lunch with their friends, or even take naps. So, what do they do with their time? I couldn’t tell you, honestly. What I can tell you is that this attitude is negatively rubbing off on their children.

During what has come to be called “Camp Kailina,” I tried to have days packed of fun activities. Activities that I, as a child, loved more than anything else. From swimming at the beach, to playing at the playground, to story time at the library, to baking, to flying kites, I wanted to do it all with these children because I know that they don’t get that sort of play time normally.

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Cooking homemade doughnuts.

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The finished product.

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Building fairy houses on the beach.

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Building forts in the park.

Flying kites by the sea.

Flying kites by the sea.

Yet, with each of the activities came resistance. I heard over and over during Camp Kailina that “I don’t know how to do that,” and “Trying is too hard.” Excuse me? Trying is too hard? I see this attitude with everything be it writing, drawing, fort building, kite flying, or anything else ever — if they don’t know how to do it already, they don’t want to do it. Plus, once I got them to try each of these activities, it only held their attention for at most thirty minutes.

When we would get home from our morning of activity, they had time to themselves for some independent play. What I saw was unbelievable to me. They pretended to be on iPhones and ran around like their heads were cut off yelling, “So much to do! So much to do!” But they never actually did anything. They just kept running around pretending to text. It was absurd. They were like miniature versions of their parents.

Now, I’m sure some will say that this is an issue across all classes these days, but I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. This is an issue with the Upper Middle and Upper classes. I work with lots of children who don’t fall into these subsets of society, and they are nothing like this. They will play all day building forts in the woods, play hide and seek, building fairy houses, etc. It makes it seem like the lower classes have more of an imagination as children than the upper classes. I far prefer working with lower class children because they really are eager to learn, and they’re smart. I want to cultivate that in them. Every wealthy child I’ve ever worked with has little imagination, little desire to learn, and wants everything to be done for them. This is obviously not universally true, but it’s definitely the norm.

When I work with these children, I try to get them away from this. I try to inspire something else in them, but, of course, I’m not the prevailing force in their lives. Their parents need to be more involved, less distracted, and take this precious time in a child’s life seriously. They will probably end up well-off for their whole lives regardless, but if parents don’t take advantage of their sponge-like brains, then — even with all the money and connections — their children are going to end up stupid, unable to think for themselves.

Entering the World of the Affluent Child | Fairness

I’ve been incredibly privileged in my life. I live in a home where I can get three meals a day. I go to the doctor and the dentist regularly. I even got to go to a private school on full scholarship. Now, I’m getting to go to college. In comparison to most people, I’m doing just fine. There’s no real need I have that can’t be fulfilled. However, I don’t always feel that way.

Going to private school, I was always surrounded by people who had exorbitantly more money than my family did. It made me feel poor, even though that’s not the case. However, sometime around my junior year of high school, I grew out of that insecurity. This was partially due to the realization that those people were not ANYTHING like the person I wanted to become. Their world views and lifestyles are actually quite repulsive. Of course, plenty exceptions to that rule can be made, but on the whole the world of the richer-than-gods is not one I want to be part of.

Yet, I can’t find myself disassociated from their slew just yet. The world of a nanny is remarkably similar to the world of private schooling. The families I work for are all richer than God. One family even owns a private jet. Although I love the families I work for and their children, I often find myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of growing up wealthy. So, here I am introducing a new segment to the Diaries of a Nanny series. It’s called “Entering the World of the Affluent Child”. It’s going to be about all the silly moments that just make me want to shake someone and laugh at the same time. These moments make me want to laugh because of their absurdity and how incredibly well it demonstrates just how the other half lives. These moments make me want to shake someone because I know THIS is the exact reason kids of this class turn out to be such awful people in the end; their parents screw them up in an endless number of ways.

So, to kick off this new series is one of the best stories I have.

Josie is an uncontrollable child. She doesn’t really have discipline or structure in her home life. So, meltdowns are a frequent occurrence. Whether it’s because she doesn’t want to brush her hair, eat her dinner, take a bath, or anything else imaginable, tears are almost always inevitable. However, the most frequent reason for a full blown calamity would be the neighbors.

Josie lives in a townhouse. She shares a wall with a family that has three daughters. Now, these three girls can be even worse than Josie. They literally have no boundaries in their lives. So, put all of them together and it makes for some popcorn-popping drama. They will run between the two homes without a word to anyone. Next thing you know, someone is in full blown hysterics because someone doesn’t want to play the same game as someone else. But, no matter what NO ONE wants to stop playing. No matter how badly their feelings are hurt.

Just a few weeks ago, Josie was over playing at the neighbor’s home while I was feeding her little brother next door. The doorbell rings, and not surprisingly, Josie is on the front steps in tears. Apparently, she had hit one of the neighbors in the eye and had been asked to leave. Her interpretation of this event was that “My friends don’t want to play with me anymore. They’re so mean!” So, after nothing could be done to stop the tears, I picked her up, sat her on the stairs, and told her I would come back to talk with her once she had calmed down.

Upon returning, poor, little Josie was still sniffling. I explained to her that actions have consequences. If you hit someone in the eye, people won’t want to play with you. Her response, uttered over and over and over was, “It’s just not fair!” I explained, several times, that it was fair because she had done something mean and that sometimes taking a break from our friends was necessary. After about a hundred more times of hearing the words “It’s not fair,” I asked her, “What does the word fair mean?” You will never guess her response.

She looked me right in the eye and said, “Fair is when you get what you want.”

Holding back my laughter, I explained to her what fairness really is. But after the event was over, I couldn’t help realizing that it’s how affluent children think. They don’t know any better, practically regardless of how their parents try to teach them otherwise. Their parents don’t actually know better either for the most part. They know what fairness is, but they don’t understand it because it’s never applied to them. It could not have been a better example of how the 1% thinks.

Diary of a Nanny | Summertime Paradise

Nannying is hard work. You work long days, weird hours, and too much is expected of you for what you get paid. But at the same time, no job is better than being a nanny. That’s especially true in the summer.
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You get to finger paint, roll down hills, build sandcastles, canvass the sidewalks in chalk, do flips on monkey bars, build fairy houses and any other childhood activity you can imagine. It’s pretty much a dream job.

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It’s also the best job you can have as a college student if you want to become a teacher. You get real world practice implementing your educational philosophy, organizing activities, and formulating development plans for each child.

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But it’s not all fun and games. It’s exhausting. I have to say that when I get home at night I’m typically more tired and frustrated than I am happy. It takes a specific kind of person to be a nanny. It’s not something just anyone can do (although every girl in her 20’s believes SHE can do it).

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Overall, I’m obviously very happy with my job right now. I get to play and laugh and make far more than minimum wage. Plus, I get to hone my skills while I do it. It’s a tough but rewarding job in every way. I wouldn’t give it up for a retail or waitress job in a lifetime.