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  • What should I do if I see a neighbor’s yaya verbally abusing a child?

    Mom, contributor and SP Yaya Manual book author, Tisha C. Bautista explains what you can do if ever this happens to you.
    by Tisha C. Bautista .
  • sad and scared boy in cornerHave you ever witnessed a neighbor’s yaya verbally abusing her ward? What do you do? Do you intervene or just sit back and watch? What is proper? Is it your place to do anything at all?

    Our “place” in almost any situation is where our conscience lies. Think about it, if it were your child being shouted at by her yaya, would you approve? Would you not want someone to tell you about it so that you can prevent it from ever happening again? If the answer is no, then this conversation stops here. Otherwise, here are a few steps to try to remedy the situation.

    1. If you decide to go up to the yaya and intervene, first make sure that the child is out of harm’s way. Then ask the yaya where her employer is. It will establish a sense of authority over her. You will see an immediate reaction to the mention of her amo. Gauge from this point as to how “allowable” behavior like this would be to her employer. If she panics, then it is a good indication of how the latter would react if she/he knew.


    2. Pose a question such as “What is happening (anong nangyayari)?” or “What are you doing (anong ginagawa mo)?” Right away, attention will be brought to the action of verbal abuse. Do not waste time and just get to the meat of the matter… the child could be crying by this point and you would not want to exacerbate the situation by launching into a sermon. Once you ask the question, listen to her answer…then follow up with another.

    3. “Do her/his parents know that you are shouting at her/him (alam ba ng mga magulang niya na sinisigawan mo ang kanilang anak)?” At this point, the reality of the situation may hit the yaya. After all, unless she is completely delusional, it is crucial that she recognizes the situation for what it is.

    4. “Do you think her/his parents would approve of your behavior (sa palagay mo ba papayag ang mga magulang niya sa ginagawa mo)?” Notice that you are using the word “parent” to stress the fact that the yaya is NOT the parent but the nanny and therefore, she does not have the option to berate a child. Defining roles are very important especially in this situation.

    5. Focus the attention on yourself—stating that, although you are a mere stranger, had her ward been your child, her actions would not be acceptable. The purpose of this is to try to make the yaya understand, recognize and accept that such behavior is not correct.

    6. Ask for the name and contact number of her employer to make it plain that you intend to bring their attention to the situation. At this point, she may lie, give you a wrong name or number or just completely “run away” and ignore you. Worse yet, you may call the parents of the child, recount the entire story and get a response to “mind your own business.”  Either way, it becomes academic. The point is… you tried. As a parent, you were not apathetic, you had the best intentions and you actually did something about it.

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    Not all parents share the same values. You are not responsible for that. However, you are responsible for your own actions and your own conscience. Besides, what do you have to lose? A little pride at being accused of being a busybody? You are a mother/father. Parenthood is privilege as well as a responsibility—sometimes, it exists even if the child is not your own.


    Photo from sxc.hu

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