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Dutch nanny question

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:23 am
by krismech
Dear All,

I have a question with respect to the words that my nanny uses with my baby boy who is 14 months old.

She always tells "Godsamme", sometimes also "Godverdomme"

I was wondering if these kind of words are spoken in a normal Dutch family with samll babies?

furthermore, one day the baby took her glasses and she put him in the crib. He was crying and she told him "Hou je op" . Does that mean "shut up? "

I translated these words in google translate but do not know if they are ok to be used. If not, then time for us for a new nanny.



Re: Dutch nanny question

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:28 pm
by BrutallyFrank
Godsamme = God zal me ... it might be an abbreviation of 'God zal me genadig zijn' (God have mercy on me). It can be considered a swear word, but I wouldn't take it too seriously. I guess she uses it more as a way to express some desperation/frustration.
Godverdomme = God verdoeme me/u ... this one is hardcore. Quite a strong swear word. The use may be the same as above, but not acceptable. Especially when taking care of a child.

"Hou je op" isn't the same as "shut up". That's too harsh! It's more like "Stop it!". And even using 'je' in it, is assertive: it points towards bad behaviour she wants to stop. Question is: will a 14 month old child be susceptible to this? I doubt it, but it may be acceptable in child care ... but probably more effective towards older children.

Bottomline: I'm not a nanny, nor claim any experience in raising a child (although I spend some years teaching). So what I'm going to write next is only my personal opinion!

I'll start with 'Hou je op': I don't think there's any wrong with that. She wants to stop unwanted behaviour and does that verbally. The child may not understand the words, but I don't think there's anything wrong with it. It may be in-effective now, but it might be a way for the child to learn.

'Godsamme/Godverdomme': that one's a bit more tricky. To be honest, I'm not a fan of politically-correctness. I want people to speak their mind. And sometimes a swear word can be a good way to get your message across. And of all the swear words the Dutch language has, 'Godsamme' is definitely not the worst (if it is even a swear word). Mostly used as an interjection ... a way to express emotion. Does that make them acceptable? You're the judge!

Having said that, I think it doesn't make it acceptable while takin' care of a child. Especially when using the word 'Godverdomme'. But I certainly don't think it's a reason to go looking for a new nanny. I don't know how old your nanny is or where she comes from ... it might be acceptable behaviour there. But you are the one who pays her to take care of your child and don't want that language near your child. I think it's OK to point out you think that her behaviour is not acceptable for you. The child is still too young to understand, so it gives her some time to change ...

Re: Dutch nanny question

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:56 pm
by krismech
Dear BrutallyFrank,

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. Indeed it does'nt seem like curse words from your explanation. In the end, she is also a human and has her own frustrations.

Its time for me to speak with her to change herself a bit in this regard.

Best Regards,