Ask a House Cleaner, Brat Child, Savvy Cleaner

Brat Child vs. House Cleaner

A brat child or spoiled brat can wreak chaos on a house cleaners job. If your clients are the parents of a brat child you need to have a talk about the troubled teen. 

We Ask a House Cleaner cleaning advice for dealing with a destructive, violent and volatile brat child. If they are yelling expletives and you see a white flash you may be in danger. Remember they are just words. 

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says a maid reacting without a plan will lose control.  The priority for house cleaning training and maid service training is to educate your staff. 

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.


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Question: Brat Child vs. House Cleaner

Did you ever clean a house where there was a brat child present? Today’s question is this,As a house cleaner, what you can do to protect yourself from a brat child? “

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Answer: Brat Child vs. House Cleaner

I received an email from a house cleaner about this. I’m going to paste it below for you to read. There’s a lot of content in here that I don’t want to miss when I’m giving you my answer. This one says:

“Hello, Angela, and good morning from Fort Lauderdale. I have a housekeeper question. I’ve encountered many strange difficulties working with clients over these past seven years. Yesterday’s encounter tops them all.

Brat Child spoiled girl“My client’s teenage daughter is a brat child. Rather than teach her to respect them or their things, they just give her more, creating a monster. She recently kicked down her bedroom door because she didn’t get what she wanted. Yesterday, while I was cleaning their home, she arrived and stormed into the bedroom. She was screaming at the top of the lungs, ‘Where’s my … ,'” (and then there are many expletives here on this page that I won’t post here.)

“Yesterday, while I was cleaning their home, she yelled at her father. Her father is not the proudest, let’s say. Then she continues to scream that I’m a retarded, ignorant maid and that I steal her stuff.” And then many more curse words. “She’s saying this to my face at this point. I had a moment of white flash come over me and I asked myself, ‘Are you going to let this happen without reaction?’

Let’s just say I made it clear I won’t tolerate disrespectful behavior.Brat Child woman scolding girl

“I texted the parents and I told them that I will not continue to help them if their child is anywhere near this home. I have a pristine reputation and I can’t jeopardize that with an out of control child. It’s incredible the things we encounter to make money. I would love to hear your input on this type of encounter. I wonder if you might find this a subject for one of your videos.”

The Parents Are Aware of the Problem

Brat Child frustrated mom

There are a couple of things at play here. The first one that I want to bring to your attention is the fact that this sort of behavior is not news to the parents.

A parent who has a brat child is well aware of the fact that their child is a brat child. The reason they hired you to be the house cleaner or the maid is that house cleaning is not on their priority list.

I Have Experience With a Brat Child

Brat Child, Can I put up teenager for adoption

Now a couple of years ago we had a troubled 15-year old that lived with us. She arrived on our doorstep. My husband and I were “invited” to finish raising her because she was, in fact, a brat child.

She was the type of kid that would punch her hand through drywall. And would throw things and break things and was just destructive and violent.

No one could live in the same space with her. I’m well aware of the brat child, and the behavior, and the chaos they can cause in your life.

The parents are spending 24/7 trying to manage this brat child. They are well aware, and that’s why they hired you.

What is Your Job?

Brat Child housecleaning

Now as the house cleaner coming into the house, your job is this: cleaning house. Your job is not to rescue the parents. Your job is not to rescue the child.

Whatever is going on in that household was already going on there before you arrived. So your job is to come in and clean and go home. That is your job.

You are not a licensed therapist. You do not have the training to deal with the special needs of a troubled child. Even if you do, this is not why they hired you. They hired you to clean their house. 

If you get involved, you are going to be in way over your head. I promise you that.

Just Get Out

Brat Child tantrum

Having said that, let’s say this. You get to a house and there’s a brat child. And the child is volatile and violent and yelling and screaming and cursing.

Get your stuff and get out. Don’t pass go, don’t collect your $200. Get your stuff and get out.

Like I said, the parents are well aware of the situation. And you will be able to resolve this with the parents, and you will still get paid.

The Problem With Staying

Brat Child Civil Law

But, here’s the problem. If you stay and engage with the child, anything you say or do can be held against you in court.

If the child strikes you and you strike back, you are in their home. This is not them attacking you first and you defending yourself.

You are in their home. This is their home. This is their property.

It’s your word against their word.

Now there may already be a history. There may already be a file on this volatile child. But you don’t want to be part of it, so just get your stuff and leave. Go to safety.

Protect Your Employees

Brat Child clean dream team

If you have employees working for you in this situation, please get them out and to safety. 

I have been in a like this in a house where there was a brat child that threatened to blow off my face. They also threatened to kill all my employees … 

In this type of scenario, it’s not just you with the brat child. Now you are dealing with you and your employees. Your employee could sue you for emotional damage in this case because you put them in this situation. You don’t want that either.

Have a Plan in Place

Brat Child meeting

You need to have a meeting with your employees and with your staff, to begin with, in this type of scenario. Don’t wait till it happens to make up the rules.

Come up with a plan in advance.  So when this type of situation happens, you immediately recognize it and you all know what the plan is. Get your stuff and get to safety.

I don’t want any of you as house cleaners or any of your staff to be in a place of danger.

Name Calling

Brat Child name calling

Let’s say the brat child is calling you names. You are this, that, and the other.

Let’s be clear about what names are. Names are just words. I deal with this every single day in house cleaning. I don’t know why, but there are house cleaners that call each other names. There are clients that call house cleaners names.

There are house cleaners that are thin-skinned and they take this to heart. They’re just words. Don’t add any emotion to the words. If somebody is calling you nasty things, so they called you nasty things.

Just because they call you something, doesn’t make it true. If she calls you a dumb, ignorant, retarded maid, that does not mean that’s what you are. That just means that’s what she called you.

She used some words and directed them at you. That’s all that is.

Respect Your Feelings

Brat Child, Just WordsNow that we’ve peeled the emotion out of that scenario, let’s look at this.

A house cleaner said, “I had a moment of white flash come over me.”

Okay, that’s huge, and I’m going to ask you to respect that moment. This means that you are feeling so angry that your blood is boiling. You go into what’s called “fight or flight mode.” All your adrenaline kicks in.

So this is what happened. Someone said something to you and you took it to heart. Now you’re angry and might do something that you regret later. Whatever you do will be held against you in a court of law. 




Whenever you have that feeling and that flash of white comes over you, stop. Just stop.

We call it HALT. This means to not make any decisions, big or small when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. 

Now having said that house cleaners, most of the time, live in that space.

They are hungry, they are angry, they are lonely, and they are tired. That’s what being a house cleaner is. It comes with the territory.

Just stop. Just stop and say, “Okay, I am not in a position right now to react to the emotions that I’m feeling.”

Don’t React

Brat Child angry man

Again, stop and slow down, because you’re about to do something reactive. I don’t want you to react. I want you to respond. There’s a huge difference.

You can react by saying, “I made it clear I will not tolerate disrespectful behavior.” But that is not your job. 

That is not your job to make it clear that, “Hey, I’m the house cleaner. I am not going to be … ”

Don’t even. Don’t engage.

Just Stop

Brat Child ignoring

When you get so angry that you can’t respond in a polite manner, don’t respond at all. Just stop.

Just stop and take a deep breath and remove yourself from the situation.

Because nothing you say is going to be wise, nothing, especially if you have a brat child of your own.

Triggering Hot Buttons

Because, in that moment, whatever you do will let them know that they’ve hit a hot button with you. That’s how that works.

Then they want to get mad at you and they want to pay you back, and they want to get even with you at another time.

They will trigger that hot button all over again to see if they can make you angry again.  They want to see if they can get you in that space where now you will engage and you will fight with them.

If you disengage and you remove yourself from the situation, there’s no fight. It has to diffuse itself because there’s no fight.

Control and Lack of Control

Brat Child controlling kid

Let’s move on. The house cleaner makes a note in her email that she will not work there while the child is there.

As a house cleaner that’s a lovely thing to say, but in reality, you have zero control over that.

The parents don’t even have control over that. Because even if the child should be in school during the day, they can refuse not to go at any time.

I will tell you this by experience. The child that’s being a brat will exercise all kinds of control. Even if you’re scheduled to come at a particular time when the child is not supposed to be there, they might be there. 

Say Goodbye

Brat Child angry kid

My suggestion to you is this. There’s a finite amount of time that you have a house cleaner where you can actually work on accounts. Because we all only have 24 hours in a day.

If you are spending a chunk of your time at a house with a brat child, you are not using the best of your time. 

If there are volatility, damage, destruction, anger, cursing, or threats there, say goodbye. Say goodbye to that customer and move on. Go find a new customer. Because this is a house of chaos and it is uncontrollable what may happen to you or your team.

It is Not Worth It

Brat Child child counsel

Now I don’t like this. Because having been in this situation, I could have used a good housekeeper to have my back and clean my house. This would have been great while I was in therapy and dealing with the brat child we were trying to take care of.

But the reality is this. You don’t want to put yourself or your team in harm’s way.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, protect your reputation by leaving. Go and find another customer.

Stay out of the Drama

Brat Child nervous guy

Whatever the situation is with the client, they are going to have to figure it out. Not you, it is not your job to figure it out for them. 

The less you get involved in their personal drama, the happier you’re going to be as a business owner. Because when you get sucked into all that chaos, that is a situation that is hard to remove yourself from.

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I Am Sorry

I am sorry that this happened to you.

It’s not a good situation by any shred of the imagination. 

But if I can encourage you to do one thing, it’s don’t engage. Protect your team and remove yourself from this type of recurring situation. Because a brat child is a brat child.

There are a whole series of professionals that are in the position to try to help. Let them manage the damage and control that chaos. 

Alrighty, that’s my two cents for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it. 

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

You’re Not the Boss of Me: Brat-proofing Your Four- to Twelve-Year-Old Child –

What Your Explosive Child Is Trying to Tell You: Discovering the Pathway from Symptoms to Solutions  –

11 Easy Steps to Raise a Brat: Paying Attention to Your Parenting Decisions Even When Life Is Too Busy to Pay Attention-It Matters. –

Bulletproof Confidence: The Art of Not Caring What People Think and Living Fearlessly –

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life –

Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, How to Say No –

Permissive Parenting – 7 Signs Your Kid is a Brat –

Your Kid is a Brat and it’s Your Fault –

What to Do if Your Child is a Brat –

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