If you can trust your Au Pair with your children, can’t you trust her with her own Saturday night plans?
I wondered this, when I read the email (below) from the OverMonitoredAuPair.
I am a BIG believer in knowing how to find your Au Pair in an emergency during his/her off-duty time.
I am a BIG believer in knowing where your several-thousand dollar family car might be on any given evening. And,
I am a BIG believer in open communication between Au Pairs and Host Parents.
— So it makes sense to me that an Au Pair should give Host Parents some information about where they are, when they are coming home, and when or whether to worry if they don’t.
With tools like “find my iphone” and car-based geo-trackers, it’s possible for us to snoop on our Au Pairs’ activity without their consent. With requests like “Text me where you are” and “Tell me what your plans are”, it’s possible for us to feel informed and at ease about what our Au Pair’s are up to, with just simple text messages.
However, these are also ways to impose too much control over an Au Pair. To take away the Au Pair’s sense of liberty. To invade an Au Pair’s privacy. To spoil his or her sense of adventure.
For this Au Pair, I’d recommend a conversation with the Host Parents. It’s time for the Host Parents to back off a bit, and perhaps use some less invasive methods to feel comfortable that their Au Pair is safe and responsible.
These methods might include:
- Car curfews and car location rules.
- A list of neighborhoods where it’s safe for the AU Pair to hang out, and a list where we’d prefer to know in advance where s/he is.
- A few of the cell phone numbers of the Au Pair’s closets friends, so we have someone to contact just in case. And then my favorite,
- The sealed envelope with all the deets, tucked in to the cupboard and opening only in an emergency.
It’s important to show concern for your au pair, and to have the information you need to contact her in an emergency. It’s also important not to be too controlling. That neither supports your Au Pair’s growth as an adult, nor develops responsibility and trust between the two of you.
As a Host Parent, how do you find the right balance between needing to know and being overbearing?
As an Au Pair, how do you share information about your social life with your Host Parents yet maintain your privacy?
Thank you for reading this message. I’m currently an Au pair in the US and I’ve been here for about 6 months. Since I had a fender bender in early December my Host Family wants to know where I am at all times when I am off-duty.
First, it was just when I used the car. That was totally fine with me. I understand, and I am very grateful that I am still able to use the car.
BUT now, my Host Parents have begun to expect me to tell them where I am whenever I’m off-duty. This bothers me a lot.
Here’s an example:
If I want to go out I have to tell them where EXACTLY I’m going. That means I need to say not only “downtown”, but that I have to tell them the exact spot (“Restaurant XYZ”). They also want to know when I’m leaving the restaurant and when I change locations.
I know it might seem to be not that big of a deal but it really affects my life in a bad way.
They tell me that it is just for my best and that they worry about me. I totally understand that and I really want to appreciate their concerns. I have tried to constantly text them with the information they request, but I don’t think I can do that anymore.
There are often times where I am thinking of going out or even going anywhere and choose not to because I have to explain, plan, and track everything I do.
My freedom was always and still is very important to me. At home, my parents always knew that so I never had to text them every step I make.
I talked to my HP about this already and told them that this is really hard for me. There answer was “You will learn”. I really like my HP and I appreciate everything they do for me but that is something I can’t seem to do right.
For the record I tried to just not text them and they told me if I don’t do them they will take away my car privileges. Any thoughts on how to make this work ?
Thank you so much
Awkward: It’s not a walk of shame if we know you are safe
Monitoring Your Au Pair’s Driving Using Car Apps and Tools
Why have a curfew on your car and not your Au Pair?