Can This Relationship Be Saved?Au Pair has tantrums when given feedback, then doesn’t change the behavior

by cv harquail on March 24, 2009

Loyal Reader and Commenter Maya has had it — and who can blame her.
Her au pair becomes a drama queen (my words) when given feedback, then
doesn’t change the behavior.

When I was reading this comment this morning, it brought back a wave of nausea, as I remembered our meeting with TL (worst au pair we ever had, with  us 4 weeks) who told me "I’m not gping to learn your ways of talking to the kids. That’s not my personality."   Yeah, her personality was to yell at them, call them brats, and then sit there sullenly waiting for them to drive themselves to day camp. She was a winner….  but I digress.

When you offer advice to Maya, focus on the au pair interaction. (We’ll get back to food issues.)

OK, I have a rant here. How the heck do you deal with a 25-year-old
au pair who gets hysterical when you are trying to have a meeting with
her to tell her that she has been feeding your children crap contrarily
to your specific instruction and two prior discussions on this topic?
And when I say hysterical, I mean, red in the face, heaving, wheezing,
tears rolling down the face, cannot talk because cannot take a full
breath, hysterical. Basically, picture a 3 year old who has just been
told that he cannot have another cookie. Oh, and this is the third
display of hysterics that my husband and I have had to deal with since

And here is the kicker: after she agrees that yes, she should follow
our instruction, and yes, it is not right to through food away because
she was not feeding kids the right food that I have prepared, and yes,
she will fix it, she tells us that she is not comfortable here with us,
but would not tell us why. She said she will think about it and send us
an email tomorrow telling us why she is not comfortable. Sheesh!

I am sad to suggest it, but this one sounds like a rematch candidate… but perhaps you host moms can help save it?


PA Mom March 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Presuming that you’ve done this before (the Au Pair thing I mean) – then yes. Rematch away. That’s not acceptable and she sounds like she has a long way to go to grow up. Shame for her but not a good example for your children. Time to call the LCC or PD. If they can figure out what her real issue is then great. If it can’t be worked out in the customary 2 weeks with progress. What can you do? You’re not her mother.

Maya March 24, 2009 at 7:30 pm

PA Mom, the thing is, I really don’t want to rematch. This is my second AP. My first AP was with us for 5 months, and then we rematched. This AP has been with us since mid-December. The rematch was extremely stressful for all of us and it is only recently that my children have started really warming up this AP. They still miss their old AP, and I just cannot put them through this again right now. They know that this AP is with us till September, and having her leave early, would be devastating for them.

In addition, my LCC is useless. Besides the fact that I do not like her personally, she is not helpful at all. When I was contacting her with my previous AP (the one that rematched), my LCC could not even commit to saying that family should have a handbook for AP. She is very wishy-washy and I don’t really like dealing with her. I wonder if I can find someone in the regional office I can deal with. Who is the PD? Program Director? I am not sure.

Also with rematch, I don’t know what my AP means by not being comfortable here. I am still waiting for her email to tell me that. Is it possible that she may initiate a rematch herself? Yes. But right now, I am not sure what her issues are and how I can help her.

Oh, and here is the kicker. The event described above in the CVH’s post, took place in my house last night. This morning, AP was in the kitchen packing lunches while I was making breakfasts (and being late for work) and crying again. Just crying. Packing and crying. At this point I don’t care that she cries, but I do need for her to follow my instructions.

Last night, my husband, in no uncertain terms told her that food situation has to be fixed. Period.

I will update everybody once I get an email from her. I think I will also suggest to her to get in touch with our LCC to see what she will say. I know that I am 100% within program rules and I do not ask her to do any things that are not typical Au Pair responsibilities.

Calif Mom March 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Oh, Maya. I’m sorry. This is no fun. For anyone.

Before I even got to “the kicker” part of your note, I was going to tell you that this isn’t about the food, or about your having a meeting with her. She is dealing with some other big problems. Sadly, as we have also learned the hard way, age does not equal maturity! It is really too bad that she won’t just talk to you about what the problems are. That doesn’t bode well.

As for your desire not to put the kids through rematch…I feel your pain and anxiety, having rematched twice in one 12 month period ourselves. But your kids are not benefitting from being around this unhappy, stressed out au pair, even if they have just started to get used to her. And you do, too! The kids deserve a fun summer — I don’t know how old these kids are, but if she has been used to a school schedule, what is Unhappy AP going to do when she has to have the kids all the long summer days? You’ll be in rematch faster than you can say “last one into the pool!”…. Better to get it over with now.

If you LCC is not helpful, consider switching agencies. Interview the LCCs to figure out which agency to go with. at least a couple seem to have signing discounts right now, I keep getting ads.

My youngest is the biggest “Cling-on” I know, and even she has dealt fine with adjusting to new APs. When you find an AP who is able to click better with your family, it really will get better.

And after all those rematches, we are being rewarded with an extension. ( Food issues notwithstanding! : )

CV March 24, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Hi Maya-

I hear you about just not wanting to rematch– if she doesn’t initiate it herself, and if you don’t want to rematch, then we should talk about what you *can* do. In this kind of situation, where it is already clear that one person can’t operate well emotionally, you are already in DefCon3. You have nothing to lose by tackling this one head on, becuase it’s already rough.

So I say: don’t concern yourself with starting slowly. Instead, be ready for a full-blown effort. No walking on eggshells by you. Instead, kindness and candor. Empathy and explicitness. Here is one option…

* First, make sure that you elicit as much information as you can. “Seek first to understand”. Do some active listening. Then tell her you will take all of this into consideration and have a follow-up conversation. Plan to do this at least 2 hours from the first conversation. (Don’t try to do it in one sitting… you’ll need some space to process and adjust. She’ll need some space to go from divulging to problem-solving.)

* Have an authentic, “fierce” conversation, where you tell her with kindness and clarity what the behaviors are –with both food and her own behavior– that are required here.

— Describe to her what a ‘mature and responsible’ adult acts like when they are upset but they have responsibilities– e.g., the show must go on. — Talk with her about how she needs to show the kids that adults can get over disappointments, and can work through difficult issues.
— Tell her that teaching your kids these things by example would be a great gift for them.

You may have already ‘done’ this with her… but you know what, it doesn’t look like it sank in. So try again.

Do a quick google of ‘fierce conversations’ and you’ll find some blogs that break down the steps (I have to get back to work so maybe I’ll get these for you later.,….:-) No matter what, this will be good practice for you and her! good luck and let’s hope other moms chime in with some wisdom.

NY Mom March 24, 2009 at 10:37 pm

This tantrum might have worked for her in her home of origin, it might be cultural. Well, it doesn’t work in a host family. I have had an au pair that had major PMS, would cry everything we had to address an issue, become a total martyr…that may have worked with her parents. State what you need accomplished, she’ll have to face the consequences of her behavior and her actions. You can tell her that in America, mature adults don’t behave this way…its just not appropriate.

A-mom-ymous March 24, 2009 at 11:10 pm

The mid-year times are hard for APs. They know exactly what the job is and it isn’t at all as glamorous as they thought it would be. Kids are hard to deal with. Going home is a long way off. Friends are far away. Where we live, it has even been a long winter.

I like CV’s advice a lot. Ask her a lot of questions and try to figure out what’s going on. Show her that she won’t die if she talks to you like you’re a person. And you might even be willing to help her in ways that you can.

Arielle March 25, 2009 at 12:04 am

Hello all,
I’m new to this blog, I just happened upon it through some Googling. My husband and I have been looking at different childcare options (twin 4 year olds) and we were considering an au pair. The above comments are pretty disheartening, are your experiences common? It looks like you’ve spent a lot of time, effort, and energy on something that hasn’t worked out…twice. Knowing everything that you know now, would you still have gotten an au pair?

cvh March 25, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Hi Arielle-
Evaluating the au pair option by reading the “Need Advice” page is like sitting in a doctor’s office and concluding that everyone in town has the flu. You’re looking at people with a particular need, not at the general population of host families.
As some have already told you, there is much to like about having an au pair… Because this site is for sharing advice, and because people seldom need advice when things are going well, you’ll read here more about problems and how to solve them, and about issues that you can avoid by making the right decisions in the first place, than you will hear arguments about why get an au pair vs. another kind of childcare. We all have already made that choice, we generally feel good about it, and we want to make sure we have the best experience possible.
Two suggestions for you… 1. There is a site that is dedicated to ‘making the au pair decision” Go check out what Edina has to say over there… that should help you with the ins & outs of the choice .
2. Take more time to look around this site. Use the search box (2/3ds of way down right side) to find more information about different issues. Go to the “Read Previous Posts” page, scan the titles, and check out some of those articles. You’ll find that the parents on AuPairMom have a lot to say about what makes having an au pair a great experience.

Maya March 25, 2009 at 12:23 am

Arielle, welcome.

If you quesions was directed at me, then my answer is yes, I would still get an au pair and infact will for the next 18 months until my younger child will go to the 1st grade.

Unfortunately, au pair is the only child care option that will work with our schedules and our budget. So, I just have to keep working at it.

Calif Mom March 25, 2009 at 12:41 am

CV, great advice! I’ve never even heard of ‘fierce conversations’ but if ever there was a time for one, it’s now. I agree that Maya has nothing to lose at this point.

Arielle, this is one of my fears about this blog, that people new to AP’ing might be scared off. It’s really a wonderful experience when you click with your AP. I wish I had this resource when we first started our AP adventures, because it would have saved me a lot of time and worry! I even would probably not have matched with some girls we matched with who ended up not working out. (I think about a third of matches end up in rematch — after all, this whole thing is like computer dating, and few people end up marrying the first person they date!) So please don’t let Maya’s experience — or hearing about rematches in general, or all the other ‘stuff’ — scare you off. I do advise more of a ‘buyer beware’ kind of caution than I went into this with, and that is a good thing. Take the time to really read through this site. It’s full of great advice and gives an authentic view of au pair hosting. And think about it — if you’ve hired regular nannies before, some of the issues are exactly the same, so you’re not really going to experience more of the headaches of having someone else care for your child. If you’re a new parent, I’m not sure that having an au pair is great, but I’m not sure it isn’t great, either. With the advice here, and if you are a strong manager type, I think it could be fabulous.

Maya, please let us know what is happening! It sounds like you are dealing with someone who ‘stuffs’ her emotions. She may have just been gutting it out for months. But that’s not your fault. Maybe now you can clear the air finally. I’m sending hopeful wishes your way!

Franzi March 25, 2009 at 1:38 am

@ maya I’m with CalifMom, there must be some underlying issue your AP is facing.

it could be that she’s finishing her third month now which usually is a time when emotionally, the AP hits rock bottom – life in the family and in the new environment is suddenly not so new anymore and the job gets more strenuous as the “newbie” image fades with everyone (kids, neighbors, strangers) you meet.

however, i would like to know, how you approached the conversation with your AP so far. did you let her know in advance you wanted to talk? did she have time to prepare mentally for it? your AP might be one of those people who needs time to prepare for an argument/important conversation.

at the same time i think there are issues that are non-negotiable when it comes to having an AP in the home. and preparing food the way you want it to be given to your kids is one of these non-negotiables.

i hope you get an explanation from your AP. please, make sure you seek an honest and open conversation with her, explaining what it feels like for you when she does not feed the kids what you intended them to eat (it’s not only the “wasting food” issue, it’s also that you put thought into what they should eat because you can’t be there yourself to feed them. so you need your AP to be your extended arm and heart when it comes to your kids).

good luck and keep us posted!

@ arielle, i think this blog is primarily used by host families who have problems or questions about their AP and thus the posts can seem a little negative. at the same time, first-time/future host families can learn a lot on this blog. i believe it is very helpful to know what problems can arise and how not to have them happen or how to solve them quicker.

being a former au pair, i can only reinforce the notion that there are many qualified au pairs out there who are doing this program for the right reasons and who love their host families and kids! it’s a great cultural experience if you are the right match.

NoVA Host Mom March 25, 2009 at 2:41 am

I could have written the original post myself, Maya.

We are in rematch now, with our first (ever) AP leaving tomorrow and the new one arriving Friday.

While our AP chose to melt down over having curfews and lying to us about why she was late to work and could not call on the cell (a big reason why we had curfews before afternoon work hours to begin with) and her idea of “as long as she shows up for work then there is no reason to tell us anything else, unless she needs us to do things for her”, it created a household where I was stressed, killing myself to get the communication lines open, and was generally unhappy.

The AP would do only what was necessary and only during “working hours.” To her, me asking her to be home at a certain time (either 2 hrs before work or the night before a morning shift) was tantamount to changing her work schedule and it would interfere with her social schedule. I would try talking with her, implementing family dinner night, taking her out for activities so we could get better acquainted — nothing worked and she only demanded more. Nearly 3,000 minutes a month on the cell phone (luckily most in-network) and she saw no reason why we would ask her to reduce it. After all, the phone is for her to use, right? AP cluster events? Only if I drove her and only if I made the effort to get it on her calendar.

We have 1 infant (6mo) and crazy LEO schedules, so an AP program was the way to go. Luckily our LCC was well aware of the issues, since I made a point of keeping her in the loop from the beginning. I agree that if you have a LCC that is not proactive or even working with you, I suggest another agency. We are with APIA and quite happy, but I can see that a different LCC might make me think otherwise.

Anyway, AP #1 leaves tomorrow, and I am counting the minutes. Already I am less crazed. My husband noticed it right away.

No, I had not wanted to need a rematch, but it really can be better for the family and household overall. Is any situation ideal? Not usually, but the AP experience is what we both wanted for us and our baby. So, the good and the bad go hand in hand. Kids are more resilient than most of us give them credit for. Better to nip this in the bud (I doubt next time I will let things drag on the 4-1/2 months they did this time around) and save your sanity.

You should not have to wait for her to maybe send you an email to know what she is fussing about. Either she tells you or she doesn’t. Right now it sounds like she is in the driver’s seat and I suggest you take this train over before it becomes more runaway than you wanted. Tell her that there will be a sit-down and give her a time. If she needs to get her thoughts together, fine, but any issues will be brought up then. That “fierce conversation” sounds about right. But know that if it does not work, you need to decide either to suck it up and suffer quietly with “the devil you know” or try for what is behind curtain number 3.

former aupair March 25, 2009 at 5:58 pm


It was extremlly imature the reaction from your aupair but i think her problem is not with you but with herself…How long is she being here? could she be homesick???But it really doesn’t matter what she needs to understand is that they are YOUR kids not her and you should determine what food is good for them or not…About she say that she doesn’t feel confortable with you i think was just a dramatic reaction because she was being confronted and didn’t like that, if she was unconfortable or upset with something should have no problem to say at the time when a discussion was already going on…this ” i will e-mail you tomorrow” for me seams like gainning time to come up with something…Anyways if you don’t want to go on rematch try to talk with her again today and before you mention about the food give her some words of affirmation saying something you apreciate on her and on the way she take care of your kids. This should warm her up being more oppen to listen and understand why is important for your kids to eat right. Good luck and hope things get better with you two :)

Maya March 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Hello Ladies. I am back with an update.

I have never received an email from my AP yesterday which supposedly would’ve told me why she not comfortable with us. So, when I came home, I asked her why she did not send an email and turns out, it took her all day to write it, and she was still polishing it off. I told her that she has to send me that email now, so I and my DH can read it and we can discuss it tonight after kids go to bed.

So here is the gist of the email (my paraphrasing):

1) She sometimes has hard time expressing herself to us or understanding what we say to her, but instead of asking to repeat what we said or telling us that we misunderstood and repeating herself, she prefers not to say anything. She is trying to learn English as fast as she can, but does not understand everything yet.

2) She understands what her responsibilities are but it is hard for her because kids want different things and she trouble saying ‘no’ to them. She loves them and wants to be friends with them, and thus is torn on how to handle them.

3) Generally, kids are behaving well with her, but as any kid, they are pushing boundaries. She thinks that this is normal behavior for kids.

4) There are times when she wants to call me to let me know about something that is going on at the house or that kids are not behaving or do not what food that I left for them, but kids start begging her not to call and start crying and once again, she is torn, and does not call. She says that if she knows that if she does calls, it is not what kids want, but then I don’t know what is going on and cannot help her.

5) She does not like my tone when I talk to her when we are discussing issues/problem.

6) She knows that her mistakes and her ‘wrongs’ are easily fixable, and she loves the kids, and they are smart and nice, and she wants to be with them. But, she does not like to be made feel stupid. She is doing her best, but it is not easy to learn fast.

7) I have not made it clear to her what they can and cannot eat before and therefore she did not know she was doing anything wrong. She is grateful for the foods we bought for her, but was not aware that we don’t normally eat these things ourselves and don’t want our kids to eat them.

8) She knows we worry about our children and we want the best for them, but at the same time, she does not like that we point out her mistakes to her, and because of that, she feels stupid. She respects us and she realizes that we are different people. She is very calm and peaceful, and I am not, and now she is also very sensitive and frustrated because of how things are.

There was a lot more in that email, but this is the summary. Anyhow, we after kids went to bed and DH and I read and absorbed this, we had another meeting. This meeting actually went well, in terms of crying and such, we were able to discuss and address some things.

As things are right now, we told her basically if she wants to be treated like an adult, she has to behave like an adult. If she behaves like a teenager, she will be treated as a teenager. So no more hysterics, no more crying. This was to address her not liking my tone when I address issues/problems. If she needs to talk to us, we are always available and happy to talk to her. She can always call us or email us during the day with a question.

If she chooses not to (do something) because kids don’t want her to, then it is up to her to enforce rules herself. If we find more issues/problems we will bring them up to her, whether she likes it or not. We are glad that she understands that pushing boundaries is normal kids’ behavior and that she likes kids and wants to be with them. We also understand that a 4 year old does not always wants to do her chores and that it is ok if she does not clean (with AP’s help) her room on the designated clean day. These things are flexible, but as long as kid participates in the cleaning process even if marginally, it is ok with us, as it still builds habits and understanding of chores. However, we expect more from a 6 year old.

We also went over the food issues again. Made a list of appropriate breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner foods, amounts, and combinations. I think the concept of the balanced nutritional meals was lost (i.e. protein, carbs, dairy, fruits, veggies), so we just made a list of specific foods and how they need to be combined. I will be typing up that list and it will be put up on the fridge. From now on she is to write down for me everything kids eat and what is happening during the day. We can review her notes in the evening and discuss any issues. As a side note, since our main issue with food with her is an abundance of over processed carbs and with the Passover coming up where we need to get basically all common carby foods out of the house, she took it personally and we spend some time explaining to her Jewish holidays and traditions and how it has nothing to do with her and our current food problems. Oy vey!)

We also talked about how leaving kitchen/dining areas a mess is not only un-hygienic, but also disrespectful to us. And as a member of the family it is her responsibility to keep up with the general outlook of the common areas and ‘not make things worse’. We also talked about leaving out food, crumbs, leftovers, and such all over the place and what happens when food that fell on the floor is walked on and is grind in to the hardwood and then tracked all over the house on the soles of shoes.

We reiterated the issue of her not liking my tone of voice in terms of ‘this is how adults speak to adults’ and that we expect and ‘adult’ to behave like and adult and not a child.

Also, if she has a problem with us or anything at all she wants to discuss, she has to get her thoughts together and talk to us. We cannot have effective communication by email. If she needs to write it down first, its fine, she can write it down and we can discuss her notes, but she cannot tell us she has a problem and then have us wait 24 hours before we know what it is. (Can you imagine what I went through yesterday waiting for that email all day?)

So that was that. Do I think that this has resolved all our problems? Not, for a long shot. But at least, hopefully, this put us on the right track and also let her know what behavior is expected of her. This is all I’ve got so far.

Thank you everybody for all of your suggestions. The ‘forceful conversation’ was a great idea. I have never heard of it before, and it was very helpful. I absolutely love having this resource and so grateful to CVH for creating it.

cvh March 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Maya- as my third grader has begun to say, “OMG”. That is one broad array of issues she has! I really admire that you and your DH toughed it out, listened, responded and then even set up new systems to support the behaviors you want from her. It’s so hard when it’s a mix of “skill” and “will” challenges… you have to deal with language issues and personality issues simultaneously. Wow.
There’s so much good infor in your action steps too… it will take us a while to absorb it (and turn it into posting topics).
Maya, thanks for both putting yourself out there and for taking the time to give us such a detailed report on what you did. While I’m always excited by the advice you all offer, it’s even better to see/read what happens when you put it into practice. Hooray for you! cv

Calif Mom March 25, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Hi Maya,

Sounds like progress, or at least a glasnost for awhile. Our inaugural AP had terrible English when she arrived; in fact, she later confessed that her dad had been on the phone during her interviews, writing down what she should say! Luckily, I have enough foreign language skills with similar roots to her language that we could figure things out. Also, I was working from home at that time, and she was an extroverted and confident person, so while she didn’t ALWAYS admit when she couldn’t understand, we were usually able to make it work, and she learned quickly. Sounds like your AP doesn’t have that confidence or that ability to quickly learn. And I will say, as well, that when I did go to a ‘regular’ job outside of the home, communicating by telephone was fraught with potential misunderstandings due to the language problem. I ended up waiting for rides and madly cell phoning rather often.

It sounds like a big task you have on hand is teaching her about firm boundaries with the kids, and somehow getting across that they will actually respond better to her if they know where HER limits are, and only she can establish them. They don’t have to be exactly the same as yours, but they need to be firm and consistent. And it isn’t mean to be firm, that they will actually like her more for it, since they will trust her more and feel more secure. I was concerned that she is letting them push her around, and that won’t end well for any of you if it continues (been there!) May be she just doesn’t have the skills to manage kids of disparate ages. You can try to teach her, and that’s all you can do.

Send her to church or library-based conversation groups. They’re usually in the evening and free. My APs have always really liked them, my hunch is because they can practice talking without being embarrassed by making mistakes in front of their ‘boss’. If she is already intimidated by you, which it sounds like, it might work well for her.

Sticky notes on approved food items works well, but you may have fixed that one with the lists you mentioned.

You may need to lay down the law with your kids and tell them not to put their beloved AP in a bad position by asking her not to call you during the day! Your 6 yo is certainly old enough to understand that that’s not fair. AP should not be using “i’m going to call your mom” as a threat, but if she needs to call you she should just call for guidance and back up. She needs a little ‘alpha’ training, and you can actually help shore up her authority and her confidence by letting the kids know that she really is in charge when you’re not there. Don’t show your frustration with her to the kids, no matter how frazzled you feel, or it will undermine her.

Keep us posted! best of luck!

Maya March 25, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Calif, I am taking your second paragraph and plopping it directly into my handbook. Thank you.

Calif Mom March 25, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I was googling basic info on nutrition in my desperate search for easy-to-digest poster I could print out for the fridge that would be colorful and engage the AP as well as the kids. Not a perfect answer, but there is good basic info from the National Institutes of Health, which uses a “Go, Slow or Whoa” framework to classify foods. Might be helpful in teaching basic nutrition concepts, and also give us all much-needed third-party credibility when it comes to explaining about food:

D March 26, 2009 at 12:05 am

Arielle – Hopefully you find this note.

An au pair is wonderful. By finding this site will guide you. The most important thing by far is understanding people in general & interviewing well, as their personalities & needs are all very different. You have to know “people” & personalities and realy understand your needs as well.

Typically the girls that ask questions about things vs the family right up front, I would throw out. There are some AMAZING au pairs out there, that are just so nice, sympathetic etc etc. But if they want to know about their bedroom & walk in closet first, is not a good sign. I almost find the questions they ask me a more clear indicator of things than what I ask them. but I still cover everything on my side as well.

Thats what starts the au pair year off right. :) You will know right off the bat, when you have a sweatheart. They come shining through like a shiny penny.


Maya March 30, 2009 at 7:05 pm

People, we have a breakthrough. :)

My AP told me this morning that on Friday she tried our whole grain bread for the first time and really liked it. She said it was better then her white bread.

Who would’ve thought? LOL

CV March 30, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Maya- what great news! any forward motion is welcome; let’s hope it leads to more improvement. Plus (naughty to say but…) it can feel nice to be right, every now and then… maybe she’ll start to treat you like a woman of wisdom.

Maya March 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm

The woman of wisdom? Who are we kidding here. :) LOL *picturing my mom falling off the chair in shock*

Calif Mom March 31, 2009 at 5:25 am

HA!~ Hope springs eternal. Maybe yours and mine can ‘friend’ each other on FB and yours will start evangelizing about the joys of nutrient-dense calories…..

NoVA HostMom March 31, 2009 at 5:28 am

Love it! First wheat bread, next step – junk food!

And I agree that she should not be using calling you as a threat. It is great she wants to be friends with the kids, but her first role is that of caregiver, not best buddy. She is providing a service designed to be similar to what you or your husband would do if you were home (“No, you may not jump on the bed or try to teach your little sister to fly by standing on the porch roof!”). She can be friends as long as they respect her authority first. Maybe a chat with the 6yo would help (and the 4yo can follow along).

Maya April 18, 2009 at 6:56 am

So, guess who is going into rematch? I give you 3 guesses, and wrong ones don’t count. Oy vey!

CV April 18, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Oh Maya! This is one of those situations where IT WILL BE better. Even a fresh start with a so-so new au pair is (I think) better than the ongoing low-grade assault of an au pair who simply won’t try to improve. Keep us posted on what happens… and get ready to write a guest post on the whole process, maybe? cv

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