Ah, young love.
One joy of having an au pair in your home is that you get to relive (however vicariously) the drama, adventure and sometimes romance that your au pair entangles herself in.
You hear about the handsome guy/beautiful girl your au pair met, you offer your opinion on what outfit to wear for that first date, and you hope for the best, for your au pair’s sake.
But, being a parent, and likely having a bit more life experience, you can see things that your au pair does not.
For example, you can see that the wonderful guy/gal s/he met is leading her or him on. It’s not the real romance of your au pair’s dreams.
Nope, this is just some American intrigued by your au pair’s accent, flirtiness, or sense of adventure.
So what do you do when your think that your au pair is in over her head?
Seeing things through rose-colored glasses?
Being taken in by the sweet talk and promises, when you feel pretty confident that her/his new friend is just taking advantage?
Consider the situation facing one of our longtime readers and contributors, who shall remain without her screen name to sustain her privacy.
This host mom has given lots of critical, wise advice, and how she needs the same from us. Here’s her situation:
Dear CV — File this one under “How much bubble-bursting is my responsibility as a host mom?”
I know, I know, the au pair year is supposed to be a year of phenomenal growth, but I’m torn between wanting to let this 19 year old make her own mistakes and wanting to scream:
“This guy who is 10 years older than you is just playing! He CAN’T come with you when you go back home!”
“He’s on active duty! Didn’t he tell you that he could be called on a tour of duty at any time? And where did you meet him, Facebook?
We talked with him; has no plans to go to college (unlike you)!
And your English isn’t good enough to understand me 100%, so how do you trust that you understand what he is saying (lying/leading you on)?! He doesn’t speak your language, and you don’t speak his nearly as well as you think you do.”
But I can’t say all that, at least not that way.
Yes, I get it, I totally agree that he is hunky. I imagine he seems SO mature to you, since he has traveled so many places (and seen so many ports, I might add.).
“BUT YOU’RE NOT EVEN OLD ENOUGH TO BUY A DRINK! What are you doing?!”
How do I approach this without sounding dismissive of her ability to take care of herself? In truth, I am seriously concerned — she is the single most naive au pair we’ve ever had.
How much do I hang back vs counsel?
Some important background: This Au Pair’s English is so challenging that I have not had the energy in the evening to have very many chats with her. Usually she runs off to Skype anyway after dinner. Since this guy appeared she is gone all weekend, so there’s not a lot of chance to just weave this into casual conversation when my kids aren’t listening.
I appreciate the wisdom of the aupairmom blog! You can tell I’ve been slammed at work by the slide in my contributors’ ranking… :-) I really didn’t need to add mothering a teen to my bucket of worries…
But what does everyone think I should do?
Image: Love Art Print on wood, by Sascalia. For sale on Etsy.