Active Contributor Franzi, former au pair and now Host Mom, has shared a lot of advice seasoned with the perspective of both sides of the Au Pair- Host Parent relationship.
Now, she’s in uncharted territory–wondering how to respond as a "former" au pair and current Host Kid Confidant. While I’m so happy to see au pairs stay connected to their host families, I’m so sad to hear what Franzi is worried about. Please read her request for advice, and then think about what could help you if you were the host parent in question.
Aaaah, who would have thought, now it’s me needing some advice from you host moms!
Here’s the deal. When I was an au pair, my kids were 10 and 5. Now the girl is 17 and she is apparently really acting out. She’s my "friend" on Facebook, so I randomly check in on her. When her status message sounded troubled, i got in touch with her (via Facebook as she is now cell phone-less) and asked what’s going on.
She told me some of the issues (I don’t even assume I know the full picture)… but it involves bad grades, skipping school, deliberately lying to her parents about her whereabouts, alcohol -a lot if you ask me-, piercings, driving to places she is not allowed to go to, taking things from her parents (I’m assuming she was talking about money and valuables) etc.
Especially the alcohol and the money thing, this is certainly not happening for the first time. She mentioned several times that her parents don’t even know a lot of what’s really going on.
She’s now grounded, with no cell (but apparently internet). They all got into a big argument.
Now my problem is: should I get in touch with the parents?
If this was you, would you want your former au pair to mediate?
Then there’s the fact that they don’t even assume the full extend of the problem. I think they think this is happening for the first time which it certainly isn’t.
I am torn between letting the parents know the extend of the problem and the loyalty to the kid who sees me as a big sister and certainly does not expect me to go tell her parents.
i love the kids, and the family, but I feel like i can’t stay out of this (now that i partly know what my little girl is doing…)
thanks for your help!