Something’s Missing: Not the GPS, but her sense of Responsibility

by cv harquail on January 20, 2011

From HostMom Needing Guidance:

Dear Au Pair Mom readers —

We’re 7 months into our year with our current AP. It’s been a good year so far and she is a great AP. She’s good with the kids and fairly easy to live with, and we’re starting to think about whether to extend. However, I have a recent issue that touches on two of our favorite topics here on AuPairMom…. car usage and money.

I’m not sure how to handle the situation and I would love your input.

Here’s the story: Our regular AP car was in the shop for maintenance, and our AP was using my car. I needed her to do some work-related driving during that time and told her she could use my car. (I drive a fairly new, nice car, so I rarely let my APs drive it. This time I made an exception because I feel comfortable with the driving skills and maturity level our current AP).

drwhimsy flickr.jpgShe had an out-of-town AP friend over during that time, so she also used my car on several occasions for outings with her friend. I was fine with this. During one of these outings with her friend, they somehow lost the GPS navigation CD that is used in my car. Our Au Pair said they went out at night on a brief errand, took the navigation CD out to play one of their CDs, put the GPS on the center console, and then when they took the car out the next morning, it was gone. They were the only ones who used the car during that time and it was parked in our driveway overnight.

Our AP admitted it was odd that the CD was missing, and she doesn’t really have any explanation for it. I have an odd suspicion that her friend may have had something to do with, like maybe she accidentally broke it or lost it and didn’t want to fess up, but I have no proof.

However, my issue is not so much that she lost it (things break, get lost — we are understanding of that) but that my AP has not displayed any accountability and does not really seemed to be at all concerned about it.

When we first discovered it was missing, we asked her to look for it, thinking that it has to be around somewhere. We had to keep going back to her to ask her if she had any luck finding it, versus her reporting back to us. Then once we started to realize that it is just not turning up anywhere, I walked through the scenario again with her in detail, hoping to either jog her memory or give me a better understanding of what happened, since it didn’t make any sense that it would just ‘disappear.’ She agreed that it was really weird, but didn’t offer any apology.

Even if she didn’t do anything wrong, I was still expecting some concern or acknowledgment from her that this is a fairly big inconvenience for us, both financially (a replacement CD costs $200) and for practical purposes, since it leaves me without GPS in my car. And, not one word from her about offering to replace it.

HD and I agree that we are going to ask her to pay for (at least in part) replacing it, but I am not sure whether to be cut and dry about it and just tell her how much she owes us or also to talk with her about my disappointment with how she handled the situation.

She is fairly responsible about our household and has not damaged or lost anything else that we’re aware of, but this makes me wonder about other situations. I wonder now if she would have any expectation of paying toward the deductible if she had an accident with our car, etc?

It just bugs me, because I would of course offer to replace someone else’s property if I was in any way responsible for damaging or losing it.

I’d really appreciate your thoughts, not only on what exactly to do or to ask for, but also how I should (or shouldn’t) let this affect our relationship.

Image : DrWhimsy on Flickr

{ 45 comments }

Former Au Pair D. January 20, 2011 at 8:46 am

Dear Host Mom needing Guidance,

I am a Former Au Pair for 4 months now. First of all I want to say you are totally right about being upset. Your Au Pair SHOULD have said she is sorry for having something from YOUR car lost. Also she SHOULD pay for the CD. I don’t care if her friend stole it (which we don’t know if it happened) or if they broke it or whatever happened. The car was under her care and she has to cover any demage that happens while she has the vehicle.

On the Other hand if she was never irresponsible before do not think she is now because something so small. THings like that, as you have said above, happens. Maybe she doesn’t realize how bad it is to lose something like a GPS CD, specially if she has no idea os how much it costs.

My advice to keep on having a good relationship is to talk to her nicely and tell her that you understand things like that happen and that you were sad she did not even apologize and that you expect her to pay for it. But no stress, dont be dry or mean. Just talk to her as you would speak to any other employee that made a light mistake.

Most of times people dont see things like we do. SPECIALLY if we have different cultures and ages and ways of seeing a situation. Remember she was honest and told you what happened.
About extending I must say the Agencies always tell the au pairs to switch families for the second year. It doesn’t matter how good your relationship is with your host family. I wish I had heard the LCC and had done the same back then.

Good Luck and I hope everything go well with this situation.

rolaAP January 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Agencies don´t ALWAYS tell au pairs to switch families for theirs second year…

Former Au Pair D. January 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm

They did on my Training week and also when I was at my host family house. I dont know if all agencies do that but mine did. But you’re right maybe not always. Mauybe it was just me and all the au pairs I met.

Eurogirl January 20, 2011 at 8:49 am

Does she know how expensive it is? Never having used GPS myself (think it’s more common in the USA than over here), I was shocked that the CD cost so much. I bet she thinks as well that to replace it would cost the same or slightly more than a normal CD. Yes, it still does matter but maybe she didn’t understand that it was such a big expense. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have offered to replace it, cause I definitely would have, but I would have been shocked to discover it cost so much…and if it was the friend who lost/damaged it, you can believe I would be asking her about it and demanding she share the costs with me!

I would explain to her that if she cannot provide an explanation of where the CD is gone or what happened to it, you will expect her to pay the full cost of replacing it immediately (and point out how much that cost is), and if she wants to tell you anything more about what actually happened, you would consider splitting the costs if it was really no fault of her own – that way she has an incentive to tell you the truth (not that she should need one, but clearly she’s not telling you without it)…

momof4 January 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

I would be straight with her and tell her she owes you the money – maybe not all, but at least half. Yes, situations happen. But being responsible is part of being an au pair. We trust them with our children right? Then they need to be responsible.

Hula Gal January 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

It is not clear to me from the blog post whether the au pair was ever told how much the CD costs to replace. I assume, because she was so nonchalant about it that she did not realize how much it cost. Don’t continue to belabor this issue. Sit down with her, explain that the CD costs $200 to replace and that she will need to pay for half of it since she bears the responsibility for the CD getting lost although she is not aware of how it got lost. You might give her another two days to locate the CD and if she cannot magically come up with the CD than she is out $100. And I would wait another month if you can before you commit to an extension. Seems, based on past posts about extension au pairs, that things can go south pretty fast after the extension is locked in. good luck!

A Host Mom January 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Honestly, why would you only make her pay half of it? She should pay for the whole thing being that you did her a favor by lending her your car and she acted irresponsibly. I would let her know the cost of the CD and ask her how she intends to pay for it. If she can’t pay for it all at once, work out a schedule with her.

Hostmom needing Guidance January 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hi, I’m the original poster. To answer the cost question — she did know how much the CD cost because when it first went missing, HD asked her to take a good look around for it because it costs a few hundred dollars to replace. I recall her being surprised at the cost (I was too!). And he spent quite some time searching online to try to find a decent used one. But, even if she thought it was very cheap to replace, I would have still expected her to say, “I’ll pick up a new one. Where can I buy it?”, or something along those lines.

It’s not a huge deal, since we’ve had a very good year so far and nothing like this has come up before, but just weird that she showed no concern or accountability at all. It does make me wonder somewhat about her perception of our finances, and maybe she figured it was not a big deal for us to pay to replace?? She sometimes seems ‘wowed’ by our lifestyle — I think she might only see ‘big house, nice cars, housekeeper, etc’ and maybe not be aware of all the bills that come along with that.

HostMominVA January 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I would inform the AP that the CD costs $200 to replace. Offer to take payment in full immediately or work out a 10-week payment plan. My perspective is that she lost the CD on her personal time (not her on duty time) so the obligation to replace is 100%. If she lost in while on duty (in other words, the care for the children was a mitigating factor), I’d say she owes 50%. This is the policy I use for the auto insurance deductible. It is in the family handbook.

I would not express any disappointment in how she handled the situation or ask for/expect an apology. We can’t change how other people feel about matters or take personal responsibility. I would absolutely factor this experience into my decision to extend or not. If she is as careful generally as you describe, I’d overlook this lapse. If not, I’d find a new AP for next year. Your mileage may vary.

Calif Mom January 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Have you looked in the air vents where the windshield meets the dash? Things can slide in there, depending on the car. Might ask a kid to help look, depending on their ages.

But to your question, this interaction doesn’t strike me as a glaring red flag, unless there’s more to it than we’ve heard so far.

As for extending, it’s kind of like that nursery rhyme: when she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid. We’ve extended twice, both times with rematched APs, and it was wonderful both times.

massaupairmom January 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I am not sure that I agree with the building consensus to have the au pair pay the entire $200. Yes, $200 is a lot of money. But in terms of scale, it is a LOT more money to your au pair than to you. It represents (for my au pair), 45 hours of chasing around three active kids, changing diapers, getting thrown up on, having snot wiped on her shoulder, etc., etc. For me personally, $200 represents the net from a couple of billable hours. An entire week’s pay is a lot to give up for what was probably a moment’s inattention, especially for an au pair who has otherwise shown herself to be responsible. I think this is a good learing opportunity for the au pair. Since you seem to have a good relationship with her, I would have a conversation with her in which I expressed my disappointment that she hadn’t offered to step up, and explain why. She might surprise you with her response, and offer some sort of restitution that everyone can live with.

HRHM January 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

While I agree that it represents an entire week’s work for her, I also have the perspective that paying for this will not result in her missing a rent payment, not being able to pay her utilities or getting her cell service turned off. She has NO financial responsibilities, so worst case scenario she won’t be able to go to Starbucks or buy jeans at Bebe next week.

I too feel that she owes you the entire amount. When I borrow something from someone, I make it a point to return it in as good a condition as when I took it. The best way for people to learn is through natural consequences. When DD5 got rough and broke a neighbor’s toy, she went upstairs, took money out of her piggybank and replaced the toy. I would expect no less from my semi-adult AP.

EC January 21, 2011 at 11:21 am

While I do not disagree that the au pair in question should pay some or all of the cost of replacing the CD, can I please suggest a little caution before assuming that au pairs never have financial responsibilities. We may not have any here, but that does not mean we do have any in our home countries. I am a college graduate, with student loans and a modest, but still significant credit card balance from my four years. a significant portion, of my monthly money goes toward paying those down. I also contribute to my church regularly. For me having to pay out $200 at once would mean having to change my budget for the month significantly, and would effect my financial responsibilities.
I know that many au pairs do not have financial responsibilities, but I am sure I cannot be the only one who does, please do not make assumptions about what au pairs have to spend their money on

Ann from NE January 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm

While many APs do not have financial responsibilities in the U.S., others certainly do back home. One of our former APs saved and wired a lot of her money home to help her parents’ income in her home country, in Eastern Europe.

Hula Gal January 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

massaupairmom – I agree with you here. She should pay enough to make sure she understands that her actions do have consequences but there is no need to decimate her bank account. My sister is quite wealthy. I accidentally damaged her pashmina scarf ($100 to replace). She did not ask me to replace it because she knew it was not willful on my part and she could easily buy a new one. I was very grateful for that because $100 to me at the time was a lot of money to spend! A little compassion people – this girl doesn’t sound like a bad apple. She just was not careful with an item and it went missing. It happens to the best of us.

rolaAP January 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I agree with Hula Gal and massaupairmom, the girl made a mistake and the HM should let her know how she feels and if she considers necessary ask her to pay a part of it. and HRHM, I think it´s unfair for you to say that ¨…worst case scenario she won’t be able to go to Starbucks or buy jeans at Bebe next week¨ because although we don´t have to pay rent or buy our own food or pay for our celphone bill, etc some au pairs DO have finacial responsabilities at home, so I don´t know how you can just say something like that if you don´t even know the girl.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm

$200 represents my disposable income for the month (not having billable hours). If my AP lost or damaged something that would cost me $200 to replace, I would be packing my breakfast in addition to my lunch, not drinking wine with dinner, and left without a cushion for doctor’s co-pays (okay, I do have a rainy-day account for surprises). My bottom line – having to forked out $200 would put me in a bad mood.

Yes, $200 is a lot more to my AP than to me, but I also pay the mortgage, the utilities and The Camel’s medical bills (while DH pays for groceries, the AP’s salary and some other bills). So, over the years, I have resisted giving up my “give and take” money for the month when APs do something like the above. Yes, I might be tempted to reduce the allotment if the AP was open and honest about what had happened — and told me it was missing before I had to look for it!

So, I side with those who feel the AP owes you the whole amount (and this matches the previous post about the multiple car “scratches” without revealing it to the HF). APs, if you do something wrong, then just tell the HF immediately. Be accountable for your actions, and if the times you do something inappropriate or “wrong” are few and far between, chances are your HF will forgive you. Apologize when you do something wrong. “I’m sorry, but when we had your car this weekend we lost the CD for the GPS” when you turn over the keys to the car goes a lot further than not admitting to a mistake and wasting your HP time looking for items you lost or misplaced.

As a HM, I will admit, I can work up a head of steam over an infraction I discover on my own, while an immediate apology cuts me off at the pass and defuses the situation before I even know I ought to be upset.

Former Au Pair D. January 21, 2011 at 8:56 am

I so agree with you. LAst December I spent with the host family I was looking the Xmas decoration and one of those cute heavy things that hold those Huge Socks for presentes fell when I touched it and hit the living room wall leaving a mark. I was SO UPSET for the demage. I couldn’t stop thinking about. When my host dad got home the first thing I did was to tell him what had happened. He saw how upset I was and he just told me it was nothing because it is something that can get fixed. I was just so embaressed.

PA AP mom January 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I would expect her to replace it. She could either buy you a new one or she could pay you the money and you could buy it.

I like the idea of a “payment plan”. That way she still has a consequence, but it doesn’t take her entire week’s pay.

She may be more likely to question the friend about the whereabouts of the CD if she is going to have to use her money to replace it.

NoVA Host Mom January 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Scale-shmale. $200 is $200. Just because my salary is more than that of our AP does not mean it has less value to me. She makes less, but has fewer expenses (such as childcare, for one), so it’s all relative. For me, that $200 is the family dinner out every few months (which we have not had in more than a few), or the clothes for my child who is growing like a weed (and I am an amazing sale shopper, if I do say so myself).

She had a responsibility and did not uphold her end of the bargin. You need to sit her down, be very clear that the CD has a replacement cost of $200 and it is her responsibility to make right. Offer her the option of paying for the cost at one time or broken down into 10 payments, her choice.

I would also express to her how disappointed you are that she appeared to have little remorse for the loss of someone else’s property (regardless of value) that was under her responsibility. This is a learning lesson, and one with both financial and “other” consequences. Spell it out — that you would have expected her to not only VOLUNTEER to reimburse the cost or replace the missing CD (since it’s not like the GPS works without it) but also APOLOGIZE without prompting (not to mention actually make an effort to look for it). Obviously she was clueless as to what others might have expected of her, so now is not the time to be subtle about her role in things.

And if the CD was “borrowed” by her friend or her, I would not be surprised if she suddenly was able to “find” it when faced with the $200 bill.

CO Host Mom January 20, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I just want to say that I’m not sure if the money really is the biggest issue here. For me, I’d be more upset at her unwillingness to acknowledge she had done something wrong. Why not say “Hey, I’m really sorry this happened.”? I went through this with my last AP (now rematched). She pulled all kinds of things, including not coming home and keeping my car out all night which is a huge violation of our rules. I’d try and talk to her about it, and she would have no reaction. Not even a “I’m really sorry that I didn’t bring the car home last night.” It was so odd to me that she seemed so incapable of saying “I”m sorry”.

Is the inability to apologize a cultural thing by some chance? I think here in the U.S. we apologize to people a lot, even if whatever we did was totally accidental. You bump your cart in to someone in the grocery line, and you immediately apologize. You are late for lunch with a friend, and you apologize. On and on and on…..

So although I have no idea, and it doesn’t seem likely, I wonder if it could be a cultural thing of sorts? I initially thought maybe it was an age and maturity thing, but I don’t think that’s it. I mean, my 4 year old understands the importance of saying “I”m sorry”. Why didn’t my last AP? (from France, btw…my first and only French AP).

Just some thoughts.

used to be an AP January 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I think that saying sorry might be a cultural thing, just as saying “I love you” is (in my experience, Germans say “I love you” a lot less than Americans do).

Eurogirl January 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm

In my experience, Americans do apologise more than any other people I’ve ever met. I have American friends from my au pair days and American colleagues now, and it’s a quality they all share. I hope I am not generalising, but there is an aspect of American culture – the “Have a nice day” culture – although it’s a positive thing and I’m in no way criticising this attitude, but it can be quite alien to people in/from Europe.

Of course, every one should apologise if they have damaged your property or lost something of yours or not done their job properly…but your example of bumping someone in the street makes me laugh because I’ve lived in both France and Germany and people there would NEVER apologise for something like that!

Taking a Computer Lunch January 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Watch New Yorkers in mid-town Manhattan. They don’t touch each other. Americans have a sense of personal space, even in the most crowded of situations, and do apologize for violating it. Watch how NYers move to dodge people on the sidewalk – even when they aren’t looking people in the eye, they pay close attention to body language. The same holds true in Washington. I can’t speak for the rest of the country.

Eurogirl January 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

That’s interesting – I hadn’t thought of it as a personal space issue. Although now that you mention it, is absolutely true. In my home city, people walk practically on top of each other compared to the more spaced out way people walk in NYC – despite the fact that NYC must be about 1000 times more people!

I’m always aware that Americans apologise and thank more, and don’t like to be teased or made fun of (there were times in the past I said something I thought was affectionate joking and American friends took offense :-( ), so when I’m with them I tend to over-compensate and apologise LOTS.

Normally I only apologise to people if I really mean it, sincerely, for something I feel I have done wrong. The word “sorry” becomes meaningless if over-used I think.

Although to link right back to the post, losing an expensive item belonging to someone else is DEFINITELY a reason to apologise.

PA AP mom January 21, 2011 at 1:40 am

My AP constantly says “thank you” when we take her out to dinner, let her use the car or let her end her shift early to do something fun. She also says she’s sorry if something goes wrong.

She’s German.

Former Au Pair D. January 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

My ex-HF never taught the Kids to say thank you or sorry. When I go to their house I had to teach them and I was so happy and automactilly they starting using those words.

I believe Thank you and Sorry are not cultural but it depends on how you have been brought up.

boys mama January 21, 2011 at 1:05 am

Ha! I think this constantly about their inability to say “thank you!”

Hula Gal January 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Because she is a good au pair that you have not had any trouble with prior to this I stand by my original opinion that she should only pay for half. As far as the issue of remorse, that seems to be the really bothersome issue for you which is very understandable. You might include that as part of your conversation with her when you tell her she needs to pay for the replacement of the CD. Ask her outright why she did not offer to assist in replacing it and why she did not express regret that it went missing despite knowing how costly it was to replace. It could very well be a cultural thing at play here.

ECMom January 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm

This is a tough one, and I think it would depend on my relationship with the au pair and her reaction to having lost the CD. If she reacted as you’ve described I think I’d ask her to pay for the whole thing. If she honestly seemed remorseful and offered to pay for it I’d only ask her to pay half, or maybe even nothing at all, depending on what she said. For example, if she said it rolled out of the car and into a storm drain I’d chalk it up to an unfortunate event.

ExAP January 21, 2011 at 5:42 am

I agree with all the other posters saying your AP should give you the money for the lost CD- if you’ll ask her for the whole amount or half or so is your decision- I don’t know.
But I think nobody mentioned the friend yet. When asking your AP to pay xx $ for the CD, you might add that she could ask her friend to step in and pay part of it, too, since she was in the car with her and all.

Former Au pair January 21, 2011 at 7:13 am

I feel a lot of people here are making assumptions. Every individual is different and react differently to different situations. Yes, culture does affect the way we act but it is not the sole reason for someone to act the way they do. Without knowing a person it is difficult to judge.

Tell the AP how you see the situation, if you want her to pay half, tell her. If you want her to pay the whole $200, tell her. As long as you explain to her how you feel and what the situation is like, she will be fine.
I would not recommend being horrible to her. You say “she is a great AP”, so why would you risk damaging your relationship over a lost GPS CD?

Taking a Computer Lunch January 21, 2011 at 8:05 am

One might ask the same question of the AP – why risk damaging a great relationship over a lost CD?

Former Au pair January 21, 2011 at 11:17 am

Indeed, but if the au pair does not realise she is upsetting the host family, she will not know she is damaging the relationship. The au pair may not understand the host family is expecting an apology.

Then again, I am only speculating here. I do not know the background of the au pair nor do I know anything about the host family. Cultures, experiences and personalities make people very different to each other.
But if the host family explains to the au pair what they expect from her and how they are feeling about the situation, the au pair may change her attitude. You can only find out by trying, if that does not work you have to try other options.

To make the relationship between host family and au pair work it is vital to communicate. If you do not tell one another how you feel nothing will ever be resolved.

Jennifer January 21, 2011 at 10:30 am

I don’t understand why you would make such an exception to not have her replace the CD or least sit her down and explain this situation to her and let her know you are not okay with the lack of respect for your property.

With the AP program most people “treat their AP’s like family” usually as a daughter. If this was your child that took your car and do this wouldn’t you hold them accountable????

Deb Schwarz January 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

In the scheme of things, a lost CD isn’t a big deal – sweat the big things. Ask her to pay the $200, or part of it (she would have had to pay $500 if she had scratched the car). Mistakes happen…and some au pairs are better at apologies than others. Take into account that you like her otherwise and she is a good au pair – no one is perfect.

Calif Mom January 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Agree with Deb. Liking your au pair is not always a given! :-)

5kids=au pair January 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Once one of our au pairs damaged BOTH of our cars in one accident, causing us thousands in damage. AP paid the $250 for the accident, but also volunteered to babysit “extra hours” for us until the end of her 12/13 mo. She babysat a TON for us and that was so great. It never came close to what she caused us to lose in fixing the cars, but it showed that she understood the actual expense of the situation and wanted to help.

Maybe you could work out a deal with her where she could “repay” you by babysitting??

I would be upset, too, with how flippant she was about it. We’ve had our share of those situations. We always tell our au pairs in the beginning that we’d much rather them tell us the truth than them trying to hide something.

aussie mum January 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

Not even a second thought…..I can guarantee you that girl knows where that CD is…c’mon, we weren’t born yesterday. She has and still is taking advantage of your kind and generous nature. Get her to cough up the money. As has already been mentioned, her behaviour, her consequences.

NoVA Host Mom January 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

:)

AP with Similar Situation January 31, 2011 at 12:52 am

Dear Host Mom in need of guidance

I am currently an au pair with a wonderful family who have only been good to me, but have also been in a similar situation as your au pair seems to be (so I may offer much advice).

To let you in on my side of my story first:

I also was held accountable for an item that went missing, which was also expensive, and as I completely expected, was expected to replace the cost of it as she was my guest. I questioned my friend many times regarding it, as she was the last person who was in possession of this item, but I was never able to fully conclude whether she had stolen this item or not. I had strong suspicions that she was indeed responsible, and this presented a very difficult situation to me as I had NEVER been in this situation before and had no idea how to handle it.

It doesnt seem a valid excuse, but it took me a while to pluck up courage to confront my friend about it and therefore my HM also assumed that I didnt care about my responsibility towards what was missing. Coming from me now, I can admit that I was completely overwhelmed by what had happened and the fact that I was having to pay back a large amount of money (with no offer of assistance from my friend, by the way), as well as deal with personally being disappointment of letting my HM down when my family had been so good to me. I did learn that I should have dealt with it sooner and shown more concern, as should your AP also have done. Is it possible that your AP may have been struggling with more than just accepting responsibility too? Do you know if there is anything unresolved between her and her friend regarding this situation?

Also, Can I ask if you were ever straight forward about the severity of the situation? Did you ever ask her “Did you find it? OK, If no, do you then agree that we need to replace it and discuss how it will be paid for?”

In my case, my HP were both so polite and almost ‘casual’ themselves about it that everytime they would just ask me “Have you found it yet?” it seemed that they themselves were not seriously concerned. I genuinely responded to my HP’s ‘casual’ attitude regarding the missing item and therefore it was assumed by them that I didnt care either. If they had from the start approached me as I suggested above, it would have been resolved a lot sooner and they would have realised that I was indeed really concerned about not only the cost but the way I had let them down too.

My advice would be to first try and figure out what the real problem here is (because your description shows she has not been a problem thus far which leads me to believe its purely something concerning this situation) and only then approach the situation regarding the cost. If your AP handled it anyway like I did, then she probably is not at all against concerned about the cost, but is maybe just confused by how to handle what happened.

I hope this helped you see it from the APs perspective and guide you a bit in your situation. Its always interesting to hear how other families approach similar situations!

OP February 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Even though this post is a few weeks old, thought I’d loop back on this one and give an update. When the replacement CD arrived, we asked our AP to pay for it, and she said ok and didn’t seem surprised or upset. I did also convey to her that I was surprised and disappointed that she did not show any accountability, which was definitely more the sticking point for me than the cost of the item. Her response was very similar to the above post (AP with Similar Situation), in that she felt frustrated with her friend for not taking any responsibility and felt awkward about it. She said that she fully expected to pay for it once we bought a new one, but I tried to get across to her that had she actually took some initiative to SAY that, without me having to confront her about it, it would have made a huge difference. I also told her that the trade-off of having friends visit, which is something we welcome and encourage, is that she’s going to be our contact person, so to speak, whenever any issues come up. We expect her to work it out with her friend on her own. It was rather funny though when she said that she was really frustrated that her friend didn’t take any responsibility or offer to pay for it and I tried to gently point out the irony (that’s exactly my point to her!).

I think this was a typical case of a young person not knowing how to handle something and as a result, took a wait-and-see/avoidance approach. I can kind of understand that, as I’ve BTDT too in my life, and I don’t think she meant it to come across as it did. Overall, it was one of those things where I’m glad we decided to talk about it and feel like we all learned a little something from it.

Anna February 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Glad to hear you had some sort of resolution!

Euromom February 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for letting keeping us posted- it’s great to hear back, :o)

I love this blog!

Billiards Boy May 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Young people typically do not handle situation such as this as responsibly as most of us may like. It is my experience though that they do try to be as professional as their young minds will allow. Good post.

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