Here’s a host mom after my own heart.
Why? Because her first thought after describing the problem is to ask what she might be doing to contribute to it.
Not that I want host parents (or au pairs) to always shoulder the blame, but with all things social it’s the *relationship, the *context, and the *structure — not just one person or another — that’s creating and sustaining the problem.
Writes this HorrifiedHostMom :
We aren’t jerks, I swear! I don’t know why my kids are being that way!!
We are hosting a lovely Au Pair from Asia who has been with us for about 18 months (we extended). She is our 3rd Au Pair and our best: mature, good driver, very loving and patient with the kids, tidy, and always coming up with fun activities, crafts, etc. to do with the kids, who are 4 and 6.
My problem is that my kids are very disrespectful in their interactions with our Au Pair.
My daughter (age 6) has said things like “She is NOT my family. She is my friend and she takes care of me when you and Daddy aren’t home.”
We discussed that she isn’t technically “family” but such a good friend that she is like family, etc.
My son said something horrifying about how she was his “servant”.
When the kids make a mess, they say “Au Pair’s Name will clean it up!! We don’t have to do it!!”
I honestly don’t know where they get this disrespectful attitude, but I’m realizing with horror that it could be our fault.
One issue is that our Au Pair doesn’t interact with us much socially. She prefers to eat most of her meals alone or with friends, though we do a family dinner once in a while. She joins us for holidays and special occasions.
She traveled with us to Hawaii as ‘part of the family’, but for the most part she went out exploring by herself when she wasn’t watching the kids.
So I think that could be part of it…she’s not really that “integrated” with our family unit.
I also wonder if my husband and I could do more in attitude that would help this situation.
I’m horrified they are treating her this way.
Both my husband and I really do love this young woman.
Share with your Au Pair your system for ‘disciplining’ your kids
How to Sabotage the Au Pair’s Authority By Refusing To Discipline Your Kids
Share the Cream: Give your AP meaningful work to do