Here’s Bettina’s story about her host kids… click back to the original post to discuss whether, if, and how an au pair can make a positive difference in host family dynamics.
I’m an au pair in the US for 2 weeks now, and I really like it here. When I arrived, I immediately felt comfortable here with the family. Sure, there are some things I didn’t like, but all in all everything was fine. I take care of 4 girls between 11 and 2 years old. The girls seem to like me, at least they like me more than the au pair before me, and I also really like them. I also like my hostparents. They do everything for me and really want me to feel like home. And I do, I never got homesick since I arrived , even though there are several ups and downs with the kids.
But here is the problem:
When I arrived, I realized how rude the kids behave against their parents, and especially how they interact among each other. It seems that they don’t have respect when they talk to the parents, and when they misbehaved in some special way, they don’t get any strict consequences.
But the thing that really stresses me is the way the kids talk to each other. Every day, without fail, the kids tell each other and me: “I wish my sister would die/would be dead”. Or, they say: “I wish I were old and strong enough to kill the 5-year-old sister”.
That is not normal! In my opinion the kids are old enough to be aware of what they are saying. I also think it’s like they want attention by saying these things, but that doesn’t make things better. I mean, I have 3 siblings, too, and I know that siblings love to fight and it is normal in some way, but not like that. It’s shocking for me because I think siblings should stick together.
I talked with the parents about the kids earlier. I told them that I’m shocked how they go around with each other, they insult each other in every single sentence, and there is no chat between the kids in that they don’t insult the other one or swear.
My hostdad told me I should leave them alone when they are fighting. I really tried it, but when I don’t intervene they start to hit, punch, pinch, pull the hair, scratch, spit and kick and really hurt themselves. What makes it worse is that the 9-year-old teaches the little 2-year-old mean things she should say to the oldest sister. And I mean she is two, she repeats everything she hears! And even though she would not knew what she said, it will hurt the other persons’ feelings!
To be truthful, the situation started bothering me since I arrived here. But, I have a really good connection to my hostparents and the kids are not mean to me like they are to their parents. However, a few days ago I realized that I don’t want to stay here the whole year under these circumstances.
I can’t ignore the kids’ behavior anymore, because it really messes with my mental power, if you know what I mean. It’s like the behavior is poisoning the working atmosphere in the house. I don’t have fun to play with the kids or being around them because every little word could lead to an explosion of the whole trouble.
I will talk with my hostparents as soon as possible about the situation, and I feel quite bad about it because I really really like them, they are great people. But unfortunately they are not on top of this with their kids. I would like to give them a chance talking to the kids and try to work on the situation, but I don’t believe that things are going to change.
And I can’t imagine to live there the whole year, because I’m not feeling strong enough to cope with this situation there. I’m not a psychologist or someone who is able to do any kind of ongoing counseling.
I do feel uncomfortable and feel some pricks of conscience because the hostparents have done a lot for me. I feel like I’m turning my back on them if I leave. It’s really complicated.
Would you say this is a legitimate reason for going into rematch? Thank you very much for your advice!
Come back to the original post and offer your answers to these questions:
- Can an au pair change a family’s dynamics for good?
- Can an au pair improve sibling dynamics?
- How should Bettina respond?
Image: Sibling Rivalry from Lon Fong…back and catching up!