Au Pair Issues - Any Advice(13 Posts)
Hi all, I am looking for some thoughts on my current au pair situation. We have a new au pair who started in September.
The main issue is that she has really not connected with the kids (7 and 9). She says she has made every effort, but I don't see it. When I see them together I would call it co-existing rather than interacting.
My son (7) can be difficult - he gets frustrated and angry. He absolutely needs to be told when his behaviour is unacceptable but also he needs help to express his frustration and be talked down. Our last au pair managed this, it was fine, but this one simply can't. She has spent all morning complaining about his lack of respect. I agree that he must not be rude to her, and I have made this clear to him, but I also think that his behaviour stems in part from a feeling that she does not respect him. Basically I think she's losing control of the situation if that makes sense, she tries sending him out of the room for example, which just inflames the situation.
She also fundamentally can't cook. She says the kids are fussy, but actually I think they genuinely find a lot of her food inedible - as I would. I just don't have time to teach her how to cook and am not sure what to do about this. I am not expecting cordon bleu by the way, just basic nutritious food.
And this has all become a vicious cycle - because it all started badly, the kids have now decided it's not working, and I don't know how to turn it around.
And she has done some very odd things while being here - for exampling, taking stuff from my bathroom without asking, breaking things without telling us, etc.
BUT - she is reliable as in she is there when I need her! And I am SO busy that the thought of finding a new au pair is a bit overwhelming.
I have had numerous conversations with her, but just don't know where to take this next. Is this sack-able?
Any thoughts would be welcome. I should say that our previous au pair was fantastic - we loved her, I think she was pretty fond of us, she stayed for two years, and we were so sad when she left. We knew that no other au pair would really be the same - but I don't know if I am judging our new au pair harshly in comparison.
Sounds like you just need to bite the bullet and find a new au pair. A friend of mine had a terrible experience with an au pair, but has had two others who were part of the family and were fantastic. Sounds like she is just not right for your family.
Hmm, thanks Across. I think you might be right.
Aaaargh, another one. She has just had a teenager over for Spanish conversation. She asked me if she could, I said when is he coming, she said he's here now. Is it reasonable to give me notice on that? My sense is that if I wasn't working at home today, she wouldn't have said and I wouldn't have known. I don't want to be an arse, but I'm not massive about having complete strangers coming in and out of our house.
I would also expect your son to be polite and respectful to your au pair. What disciplinary options does she have available to her if he isn't behaving?
Our au pairs mainly re-heat things rather than cook from scratch, unless its a particular hobby. Our last one did a lot of baking with the children, but the others culinary knowledge has been really basic (parmesan cheese on baked potatoes and broccoli that is so overcooked that it has become soup are a couple of examples.)
Taking stuff from your bathroom though isn't on, I don't allow visitors in the house without notice, I can't see any point in heaving screening and au pair and then allowing random unchecked strangers in the house, especially when the children are around.
At the end of the day though, she is living in your house and if you aren't gelling with her, its going to be a long hard year for all of you. I'd give it till Christmas - ensure your son behaves and they may build a better realtionship...if they haven't by then its not going to happen.
Visitors she shouldn’t really have to vet.
Our previous au pair who was Spanish also said the same thing about our younger daughter. First time we’ve ever had any feedback like that on her either in school or with a child care help at home. But they did wind each other up - that is the only way I can explain it. We did support the au pair but honestly she didn’t have a clue about child development or seemingly much like children. She went on about “respect” too - maybe it’s a cultural thing? Also she was a good cook for adults (we loved her food) but was really resistant to our advice on what the children enjoyed eating and got very offended when they didn’t eat much. It did make me wonder whether we had to consider switching back to an after school nanny. Reading your message I had the same reaction. We haven’t because the children are older than yours overall and more independent (Dd1 is in secondary). Is a nanny an option for your kids? Hard to find after school only,I know.
Sound a like you are expecting qualified nanny behaviour/skills from an unqualified low paid au-pair!
I think the inviting people with no notice is not on, as is taking things and breaking things.
Issue with your son is hard to judge. He mustn't be rude to her full stop, I agree with pp but hard to know where the problem lies with general bad dynamic.
I don't think the cooking is reasonable of you. Most of our au pairs have been rubbish cooks. They are only very young. The last one, I actually taught to cook and he picked it up well. Wished I'd taken the time in past years.
But they don't cook every day- I cook if I'm there. If the au pair is cooking I tend to leave something really easy- so either they are just heating something up or it's fish fingers, sausages, pizza, jacket potato etc. I'd rather they played with the kids than spent time cooking.
The sort of things our au pairs cook include sausage and mash or chips; pasta bolognase and boiled veg; pasta and another sauce and boiled veg; baked potatoes and beans and cheese. I think it is reasonable for an intelligent and able young person to produce things like that.
I mean - come on. Even my 19 year olds have done that.
Thing is I’m not an au pair but I am a Nanny who has had to look after a very rude and disrespectful 7 year old and he had bemused parents who couldn’t see how foul his behaviour was. Tbh I think your au pair is too inexperienced to deal with a difficult child and you should probably let her go.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.