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Au pair claiming child had tantrum

(35 Posts)
LUKYMUM Fri 29-May-15 01:37:52

Wednesday morning I found a missed call from home at 9am. I called back to be told that my ds had been rude and thrown everything everywhere.
Ds and au pair generally get on well and this is completely out of character. I am naturally upset but I told her I'll deal with it that evening. Nothing I could do from work.

I called home at 5pm (because they were on an outing during the day) and told my son to apologise and to write a sorry letter. I also cancelled time in the garden as a result.

I came home and spoke to au pair. She told me her version. I said it was really out of character and we could both see the potential trigger, but regardless it was totally unacceptable. I spoke to him this morning (without telling him her version) and it's entirely different. He didn't throw a tantrum, he didn't throw things around but he was upset with her. He had taken things off the hanger to find his hat, at her request. He made a mess but he was going to clean it up. (Which he always does).
Now I'm not one of those precious mums who thinks her child is always right. My son is quite articulate and usually honest.It's completely completely out of character.

I do find she lies about small things but nothing like this. I am 97% certain my son is being honest but I don't know what to do. She's a nice girl, been with us for a few months now. It's actually upsetting me quite a bit now.

worridmum Fri 29-May-15 02:46:58

Its really tricky to be fair first unless you have concrete proof that what the Au pair is saying is a lie you must support her as otherwise you would totally undermine her and your DS would pick up on that so when ever something does not go his way and he misbehvaours they can assume they can get away with being naughty by telling mummy a different story to that or Au pair / teacher / any other adult.

and from my experence of Aupairing nearly all children can lie even the most honest appearing ones (bitter experence of 1 of my charges breaking an expensive vase and than blaming me for the damage despite prevously never lying apprently and my hosts attempted to dock my wages to pay for said vase upon their daughters word. and to be fair until this she hadnt be caught lying about anything )

But why would the Au pair ring you at work unless he really was misbehavouring? what benifet would she achive by lying about this? where as your DS has lots to gain by lying or not telling the full truth (aka leaving important details out rather than outright lies etc) about events (aka trying to not get into trouble etc)

So for this instance I would give the Au pair the benifet of the doubt but keep a eye on the situation as like i mentioned prevously you could undermine her without real cause

CarriesBucketOfBlood Fri 29-May-15 02:52:25

Your au pair doesn't seem to have anything to gain by lying. Why can't you back her up and believe her?

quietlysuggests Fri 29-May-15 03:00:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Optimist1 Fri 29-May-15 06:00:55

Regardless of the true extent of your child's misbehaviour, the morning phone call was your au pair telling you she was at the end of her tether and couldn't cope. You said you couldn't deal with it on the phone, left her to cope and then some hours later dealt with it on the phone. It sounds to me as though you're using her as a nanny - not fair.

Idefix Fri 29-May-15 06:30:11

Is there more to this?
Why would the Au Pair lie?
Your child told you a slightly different version of the same story and claimed that of course he was going to pick up the thrown about/dropped items...did he?
As others have said children do lie, it is part of growing up for most children. Was he very upset/scared that the au pair had phoned you? Perhaps he thought he was in big trouble and when you asked him he down played the situation.

Children also behave very differently around different people and it maybe that your ds is pushing boundaries with the au pair who he perceives is not as in charge of him as his parents are?

Do you ever contradict what the au pair does or says in front of ds? Children very quickly pick up on these cues and use them.

MythicalKings Fri 29-May-15 06:32:52

Agree that the au pair has no reason to lie. She called you for help and you gave her none. Very unfair. She isn't a nanny, as others have said.

redcaryellowcar Fri 29-May-15 06:50:11

I'm afraid I disagree with the pps who say you must believe your au pair over your son. What sort of message does that give to your son about lying and what would you want him to do (totally separate to this situation) if someone was abusing him, I assume you would want him to tell you his honest version of events and be confident that you would believe him?

Flywheel Fri 29-May-15 06:52:49

Your ds is more than likely minimising his poor behaviour. Why would the au pair call you if he was completely calm and just making a bit of a mess. It doesn't make any sense. I know you want to believe your son, but use your head here.

LUKYMUM Fri 29-May-15 07:24:27

To put it into context I left at 8am. They hadn't been together long. (Regarding the long day, she's doing fewer days over longer hours. I asked if she was ok with it).
They went out at 9.30 with a friend of mine and I called her back at 9.18 . There was absolutely no point in me calling and speaking to him.

Regarding undermining her, I did support her, simply on her say so. Why would she lie? I don't know. She was up really late the night before, she has a problem with time keeping. I had to wake her up myself before she left. I think she didn't get ready on time for 9.30 and was in a fluster. When she's in that mood she tends to be more bossy and he was probably rude. It's the version that he threw everything everywhere that I have real trouble believing.
When he's awake and she s getting ready (due to lateness) he does take his books off the shelf to read them and forget to put them back. And he also draws and puts his papers on the floor next to the book shelf. I think she was upset by the mess, rudeness and she couldn't find the hat. (Which they forgot at the park the day before, it emerged from a mum).

He's not in less trouble due to this version of the story. I punished first and listened later to avoid behind disrespectful to her. Coaxed and bribed him almost to tell me her version.

When they have arguments in front of me. I back her up to the hilt. And in private I speak to her. But! She does have form for snatching things out of his hands (even if I'm in the house) and expecting him to listen without a count down and do something there and then. Which a kid isn't always going to do. I turn a blind eye because she's a lovely girl overall and they get along.

worridmum I'm sorry the family treated you like that.

LUKYMUM Fri 29-May-15 07:29:56

I suppose from reading my thread it sounds like I just want to believe him. I would be less conflicted if I didn't. Simple case of misbehaviour but .....

MythicalKings Fri 29-May-15 07:39:18

She isn't a trained nanny. You can't expect her to act as though she knows about childcare and how to manage poor behaviour. She's just a young woman with little experience.

Maybe you should think about getting a nanny.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 29-May-15 07:42:56

If you want the truth, put them both in front of you in the same room and discuss. You will soon see who the liar is

siblingrevelryagain Fri 29-May-15 07:43:43

My concern wouldn't be this incident, but the bit where you said she lies about other, small stuff.

A lie is a lie is a lie-small or large I'd not be able to leave my child with someone I knew or thought was capable of lying. To me that's a bigger concern.

saturnvista Fri 29-May-15 07:45:07

This isn't the kind of situation you should be in with an au pair, you do realise that don't you?

I have a mother's help (paid by the hour) and personally, if she lied about anything, that would be it. Knowing she's telling me the truth about my DD is everything to me.

paxtecum Fri 29-May-15 07:49:13

How old is your DS?

Golfhotelromeofoxtrot Fri 29-May-15 07:50:17

If you want quality childcare from someone trained in child behaviour you have to pay for it. An au pair is part of a cultural exchange, should be part of the family- poor time keeping is not something that you can honestly complain about if you are making her work longer days (even if she said that's ok) because it has obviously tired her out.

I think your expectations are too high.

HSMMaCM Fri 29-May-15 07:53:51

I can see it from a point of view that they are both telling the truth. He was grumpy about being told to get his hat. He saw himself as putting the coats on the floor so he could get it, she saw him throwing the coats on the floor. Two stories, same event, no one lying.

00100001 Fri 29-May-15 08:11:16

Sounds like you don't think the AuPair is very good, bit the. As PPs have said, she is not a Nanny.

Hire a proper nanny for child care

Wolfiefan Fri 29-May-15 08:16:56

I am worried about where you say they have arguments in front of you. That sounds like two kids winding each other up. Not an adult in charge of the situation. Worrying.

claraschu Fri 29-May-15 08:20:44

I agree with HSM. I also think that this isn't a big deal and you should help your au pair with a few coping mechanisms, but also just tell her that kids are a pain sometimes, and you just muddle along.

I think it is too late to make a big fuss with your son; I am assuming he is still fairly young.

LynetteScavo Fri 29-May-15 08:31:01

I don't think either of them us lying, just giving their version if events.

If the au pair called you at work it was a cry for help that she couldn't cope with the situation. As others have said she's an au pair, so there is only so much you can expect from her as she's not a nanny.

I remember an au pair friend saying to me "I was at school three months ago being told what to do by everyone, and now I'm supposed to know how to deal with a 7yo having a tantrum in the street because he doesn't want to go to tennis."

HolgerDanske Fri 29-May-15 08:35:18

I honestly think au pairs are going to become a thing of the past. It just doesn't really work with today's standards of child care.

You cannot expect nanny-quality child care from a young woman with little to no experience.

I agree, you ought to try to find a nanny.

I also think she did everything she could, she called you and it doesn't sound like there would be any reason for her to lie. She is not a parent, she is not a trained child care practitioner. She is a young kid who is babysitting your child for a few hours a day.

BalloonSlayer Fri 29-May-15 08:39:05

This isn't a situation where there was an atmosphere, you asked what had happened, and she told you a version of events and you now disbelieve her.

She phoned you at 9am, while you were at work to tell you this had happened. Why would she go to all that trouble to phone you if it wasn't true? She was obviously quite upset about it.

Your DS denied it? Well duh! To quote Mandy Rice-Davies: "Well he would, wouldn't he?"

I know someone who is a HOY who always laughs about the number of parents who earnestly assert "My child doesn't tell lies." Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how lovely the child, if they think they can get out of a punishment/telling off, they will all lie their socks off.

And I don't understand the following about your OP: I called home at 5pm . . . and told my son to apologise and to write a sorry letter. I also cancelled time in the garden as a result. Later you write I spoke to him this morning (without telling him her version) and it's entirely different. WTF? So you phone up from work, dispense two [frankly OTT, in my view but that's neither here nor there] punishments from afar without actually talking to your son about what he had done. If you told him to apologise didn't you tell him what for?? confused Makes no sense whatsoever.

FlorenceMattell Fri 29-May-15 09:23:24

Child must be school age to be asked to write a letter. So I suggest you book him into holiday clubs in future. Au pair does drop off and pick ups.
She rang you at 9 am because she couldn't cope.
You say she agreed to less days more hours, but the rules suggesting au pairs do a maximum 5 hours a day are there for a reason.
They are young girls on a cultural visit to UK , not professional nannies.
And agree you shouldn't have issued punishments over the phone. A child having a tantrum is normal. It should be dealt with at the time by adult who is present.
Agree with other posters that both au pair and child are not lying just different perspectives.

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