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Child I look after - behaviour(7 Posts)
I’m posting in here as I know it won’t be outing - doubt anyone will see this that knows us.
I am in my early 20s and am studying and since September I have been looking after my step sisters kids as a bit of an au pair type job. I have them one morning and afternoon after school, or a full day in holidays, sometimes from 6-8 one other weekday night and every other Saturday 2-9pm. I get minimum wage for my age this and my Mum will sometimes give me money to take them out as I was spending my own money on ice cream/drinks etc if I took them out which I don’t mind occasionally but not every time . I care for them at their house or sometimes my own little flat.
I’ve known them all since birth except the oldest. I haven’t always lived near them though. Unless 3 years ago I lived in another town to them all. Due to family circs we now all live in the same town. They’re 15, 13, 10 and 7. The 15 and 13 yr old are pretty much self sufficient and get themselves to and from school, they can get the tube by themselves (13 yo not massively keen but will if needed), they sometimes ask for a snack etc. Sometimes I have to shout to get them to stop horsing around as I’m scared they’ll break stuff but they’re pretty reasonable. I will make supper for us all and they eat it with mostly no fuss, sometimes complaining a little but not much. The 10yr old I am very close to they are well behaved for me, helpful, courteous. The only thing is food as they only like specific things but as they are so good I often find myself catering for them food-wise which I know is bad. The only problem I have is with the 7yo. I feel like I praise the 10yo a lot and the 7yo doesn’t like this. But I often find them very hard to deal with. They will literally argue with me until I have to give up.
I don’t want to start a list of complaints but some of their behavior is:
1) refusing to come with me when I’m at school pickup because I’m not mummy or daddy, then coming but with a massive sulky face and dragging bag along etc
2) talking in an silly American-ish accent I can’t understand and not stopping when I ask them to
3) telling me to carry school things , calling me idiotic or lazy if I say nope
4) only want to watch YouTube channels about their specific interests even when I say no let’s watch something else. If older sibling ask, they will change to what older siblings want.
5) tells me I’m wrong and stupid about things - me - ‘ lets go to McDonalds in Town’ ... them - ‘there is no McDonalds in Town’ ... me - ‘yes there is, it’s next to the Aldi’ them - ‘that’s not town! You’re an idiot ! That’s the OUTSKIRTS of town! Haha you don’t even know anything !’
Also it could be 8.33am and I say ‘come on it’s half past eight we need to hurry’ and they say ‘it’s not it’s 8.33 Duh!!’ All with a big scowl and just makes me feel two feet tall!
6) arguing black is white - refusing to acknowledge I’m older than someone else in the family even though I am. I try to explain I’m born in X year and Cousin Bob is born in x year so I’m older... child realizes they’re wrong I can see it in their face but runs off shouting ‘you’re lying ! You’re wrong !’
Child is like this with only me, a lesser extent with my DM (step-nana) and ‘real’ nana but still quite rude at times which they don’t like but don’t know what to do about A a great student at a prep school where they’re doing great academically but not sporty, always has kids to play with, plays elaborate games in which they’re the leader or captain or King/Queen.
Child is ‘demanding’ with Mum and dad but in a more needy way eg. wanting help with going to bed, brushing teeth , dressing, things the others didn’t need help with at this age but they still do. Parents don’t mind as this child is fourth and will be the last child so is seen as the baby. I just don’t know how to make this kid like me ! I have even tried taking them out alone to cinema, mini golf, KFC... not badly behaved as in running off it’s just the back chat and making me feel rubbish ! Any ideas how best to handle this?
Looking after 4 kids is pretty full on. If 7 year old is not respecting you, you need to raise it with the parents. As you are family the lines are blurred somewhat as a childminder or nanny would have a more business approach and would not put up with such behaviour.
To me it sounds like the parents are taking advantage by having cheap childcare as you are studying. If you are not enjoying looking after the kids anymore you would be better off bringing and end to the arrangement and getting a decent paid job elsewhere.
They're being rude and disrespectful because you're use relatively young, are paid help in their eyes, and can get away with such behaviour.
Rather than trying to win them over, remind them that their manners are not acceptable, praise them when they are being respectful, and make sure their parents back you up. Don't try to bribe them with treats, they'll just have you for more of a mug!
I think you need to figure out what you want your role to be. If you are the caretaker, then the object isn't to get them to like you, but rather to respect you. You must be very clear what the boundaries are. If they call you stupid then you must say that that's not ok and have a consequence for it. It's also important that you do NOT give her attention (even negative attention) for bad behavior. And make clear to your step sister where your boundaries lie so that she can reinforce it with them. If she's not doing so then it's probably a job that you should bow out of.
From your description, it sounds like the youngest is not getting enough attention at home (or perhaps not the right kind of attention) and that's something that only the parents can address.
Does sound like attention seeking behaviour and by joining in the argument your giving the attention.
If she had said that about McDonalds to me I'd have said ok if it's not in town we cant go home it is ...if she had been rude it would be no McDonalds etc.
Why do you cook a separate meal for the older one? Dont you think that by giving her preferential treatment its aggravating the relationship not to mention encouraging faddy eating.
If the parents can afford a prep school why are they not paying for any expenses you incurr?
Sounds like the arrangement is ruining your family relationships I'd be having a serious talk about it.
Stop arguing back with them. They are looking for a reaction from you and they are getting it.
Let them know their behaviour isn't acceptable then ignore. Positive reinforcment for good behaviour
Thanks for the comments. They’re so helpful honestly. Tomorrow I am taking them to an after school hobby they do so I am going to try and be zen-like and ignore any rudeness or argument seeking . I think honestly they see me as an adult they can ‘be better than’ in a way, ie push the boundaries with because I have no real power. So I’m going to ignore until it’s boring and be OTT with the praise.
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