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Ever had a dangerous nanny/aupair?

(17 Posts)
KemalsStilletto Sat 30-Jul-05 20:19:14

I have never had a nanny/au pair but my friend did for his daughter aged 4 at the time and son aged 2. The au pair was from poland (i think) and used to leave kids downstairs while she went to bed for hours at a time. She also left kids alone while she went to wash her hair which usually took half an hour or so....another time she let dd stand on a chair at the oven stiring the boiling hot soup that she had put on for lunch at aged 3! Luckily the kids dad walked in at that point and sacked her on the spot for neglect. His next nanny was english and she was lovely, settled well in family and was like sibling to the kids, even going out on her days off to beach and play centres with dad and kids.

goldenoldie Sun 31-Jul-05 04:23:33

We live in a 3 story house and, despite asking them not too, have caught previous au-pairs leaving ds downstairs while they do whatever in their room - on the third floor.

DS is old enough not to put his fingers in plug sockets or anything like that, but is quite capable of opening front door and AP on 3rd floor would have no idea a stranger was in the house, or that ds had gone for a wander on his own!

Leaving children unattended is quite a common one, APs just don't see the problem - afterall what do you expect with teenage/young women with little or no childcare experience and even less interest.

In all honesty, if these girls/boys could come to the UK and find work not involving children that would pay for really nice accomodation (computers, TVs, all mod cons), enough salary to cover heating, hot water, telephone bills, food, travel costs and so on and still have enough left over for clothes/social life - how many would choose to be au-pairs? About 5%, I recon, plus the lazy ones and those too incompetent to do a job with regular scrutiny.

NannyL Sun 31-Jul-05 11:07:40

Do we have to have such negative posts on here? (yes i understand that epope, are free to post whatever they like, it is "only the internet")

Perhaps parents who have great nannies / au pairs could post abut their GREAT nannies / au pairs too (as im sure there are more of those than bad)

I dont mean to be offensive with this post but us nannies eem to get SOOO much bad press (esp this last week or so) and if the few people share their 'nightmare' experainces then it frightens those who dont have / are thinking about having a nanny.

The reality is there are alot more bad nannies than good (in my experiance!)

I also know alot of nannies, ALL of whom i would willingly leave MY baby / child with (IF i had one!) I personally know alot more bad 'employers' than i do bad 'nannies'

Toothache Sun 31-Jul-05 11:12:17

NannyL - I'm sure when someone feels the need to post something about wonderful about their fantastic Au Pair/Nanny, then they will!!! Not just as response to someones obvious concerns about her Au Pair!

When someone posts "My DH is horrible and I've thrown him out", there isn't a massive outcry of people posting about how wonderful their DH's are and how posts like that give DH's a bad name!

JOSIE3 Sun 31-Jul-05 11:58:07

NannyL - KStilleto DID post positive comments about a nanny!!!

I've worked in the nanny field and reported back to parents when I see neglectful nannies and au pairs.

I agree that nannies seem to getting bad press at the mo, but surely most people take what the press say with a pinch of salt? (though I admit that certain articles have had me Very angry)

I also agree whole heartedly about employers - it's all too frequent that nannies are expected to work longer, do extra chores and be grateful for the pitance they are payed.

I think that maybe some people employing AU pairs need to look at what they are expecting of them. Au Pairs are NOT supposed to have sole charge of children (except for occasional evening babysitting), the scheme was set up to give them a different cultural experience, and allow them to study in a foreign country. All too frequently Au Pairs are expected to fulfill a nanny role.

nannyjo Sun 31-Jul-05 12:01:55

this thread gives me a huge de ja vous on the whole nanny/au-pair issue.

Golden oldie said it fantastically that some (95%?) au-pairs are here to get fed housed etc and can't do that with much other than chilcare.

Nannies are trained to know safety and godd quality childcare and are more likely to be safe as this is what they want to do not what they have to do in order to be here in this country to see the sights, learn the language etc.

Thats not to say ALL nannies are safe unforyunately some may not be which is a shame because it does give nannies a bad name and the good qualities are sometimes forgotten

Dare i say it....'you pay for what you get'

If you pay peanuts you'll get monkeys.

lockets Sun 31-Jul-05 12:05:02

Message withdrawn

mishmash Sun 31-Jul-05 12:33:41

"you get what you pay for" - Sorry NannyL but that term just gets up my nose because unless you are earning mega bucks you can't afford the best nanny's available so some people get what they can afford and there are still good nanny's available without paying top dollar.

mishmash Sun 31-Jul-05 12:34:48

Sorry didn't read your post properly had clicked Post before I Previewed

QueenOfQuotes Sun 31-Jul-05 12:45:27

Don't have an aupair or Nanny (and can't afford one either) but if I did, I wouldn't think it would make much difference whether they were English or from Mars - as long as I could trust them with my children.

I'm not sure the point of mentioning that "ONE" English nanny was good, while the foreign *au pair* wasn't.

I'm sure it could just have easily been the other way round!

Ameriscot2005 Sun 31-Jul-05 12:46:55

My first au pair was neglectful, and I had to let her go because of it.

She was older - 26 - and thought that it was perfectly reasonable to take a shower while babysitting, with five kids were running wild downstairs.

When DH returned home earlier than the au pair expected, my 7-year old let him in and the au pair was completely unaware (she had gone from the shower to bed for the night), until I told her to pack her bags the next day.

The other au pairs I have had have always put the children to bed at the right time, and when we have returned home late, the au pair's room door has been open so that she could listen out for them. It's not rocket science.

lemonice Sun 31-Jul-05 12:52:58

I think there is a broad misunderstanding about aupairs even by those who employ them.

The term seems to be commonly used as interchangeable with nanny, as in a child carer from another country who is cheaper to employ.

This is an outline of the aupair scheme Aupair Rules

goldenoldie Sun 31-Jul-05 14:10:12

Errrrrrrr - babysitting means sole-charge, alone in the house with kids while parents go out. This is clearly part of the au-pair scheme and not something just for nannies. This is not a con by parents trying to get 'more' out of au-pairs, this is part of what APs are expected to do.

Have to say I expect a much higher standard from trained nannies, but when I watch them in the park they are just as often chatting away to each other/on mobile phones as the au-pairs and ignoring what the kids are doing.

Even worse on the bus I regularly see nannies and au-pairs sitting SEPERATELY from their school-age charges, often in front of the and they have no idea what the kids are doing behind them.

Have to say au-pairs are usually much worse - saw child drop sandwich on the floor of the bus and the au-pair just picked it up and gave it back to the child - yuk.

Made me really cross, wanted to ask her if she had dropped her sandwich on the filthy, rubbish/gum/mud/dirt/hair/crumb/sticky strewn floor of the bus would she pick it up and eat it...................

SoupDragon Sun 31-Jul-05 14:19:17

"'you pay for what you get' If you pay peanuts you'll get monkeys."

Not true actually. I've paid for both nursery staff and a friend's fully qualified nanny to babysit before. The nursery staff members were fab (one even made a stab at tidying the playroom!) but we arrived home to find the more expensive nanny asleep on the sofa and DS1 (4) asleep half naked on the landing. We can only assume he'd been to the toilet and called for help and she'd not heard because he has never done this before or since.

It's more to do with the person's personlity and sense of responsibility than training or nationality.

Ameriscot2005 Sun 31-Jul-05 14:31:00

Agree - laziness and neglectfulness are personality traits, and anyone could have them regardless of nationality or entry-level job that they hold.

As for the old sole charge debate - au pairs do not look after babies or young toddlers for long periods of time. This does not mean they can't look after them for short amounts of time (with activities specifically directed by the parents), eg up to an hour while mum pops to the dentist, or babysit them while they are expected to be asleep. Au pairs tend to do after-school care or school age children; not many families are going to pay full-time nanny rates for these kind of hours and level or responsibility, especially when a nanny is reluctant to get involved in the wider needs of the household.

So, simplistically, nanny = babies/pre-school and au pair = school-age children. I don't see why nannies are so territorial about au pairs as it's not as if they are taking away clients who would realistically hire a nanny. And it seems to me that au pairs have pre-dated the kind of nannies that we have nowadays anyway.

PrettyCandles Sun 31-Jul-05 14:35:38

We don't have either nanny or au pair, but when we were children my family had a succession of au pairs over about 10 years. A few were asked to leave after a some weeks, but most stayed for as long as their visas permitted, and a couple even came back to us for a second contract. In our experience a good au pair was intelligent and compassionate. She didn't need to be vastly intelligent, just have some common sense and the ability and willingness to learn. Youth and experience proved to be quite irrelevant.

I recall that two of my mother's favourites were 18yo convent girls - one a naive farmer's child with absolutely no idea of the world, and the other the complete opposite: an incredibly sophisticated streetwise woman.

NannyL Sun 31-Jul-05 22:09:31


OOOPPPS what a typing error to make!

"should say alot more GOOD nannies than bad!"

(I personally ONLY know 'good' nannies (which my comment about willingly leaving any one of them with my own baby (if i had one) meant!!)

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