Ok, so I’ve worked with kids since I was about 12. I started off as a babysitter, then moved on to teaching Sunday school, then working as a part-time nanny, and now I’m an au pair working full time in another country. If you’ve followed my blog the last two years, this you already know. I’ve had some great kids, some outrageous kids, and some bang-your-head-on-the-wall kids. I had someone just yesterday ask me why I do this job. Well, here’s the answer: I love kids and I love to travel. Teaching has always been something ingrained in my personality. Kids are naturally drawn to me, just ask my friends (all of whom have kids/are married with kids). This jobs gives me a sense of accomplishment while learning other languages, cultures, and different parenting styles.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself why I just told you all that; trust me, there’s a good reason. Last September, I broke off my engagement to my long time on/off boyfriend and immediately resigned up for the website AuPair-World.com and found Karin the very next day. I thought “Wow, that was quick! This will be an awesome way to get back into this job.” It was! I really do love living here in the Czech Republic. It took us 3 months to get things in order to apply for my work permit and visa, by that time it was Christmas and we had decided that I would just wait til after Christmas to leave for CZ. January was when the visa department denied everything, even after multiple trips to the embassy in Bratislava. So we reapplied, I spent 3 months at home due to the Schengen rules, and I returned end of June. Upon accepting the position, my host mom asked that I at least get Klarka through her first year of school. Well, we’re only a month into it and things have steadily gone down hill since it started. I don’t know if it’s school, sports, her parents, or what, but she has become more and more difficult to handle. We have had daily lessons in manners, responsibility, and respectfulness. They only seem to work sometimes. I know a lot of you will just say, “Well, she’s only 6.” Yes, that’s true, but most 6 years olds know how to behave and follow directions, they may not do it all the time, but they know the differences. Hitting, screaming, whining, crying, throwing things. Those things were never tolerated in our house growing up. If we did them, our mom whipped out butts. I know many of you don’t approve of this method of punishment, just remember that I grew up in the Southern United States; this is still practiced. I believe that there is nothing wrong with laying a hand to the behind of a disrespectful child once in awhile. The main form of punishment in this house is no iPad or no tv/movies. She does freak out a bit when the iPad is taken away, but who wouldn’t. Since we hardly watch tv to begin with, taking that and movies away is not real threatening. To me, a child that young doesn’t need an iPad, she needs books and toys and playing outside. I really just need back up when I have said something.
I’m fairly certain that she is ADHD which could account for a lot of her behavioral problems, my brother was as well. She’s taken to lying to get her way, which she hasn’t really done in the past. She recently spent a week with her father while her mother was at a conference in another country. Yes, welcome break for me, but also a bit of a problem when she came back. Her father tends to spoil her with whatever she wants. Candy, pastas, chips, etc. We don’t. We go more for fresh vegetables, grilled chicken, and lots of water. We try to be a healthy house. She again threw the “I want to go back to daddy’s” tantrum when she returned. In this aspect she is like most kids who come from separated parents.
With all my girlfriends who are nannies/au pairs continually moving from job to job, and me in the process of attaining my TESOL/TEFL certificate, I’m starting to wonder if it’s not time to move on. It’s been nearly 10 months with this family. Christmas will be here soon. I really do love Klarka, Karin, and CZ. I know Klarka loves me, though she has her moments, because she calls me her “big sister” and will even tell other people this. She can be very affectionate when she’s happy, but dangerous when she’s angry.
How do you handle your children/charges? I want honest opinions if you can. Just leave them in the comments.