I’ve never been a parent, nor do I plan on being one anytime within the near future. That being said, as someone who has worked with children for the better part of four years, I have seen my fair share of unique and intriguing child behaviour. So listen to me when I say this: a child is precious, treat them as such. Showing a child appropriate punishment when they act out only displays your love for them. Spending time with your child is necessary for a cohesive relationship and positive upbringing. Never criticize your child when they are already criticizing themself for all the things they do wrong – this only makes them feel worse about their self. It is essential that you remember that your child is the number one priority in your life. All the toys, clothes, and treats will do nothing to their character in the whole scheme of things.
Now without mentioning any names, I will tell you what I’ve seen and heard while being an Au Pair and by being around other Au Pairs here in Rome. Because most families have a housekeeper and an Au Pair, the primary job is to help the child learn English. This means that you are treated better than the housekeeper, making it occasionally awkward when the housekeeper is criticized for not doing things properly around the house. The children have no sense of manners and will constantly “forget” to say “thank you, please” or any words at all. Instead, whining is the way to get something. Children here are not brought up by their parents. They are taught right and wrong from an unstable relationship with an Au Pair that comes and goes every year. Tantrums are rewarded with hugs and candy, discipline is unheard of, and when you actually speak to a child sternly because they refuse to listen, their eyes well up with tears because they haven’t been spoken to harshly before. When the children get home from school, they drop their backpacks off in the middle of the hallway (but there is quite often a huge argument/tantrum about who is to carry the bag home as well). Crumbs and food smudges are throughout the house because the children can eat anywhere they like. Cookies are eaten for breakfast because the children want that. Whatever the child wants is first. Always.
I hope that was enlightening.
Being an Au Pair has taught me so many things. I know now how I will raise my children in the future and it has even further reinforced how important I think it is for me to stay home with my children in order to discipline and love them in the way I should.
I would like you all to know that things are not bad here. I am actually quite fond of my situation. The days have their ups and downs but for the most part the children are sweet, loving and forgiving, often jumping on my lap while watching TV so that I can give them a lot of kisses and hugs. I also love seeing them happy after they say a phrase in English, do well on a homework assignment, or make a joke with me. The family is incredibly nice to me and we often have good conversations at dinnertime as well.
This year will be full of learning and I see that more and more each day.
Now, until next time…