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Top 6 Tips to Avoid Dishonest Au Pairs!
Do Au Pairs Lie?
"It will be a mistake and total injustice to ignore the predicaments host families find themselves in, that is, the awkward, frustrating and downright dangerous situations au pairs create for them."
This is the first line of the chapter titled We Are No Angels: When Au Pairs Act Naughty, in Cynthia Jele's book, So You Wanna be an Au Pair in the USA, Ms. Jele is a former au pair who worked for an American family in Chicago, Illinois. She currently lives in South West London.
In her book, Ms. Jele outlines what it is like to be an au pair in the USA: getting matched; minding the children; the "car" issue; American methods of discipline; dealing with cultural differences and more.
She is very honest about the lies au pairs will tell to get into the program and her chapter on When Au Pairs Act Naughty is an inside look at how au pairs will twist the truth to come to America:
- They lie about smoking, knowing that American host parents loath cigarettes and will not match with an au pair who smokes
- Au pairs do not tell the truth about their drinking habits
- They often exaggerate their driving skills and English speaking skills, and are not above having another person do the interview in better English because their own English skills are poor!
- Boyfriends are concealed, knowing full well host parents are "warned" against matching with an au pair who has a hot and heavy relationship with a boy she intends to leave behind (most au pairs with boyfriends often become depressed, sad, homesick and quit to go home early!).
Au Pairs Get Around Agency Screening! Ms. Jele writes,
"Although agencies administer psychological tests in order to monitor au pairs' state of mind, and are required to interview references, au pairs are easily able to deceive these tests."
Once the au pairs arrive, child neglect, or worse, has been documented here in the USA. Ms. Jele tells of several incidents, one where an au pair left her 2 children alone at a local pool and when she returned, one of them had been dragged from the water and was being resuscitated by lifeguards.
Au pairs leave in the middle of the night, with no warning or note. One family I worked with almost left their child alone at home on a work day. The host mom always left for work after her husband and she usually left very early and did not disturb her sleeping 4 year old daughter and the au pair, who was to get up and dress and feed the child and drive her to preschool. One morning, the host mom peaked into the au pair's room and was shocked to see an empty bed, drawers pulled out and the framed pictures on the wall gone. Initially the host mom thought someone had kidnapped the au pair and she rummaged through the room looking for a note. When she finally found it, she learned the au pair had left in the middle of the night, never to return. The au pair wrote that she was picked up by her boyfriend and she was "going to live with him and someday get married and stay in the states."
What is so chilling about this story, is that if this host mom hadn't acted on her intuition that morning, her 4 year old would have been left alone all day unattended, for a long 9 hours and the au pair was fully aware of this but she left anyway.
What are host parents to do?
Are all au pairs like Jekyl and Hyde once they arrive at your doorstep?
Of course not!
Au pairs gone wrong are the exception and not the rule - but it does and can happen.
When bad things do go down, the au pair agencies make sure to keep the story quiet and they always put the offending au pair on a plane and send her home immediately as one of their strategies to keep the story out of the media.
If you want to avoid a childcare crisis and learn how to identify dishonest au pairs, we have the answers for you!
Join Now to read our exclusive Members Only Pages - Learn How to be the Best Childcare Advocate for your Family.
Education is the Key to Choosing the Best Au Pairs from the Best Au Pair Agencies.