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28 Jan 2009

Serious problems with kids
I am a caregiver and I' m very frustrated. Last year, I worked for a family in Germany and after about 8 months things got really serious. The kids yelled at me, they were violent and disrespected everybody around them, including their parents. I totally lost my love for them then, as I went to bed every night wondering why kids aren' t kind anymore these days and if I was to blame. I have 4 younger siblings and I raised my youngest brother myself and I know he was a lovely child, he never behaved liked this.
Now I' ve been working for a family in Canada for 5 months and things are getting difficult again. I take care of a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. She is okay, very tender, and everything is peaceful when I' m alone with her. But the boy is getting violent. There are problems at his school, the kids started saying things like " I' m a vampire and I' ll kill you"  etc, and now this boy also says such things at home, plus he says "  -|- ing"  all the time until I tell him that he shouldn' t, which causes him to say it even more often. He also pinches and hits me often and says things to her sister such as " lets kill Patricia. Kill her, kill her." . I don' t know what to do. If he was my son, I' d hit him as well, when he gets violent, or lock him in his room, which I think might help, although I' m not sure because I never had to do that to my brother when he was that young. I' m so angry that he is not innocent as children should be. We adults say children are innocent but they are not. I' m so sad, I even think of suicide many times. What can I do in this specific case so that he won' t be as violent and provoke us?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

An au pair or caregiver can be a useful supplement to the parents, but can hardly be expected to replace them --- where are the parents when their child is being disrespectful, violent, and swearing ? What are their rules and codes of conduct ( and codes of penalties for such bad behaviour ) ?
Children are never truly innocent, you're right that this view is generally a projection by adults of their fantasies and wishes for childhood. Children do whatever is satisfying to them, and whatever they can get away with. COnsider asking to see a personal counsellor to sort out the impact this is having on you, and with your own counsellor you can also plan a rational set of steps towards instituting discipline among the brats.
It is not dishonest to refrain from displaying your disappointment or hurt to the brats, which, as you recognize, gives them power. They need to know you as calm and in charge.
And as Zexeon suggests, maybe this is not a line of work that really suits you --- aren't their calmer alternatives ?
Old Fashuoned is just slightly askew --- for instance, Communication is always vital --- and OF's disagreement isn't actually about whether to communicate, but what to communicate. SImilarly explaining, so the rules are clear and unambiguous. Reasoning is the component that too often goes wrong. Learning that life has rules and consequences of one's choices and actions is an essential lesson, and not open to reasoning or negotiation.
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