Bad Au Pair Experiences: Whose Fault Is It?

It’s almost time for the Christmas holidays, and a lot of au pairs will be going home for good. Some of them will go back happy, content with their time abroad. They’ve had a fantastic time. But there are also au pairs that are relieved to go home because they had an absolutely horrible experience.

And it’s always the horror stories that make it out into the world. Whether it’s a story about an au pair being horribly abused by her host family or if the host family is driven crazy by the au pair. Those are the stories you always hear. And I have to admit; they are more fun to hear about than the successful ones. My host mum and I sometimes spend time on the internet just reading how horrible au pairs can be.

But whose fault is it if everything goes wrong?

There are so many reasons why something can go wrong. Sometimes the host family has really high expectations of the au pair that weren’t made clear beforehand. Sometimes the au pair just refuses to do the tasks she’s there for. And sometimes there’s no specific reason. Things just don’t work out. And that’s okay. It can happen.


I cannot stress this enough: communicate with your host parents. Ask them everything you feel is important (even if it might feel weird). Make sure you know what they are expecting from their au pair and tell them about your expectations as well. Preferably do this before you actually move in with them but better late than never, right?

If you really feel like you can’t resolve things on your own, get someone to sit with you and talk things out. If that doesn’t work, consider a rematch (if you’re with an agency) or start looking for a different family. Make sure you talk about this with your host family as well so that they have time to find a new au pair.

Remember that it’s no one’s fault if things don’t work out. Don’t blame the other and make sure you give each other a good reference.




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