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Male Au Pairs as Great Role Models for Young Boys

by Elyanna Snyder

Male au pairs frequently take on a brotherly role as caregivers and young boys in particular can benefit from these brotherly characteristics. For young boys male au pairs can be role models, playmates, someone they want to emulate, and as disciplinarians male au pairs have a unique advantage of not being in a parental role which allows them to transition fluidly from enforcing rules to joking around.

An AuPairCare host family, with a nine year old Sam, and an eleven year old, Henry, has a male au pair, Erik from Sweden. Erik strives to teach the boys how to be appreciative, respectable, helpful, and confident young men.

Erik has been helping the boys to understand a friend's recent behavioral issues as a possible tactic for getting attention and making friends. Erik says, "I've tried to explain to Sam that maybe the kid is not being nice to him because he wants attention, and maybe he just needs a friend." Erik encourages Sam to always react in positive and proactive ways, clearly asking the other boy to please stop the inappropriate behavior, asking a teacher to step in, using their words and their actions to show other kids how to act appropriately. He's told them, "You don't have to invite him over, but if you include him in games and are especially nice to him he might get tired of bothering you."

As a role model and playmate, Erik receives nothing but praise from both Henry and Sam. The boys say they want to be just like him..."I liked his skate helmet so he got one like it for me" says Henry. Soon after, Sam also got a similar one and the three of them look pretty good when skating at the park together. Helen, Sam and Henry's mother, says it's a great help to know that her boys are in the hands of someone she trusts who can be as active as them and keeping them engaged so she can focus on other things rather than running around after them.

As caregivers, au pairs do have to act as disciplinarians at times. The benefit of having a big brother-type relationship with children is that they respond differently than they do with their parents when they are being disciplined. Erik says, "I learned about 'timeouts' at the Au Pair Academy; if I have to put Sam in a timeout, when the time's up and I go get him he's usually desperate to play again. When his parents give him a timeout he usually mopes around afterwards." Being able to transition fluidly between being playmate and then disciplinarian, and back to playmate is one of the great things is never easy but Erik is a great example of how male au pairs can help. For young boys, having this kind of relationship is really special, Erik isn't just Sam and Henry's caregiver, he's a friend, a confidant, a role model, a playmate, and a member of the family.

AuPairCare has highly qualified au pairs ready to match with host families. Our au pairs are from all over the world with the skills, desire, and excitement to join your family. For more information please visit our website at http://www.aupaircare.com or call our toll free number at 1-800-428-7247.

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