Wry Exchange

09-18-07, 11:48 am
Filed under: Exchange Students, hosting | Tags: , , , , , ,

A big problem that no one warns families about is jealousy.  We talk about it with our students before they go out, but no one says anything to most of the incoming students.  The inbounds are bewildered when someone in the host family is jealous of them.  The kids want to fit into a family, they need a place where they are accepted and just another kid, not ‘The Exchange Student.’

Who gets jealous and why:

Hostdad-No, not really.  Hostdads are typically easygoing.  They are happy to have a new son or daughter.   If Hostdad had only girls, it’s cool for him to have another guy around.  Hostdads like having someone new to tease.  I really can’t think of any jealous hostfathers.  Edited: Husband reminded me of a few hostfathers who didn’t like to share their hostdaughters with people outside the family.  They wanted the girls to stay home ALL THE TIME with them and hostmom.)

Hostmom-Sometimes-I can think of at least 2 girls who were kicked out of their host family’s house because the hostmoms were so jealous they told hostdad ‘It’s her or me. Get her out NOW.’  The girls were both nice girls, they were not flirting with hostdad.  They were both moved, and had excellent years.  We’ve had hostmoms upset with hostdads because they spent ‘too much boy time’ with the kid.

Host sibling-Yes.  Not all host brothers and sisters have been consulted before a new person moves into the house, and maybe even his/her room.   

  • Be aware of the princess who doesn’t like to share-especially her Senior year when everything is about her.  
  • Be afraid of the 6 year old snot who kicks the exchange student because she dared to change the tv channel while the brat was playing in another room.
  • Hide from the 12 year old who has to share his Playstation or computer time.
  • It’s not pretty when the baby of the family finally gets someone to push around.  Last year, we had a 17 year old boy with several older sisters who enjoyed bullying his hostbrother.
  • Watch out for all the siblings to be angry because the inbound does all his chores, and makes them look lazy.  (or keeps his room clean, has good table manners, etc)

Talk about jealousy and other issues as they arise.   It’s so much easier dealing with small problems immediately, rather than waiting until someone explodes.

Edited to Add:  Treat FES like your own son or daughter.  Don’t treat FES as a guest in your home.  It causes friction when FES doesn’t have to scrub the toilet, when her hostsibling does.  Rotate chores, so there are no favorites or whining about ‘FES always gets the easy ones.’   Don’t have different curfews for kids the same age.  The house rules should be fair to all children.


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