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A surprising number of Aussie parents are hiring nannies for their teenagers.

Just this week, the UK press was awash with news that teenagers – more than ever – are being guided through the messy years of adolesence with the help of a nanny.

It came after British TV presenter Fiona Bruce revealed her two teenage children, aged 19 and 15, still have a nanny.

“I know it must sound absurd,” she said. “I’m working a lot and my husband works a lot too. It’s really important for me that someone is in the house when Mia comes in from school.”

Another London-based mum agreed, telling The Telegraph that although her kids are well into their teens, she believes they still need a kind of guidance that isn’t there while she is at work.

“Tom and Grace are 13 and 15. My husband and I work long hours, but the children finish school at 3.30pm,” Emma Coleman told the paper. “That means four hours where we don’t know exactly what they’re up to; or an entire summer holiday of them rattling round London alone.”

Back home in Australia, though they’re not spoke of as much, nannies for teens are unequivocally “on the rise”, says Scarlett Hyde, the founder of White Glove Services. These nannies, more accurately known as governesses, are hired by families not just for logistical reasons, but to help with tutoring and emotional needs too.

“Governesses are definitely on the rise in Australia and we the are only agency who provide them.

“A governess used to be hired for a high-profile celebrity, but there’s a steady rise of Australians using them for teens or any school-aged children,” she tells Mamamia.

One of the key differences between a nanny and a governess, Hyde says, is their level of qualification. A governess will often have a Bachelor in primary or Secondary education, and occasionally even a Masters degree.

53-year-old Vesna has been a governess internationally for 10 years, only very recently realising Australia’s demand for teenage carers and as such moving home to Sydney.

“I realised there is more potential for work here as a governess. People are starting to recognise that it is a career, not just something you might do as a teenager.

“Overseas, it’s a part of life for professional people. More and more in Australia, it’s becoming a necessity for professional couples. It doesn’t matter what age your child is, some really like having that complimentary assistance.

Image: Getty.
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"My job is not to act as a parent but complement what they do and help them out with the logistics. That may be buying the presents or taking them to extracurricular activities, or it might be being the mature person who can make a call to say, maybe he isn't feeling well, or maybe he is stressed, and maybe he needs to go outside and play for a little bit before doing his homework. It's a different level of being a nanny," she says.

Vesna says "every family has different expectations" when it comes to what is expected of her specific role with the children. It's not uncommon for a governess to be expected to know a second language, or how to teach the piano. However, she says, generally, those who are hiring a governess to care for their children come from a more professional background, and therefore may have higher expectations for their children, and in turn, the governess.

"Some of these kids can feel a lot pressure, so it really comes down to the maturity of a governess to know whether a child maybe needs to go and get an ice cream, just be a kid for a while, rather than immediately going home to do homework."

In arguing the service is "no longer just for high-network families" Scarlett Hyde says there are two kinds of families who are investing in the services of a governess.

Firstly, she says, is a family from a rural area, who know "it's not a given" their child will stay rural forever, and they want to make sure education stays "super important".

The other kind are families who travel a lot for business, who may need help with their education when they are pulled out of school while travelling.

More than anything, Hyde says a governess "adds another layer" to a family, and play a different role than a nanny would play in a family.

A nitty problem for a nanny...

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