How old is too old for a nanny?
Advice for Caregivers

How old is too old for a nanny?

by Martha Scully

We received an email from a Vancouver nanny the other day. She was in tears because the boy she is caring for completely refuses to listen to her. Whenever she speaks to him, he just walks away and refuses to do anything she says. The younger children behave fine.

What's the issue here? The children's ages are 4, 6, and 17. It's the 17-year old she's having the troubles with.

Has he outgrown having a nanny? My short answer - yes, or at least he thinks he has. But, his behaviour still needs to be addressed for a few reasons. First, if the younger children witness this regularly, they may feel like they can behave this way as well, setting a poor example. Secondly, he needs to learn that he cannot treat another adult this way.

It may help to give him a warning that if he's not listening to the nanny, he'll need to take it up with his parents. When the nanny speaks to the parents, request that they provide a list of chores specifically for him to complete. That way, if he doesn't want to do something he's responsible for, he'll have to answer to his parents. Additionally, I recommend that the parents establish some consequences if he doesn't listen to the one in charge, the nanny.

That being said, be realistic. He's a teenager...he's probably not going to want to chat or hang out with the nanny. Don't get offended by his actions. But above all, he still needs to respect the nanny as a fellow adult. He will be learning a life lesson by demanding his respect.

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About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.