Raising grounded children can seem like a daunting task for busy parents. Somehow, we’ve made it to the end of the year, when every parent looks back on the last twelve months and asks him or herself: How did I do this year? How have I changed as a person and a parent? Are my children growing up well?
A large part of this reflection is, of course, our upcoming New Year’s resolutions. However, another reason we find ourselves thinking about these things in December is the way advertising and consumerism tends to ramp up around the holiday giving season. We’re acutely aware of how much we are being told to buy, and how easily the simple pleasure of giving to loved ones becomes competitive—giving the best gift, or the most expensive one, or the gift that will be likeliest to get us something in return.
As adults, we’re obviously capable of recognizing the striking discrepancy between the well-intentioned morals of the season and the way in which our society has been taught to embody them. However, the holiday season in particular is known to have a marked effect on children; who among us hasn’t seen their otherwise kind, generous child suddenly find themselves overcome by the holiday “gimme-gimmes”?
During the holiday season, many well-meaning parents fall into a trap of accidentally spoiling their kids. It’s nothing to be overly ashamed of; you’re proud of them, and like any parent, you want them to have everything in the world they want or need. If you’re doing a good job of teaching them to be grounded the rest of the year, the gimme-gimmes won’t have a lasting effect.
But how do we raise grounded children? How do we make sure they’re being taught the right values? This can be a particular struggle for wealthy parents, who have often spent their entire lives working tirelessly to ensure their children will have more opportunities than they did. You want your children to have a better life than your own, or a longer childhood, with even greater chances of future success.
Even though wealthy children do tend to get saddled with the “spoiled” reputation, it’s important to remember that this isn’t always—or even often—the case. It all depends on the lessons the parents (and other key adults in the children’s lives) teach and the values they impart upon their children. For example, despite Warren Buffett’s incredible fortune, his children are well-known for being generous and down-to-earth. This is due in large part to the fact that the Buffett parents valued a normal, modest, Midwestern upbringing of the same sort they had. Their children had no conception of their family’s wealth until they were well into adulthood. However, not all families can or want to be as low-key as the Buffetts; this doesn’t mean your children can’t grow up to be equally responsible.
Although they’re rarer today than they were in the Victorian era, governesses have been the key to raising grounded, charitable children for many wealthy families.
Benefits of Hiring a Governess
- Children who have governesses are often exposed to a greater amount of culturally and educationally rich activities.
- Authoritative non-parental supervision (and discipline) that they might not have experienced without their governess to guide them.
- The classic governess’s curriculum blends strong educational foundations and strict rules; this combination is paramount in raising grounded children. With money but without rules, a child can run amok and have whatever he or she wants; without education, he or she has little concept of difference or the realities of the outside world.
Parents who take it upon themselves to hire a governess for their children do so for many different reasons, but chief among them is to have another adult in the household whose life’s work is to teach children how to mature into reasonable and intelligent adults. This is especially important for children in households with two working parents or with parents who travel frequently; having a governess around helps guarantee that the kids are busy, out of trouble, and learning, even when they’re out of school.
Governesses need not only be an option for exceptionally wealthy families. Because of the rising cost of all forms of childcare, hiring a governess or nanny can be as responsible as any other childcare option; your choice in childcare is, after all, an investment in your children’s future. This season, when you’re wading through the throngs of holiday shoppers, weighing the educational benefits of this toy or that toy, take a moment to consider the benefits for your children in the long run. Though it’s always fun to add to the collection of toys and see the joy in your children’s eyes (and you should, of course, do that if you have the means), eventually those toys will break or your kids will get bored with them—but the additional love, attention, and rich opportunities that a governess or nanny can provide for your children will last a lifetime.
So, how do I find and hire a governess?
Many families opt to use a governess agency. Because governesses are a highly specialized subset of nannies, when you are looking to hire a governess it’s useful to enlist the help of trained professionals who will be able to recommend vetted and experienced candidates. With the assistance of a governess agency, you can be sure you’re not wasting your time sifting through unqualified candidates—and the agency specialists will be able to provide invaluable advice and guide you through the process. At the Nanny Authority, we work with governesses as well as live-in and live-out nannies, and our placement specialists are well-equipped to not only recommend candidates to you, but also to help you determine exactly what type of nanny or governess will best fit your family’s needs. Contact us today to find out more!