5 Types of Aunties You've Definitely Met Before
How to Be a Cool Aunt or Uncle Without Alienating Your Niece or Nephew's Parents
Every aunt and uncle wants to develop a quality relationship with their niece or nephew. As adult figures that don't feel obliged to dispense punishment, aunts and uncles can be a cool companion while offering parental wisdom. However, you want to get close to your niece and nephews without undermining your brother or sister's parenting. It can be a delicate balancing act to feel like a fun-loving friend while enforcing the rules, views, and values of their parents. Just by taking a few precautions and being a thoughtful person, you can become a crucial role in your niece and nephew's life while still getting to be a friend.
Communicate with your sibling about your relationship with their children.As a parent, they may expect you to fulfill a similar role of protective guidance for their kids. While it's important to be a guardian for your niece or nephew, you need to let their parents know you are cultivating a different dynamic then the parent-child connection. Be honest with what kind of relationship you would like to develop with their children, and what specific responsibilities and roles you want to fulfill in their lives.
Talk to your brother or sister about their rules before taking their children out.Before you regularly spend time with your niece or nephew, know what guidelines their parents set so you can make a habit out of following them. There are a few key questions you should ask their parents beforehand.
- What is their bedtime?
- Do they have any dietary restrictions or health problems you should be aware of?
- Are there any bad behaviors you should look out for when caring for them?
Understand their values even if you may not agree with them.Some parents may be religious when you aren't, or vice-versa. Regardless of whether their values seem difficult to understand, as long as those values regard the health and safety of the children you should always follow them.
Don’t be afraid to push a little when you feel your sibling is being unfair.Some parents can be overbearing, set up arbitrary rules, or punish their children unnecessarily. If you feel they're being too strict on their children, gently ask them whether their parenting guidelines are necessary and in the best interest of your niece or nephew.
Treating Kids Like Individuals
Don’t talk down to them.Whether your nieces or nephews are children or teenagers, young people are far more perceptive than we give them credit for. Try picking adult topics for conversation - obviously avoiding drinking stories but don't assume their minds are controlled by social media and video games.
- For example, let them interject if they have an opinion on a political candidate.
- If they ask questions that seem too deep for their age, still try and find a way to explain them. A child may ask, "why do leaves fall to the ground?" You could respond, "heavy stuff pulls other stuff towards it. The Earth is really heavy, so its weight pulls stuff to the ground."
Treat them like they’re on your level.When you're discussing something, take their opinions seriously and listen to them like you would an adult. If other adults start talking over them, make sure to give your niece or nephew the space to voice their opinion, ultimately proving you value them as equals.
Be age appropriate.Find a balance between speaking about adult topics and recognizing their parent's boundaries. If they're particularly young avoid controversial topics such as a religion, politics, and violent news events. Remember, even if you're talking about their favorite television show you can still have a mature conversation.
Making Time for Your Niece or Nephew
Teach them lifelong skills that will stick with them for years to come.Whether its fishing, woodworking, or playing the guitar, impart some unique skills that will benefit your niece or nephews. The activity serves the dual purpose of spending quality time with them in an educational context, always a favorite of their parents.
Give them experiences over gifts.While the cool aunt or uncle always seems to defined by their extravagant gift-giving, choosing active experiences shows you have a desire to spend real time with them. Taking them hiking, embarking on a cross-country road trip, or even going for a picnic creates a memory that's sure to make a more meaningful impression than a disposable present.
Be there when they're in the spotlight.Youth is full of a myriad of events such as softball games, middle school concerts, and dance recitals that may seem mundane but represent a huge milestone in your niece or nephew's life. Being there for the little stuff makes them and their parents know that you want to be an active part of their lives instead of a passing figure at holidays.
Buying the Right Gifts
Don't be afraid to buy something ridiculous.While goofy gifts aren't the cornerstone of being the cool aunt or uncle, they certainly help. Buying your niece or nephew oddball presents help to give you personality and show you have a relatable sense of humor.
Think of their interests.Even when buying something offbeat, try to make sure it ties back to their interests in some fashion. For example, if they're into fishing a talking wall-mounted bass could be a good fit, or if they're into comedy shows try getting them a collection of an old sketch show you enjoyed when you were younger.
Keep it wholesome.Always keep your gifts, no matter how ridiculous, within the confines of their parent's values. Getting a gift that's too obscene or vulgar could easily confuse your niece and nephew while causing their parents to question your judgement - possibly restricting future opportunities to hang out with them.
- Know their parent's morals so you can know which gifts are appropriate. Are their parents strict on movie and television ratings or subversive material? Then maybe you should avoid getting the Ren and Stimpy box set and go for some classic Mickey Mouse cartoons.
- Try getting gifts that inspire hobbies, like a book of magic tricks, a crystal growing kit, or a do-it-yourself volcano.
- Even better, make gifts with your niece or nephew. You can easily create interesting shapes out of clay, or make homemade slime, or craft a collage art project they can hang on their wall as a constant reminder of the fun they had with their aunt or uncle.
QuestionHow much affection should I give my nephew/niece?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAs much as you can. Giving them your genuine love and respect when they're young will go a long way in building their self esteem as they get older.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do to make sure I'll be a good auntie? (I'm only 11.)wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could read some books about newborns and babies so you'll know more about how to help take care of the baby. Aside from that, just be natural and treat your nephew or niece like a little brother or sister.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I cheer up my baby nephew when he cries?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTickle him in the stomach, and if that doesn't work, then he might be hungry or his diaper is full.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I be a cool aunt when I live far away and I'm young?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could send your nieces and nephews cards or letters that show them know that you are thinking of them.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do as a young aunt to make sure the child likes me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake them to the park and buy them little gifts.Thanks!
QuestionI'm only ten and I'm worried about being an uncle soon. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't be worried. Think about all the things you will do for them and show them a lot of love.Thanks!
QuestionMy niece is 1.5 years old. What can an uncle like me do with someone that age?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMaybe you could show them something they've never seen before such as a new toy. If not you can try to act more silly than normal or do something she may find funny.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if my relationship is overstepping boundaries?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you feel that you are overstepping boundaries, stop. If you're not sure, ask the parent(s) for permission before doing anything you think might potentially be overstepping.Thanks!
QuestionMy nephew and niece are probably moving in with me. How do I still act like an aunt?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust have fun, take them to parks, and if you can't do that then hang out with them. Let them know that the rules of the house must be obeyed, but as long as they are they will have no problems with you.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do I act crazy and weird in front of my nieces and nephews?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's quite normal to act weird in front of certain people. It's most often a good thing, because they may find you funny and therefore love you more.Thanks!
How do I communicate and express myself to my nine year old niece, in a way that she feels comfortable to ask me questions and do not think that I'm being bossy to her?
- Don't get defensive if the parents talk to you or bring something up about when you had their child. Not everyone is perfect and it's important that the parents feel comfortable to speak up when they feel they need to.
- Be responsible. If you're planning an outing and you know your niece or nephew has to be back at a certain time, make sure you will be able to work around their schedule - not yours.
- Remember that you are a guardian first and friend second. While it's good to be laid-back and friendly with your niece or nephew, know that your first duty is look after their immediate safety and health, even if that means using discipline and authority.
Sources and Citations
In other languages:
Español: , Português: , Italiano: , Русский:
Video: Daily List: Ways to be the Cool Aunt (or Uncle)
Stress May Trigger Mental Illness and Depression In Teens
7 Baba Ramdev Yoga Poses For Leading A Healthy Life
How to Go Urban Exploring
How to Use a Food Diary to Help Manage Crohns Symptoms and Flares
What Christie Brinkley Eats In A Day To Make 63 Look Like 23
Would You Facebook Stalk Your Own Husband
Versace SpringSummer 2014 RTW – Milan Fashion Week
Will Michael Kors Kill Versace’s Italian Glamour
The Latest Breakthrough in Acne Treatment Is in Your Yogurt
Homemade beauty treatments for your face
Blake Shelton reads mean tweets about his Sexiest Man Alive title
How to Deal With Contractors