Families consist of many individuals, their relationships with others in the group, and their dynamic as a whole. The role of “aunt” or “uncle” is a special one for many reasons. What is so special about aunts and uncles, and why are their relationships with nieces and nephews so important?
The first obvious role an aunt or uncle can play is being a parent’s helper and go-to person. When a parent has a sibling they trust, they have someone they can rely on for help. An aunt or uncle typically loves their nieces and nephews, and will go out of their way to do whatever they can for them.
Whether it is with free babysitting when a parent needs a break, a ride from school when a parent isn’t available, or an extra hand when setting up for a little one’s birthday party… an aunt or uncle is always happy to come along and help. These children are, after all, their family. This makes the helping less like work and more like bonding time. And who doesn’t love that?
Sometimes a child has gotten themselves into a bind and needs advice, but doesn’t want to tell their mom or dad. Or perhaps they are fighting with their mother or father and need to vent. An aunt or uncle can be their confidante, or dispense of wisdom.
What a relief for a parent to know their child has someone to talk to who can steer them in the right direction, rather than a friend who may or may not give wise advice. This kind of relationship can assist healing the problems in a parent-child relationship. This happens through the input of an individual who cares about both parties involved.
Sometimes a child has interests that neither parent shares with them. Often an aunt or uncle may understand or even have these interests themselves, and be able to help the child expand their knowledge on the subject.
Perhaps the child likes crafts, or card tricks, or history, or a particular type of music. An aunt or uncle may have the time and interest that a parent may not. They are able to pursue opportunities for the child to learn more. This can be a great way to bond, and to input into the child’s life and personal growth.
How will your children know what you were like as a child? You, the parent, can only tell so much, and your experience is through your eyes only. An aunt or uncle can tell a child stories about their parent when he or she was young. They can confirm stories the parent has told, and laugh at things that only the parent and their siblings understand or remember. Through a relationship with an aunt or an uncle, a child will learn many things about their parent and their parent’s younger years.
Aunts and uncles are a valuable part of families. If the children in your family have a good-hearted aunt or an uncle, they are blessed. Do what you can to build these relationships, as they will prove to be some of the most valuable ones that life can offer.