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4 Reasons Aunts and Uncles Are Essential to Parenting

Mighty Mommy shares four important reasons that families should embrace the special bond between kids and their aunts and uncles.

By
Cheryl Butler ,
July 30, 2018
Episode #491

As the oldest of five siblings, when we adopted our first baby and were then blessed with seven more, not only was I super excited, but my sister and brothers were equally as thrilled. They jumped right in and helped with feedings, babysitting and yes, even diaper changing! As my kids grew and started playing sports, acting in school plays, or needing rides to a practice or work, they always had an aunt or uncle to turn to if mom or dad weren’t available.

As a parent, I’ve loved that my kids have had their aunts and uncles to lean on regardless of whether or not I’m able to support them. It’s a huge comfort knowing that the family unit I grew up with—and in which I acted as a second mother, being the oldest—is so close to my eight kids. I’m not sure if Hallmark has cards to celebrate this special family relationship, but if they did I’d be sending them off by the dozens to my siblings.

If your kids are fortunate enough to have a loving aunt/uncle relationship to tap into as they grow and mature, consider your family lucky and embrace it. Today, Mighty Mommy shares four important reasons families should welcome the special bond between kids and their aunts and uncles. 

4 Important Reasons to Embrace Aunts and Uncles

  1. A Strong Role Model
  2. Shoulder to Lean On
  3. Unconditional Cheerleader
  4. Bonds You and Your Sibling

Here are each in more detail.

1. A Strong Role Model

Today’s youth are heavily influenced by many factors outside of our own homes. Social media platforms, peer pressure, suggestive television and cable programs, massive marketing and consumer campaigns, and their obsession with smartphones and electronics are ultimately persuading our kids to make choices, good and bad, on a very consistent basis.

Many kids are also growing up in a home in which both parents are away at work and, for many, single parent family-units are becoming the norm. I can relate. Having been divorced for five years now, my kids went from having their mom home every day after school to now having an empty home environment until I return after my 10-hour workday, many nights exhausted, in time to make dinner and oversee homework.

Although my kids have active lives with sports and other activities, on the days I just can’t get home to help with the carpool or to figure out how we’re going to build someone’s science project out of empty toilet paper tubes, my kids have been able to rely on one of their aunts or uncles to keep the home fires burning until I pull in the driveway.

One of my brothers is an emergency room physician. He only recently married so he’s always been hands-on in helping with transportation, meal preparation, unforeseen medical mishaps, and is just a great listener when my kids need to dump their problems. My brother is ten years younger than me and considers himself very youthful and in touch with this younger generation. (I’m still better at fashion than he is!) I’ve tried never to take him and the rest of my sibling group for granted because of the positive impact they have on their nieces and nephews.

I’ve always loved the expression that it takes a village to raise a child, and when it comes to family—particularly aunts and uncles—I can’t think of a better support system and role models for our kids than these people.

2. A Shoulder to Lean On

Because of the dynamics of our family being so large, there have been a good handful of moments when, unfortunately, their dad and I just haven’t been the support system they needed.

Sometimes a child gets 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 to someone they feel they can trust. An aunt or uncle can be that special shoulder to lean on.

For example, a couple of years ago one of my newly licensed sons was pulled over on a weekend night after midnight. One of his headlights was out. He became nervous and went into panic mode. The police officer sensed his anxiety and decided to search the car. (It being my minivan, it naturally was a mess, my own fault for not having cleaned it during the entire baseball season.) When the officer checked the rear storage, he found a few bottles of wine. (Yes, these were mine—I couldn’t pass on the two-for-$20 Pinot Grigio sale at our local wine store.)

My anxious son freaked out when the officer questioned him about the wine and worked himself into such a tizzy that the police officer suggested that he not drive home. My son was a nervous wreck, somewhat embarrassed (his new girlfriend was in the car), and didn’t know what to do next. Instead of calling me, he decided to call his uncle.

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