When, as a child, we were told that we were going to spend a day with our uncles and aunts, our hearts were inflamed. They were and still are our confidants, our second parents who helped us grow and who participated in our emotional construction. Even though childhood is always talking about the role of grandparents, studies also focus on uncles and aunts, such as the University of Maine, in the United States, who remind us that they have a very important role in the family nucleus and in the growth of the smallest.
There are many types of love, but the tenderness of an uncle or aunt for his nephew or niece goes beyond the genes or the surname: they cuddle like parents, they share like Friends, they play like children and they listen like mothers. In many cultures, there are nuclear families where harmony between brothers and sisters helps to share the care and educational responsibilities of children. Aunts and uncles are and always will be the “suppliers” of happiness, complicity and unforgettable details that have marked our childhood.
Experts in family psychology tell us that the most resilient families are almost always characterized by a strong union between brothers and sisters. They involve peer-to-peer support, based on a close emotional connection that enriches the rest of the bonds, such as that between uncles and aunts and nephews and nieces. We must know that we live in a society characterized by “lack of time”. Professional responsibilities require us to lend a helping hand to our loved ones to take care of the little ones, and that is why our brothers and sisters, after the grandparents, are always the indispensable reference figures. The moments we have lived with them are very many, and our children have to do the same with them but … what are the benefits they bring to our children?
In anthropology of kinship, the role of the brothers of the mother or father in the identity of the family nucleus is always emphasized. In many ancient societies, uncles had more responsibilities in the education of children and in economic survival.
- Today, it could be said that many of these aspects continue to be maintained. The support between brothers and sisters is therefore always considered as an example of harmony, tenderness, and respect that serves as a model for the child.
- It should also be known that our children are exposed to different models of uncles and aunts. Some will be more fierce, others more accessible, carefree, wonderful or irresponsible.
- Depending on the type of education received, the child will differentiate between the models to be followed and the models to be avoided.
For this, it is important to generate good habits in children so that regardless of who they have around them, they can make the right choices.
The multiple roles played by uncles and aunts
Something to know in terms of education: no uncle, no aunt or another person should disown the role of the parents or there will be an unnecessary conflict in the child.
In terms of discipline, it is essential to be logical at all times and to maintain a respectful balance among all members.
- This is surely why uncles and aunts are always more relaxed and players.
- Uncles and aunts are often “equal” with whom one can play more actively than with grandparents. They are accessible and offer relaxed moments, marked by proximity and confidences.
- Most nephews and nieces like to spend time with their uncles and aunts because they are able to listen without judging. This characteristic is something we evaluate when we talk about more intimate things that we dare not approach with parents.
Uncles and aunts are often seen as tender adults with a neutral identity, which every child or adolescent perceives as a second paternal figure as it grows and matures. Similarly, uncles and aunts tend to love them as their own children, for as the saying goes, “the one to whom God does not give a child, the demon offers him, nephews”. Nor can we forget that the experiences of the child provide a basis for its development in adult life.
Thus, it is important to have the support of brothers and sisters when it comes to caring for our children, thus promoting a significant and wonderful relationship between aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews.