Aunts and uncles play a special role within families. As an extension of the nuclear family, they provide guidance, wisdom and love in a similar way to parents, but the extra bit of distance between them and their nephews and nieces often means that they are viewed more as a friend and confidante.
26th July is National Aunt and Uncle Day in recognition of these often under-appreciated members of the family, to show gratitude for their contribution to the lives of their nieces and nephews.
Many people enjoy good relationships with their aunts and uncles throughout their whole lives. Without the responsibilities and expectations of being a parent, they are often seen as the ‘cool’ relative that children enjoy spending time with. Hearing stories about their parents from the people who grew up with them and having a little more freedom whilst in their company makes aunts and uncles fun to be around, whilst helping children learn more about their family’s background and gain a better insight into their own parents.
In the busy lives of parents, aunts and uncles can be there to offer assistance to their siblings if required, and may even act as surrogate parents if the need arises.
The distinction between aunts and uncles and a child’s parents means that nieces and nephews may be more likely to seek advice from or confide in their aunts and uncles about personal matters than their mum and dad. There are some things a child just does not feel comfortable discussing with their parents, but they still need to ask for opinions and advice from a place of love. Aunts and uncles are well placed to offer the benefit of their life experience and provide advice without the child feeling embarrassed, judged or lectured to. In popular culture, the phrase ‘agony aunt’ is used to describe someone who offers sound advice to personal problems. Most often seen in newspapers and magazines, this stems from the relationship bond where children seek guidance from their trusted aunt or uncle.
Aunts and uncles can also act as role models to their nieces and nephews, instilling certain values and encouraging positive behaviour. For a child, having as many strong influences in their life as possible can only be a good thing and can help build their confidence and sense of self.
Today therefore acts a great prompt to think about how aunts and uncles have contributed positively towards your life, and is the perfect opportunity to show love and appreciation for all that they do.
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