As aunts and uncles, we build special bonds with our nieces and nephews. They look up to us as they grow older. They see us as friends and supporters. Our responsibility is to be a positive role model in their lives.
The relationship I share with my niece and nephew is special. I’m their friend, their disciplinarian when needed, support system and buffer between them and their parents. I never take sides. On the contrary, I demonstrate understanding for both sides. My goal is to show them the importance of understanding, respecting and communicating with their parents. And at the same time, I want them to know my door is always open whenever they need it.
Many kids search for role models in celebrities and other public figures instead of searching within their own family. However, if you set up a solid relationship with your nieces and nephews from the beginning, chances are you will always be their number one role model.
Below are five qualities of which aunts and uncles can be positive role models:
If you are a career woman or man, take the time to discuss the process of how you reached that point. Explain how a solid education and perseverance allowed you to accomplish your goals. Your nieces and nephews will be inclined to pursue a career in something they enjoy.
If we show respect, our nieces and nephews will pick up on that behavior. There are times when someone approaches us with disrespect and our initial reaction is to retaliate. Consider responding with kindness and respect. This will not only shock the person disrespecting you, but show your nieces and nephews that retaliating isn’t always the answer. Respecting family, friends, teachers, classmates and strangers reinforces proper behavior.
By displaying productivity within your family, your community or at work, your nieces and nephews will probably want to follow in your footsteps and decide to give back to their community or participate in after school activities. Living a productive lifestyle encourages them to do the same and never be intimidated to expand their horizons.
It’s easy to tell your nieces and nephews to always be motivated and never lose hope when things are looking a bit rough. Instead of telling them, show them. Whenever your nieces and nephews are interested in participating in an activity or sport and they are having such a tough time adjusting, be by the sidelines rooting for them. Speak words of encouragement. Let them know you have been in their positions before and motivation helped you gain the courage to get back on track.
. Maintaining a clean and positive image is recommended. Yes, we are all entitled to live our lives as we please. We spend time with friends enjoying dinners, drinks and going out dancing. But, appearing at family functions drunk, driving under the influence or getting arrested is not setting a good example.
Whether you live close or far away from your nieces and nephews, communication is essential. It is important to develop and hold tight to the bond created. It doesn’t matter the age, they will always look up to you for guidance and support. Being a positive role model will influence their lives for the better.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.