August 30, 2014

Niece

A niece, by definition, is the female daughter of someone’s brother or sister. A niece can be related by blood or by marriage. How a niece is related isn’t really important. What matters is that nieces can rely on her aunt and uncle in times of need. In addition, a niece may find wisdom and advice and facts from an aunt and uncle that she couldn’t find from her parents.

I have a favorite niece named Elizabeth. OK, she’s also my only my niece. However, I consider myself fortunate to have her since not everyone is blessed with nieces. I worked hard to be a good uncle to my niece and thought I would share a few tips about how to have a special relationship with your nieces. These are especially helpful if your niece has had trauma in her life and needs a stable adult presence.

First, you may need to reach out to your niece. A niece, especially a preteen or teenager, may be reluctant to reach out to an adult, even a relative. Once you contact her, your niece would probably prefer to do something fun, like go to a movie or out for dinner. If your nieces don’t trust adults, don’t expect them to open up immediately. Be patient and let your niece share with you. Don’t pry or your niece may not want to be around you.

Second, once your niece trusts you, you should be an active listener. A niece, like most young people, probably has a natural distrust of her parents, feeling that they judge her. Don’t interrupt, yell, or condemn your niece because then you’re just another adult in her mind. Let your nieces say their thoughts and then, you can repeat what they say. Don’t try to give advice to your niece yet.

Finally, you can start to build trust and share your wisdom with your nieces. You will want to be nice to them, but not become too chummy so that you can’t act as an adult with your niece if you need to. For example, if your niece threatens suicide, you need to call the authorities, even if it makes you unpopular with your niece.

Thus, you can get close to your niece and be a good influence in her life. It isn’t hard to have a good relationship with your niece. A good friendship with your niece takes time, patience, and knowing when to keep your mouth shut.

I hope you found this essay on nieces helpful. If you have a favorite niece or want to share your own advice, please leave it in the comments section. Click “post to Facebook” to share your comment with your Facebook wall.

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