Children learn from their parents. We are generally the main teachers for our children. However, children also learn from other adults and these other adults provide a great opportunity for them to develop social skills. Having other adults in their lives gives children a greater sense of belonging and security. They also provide a different perspective on life and can provide support for you as a parent.
Aunts, Uncles and grandparents make up a group which we call the extended family.
Your “extended family “does not necessarily have to be related to you. My children and I live away from blood relatives and have established what we call our “chosen family”. They have aunts, uncles and cousins, along with a menagerie of adopted pets which make up a dynamic, safe and loving family for us.
Having positive role models in their lives was a conscious choice I made for my girls. I know the importance of establishing strong and positive relationships with not only other mothers but fathers too. As a single parent it was even more important to ensure my girls had positive father figures in their lives. Men help to establish the social side of children and encourage good self-esteem.
Juliette and Vanessa’s uncles provide a different perspective on parenting which I cannot provide. Uncle John is the joker who makes them laugh, watches movies with them and always insists on the extra scoop of ice-cream and displays great skills in the art of debate. Uncle Steven is the one they listen to for advice about driving and savings. He gives them an insight in to sport. (A skill I definitely lack). Both also support me in the choices I have made in raising my girls. They also observe the interaction they have with their own children.
Aunty Anne provides the soothing wonderful words of wisdom without judgement of mistakes that they may have made. Aunty Debbie helps with fashion advice. Aunty Loz, an amazingly strong woman, has provided so much inspiration in my children’s growth. She has risen above chronic illness and other hardships to become a 4th Dan black belt Taekwondo instructor. She also gives the best hugs in the world, and shares their passion for chocolate! She is their friend on Facebook.
Within our world we have others who influence them. My gym trainer, a Fijian man called Vulcan speaks to them regularly, with genuine interest .He boosts their self-esteem by telling them how strong they are and that they are capable of achieving anything. Their own Taekwondo instructor discusses values such as commitment and respect for self and others.
All of these people make up a great family circle which surrounds, protects and nurtures my children. They help me in to raise my children in a world which is not always secure. They provide support and guidance and lots of laughs while always respecting my choices.
Extending your family circle to include positive role models for your children is very important. “Aunts” and “Uncles” help to nurture and care for them. They can help to build a child’s self-esteem. It is wonderful for them to know that other people in the world love them too.