Hey Auncle, You Might Be Right, Except that You’re Not.

Can all know-it-all stand up? I plead guilty of it.

As a childless auncle with a growth mindset is challenging to be a mere observer to different behaviours, particularly the one of the loved ones. We only have control over our own being so it might be about time to tell you and remind myself to back off.

With so many ideals projected on the lives of generations to come, we fail to see our place in the grand scheme of things. Our role is not that of judge and jury, but to live the best life we can with all the tools, knowledge and skills that we are determined to acquire.

The level of determination varies from person to person and so is the perception of the world. So no, we can’t go around correcting people in matters of life. Not unless they want your input. The irony of free advice is that it can costs relationships.

Auncling and Parenting. The Middle Ground

True or False:

It’s easy for childless aunts and uncles to experience a burst of energy when they meet their piblings (nephews and nieces) and to maintain it throughout the day.

Discuss

True. It’s definitely easier than being there 24/7 and functioning at a high level.

False. It takes willpower and determination to have that presence.

Parents have to make sure that they keep the children alive and well and therefor they do all the tasks that relate to that. Auncles? Not so much.

The thing that fascinates me the most is that the society is built on the idea of having two people in the role of parenting, however the two people often overlap in worries and responsibility, being sleep deprived and lacking focus. There isn’t a balance of interchangeable roles of supplier and entertainer.

Being an entertainer is the most exciting part of the role. It deepens the connection, the love and understanding of the human that the cub is growing into. It’s a privilege that can be shared.

Congrats, You’re an Auncle! What changed?

Parenthood is a fascinating topic. Without children of my own, I filter any information, studies or comments on parenthood through my experience as a child and more recently through the experience of being an auntie.

The Unknowns of Parenthood. Auncle Edition.

Parents can have a difficult time adjusting to the new beings they’ve brought into the world. Auncles (aunties and uncles) don’t have the luxury of displaying difficulty. They’re not sleep deprived, worried and anxious all the time because of this being that they’re responsible for on the clock. And yet relationships, family dynamics and expectations change.

So what are the challenges:

  • getting comfortable (from holding the baby, feeding and changing nappies to family dynamics and difficult conversations)
  • knowing what is asked of you as an ‘occasional support partner’ or entertainment factory
  • understanding how much of being you is the right dose before being told off by the parents
  • growing a relationship with the niblings (niece or nephew) that stands on its own
  • nurturing the existing relationship with the parents
  • taking a step back when things are not within your control
  • decide how much of ‘that’ life is ‘your’ life

Are you aware of different elements that form your journey as an auncle? If so, did I miss any?

The ‘Noblesse’ of Female Virginity

What does virginity mean to you?

Yes, what does it still mean to you? You mind find yourself in a role of educating or advising others or perhaps you need to educate yourself first. We could all really use more education in the area.

Female Body Virginity

Sophia Jones from Marie Claire recently published an article called ‘A Test With No Answer’ which refers to the non-scientific sexual health examinations that young girls are being subjected to by their parents. The examination looks at the integrity of the hymen which is not a biological given for everyone and can get deteriorated in other ways, not just through sexual intercourse. Both the reasoning behind it and the test itself are primitive.

THE Reason

There is a strong perception (still) that women need to be ‘pure’ (whatever that means) when they give themselves to a man in marriage (HEELLOOO?).

Although we are past the days of drinking virgins’ blood, we still associate a superior status to a virgin woman. The purity can mean staying clear from STDs, which understandably any parent wants for their child. That and unwanted pregnancies.

We treat teenagers and early teens as pets that need training through punishment and reward. We treat them as grownups when it suits us and take away their autonomy when we (parents) let our insecurities kick in. I might have confused you there, I am not speaking from the experience of a parent. I am speaking from the experience of a not-so-long-ago-teenager.

Perhaps is time to understand that the life we create is not ours, it has a life of its own.

Resources:

Check out ‘What Is the Hymen, Exactly’ by Sophia Jones

Aging Parents & Grown Children – Debt, Love & Ownership

I’ll start with a bold statement. Being a parent above being your own person is toxic. Not just for yourself, but for the child also. It puts responsibility on ‘your’ child to always be yours, to identify themselves through who you are and it limits them from becoming their own person.

If you give love without expectations, you will get a higher return on your investment than if you keep a record of what you gave, how you’ve given it and what you’re entitled to in response to the parental sacrifice.

Expectations vary from wanting your child to be straight, average or excellent, get a mortgage by the time they’re thirty, marry, eat meat, be not too fat and not too skinny, to asking them to visit every Christmas or every weekend etc etc.

Understanding what your role as a parent is plays a great part in what your relationship with your child will be 5, 10, 20 years from now.

According to a study ran by two researchers from State University of New York at Albany, aged parents want a balance between care and freedom. Isn’t it interesting that this is what children wish for also?

Being a parent without being your own person will reflect on the adult child – aged parent dynamics in years to come. It is likely that the toxicity of the early relationship will lead to a controlling attitude on the part of the child-adult.

Wanting to take control over the life of the person who needs freedom, neither child nor the parent realise that they can’t function without overpowering one another.

Resources:

“The Bitter With the Sweet”: Older Adults’ Strategies for Handling Ambivalence in Relations With Their Adult Children by Glenna Spitze and Mary P. Gallant

What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents? by Jane English

It’s Time to Bring Up the Flying Elephant in the Room: Social Media & Adolescents

Grownups are known to have an interesting relationship with their adolescent children and even more so with social media. As a results, social media and raising teenagers comes with eyebrows lifted, empty threats and doors slamming.

Research by Dr Sarah Cayne comes to the rescue to diffuse situations where parents of short temper and teenagers of quick action have to negotiate on the use of social media.

As it turns out, the same rules should apply to both parents and teenagers. This includes winding down at least one hours before going to sleep with no screen-time and most importantly: be an active user.

Scrolling through life, may it be your life or others’, is short of any benefits. Dr Cayne advises to set the intentions before going on social media – do you want to engage with the latest #Ronaldo trend or see what the Kardashians are up to? That’s fine. Engage with their audience, become part of the community and be kind in the process.

Trying to escape boredom through passive action doesn’t work. Social media is as good of a tool as you make it.

Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.

Melinda Gates

Resources:

Does time spent on social media impact mental health? New BYU study shows screen time isn’t the problem.