A Beginner's Guide To Raising A Teenage Niece Or Nephew
The teenage years bring so many challenges. Your niece used to share everything with you when she was small; but now she alienates you from any discussions. Your nephew used to play baseball with the family. Now he would rather text on the cell phone and talk with friends.
Coming to live with you was already complicated enough, they knew that life was going to be different. Mom/Dad were know longer around and your rules were completely opposite of what they were used to. As an Aunt/Uncle which direction should you take?
Don't worry it's natural-and important for them to separate themselves from you. Although difficult don't give up, they need you more then ever right now.
Is your teen a bully and you are afraid to say anything about it?
It is okay for you to make them feel guilty about their actions. They need to feel bad, it is a healthy emotion that needs to be experienced. When they feel bad they understand another person's feelings. Don't let them get away with their action, address the issue.
Mom/Dad is gone so who is leading them?
You are a role model for your new found parenthood. They are like a Macaw. All that you do they mime. Don't do anything that will give them an opportunity to challenge your role and responsibility of stepping into that parenting role.
There prior home was dysfunctional, how do you let go?
Give them so leeway and let them learn from their mistakes. Every teenager will become an adult. Its important that they establish their own identity in the world. If you find they are running in the wrong direction, have a talk with them and redirect them.
Do you know your teenagers friends?
If you have not had an opportunity to meet his/her friends, have a get-together or party. Get a feel for the friends they are surrounding themselves with. Never reject them get to know them. You get more bears with honey then you do with salt.
Afraid to discipline?
Give them the rules at the very beginning. Let them know upfront what the consequences can be should they not abide by the rules that were given. Should they break the rule and do not agree with the punishment that has been given to them;than ask them what they think their punishment should be and follow through on the consequence.
Upset because your niece/nephew dyed their hair?
Don't be alarmed by the color of the hair. Most of the dyes wash and fade. Others come out within four to six weeks. Doing things differently is a sense of expression and belonging. Let them be themselves and try to choose your battles wisely. Coloring your hair is one thing;but coming home pregnant is another.
They haven't checked-in?
Let them know why it is necessary for them to check-in with you. Let them know it is not because you are trying to invade their space. It is because you care deeply for them and are only concerned about there safety.
Are some subjects hard-to discuss?
You need to be open to discussion when it comes to drunk-driving, speeding and premarital sex. Let them know all of the negatives in each of these scenarios. Don't sugar coat the truth it will definitely lead to trouble. You may not always like what you hear; but be open-minded when you are talking about these issues.
Always be there for them. Let them know it does not matter where they are just call and you will be there. No questions asked. You can discuss what happened the next morning when both of you have had a goodnight's sleep.
Abused mentally, physically or emotionally?
Get him/her the help necessary and be supportive of all of there needs. Do not show partiality toward your sister/brother listen intently to your niece/nephew. It is your responsibility to care for your niece/nephew. You are not responsible for your own siblings actions.
Raising a niece/nephew is not any different then raising your own child. They are still a part of your family so don't treat them any differently then your own.
Acknowledging, listening and understanding is the key to raising a teenage niece or nephew. But most of all, have faith in all that they do and learn to trust them. All of us were teenagers once too.
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