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A Beginner's Guide To Raising A Teenage Niece Or Nephew

Updated on March 18, 2012

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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    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      cclitgirl: Yes. She is 15-years old. They are tough years at that. It is a time when she knows everything and auntie knows nothing. One day she will be a mature adult and then realize, "Gee Auntie was right." lololo! Nobody told me that through all of it you do get a few pre-mature gray hairs along the way. lollo! If they would have shared that I may have thought it over a little longer. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow, you took on your niece as a teenager!? Holy moly! Let me just "bow down" to you now! I almost inherited a nephew after my brother passed away, but his real mother stepped up to the plate. But, if it ever happens, I'm gonna come back to this hub. You are an angel. The teen years are tough, especially if she came from a dysfunctional family. Keep on keepin' on - she will know how much you love her if not now, later. :)

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      kelleyward: It is difficult. I have a son and a 15-year old niece. There is a 5 year age difference, but the teen years are tough. Especially in this day and age with video games, cell phones and the Internet. If we use the old-fashioned tools it makes them a little more well rounded.

      Saying no is okay. Taking the Internet away is okay and so is the cell phone. Set boundaries and rules, give them structure and you can get through it, sometimes it is just tough love.

      When they are adults they will thank-you for it! If I can do it, he can do it too! :)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      This is a great hub AEvans. I have a friend who is also raising his nephew along with his two young children. He talks about how he was thrown into parenting a teen and how difficult it can be. I'll share this with him.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Simone Smith: Ground rules have to always be set otherwise they will walk all over us. Thanks for stopping-by. :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the advice! I especially appreciate your tip on setting ground rules at the get-go.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      mary615: Bless your heart for taking on the responsibility as a grandparent. I commend you! Yes you will make it and I do have to say, " job well done." They will always remember you for the love, care and guidance you have given them. :)

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      lord de cross: One day she will appreciate it. Now she cannot comprehend what I am asking of her or trying to tell her. When her brain is mature, she will be able to wrap her brain around it. Thanks for appreciating this guide, just lessons learned by me, myself and I. :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I can really relate to your Hub. I was given 3 Grandchildren to raise (after my own were grown). It's been a challenge, but now the youngest is 16, and I think we're going to make it! I voted this Hub UP, etc.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Wow! I felt like I was being adopted by understanding AEvans! Niece should read this hub, made with so much love. I bet, she will thank you later on. Wonderful tips for every mom as well! Voted up!