Dear Savvy Auntie,

I have two siblings and collectively, they have six beautiful amazing children. I am the youngest, and for the past 15 years my relationship with with my family has been fractured. I would say I am the "black sheep" of our family. Outside of my family, I think I am pretty normal and have a lot to offer. I made different choices about marriage and family than the rest of my family and have missed out on many years of my nieces and nephews lives because I felt like there was a lot of judgment and low self esteem.

With the help of therapy therapy, I am trying slowly reconnect with my family and each of my nieces and nephews. But it is hard; I want to be someone they know is always going to have their back, celebrate their successes and support in the hard times. But it gets complicated because of the baggage with the parents hasn't entirely been dealt with.

Black Sheep Auntie

Dear Black Sheep Auntie,

Not only have other aunts had similar issues, I believe it is part-and-parcel for the role. It is a difficult price to pay for being unique. Don't worry, as they get older and broaden their horizons their attitudes will likely change. You can help this process along by softening your wishes for the future.

Rather than form a picture of how you want them to view you, I suggest you allow each of them to develop their individual ways of relating to you. Some may be open to your support, some to a fun auntie, and some to a "ConfidAunt." In other words, be open to their needs and desires. Keep in mind these will change with their development as well as their life circumstances. Be yourself and encourage them to, as well.

I suggest you establish a tradition with each that reflects their current needs. I am thinking along the lines of you inviting each for lunch with their favorite food, going somewhere and sharing their favorite interest, or making a list of their favorite music. Documenting this activity with photos with photos is a wonderful way to way to define your relationship.

Best of luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Homepage photo: Yastremska
Published: October 2, 2016


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