Dear Savvy Auntie,

I have a 10-year-old niece who likes to spend more time with me than she does with her other aunts. My sister has told both of us that if she doesn't spend time with her other aunts, then she won't be able to spend as much time with me.

I feel this is an unfair punishment for both my niece and me. What should I do about this?

Favorite Auntie

Dear Favorite Auntie,

You have been in an enviable position, being the favored, if not favorite, Auntie! This means you are envied…not only by the other aunts, but perhaps by your sister, as well. It seems to me that she is trying to punish you even more than her daughter; it's not fair to use a child as a weapon for revenge.

There are two things you can do. The first is to have a pow-wow with your sister and the other aunts and to try to work out schedules that give them more time. It is OK to tell your 10-year-old niece when, with whom, and where to go some of the time. The second is to explore within yourself why it is so important for you to be number one. It is very understandable; most people like being the chosen one. But you may have more invested in it than necessary.

Everyone needs to keep in mind that it won’t be long before your niece prefers to be with friends that are her peers rather than her family.

Best of Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Homepage photo: CHOReograPH

Updated and republished: January 24, 2018
Originally published: July 15, 2011


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