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Struggling With Mom and Dad? Try Talking To Your Aunt or Uncle

Written by Evolve's Behavioral Health Content Team​:

Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Melissa Vallas, MD, Shikha Verma, MD, Ellen Bloch, LCSW, Lianne Tendler, LMFT, Megan Johnston, LMFT

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Aunts and uncles can be like a second set of parents. Lots of kids have that cool aunt or fun-loving uncle who spoils you, takes you on outings, or loves telling stories about when you were in diapers. And lots of kids can think of a favorite aunt or uncle they feel comfortable confiding in.

Which is why, today, we’ll issue an important reminder for teens.

If you ever feel like your parents don’t or can’t understand you, or you’re going through a crisis and need someone to talk to, consider your aunt or uncle. A parent’s sister or brother can offer valuable insights, nonjudgmental advice, or – and this is sometimes the most valuable assistance – a compassionate, listening ear.

A Different Point of View

While your aunt and uncle may not know you as well as your parents might, that can be a good thing. Your parents’ sibling can, at times, be more accepting and nonjudgmental. Since they’re not usually the ones who discipline you, you might feel more comfortable talking to them than your parents. Especially if it’s about something you did that you’re embarrassed or ashamed of. Whether it’s grades, relationships, trouble at school, substance use, or a mental health issue, your aunt or uncle will probably listen without the judgmental attitude, raised eyebrows, or reflexive reactions your mom or dad might demonstrate when you bring up sensitive subjects. This allows you to open up to them in ways you may not have considered with your parents.

Remember, also, they have a different relationship with your parents than you do. They’re siblings. They probably grew up in the same house,  shared clothes, and fought over toys just like you and your siblings did. Since they grew up with your mom or dad, they can talk to your parents in a candid way that you can’t. This is beneficial if you need someone to deliver a message to your parents but are too nervous to get non-family members involved.

Aunts and Uncles Want to Help

Your favorite aunt or uncle is often the one who strikes that sweet spot between good friend, doting grandma, and structured parent. Whether it’s your mother’s sister, dad’s brother, or vice versa, the relationship is unique. Calling them up today – or any day – to say hi, catch up, and let them know you appreciate their presence in your life. And remember: when you can’t turn to your parents, consider opening up to your favorite aunt or uncle.

They’ll be honored you did.

And if they live in the same town as you, they’ll probably offer to take you out for ice cream.

You can’t go wrong!

Our Behavioral Health Content Team

We are an expert team of behavioral health professionals who are united in our commitment to adolescent recovery and well-being.

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