As a brother or a sister to your siblings, one of your possible responsibilities is to raise their children in case they encounter certain problems that incapacitate both parents from raising the child. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to raise a niece or nephew, here are some steps that you need to follow.
- Prioritization. First of all, you should know that raising a child is a very time consuming occupation. You cannot expect to let your niece or nephew enter your home without making major changes in your lifestyle and your schedule. If you used to go out with friends at the local bar on Saturday evenings, you will likely have to minimize these in order to bond more with the child and have the chance to talk to the child in spite of a full week spent at work. Know that you will need to prioritize the raising of the child if you accept the responsibility of raising him.
- Know the roles. Next, you should also know exactly who the child is and who you are for the child. The roles that you both have will greatly determine the first few months of your relationship with your niece or your nephew. Just because you have taken on parenting and raising duties, this does not mean that your niece or your nephew will automatically consider you as the parent. The more you bond with your niece or nephew the more you may begin to think that you are the parent. Not all children, however, will fully recognize you as the parent especially if you start raising the child at an older age.
- Talk with your sibling. As much as possible, you should still talk with your sibling about how to raise the child. Naturally, you already have your own say about the raising of the child precisely because you are the person who is doing the actual parenting. But remember that your sibling is still the biological parent and may still want to have some opinions about how the child is to be raised. Also remember that just because you are raising your niece or nephew does not automatically mean that your sibling has refused his or her parental obligations. There are a number of valid reasons why someone is unable to raise a child, and sometimes the act of letting your raise the child is already the most mature choice that your sibling can make.
- Establish trust. Finally, you need to learn how to establish trust with your niece or nephew. Remember that all relationships are established on trust. Your niece or nephew will bond more easily with you and will cooperate much easily if you have gained his or her trust. Gaining and establishing trust naturally takes time. With patience and plenty of love, however, you should be able to gain your niece or nephew’s trust.
With these in mind, you should be able to raise a happy and well-rounded niece or nephew. It will not be easy, and you will encounter many changes in your life. But helping to raise your niece or nephew can be one of the most satisfying things that you will do.