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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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niece - October 7th 2013, 11:48 PM

So my niece is 11, I'm her uncle. We're so alike its like we're siblings. She and I have always gotten along really well when we've been around each other for a little bit. I spent three months with her and her sblings and parents. During that time she and I had gotten really close (which we always are after being around each other for a little while). We spent most of our time together and at one point she called me one of her best friends. It's always been a little awkward the first day or so of having me around usually because she hadn't seen me in a while but this time it seemed different. We all went and spent some time at my sisters house and hung out for a while. She did her own thing and I tried to engage in conversation and what not but she seemed to not want to have anything to do with me. It wasn't that she hated me or anything she just didn't seem to care. Before this it had been a couple months since I had seen her. I try to keep a good relationship between us because I want her to have someone to talk to but this has thrown me off. She didn't say hi or anything and when they left she didn't say goodbye. I love my nieces and nephews more than any other people and she is the only one old enough for me to have a real uncle realationship with. Am I making this out to be a bigger deal than it really is? Is she just too young? Does she see me as a stranger? It bothers me a lot and I could really use some advice . Thanks

Last edited by anonymous68; October 8th 2013 at 09:14 AM.
   
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Re: niece - October 8th 2013, 04:05 AM

Hey there. First off, welcome to TeenHelp! I think Robin (PSY) would be more informational about child development, and maybe can discuss more of 'what she is going through at age 11', but I have a few different things to say aswell.

At the age of 11, she is going through alot of changes. She's starting to develop both physically, mentally and emotionally, and she is expanding on her social life. Usually around this age (and threw the next 6 or so years) you may start to see a child push away, push boundaries, and see how far they can take things. Without getting into all the small things, let me get to the point. You did nothing to damage the relationship between you and her. I think you may be pushing to hard to be connected to her, or be in her life, and she may be realizing this and backing away. Or, maybe shes just doing her own social thing - and really isn't all that interested in the uncle/niece relationship right now.

I honestly wouldn't stress over it, because eventually as you both get older, you may find that you guys start to connect again and start to pick up where you guys left off. It may just take a little bit of time, and a little more growing until you guys can reach that point.


Best wishes,
Chris


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I hope you know that you deserve it all. The best, the most honest, the most beautiful purest love in the world. Not only to be loved by others, but to be loved by yourself. To look in the mirror and think "Yes, I'm exactly who I want to be". To speak up and be proud of yourself. To be brave and open. You deserve the nicest and most caring people to walk into your life. You deserve it all, you know. The whole world...
   
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Re: niece - October 8th 2013, 06:55 AM

I appreciate the response, I immediately felt better. I don't know its probably partially due to the fact that I've always imagined myself adopting later on in life and that her parents aren't that good. I didn't have the best parents and right now her life is being uprooted due to a sudden move and what not. I just don't want her to feel trapped or alone or anything because I had a hard childhood and was fully developed mentally by age 12 and just don't want her to go through any of the things I had to. I feel like I can keep her from it and want to ensure that I do. I can usually talk myself out of my issues but I find it hard when it comes to this. Thank you!

Edit; I also really wonder why we were so close and now so distant which is why I asked if she sees me as a stranger. It's hard to read her because she, like me, isn't one to show emotion.

Last edited by anonymous68; October 8th 2013 at 09:13 AM.
   
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Re: niece - October 9th 2013, 10:11 PM

Hello, and welcome to TeenHelp!

Chris gave you some great information. =) As he stated, 11-year-old children undergo a number of physiological and emotional changes. When examining child development, it helps to think of the "stages" or "tasks" we must ALL reach in order to become healthy, fully-functioning adults.

Your niece is currently learning how to be more independent, and her way of discovering how independent she can be may be to push you and other adults away. It is NOT personal - she's just trying to explore the limits of her current abilities. She may also begin to question the values you and other family members have taught her. For example, if the majority of your family members have a particular religious or political affiliation, she may begin to question the legitimacy of those beliefs and learn more about other belief systems. Finally, don't forget all the hormonal changes she's undergoing! Don't be surprised if she ignores you, isolates herself, or lashes out (this could be a "darned if you do, darned if you don't" type of situation... trying to get closer to her could make her angry, and distancing yourself from her could make her angry, too!).

What I would look out for right now is any behavior that could result in long-term damage to herself or indicate something else is going on. Is she engaging in high-risk activities? Is she neglecting her nutritional needs or hygiene? Are her grades slipping? These could be warning signs that something beyond typical child development is occurring, but unless you suspect child abuse/neglect or mental health issues, I would wait a while and keep a watchful eye on her, without "suffocating" her with an "overbearing" presence. It sounds like you're a wonderful uncle - she's lucky to have you! I'm sure she will appreciate what you've done for her, and will continue to do for her, in the future.






   
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