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Even though I work with kids I can't get close to these ones

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Question - (14 May 2017) 13 Answers - (Newest, 17 May 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 22-25, *lk23 writes:

I have 2 "nephews"..they're not really, they're my fiancé's but when we get married they technically will be, but I have absolutely no bond or relationship with them. It's not that I don't want to have either. I care about them as much as I would my own blood nephew, especially since I don't have any of my own and probably won't for a while since my one and only sibling isn't with anyone at the moment.

Im not a very self-concious person but for some reason I am when around my fiancé's family. It's been 5 years and although I am getting more comfortable I'm certainly not myself! I think this is where the problem lies. I work with kids for a living so it makes it even more frustrating (and frankly embarrassing) that I don't have more of a relationship with them - I have a better bond with the kids I work with than them.

I wasn't around much when the younger one was born which i do regret, I regret not reaching out more or being more involved, at the same time tho I was never reached out to either. I've asked for countless pictures of the 2 of them to put up in our home (I have a family collage photo frame that consists mostly of my family) and I've yet to get them.

The youngest is nearing 2 and I don't even think he registers who I am. The oldest knows me because I've been around since he was 3 but even when I see him your lucky if we even engage with each other! I see them once a week but I just can't seem to form any sort of bond and I feel so self concious when I try to act silly with them. They don't see me as an aunt and the family doesn't view me as one either.

It really gets me down and I feel like there's no going back. I wish I could turn back the clock and be more confident around them and had been around more when the youngest was a baby!

Any advice on how to be less slikely of concious/how to form a better relationship would be appreciated!

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (17 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt But even aunts/ uncles through blood aren't necessarily much fussed about by nieces and nephews ! It depends, from so many variables. Some times there's a strong bond, some times not so much. It's not that the title of " Aunt " ( which anyway it's not properly yours yet , since you are not married to these kids' unce ) authomaticaly grants you a special chumminess . Your own personal experience has surely being nice , but by no means it is universal.

Conclusion ? Do not sweat the small stuff.....

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (16 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntYour not married so that is probably why they don't see you as an aunt. They are only children, don't get to caught up on the small things.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (16 May 2017):

Again, they are only little kids. You're not married yet; so once you're married the appropriate way to address you is as their aunt. Until then, just don't worry about it.

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A female reader, Flk23 United Kingdom +, writes (16 May 2017):

Flk23 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Also, I think it probably gets to me more because the boys call my fiance's brother-in-laws brothers wife (aunt through marriage) auntie etc so it's not as if it's something they just don't do!

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A female reader, Flk23 United Kingdom +, writes (16 May 2017):

Flk23 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

thanks everyone! I guess since I was always close with my aunts and uncles (both blood and through marriage) I've always just thought it was a normal thing. It's not that I'm trying to force anything, I guess I just find it difficult since uncles/aunts that came in through marriage were always treated the same as uncles/aunts through blood. Everyone's different I suppose!

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (15 May 2017):

Sorry I didn't see that you are a female. Still everything I said before still applies.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (15 May 2017):

Why is it important to be close to them. They are your gf's nephews not her sons. I assume they have a father so it's not as if they need you to raise them. Be yourself and stop stressing over something that you don't need to be worried about.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 May 2017):

I worked with children when I met my boyfriend. And his family are very "family orientated" (mine are not) and I would spend time around his uncle who had a three year old at the time, which was the age I specialised in working with. I felt SO much pressure (from myself and no one else) to be amazing with this kid and to play with him and I ended up just feeling like an idiot. Stop forcing yourself, don't feel like you HAVE to bond with them. If they want to play with you, they will and if they don't, it really is not a reflection on you. If you work with children you know that some like you and some don't, some love everyone and some are fussy. Focus less on being their best friend and more about being yourself.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (15 May 2017):

Kids don't care until they are old enough to realize who and why they care. I don't really get what you're concerned about? There's plenty of time for the children to get used to you. They will grow to like you when they want to. They are just children!

Toddlers are closest to the people they are with around the clock and; get attached when they begin to trust you. If you work with children; I am sure you were educated in the psychology of children, and should know that kids come to you in their own time. Rushing it, for your on sense of security, is not mature or rational thinking. I think you should just relax and give it time. If you haven't been offered their pictures; their parents and your fiance feel just as I do.

Back-off! Nature gives children a strong instinct to avoid strangers and to shy away from the unfamiliar. To push beyond the safety-zone is encroaching on their sense of security and will scare them. Too often trusting-children have been snatched and stolen from their parents, because they trust the wrong people. Sometimes they just don't like strange people who are too friendly, because it's creepy to them. They are safer to be that way.

It is quite evident that you are a sweet and loving person. I think you really don't need to prove to your fiance that you can enchant the children. He sees what he needs to see in you, or he wouldn't have proposed.

Relax my dear! Things happen in proper time. It has no reflection on your ability and qualifications to handle children. The kids you're concerned about are just too young and would treat you the same if you were blood-related. They don't spend enough time with you to know you yet. Don't go overboard, or the parents will become concerned about your rationality.

Forcing it will justly draw concern from their parents. They should be vigilant to people overly-friendly to their children. I don't mean this in offense to you, but that is the case. Even family-members must respect the boundaries. You're not married yet, nor are you a relative!

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (15 May 2017):

chigirl agony auntPS. I agree, kids are like cats. Ignore them, and they love you. Try to force a cuddle and they run. My toddler niece adores me. I have never tried to hug her, and never received a hug from her either. But she grabs my hand to show me her toys and she jumps up and down when she sees me. My mom tries to hug her, and the result is she runs away. Ignore them until they come to you by their own free will. And if they never come, then thats ok too.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (15 May 2017):

chigirl agony auntSo here is the thing. There is no rule saying you need to form a close bond with kids. Blood related or not. And trust me, the kids dont care either way. They have other adults to form meaningful relationships with. And there is no such thing as being seen as/treated as an aunt. Kids are like adults, some people you get along with, others you remain polite with and never close. I have uncles I love, and I have uncles I never speak with. Nothing unusual about that.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (15 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt I am even colder than Honeypie ;) because I do not want to interact or engage with any kid, period. I had my fill having tons of kids over for zillions of playdates and sleepovers when my son was a child - and even then, I made sure that they were safe and did not hurt themselves ( 100% success rate ! never a black eye , a run to the E.R. or any even barely remarkable accident , under my supervision ), that they had plenty of food and drinks at their disposal, and plenty of toys / activities available- other than that, I surely did not go out of my way to please, or to be friendly, or to chat them up .

It worked beautifully ( or, maybe, from my point of view, I should say it backfired ...) I always was deemed the " cool " mom , and these little boys always took to like me , kept coming and insisted for staying at my place even when there were other options with more space or better toys.

Chidren ARE like cats. They like attention and affection- when THEY want , and decide it's time, and explicitely signal it. Other than that, the more you fuss about them, and " oooh " and " aaah " over them, the less they like you , and the more they are diffident. They don't like when people try too hard. It makes them suspicious, they assume you are fake, or there's some catch.

Maybe you are more successful with kids when you are at awork, because you are more natural, more relaxed, less anxious. That's your job, and you do it well, I am sure- so , if they like you, great, if they don't- so be it.

I think you should adopt the very same attitude with your fiance's nephews , and not be so anxious or strive for any particular results. Children are not a different species from adults , or different alien creatures .

They are like adults- just smaller. If you were meeting your fiancee's older cousins, say, you'd be your normal,plesant self, you'd probably smile, be welcoming and polite- but other than that, hey if they like you or not, if they get attached to you or not, it's on them, not on you. If they don't " take " to you , it does not mean that you are necessarily doing something wrong , or that you have any specific flaw. It just means that you can't force nor demand friendship or affection or love- and that , most of all, being related to some person ( by marriage, too ! ) does not have to mandatorily generate flows of mutual feelings, and mutual attachment.

You just be yourself, do your normal things with your normal attitude- if there' s something there ( a spark of mutual compatibility or affinity or interest ) it will grow in time, easily, naturally and simply. If there is not- I am sure you can survive happily nevertheless. After all, you do not expect that all the adults you come in touch with occasionally, MUST love you to bits, right ? It's also OK if they are indifferent, as long as you know you are not doing anything wrong or bad to them. Why should it be any different with in- law nephews ??

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (15 May 2017):

Honeypie agony auntAll you can do it BE present and engaging when around them.

I have worked with kids when I was younger, and I meet kids I just don't want to engage or interact with - I know it sounds cold but I'm being honest here.

One of my nieces have 3 kids - I have watches the youngest (2) for the last year, so he and I get along like" bark on a tree". His older brother and sister? I have tried for the last 4 years and it's just not going to happen. I feel a little bad because their younger brother is LOVED by everyone in our house, he runs up and hugs everyone and they don't really get the same treatment - TRUST me, we have tried - you just CAN'T force a bond with children or people in general just because you WANT one.

Now I have watched the older ones too, and I was left DRAINED afterward. I just rather not.

Our other niece has 1 daughter. When we lived for 3 months at my BIL's house, she lived there too with her mom (the niece) she was 3 and a TOTAL spoiled brat, so we really didn't spend much time with her either. However, HER, I have also watched (when her mom worked nights) for the past 18 months and again SHE and I get along like "white on rice". It took time though.

Most kids are like cats (yes, I said it) IF you go all goo goo over then and TRY too hard they instinctively back off. So relax. EVENTUALLY, they MIGHT be more curious or they might not. Don't try and force it.

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