OTHER SUPER HERO : HOW TO BE A COOL UNCLE
It should come as a common sense that time is everything. The way to make any relationship work is by investing time in it. And this goes to every relationship, regardless of the age factor, including that with a young one.
The matter of kids is hard. For most men, it seems, we either love them or hate them, there’s no inbetween. Maintaing a relationship with kids is easy for the former category, but for the latter, it’s quite difficult. Easy or hard, having a good connection with kids is important for social reasons, especially if those kids are your friends’ or siblings’ or relatives’. Being good with a friend’s kid will cement the relationship. To a kid, the dad is the superhero. However, their world can always use one more. Here are a few ways you can be that guy for them:
BE THERE TO WATCH THEM IN THE SPOTLIGHT: You must have scanned the crowd for your parents when you were in school,while performing something on stage for parents’ night. A majority of us have done it and throughout the act, our eyes were transfixed on them in a way that suggests “brah, you seein this?” It gave us a confidence boost but more than that, the thing about children is that they notice things. When they are in the spotlight, they notice who were there to witness them and they really appreciate those who showed up. So just take out a couple of hours from your day and invest it on the kid. Besides, another excuse to hang out with your buddy, right?
UNIQUE SELLING POINT: Do you have a hobby? Silly question, of course you do. If you play the guitar, teach the kid how to. You’ll be his god, and who knows, he’ll even write you a song. Don’t lie, you’ll cry if he does. We know, man, we know. Just bring him into what you like to do to kill time. Maybe you’re good at drawing, teach them how to draw, maybe you’re good at reading, read them a good story. Teach them something, inspire them.
QUENCH THEIR THIRST: Yeah, we all wish it’d be as easy as buying a bottle of water and handing it to them on a hot summer’s day, but we’re not talking about that kind of thirst. We’re talking about their curiosity and sometimes it can get irritating. Questions like why does water taste like water or why is toothpaste not called teethpaste will eat you up. But be patient. Don’t tell them that you don’t know. Tell them that you’ll get back to them on, go and do your homework and actually do get back to them on it. They’ll love you for it and maybe someday, when they’re blurting out these random facts, they’ll say, “My uncle told me.”
BE MODEST, JUDICIOUS AND OCCASIONAL. YOU WANT THEM TO LOOK UP TO YOU, NOT DISHEARTENED WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO GIVE THEM.
BABYSIT: Babysitting is that quintessential quality time for uncle-kiddo relationship. Volunteer to look after them when your bud has to head out. And you don’t really have to stay home with them. Take them out to the zoo or an amusement park, a place to eat or the movies. You’ll have a good time, and they’ll have a good time. Make your friend owe you a cold one to keep his end of the bargain, but really, it’s a win-win for everyone.
KIDS LOVE GIFTS: When you visit, get them something. A toy, an encyclopaedia, or even just a bar of chocolates. Like we said, kids notice everything. And they’ll absolutely love you for the gifts. They’ll know that you think about them and whenever you say that you’re coming over, they’ll be excited. When it comes to birthdays, gift them something they’ll have fun with, not something that they’ll use. And when in doubt, cash out; if you don’t know what to get them, just give them some money in a nice envelope.
A DIFFERENT TASTE: If you are unmarried and childless, you have an edge for you have a more liberal and masculine air with you. You don’t want to be a carbon copy of their father. The outlet to a man’s life for a kid is their father and typically, it’s too serious. Show them what’s it like to not be responsibility-laden. Just don’t take them to a strip club. That’s for when they turn 21.
PAY ATTENTION: Like your crazy ex, kids can be very attention-demanding. Sadly, you’ll just have to suck it up and deal with it. So buckle up and pay attention. Children have a lot to say and it’s one of the few ways how they express themselves. So don’t make them shut up and take it away from it. Play it off by just saying “yes” and “uh huh” and laughing at the end, but paying attention is always safe, just incase they cross question you.
RESPECT OVER POPULARITY: We know we said that you should get them gifts every time you call on their place, but don’t spoil them. Yes, it’s tempting to do that, but do refrain. It’s a life long relationship, not a marathon for popularity. Be modest, judicious and occasional. You want them to look up to you, not disheartened when you don’t have anything to give them.
DON’T CONFUSE THEM: Parents can get lame with their rules and all. And being a cool uncle, you’re natural instinct would be to diss those rules and teach your weekend sidekick to be an anarchist. This is a big no. If the child rebels, their parents are going to blame you for spoiling them. If they don’t like the rules, teach them to cope up with them. The worst thing for a parent is a rebel without a cause, and you don’t want to be the catalyst for it.