Role of a Family Member, Essay Example

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Essay

Roles and Responsibilities of a Family Member

The family unit is an important institution in American culture and each family member has a specific role and unique responsibilities. The various titles of members of most families include father, mother, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew and cousin. For the purposes of this paper, the role of the uncle, in an American family, is highlighted as well as an overview of what his role is, what his responsibilities are, and how he fits into the family unit.

What is an Uncle?

An uncle is a male family member who is the brother of a child’s mother or father. This is a first generation uncle. Subsequent generations go up the family tree. For example, a second generation uncle (or a great uncle) is the brother of one of the child’s grandparents and so on.

Roles and Responsibilities of an Uncle

An uncle’s role is unique in many ways. One way an uncle’s role may be unique is the fact that an uncle can be of any age and can even be the same age, or near the same age, as his niece or nephew. In this capacity, the uncle’s role may be that of a playmate to his niece or nephew, as children. Also in this context, the uncle will literally grow up with his niece or nephew and they can become close friends and share similar experiences.

Other the other hand, most uncles are considerably older than their nieces or nephews, being a sibling of one of their parents. In this role, an uncle may be a confidant and someone a niece or nephew can trust and talk to when needed, if they are uncomfortable talking to their parents about something. Many times, an uncle is the person who is most influential in helping his niece or nephew through a crisis in his or her life.

Also, an uncle often serves as an extra source of provision. Many uncles contribute significantly to their nieces and nephews support which includes money for clothes, funds for school and entertainment, and gifts for birthdays and other holidays. Another important part of an uncle’s role in a child’s life is that of a role model. A child’s uncle can help shape his or her life in many ways by being a present part of the child’s life. An uncle can share in milestone moments in his niece’s and nephew’s lives such as babysitting them when they’re little, helping them with their school work, attending their sporting events, being there for birthday parties, going to their graduation ceremonies, teaching them how to drive, or attending their weddings when they are grown. The uncle is also there for his nieces and nephews, even in sad times and is often a source of comfort. Additionally, there are times when an uncle is a father-figure in a child’s life in the absence of a father. Whatever the role an uncle plays in the life of his nieces and nephews, he is often seen as a necessary piece to the family puzzle. He is a significant part of the family unit that can encourage and enrich or discourage and tear down, depending on what type of person he is. However, he is definitely in a role that gives him an opportunity to live up to his responsibility honorably and form a lasting bond with his nieces and nephews.

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