My wife I have a wonderful two-year-old son. We live in a condo; my sister and her common-law partner live one floor above us.
However, she hardly ever comes to see her nephew.
I initiate visits, taking him to see her, about once every two months.
She genuinely seems to love seeing him, but never invites us upstairs.
My wife’s sister, 30-minutes-drive away, visits at least once every two weeks.
I don’t know why my sister doesn’t take more of an interest in her nephew.
We’re moving to a different city soon (new jobs) and I’m regretting my son’s limited relationship with my only sibling.
I’m also jealous of my wife’s family and their closeness with our son, while my sister makes little effort.
I just don’t understand why she seems so disinterested in having a role in his life.
Some possible explanations – e.g. your sister doesn’t have the same female sibling identification to your wife’s child as your wife’s sister has.
Or, she’s secretly wanting to get pregnant and anxious/envious because it hasn’t yet happened.
Or, she just doesn’t “get it” about the importance of an early bond.
Those are all guesses, but may provide some insights to what’s holding her back.
Most important, tell her how important she is to you. That’s the bond she already knows and maybe needs to hear most.
Then, gently start a non-blaming “auntie” discussion.
Tell her that her connection to your family is even more important, now that you’ll soon be moving away.
Explain that forming a bond with her nephew now, will make it easier and natural for her to have a Skype/Face-time relationship with him.
If she learns now what toys to ask him about, what picture books he likes, and knows his favourite songs, she can create a connection with him online during just five minutes’ regular contact.
By starting now to really know him, she’ll create memory ties that last for years.
Readers’ Commentary Regarding the man, 66, who wants to date his female friend who’s 20 (March 14):
“I've been vacationing in sunny weather, escaping snow and cold back home.
“I'm 62, divorced and single, looking for companionship.
“At a nice restaurant last night, my server, 34, also from up north but a different city, struck up a conversation with me.
“She was attractive and interesting. We set up a date for dinner.
“She's single and said she's looking forward to our date. So am I!
“I've been thinking about her a lot. Often, I’ve run into the issue of age-differences affecting my dating chances.
“However, I'm healthy and in good shape.
“While the age difference is not as far apart as the other writer, a gap of almost 28 years is a lot.
“I'll take your advice, treat her as a friend, and if it's meant to be more, it will happen naturally.”
Ellie – Remember, I told him to “go slow” and to “care about her and about her future” by helping her see the differences between them besides the attraction.
Also, your “date” may see you as someone well-off enough to vacation while she has to work at a low-paying job to afford to be there.
That makes her vulnerable, placing more responsibility on you as the older man. It’s not the age gap so much as maturity and life experience.
As other readers have shown in their disapproval, the 20-year-old might’ve been very vulnerable by comparison.
But I repeat: Go slow.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who’s awkward about offering to fund fixing her boyfriend’s discoloured and chipped teeth (March 13):
Reader – “People with dental issues may be prone to developing serious heart problems, like vegetation growing on heart valves, affecting cardiac function potentially requiring surgery.
“This is especially true with chronic dental cavities, mouth and gum infections, and other prolonged dental health problems.
“I’ve read of frequent, unresolved mouth problems also contributing to sinus infections which sometimes may also be linked to brain tumour development.
“This is further exacerbated by the general state of the person’s overall health.
“Foresight would seem to suggest getting the matter dealt with before any big stuff takes over his (one’s) life.”
Ellie – She needs to check out your information with her own dentist, to be sure of her facts.
Her approach must then be concern for his overall health and potential disease from dental causes, NOT about her embarrassment about his appearance.
Tip of the day:
Encourage a sibling’s bond with your children by stressing her/his importance to you.