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7 - Friendship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2010

Robert M. Milardo
Affiliation:
University of Maine, Orono
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Summary

In the mix of generative roles, whether aunts and uncles are acting as mentors or family historians, engaging in partisan support or intergenerational mediation, there are many instances in which their relationships with nieces and nephews take on the character of a friendship. Aunts and nieces, uncles and nephews share common interests and spend time together engaged in those interests. They offer each other advice, often about family members, and at other times plainly enjoy one another's company. A similarity of interests and reciprocal provisions of support are common themes in friendship, but the longevity of their shared family relationships is perhaps not as common. It is the distinguishing feature that casts friendships among kin apart from those with nonkin, and it is one central feature from which generativity emerges. Aunts and uncles are unique among family members in that they share a long history with the parents of nieces and nephews as siblings, a history and role relationship that sets them apart from grandparents and frames their relationships with nieces and nephews, at times accelerating such relationships and at times discouraging them from developing.

INTIMACY AND COMMITMENT

Aunts and uncles may develop relationships with nieces and nephews that begin at birth and may include nearly all significant developmental milestones in infancy, childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. This shared co-biography represents a depth and longevity of acquaintance that appears only rarely among nonkin.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Forgotten Kin
Aunts and Uncles
, pp. 159 - 174
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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  • Friendship
  • Robert M. Milardo, University of Maine, Orono
  • Book: The Forgotten Kin
  • Online publication: 20 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511657542.008
Available formats
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  • Friendship
  • Robert M. Milardo, University of Maine, Orono
  • Book: The Forgotten Kin
  • Online publication: 20 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511657542.008
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Friendship
  • Robert M. Milardo, University of Maine, Orono
  • Book: The Forgotten Kin
  • Online publication: 20 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511657542.008
Available formats
×