Have millennials chosen niblings over having their own kids?


Millennials are constantly questioned for almost every decision they make.

We're eating too much smashed avo on toast and that's standing in the way of us buying property or should have twice our salary saved by 35.

I fall within the millennial category, however I still believe I was born in the wrong era (anyone would if they had to take in everything that's thrown at us) - but that is a story for another day.

So what else are we doing differently? Apparently we're focusing more energy on our niblings than planning to have our own babies.

READ MORE: AT A GLANCE: This is what you really think about motherhood

Unlike many of my friends, I don't have nieces and nephews. In fact, my little brother is waiting for me to have kids so he can show them off on social media like everyone else (let's laugh at how that won't be happening anytime soon).

My friends are constantly sharing cute pictures and videos of their beloved niblings (my social media feeds are packed with them) and I have to admit that it seems like they are completely obsessed with these little human beings. That's why this article in R29 'Why are millennials so obsessed with their nieces and nephews? piqued my interest.

READ MORE: Here's how millennials feel about motherhood

Relationship and executive coach Shelley Lewin says that the possible explanation for millennials' preoccupation with the offspring of their sisters and brothers could be that the younger generation may be less interested in having their own children so they express their maternal and paternal urges with their nieces and nephews.

She adds that "human beings are born to connect and therefore will have instincts to nurture. If they choose not to have their own they will be ‘surrogate parents’ for other youngsters."

READ MORE: These 5 millennials tried ‘funemployment’ - this is what they learned

In the same R29 article it details that a lot of research has been done to explore the specific relationship between millennials and their nieces and nephews, but that authors like Robert Milrado in his book The Forgotten Kin: Aunts and Uncles have explored these relationships further. It was found that "relationships between aunts and uncles and their nieces and nephews to be less judgmental than those of between parents and children."

Author of Singled Out Dr Bella DePaulo shared that "a non-conforming kid can be a bit worrisome to a parent [but] ... to an aunt or uncle, maybe they are more likely to be a point of pride."

So it makes sense that because millennials "tend to value individualism, and like to express uniqueness, they may have a special, nonjudgmental bond with their nieces and nephews."

Milrado finds that many childless individuals describe their experiences with their nieces and nephews as an opportunity for "generativity" - or commitment to the future generation. This means they are invested in the lives of their nieces and nephews and in-turn are in the position to mentor them on educational matters, spirituality, gender and etc.

Based on these sentiments, we asked some millennials about their relationships with their nieces and nephews and this is what they had to say:

Yes. I even dream about them when I miss them.
Obsession is deep. I would do anything for them. I love them more than anything. To me, they are my kids!
Kinda, I am always trying to find out what they are doing and I would kill and die for them always!
I love them to bits and consider them to be my own kids. In my eyes, they can do no wrong.
I love [my niece's] intelligence and humour. She's not a trouble maker and generally enjoys life. She's only 8 but I can't wait to see her grow even more.
[My nephew] is cute, but he's only one years old and I've only met him once. But he's cute.

Take the poll below and tell us how you feel about your nieces and nephews: 

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