Why Aunts are Cool, but Uncles are Better (Because Why Would You Want a Relative Named After an Insect?)


Denise Soerens, Editor-in-Chief

Let’s be honest here, if you’ve got a great aunt or uncle, you’ve got a super cool person in your life. Sure, some uncles are creeps and some aunts are whack-a-doos, but the ones that are nice are awesome! I’d suggest that nice uncles are especially awesome. Perhaps even better than aunts, although I’m sure my good friend Nathaniel “Nate” Brown would disagree with me (who even is that kid?)… Anyways, here’s a couple reasons why uncles are just better than aunts!

Let’s start off with some science. There’s a thing in familial relationships called an “alloparent”, which is something found both in humans and in animal relationships. An alloparent is anyone who provides parental care to a child that is not their direct offspring. It’s generally not the same kind of unconditional love you’d get from a parent, but everyone’s home life is different. Uncles are a great example of being an alloparent, and while they might not be there every night to change diapers at 2am, you can count on your favorite uncle to show up at your baseball game and give you good advice.

Now, you girls might be thinking “sure, uncles are cool for boys, but why would I want to have that relationship with a male relative?” Actually, as one study found, uncles have a very positive effect on their nieces’ survival and growth! As a girl myself, cool uncles are always great people to hang with, connect with, and have a relationship with.

I can share with you some of my personal experiences, but keep in mind that this is anecdotal evidence, or “evidence collected in a casual or informal manner and relying heavily or entirely on personal testimony.” It’s a good basis, but no formal scientific conclusions should be made from it!

I have quite a few aunts and a couple uncles. My dad has an older brother and sister, and my mom has a brother and three sisters. Honestly, the ones I’ve been closest with have in fact been the uncles! My mom’s uncle was a firefighter, and then drove the tour bus for a NASCAR driver for a bit, so he was always a cool person to be around. The photo attached to this article is a photo of me, my mom, and my uncle Ken when we went to see him (SEVERAL YEARS AGO), and we’re standing in that tour bus! My aunts are nice to me, but I don’t have that same connection.

This isn’t aunt-bashing at all. I love my aunts, and I’m sure you all love yours! However, I do think that in this day and age, it’s good for every kid to get as much loving, paternal care as possible in their lives. That’s something that a lot of kids have to go without, and it’s not good for their psychological development! Uncles are a great place for nephews to go to seek advice, and form a paternal relationship outside just their father. They’re a great place for nieces to form relationships with an adult male they know they can trust.

Uncles can appeal to both their nieces and nephews, while a lot of aunts struggle to connect to their nephews beyond knitting them sweaters and buying them Legos and lizard toys! That, my friends, is why uncles are better than aunts (and why would you want a relative named after an insect?)