Aunties Are Just As Important As Mums When Raising Women, Claims Parenting Expert
Growing up, it goes without saying that having a strong role model in your life is essential.
And while for many little girls this often falls to their mothers, expert Steve Biddulph has claimed that aunties could be equally important.
Speaking on ABC's Parental As Everything podcast, the psychologist and author of Raising Girls And 10 Things Girls Need Most explained why aunties, or similar figures, are actually crucial for young women.
Discussing the pressures that teenage girls face on a day-to-day basis as a result of social media and their constant sexualisation, Steve claimed it was essential that they had people to look up to and turn to beyond their parents.
"One of the things that we know is that, for example, something every 12 year old girl knows for sure is that she doesn't wanna turn out like her mum," he told host Maggie Dent.
"This is sad, I'm not taking any joy in this, but there are phases when they don't wanna listen to you, but they still need lots of help.
"Aunties are a pillar of mental health for girls. It doesn't have to be a blood relation, it's just somebody around your mum's age who loves you too."
Steve - who lectures worldwide on parenting and education - went on to give advice to anybody who has a niece, or a close friend's daughter they can take under their wing.
He suggested that when the child hits the age of about eight, aunties should invite them around to their house for sleepovers and lunch dates without their parents, so that a bond can be built independently.
He added that once that bond is established they should ask deep and meaningful questions, like 'What do you want your life to be about?', and quiz nieces about boys - offering that advice that some girls might not want to get from their mums.
"If you don't provide this then girls will default to the peer group, and this is where social media gets out of control, because the peer group is very ill equipped to be supportive," he warned.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/ Khloe Kardashian