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17th Nov 2023

Aunts are as important as mothers when raising daughters, according to science

It doesn’t have to be a blood relative, either.

A parenting expert has claimed that aunties are just as important as mothers when it comes to raising daughters.

Steve Biddulph, psychologist and author of Raising Girls and 10 Things Girls Need Most, says aunts play a crucial role in the development process of girls and young women.

Speaking to ABC’s Parental as Everything podcast, he said girls need someone other than their parents to turn to and that aunts are a “pillar of mental health for girls.”

“…There are phases when they don’t wanna listen to you, but they still need lots of help,” he told host Maggie Dent.

Biddulph said that girls face unique, daily pressures today with social media and aunts provide a support system for when they feel they can’t turn to their mothers.

“It doesn’t have to be a blood relation, it’s just somebody around your mum’s age who loves you too,” he said, adding that any woman who has a niece or a close friend with a daughter should try to carve out one-on-one bonding time with her to build trust.

Establishing a bond with the child, showing an interest in them and their futures, and offering them advice will give them someone outside of their parents to confide in.

“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.”