An Ode To Adults Who Don't Want Children But Love Being 'The Fun' Aunt Or Uncle

Thank you for all of the ice cream dates, sleepovers at your house, and being like a second set of parents.

aunt, uncle, childless, family Monkey Business Images, Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock; CanvaPro 

Growing up, some of us were fortunate enough to have a favorite aunt, uncle, or another non-blood-related adult figure who we couldn’t wait to spend time with and ditch our parents to have them all to ourselves. They were somebody we could dish with, ask for rides to school, and convince to let us have ice cream before dinner even though Mom said no. 

Even as adults, our “cool aunt” or “fun uncle” are individuals who can have a profound impact on our lives. What made some of them even closer to us was that they had no children of their own.


According to many of our childless fun aunts and uncles, they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Some people claim that despite their love for their nieces and nephews, they never plan on having children of their own.

A Michigan State University study revealed that one in five U.S. adults today (about 1.7 million people) do not have or plan on having children for the remainder of their adulthood, and researchers claim that it is a decision they do not regret. 

RELATED: Why I'm Perfectly Happy Being The Child-Free 'Cool Aunt'

“We found no evidence that older child-free adults experience any more life regret than older parents,” Zachary Neal, an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State and co-author of the study, told MSU Today. “In fact, older parents were slightly more likely to want to change something about their life.” 


childless by choice aunts and unclesPhoto: Marmolejos / Shutterstock 

The fact is something that resonates with many adults who even though may have close bonds with the children in their life, such as their siblings’ or friend’s kids, have no desire to have children of their own. We may ask ourselves why, since some of them absolutely adore other peoples’ children and believe that they would make an amazing parent themselves. 

One childless man may have spoken for those just like him after sharing his feelings about being a devoted uncle with no plans to ever have his own children. 

“I just became an Uncle and a Godfather. My nephew is one,” he wrote on the subreddit, r/childfree. “He is super cute and I could feel the joy of parenthood, although I don't have any of the responsibility or expenses.” He added that he is content with seeing his nephew at least once a week. 


The man proved that he is certainly not alone in his thoughts as many childless aunts and uncles also revealed their similar views in the comments section. 

“I have four nieces and two nephews. Two of the girls are coming for a sleepover in a couple of weeks… I have so many fun things planned, they love to sing songs, and we put on puppet shows read books, and play games,” one person wrote. “Then when we're all exhausted, they go home. It's the best of both worlds.” 

RELATED: Woman Gets Berated By Sister-In-Law After Her Teen Niece Ate Her Special Candies—'I Will Not Childproof My Home For Teenagers'

“I have two nephews, aged three and four. It's fun to hang out with them for a little while and play with their Legos, but we babysat them once and that was it,” another user shared. “Give it several more years and we can be that aunt and uncle who takes them to horror movies and lets them eat crap, and IF they ever have to stay over, they get to stay up until 11 PM  playing video games.” 


“Our nephew is two and a half now, and he can be a brat sometimes, but overall he's a good kid and we like spending time with him,” another user added. “And in those bratty moments, we get annoyed (especially when there's screaming) but we tell each other we're so glad we can go back to our quiet home and not have to be responsible for him all the time. We get the fun parts of having a kid without the responsibility.” 

Whether it be the financial stress, demanding work schedule, or just lacking the stamina or desire to be responsible for children all day, fun aunts and uncles have valid reasons for not wanting their own kids. However, this does not negate the fact that they love their nieces and nephews as if they were their own, and when we think about it, it’s a win-win for both sides. 

RELATED: Woman Wants 'Nothing To Do With' Her Nieces In Foster Care & Won't Take Them In Because They've 'Only Met A Few Times'

Childless aunts and uncles could be the unsung heroes of families. 

If you're a busy parent, frequently occupied on weekends, or simply need a break, consider leaving your kids with a childless sibling eager to help. It's a chance for your children to enjoy some extra love and attention, and a chance for you to unwind and enjoy other activities outside of the kids. 


By the end of the day, the kids will be reunited with their parents, and their aunts and uncles can return to their normal routine and recover from the exhaustion before the next time. 

childless by choice aunts and unclesPhoto: fizkes / Shutterstock 

RELATED: Why Childfree Women Are An Essential Part Of Society's Cohesion

For the childless aunts and uncles who wanted children but were, unfortunately, unable to have them, the presence of their nieces and nephews may be able to fill the void for them. 


“The gift of children reverberates across households and for childless aunts and uncles opportunity and generative interests freely mix,” Robert Milardo, a professor of Family Relations at the University of Maine, told Psychology Today.

Milardo also asked several childless aunts and uncles to give their input about the significant role they play in their families, and what their nieces and nephews provide for them. 

"Having really good relationships with my nephews and nieces satisfied a lot of my need for generativity and seems to nullify my own need for children,” Robert, a Catholic Priest and proud uncle, told Milardo. 


"I have more time to give to my nephews and nieces and the desire to do that, to incorporate them into my life,” an aunt named Sandy added. "I know how stressed out and busy parents are. It's just a whole different world... So yeah, I have a busy life, but I don't have that 24/7 demand they do, and I have the time and the desire." 

So to all of the childless aunts and uncles out there who we could not wait to see and would practically bolt through the front door when we saw your car pull into the driveway, thank you on behalf of all of us nieces and nephews. 

Thank you for defending us against our parents whenever we got in trouble, thank you for spoiling us with toys and movie nights, and thank you for making the time to make us feel as if we were your very own.

RELATED: A Mom Wants Disney To Ban Childless Adults Because 'They Don't Understand What It's Like To Be A Mother'


Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.