I'll apologize in advance for this being somewhat long, but I have to tell a little back story before I get to the crux of the problem if I am to hope anyone can offer advice.
Like far too many kids, my sister and I are from a "broken" home. Our parents divorced when I was 8, and my sister was just shy of 6. After the divorce, we rarely saw or heard from our father. No, our mother didn't prevent or discourage us interacting with him, he just never made much of an effort. During the later teenage years, my sister started displaying some self-destructive behavior, and I couldn't understand it then. She is smart and caring, and I chalked up her seeming emotional instability to a rather ignorant view I had of young women in general (at that time... I was only about 17 myself, so please don't think I am or was some kind of mysoginist. I was just a stupid kid).
As she grew into adulthood, my sister delved into drugs, alcohol and made really bad choices with men. She was quite promiscuous, and struggled to understand why she couldn't find what she wanted or needed in a man. At age 19, she settled into a long-term relationship that was mentally and physically destructive to both of them. They hit each other. They yelled and swore at each other. They used lots of drugs together. They had some daring sexual exploits together... There was mutual infidelity.They were together for 9 years before she cut it off. This is when she started talking to me about how she believed her choices were made, in part, to her sense of abandonment by our father. She went to some counseling, but, as I took it anyway, she seemed unable or unwilling to try and employ the methods suggested by her therapists to deal with this and come to terms so she could start rebuilding her life. But about 2 years after she ended the terrible relationship, she got knocked up by this guy who promptly bowed out upon learning my sister was pregnant.
My niece is now 2 years old. I live a great distance from my family, so I cannot be there to see her, interact with her, or observe my sister with her on a routine basis. My sis and I talk often, and she almost always goes into desperation talking about meeting a 'good' man who will love her and her daughter so that my niece doesn't grow up without a Dad. She has expressed a terrible sense of guilt of having 'done this' to my niece because she fears she has doomed her to suffer the same sense of abandonment she has felt her whole life. Between us (and I love my sister more than I could express, but have a near-religious commitment to honesty), I am much more worried about how my sister can raise her daughter to avoid making the same types of mistakes with men that she made, even if Prince Charming doesn't swoop in to wisk them off to his castle on the sea for a life of happily ever after.
I'm a reasonably smart and decently well-read guy, but am not qualified to provide my sister credible tips on how to achieve this. As parenting is such a hot topic here, and the insights I've read thus far are so edifying, I thought I would reach out and see if anyone had any advice. Thank you very much for reading, and I hope to hear from you!
Libertarianism - because it's none of your business what's in my car.