Author Topic: Huge difference in gifts for kids  (Read 2967 times)

MayDay

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Huge difference in gifts for kids
« on: December 22, 2017, 06:02:22 AM »
My kids are 7 and 10.

My FIL is getting the 10 year old a laptop for Christmas, with our permission.

Normally he gives each kid 100$ for their college account and 5$ to spend.

We assumed DD would get the 100$ and DS would get the laptop. DD would be fine with that as she has no concept of how much a laptop costs, and things don't have to be perfectly equal.

Instead FIL sent both kids 100$ and DSalso gets a laptop to open. I do not believe FIL is getting DD anything else. He plans to buy her a laptop in a few years.  Our attempts to talk to FIL have not been successful, he is an expert at avoidance. In retrospect I wish we had bought the @_-$$@! Laptop ourselves to avoid this but that ship has sailed.

The best thing I can figure is to let DD buy something with her 100$, so that she gets a gift. 

We could confront FIL and tell him it is shitty, but we fly into town on Sat, will see him briefly, and I don't know what to even say- I'm not going to order him to buy her something. Gently pointing out how she might feel isn't going to change anything.

I am basically asking how to handle it from our end,not how to change FIL, as that isn't going to happen. We see him a few days a year and it isn't worth a battle. He has always been fair until now so it isn't a favoritism thing, it's a weird old man/maybe cognitive decline/generally being a moron/not having a clue about kids thing.

ixtap

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2017, 06:19:21 AM »
Just make the laptop a coming of age gift that happens to come at Christmas time. Then make sure she gets one when it is her turn, even if you have to get it.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2017, 07:40:33 AM »
Just make the laptop a coming of age gift that happens to come at Christmas time. Then make sure she gets one when it is her turn, even if you have to get it.

I don't think it's a big deal. It's about messaging. We did special things for big milestone birthdays, and have never worried about making sure is completely equal. I'd do what ixtap says. If you feel like it will really be a crisis, I'd pick up a small extra item (from you & your husband) for your daughter to open.

Sibley

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2017, 08:40:48 AM »
MayDay, do you have any concerns that that your FIL favors DS over DD? Because if so, I'd be concerned that this sort of thing might continue. Yeah, DD may not pick up on the different this year, but if the differences keep happening she will and it could cause problems. Keep an eye on this stuff, it can really have long term consequences.

If it does turn into a pattern, you can mitigate it by returning gifts to him before the kids know, giving things to the kids in your name rather than his, etc.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2017, 08:53:05 AM »
Or ask if the laptop can be a gift to both of them.  ie a family or homework computer.  I have three kids each about two years apart and that's what we do for things like computers and gaming systems.  All of them use them for varying interests.

MayDay

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2017, 10:22:14 AM »
Thanks guys. Part of why I am worrying is because I'm not sure if DD will be fine with it because she'll getvher own later, or whether she will be upset.

They certainly aren't used to perfectly even presents, but a laptop and nothing is a pretty big slap in the face to a 7 year old,so I predict she will feel hurt.  We will definitely get her one a age 10 even if FIL doesn't. But 7 year old aren't great at delayed gratification for 3 years.

It is just for DS and I am fine with that as we have a desktop that they used to share and will now be available for DD more often. DS is very into computers (does coding and Lego robotics, is into customizing stuff, makes webpages, etc). He is also autistic and will use it for adapted school work.

This far there has not been any favoritism. FIL is just an idiot IMO. He was rarely around when my H was a kid, and is rarely around our kids. I wouldn't say he spends a lot of time thinking about how his actions make others feel.

EmFrugal

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2017, 01:53:47 PM »
I have two girls who are similar ages apart but only 4 and 6 at this point. I could see how my youngest might be hurt. But just thinking aloud, can you position it as both girls are getting the same gift from your FIL but the oldest is getting a special "school gift" that the younger will get when she is that age? That way if it's seen as something for school it might not phase her as much. Especially if she understands that she will get the same once she reaches a certain grade level. School gifts generally don't hold the same allure.

I could be wrong, but that is probably how I would handle it with my kiddos. I personally would be so incredibly thankful that my FIL was spending the $$ on a big purchase like that instead of me (and I don't mean to imply that you aren't grateful too, just mean that I probably wouldn't worry about potential upset from the siblings as much for that reason).

EmFrugal

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2017, 01:55:51 PM »
Oops, sorry. Saw that your oldest is a boy. Excuse the typo.

nickybecky1

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2017, 02:04:03 PM »
I'm 5 years older than my younger sibling. She definitely remembered and looked forward to milestone gifts. I remember her bringing up that she was excited to get a camera because she knew that I got one as a milestone gift - by then I didn't even remember what the occasion had been but she did.

On the other hand, we had a grandparent that used to send gifts for me on her birthday (so I wouldn't feel left out) but did not reciprocate for her on my birthday. I found out about it years later in passing and as far as I know my sister never found out. My parents did a good job of playing defense on that and saying no, and I'm grateful for that.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you thought it was favoritism (which it sounds like you don't), I'd squash it hard and fast. But based on my sister's reaction to milestone gifts, I'd guess they're okay.

Does that laptop have to be opened as a christmas present? I do agree that the immediate comparison could seem like a bit of a letdown.

Acorns

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2017, 11:19:39 PM »
No advice, just sympathy. We are kind of in a similar situation with my inlaws giving their grandkids a financial gift every year (goes straight to a bank account in the kid's name), but they give my niece 2-3x what they give my kids on the rational that because she is an only child she deserves more so that the total amount (what she gets solo = what my kids get together) is equal. My kids are too young to have caught wind of this yet, but I don't know how we will handle it when they find out their cousin is given so much more. (Yes, I want them to be appreciative of all gifts, but damn, why be intentionally and grossly unfair to kids). Maybe I'm totally off in left field about this, but it's been bugging me for awhile. Anywhoo, good luck! Aren't the holidays awesome....NOT!

Villanelle

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2017, 11:26:48 PM »
I think that calling it a milestone gift is a good idea, and perhaps also not opening it on Christmas.  (Are we anywhere near the 10yos birthday?)  Of course, that opens the door to disappointment when the 7yo is turning 10.  You could talk to FIL and tell him your concerns and ask if he's planning on doing the same for DD2 so you can tell her that, and if he isn't perhaps then you can discuss other approaches with him. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2017, 03:32:19 AM »
I think sometimes (depending on their age) grandparents dont even think of things like this or what or what wouldnt hurt a childs feelings. Or they might not look at material things as something being equal. I have 4 kids , 3 sons and a daughter all older than yours now but my daughter always got much much more in all regards from My parents and it even created a bit of ill will with the boys as they got older. I finally just said hey, treat them all the same or just save your money. My dad was shocked and didnt even know it and things changed after that but there still is some favortism. In the end now its kinda a running joke in the house and the boys pick on her in a fun way but a few things they learned 1) she is smarter than them and knew how to play the heart strings of her grandparents, 2) life isnt fair and 3) its about giving not receiving. Tough lesson to learn when young but an important one and the lesser you make of it the better she will be about it.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2017, 05:03:25 AM »
Could you just get a few things for your daughter to unwrap? Candy bars and some art supplies or something fun you'd buy anyway?

Or don't wrap the laptop and wait to give it for back to school.

pegleglolita

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2017, 05:50:19 AM »
I think that calling it a milestone gift is a good idea, and perhaps also not opening it on Christmas.  (Are we anywhere near the 10yos birthday?)  Of course, that opens the door to disappointment when the 7yo is turning 10.  You could talk to FIL and tell him your concerns and ask if he's planning on doing the same for DD2 so you can tell her that, and if he isn't perhaps then you can discuss other approaches with him.

This seems like a great idea! Can you open it on New Year's Day?  That's not to far away but still makes it more of a "year" milestone than a "it's not a Christmas present even though it's Christmas"

MayDay

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2018, 08:03:30 PM »
Update: FIL gave it to DS on Xmas Eve, and told DAD she would get one when she is 10.

We joked for the next few days about reminding Grandpa not to forget when she turned 10. If he does forget, we will buy it.

She was a tiny bit sad when he opened it but overall was fine with it.

Laura33

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2018, 07:53:26 AM »
Update: FIL gave it to DS on Xmas Eve, and told DAD she would get one when she is 10.

We joked for the next few days about reminding Grandpa not to forget when she turned 10. If he does forget, we will buy it.

She was a tiny bit sad when he opened it but overall was fine with it.

Late to the fray (dealing with own family holiday stuff!), but FWIW, I think this is a good lesson -- specifically, that "equal" does not mean "the same," and that our love for them is not measured by the size/cost of their gifts.*  And I think those lessons are far more important in the end, even if the short-term cost is some hurt feelings. 

My kids are 4.5 years apart, and so we have already had several occasions in which the elder got something significantly larger than the younger, usually for birthday or Christmas (because, come on, if I'm going to pay for something like a damn laptop, I'm going to get credit for it as a present!).  They have been very clearly given and received as "age-specific" gifts -- the laptop when it was needed for school, the phone when DD was first coming home alone, etc.  And so now DS is making his own mental list of when he gets those things.  :-) 

But there are also times when one or the other gets more -- for ex., we have at different times gotten the kids sports stuff related to the sports they were interested in, when we didn't have something comparable for the other kid.  For those, the kids can be a little disappointed, but they just have to learn that it evens out over time, and that the relative value of their gifts does not reflect their relative value to us.

*I am particularly sensitive to this, because I still remember visiting my dad and his new family at Christmas and seeing a huge giant pile of wrapping paper from all the stuff his boys opened, and the two little gifts they had saved for me.  No one ever tried to make it "even," or to make sure I knew that he loved me as much as he loved them.  It wasn't until I was in my 30s and learned some of the backstory that I finally learned that lesson -- and I still have a weakness for big gifts.  So it is a big deal for me that my kids actually get to experience that little bit of disappointment, but in an environment where they know for sure that they are loved and valued, so they don't learn that "love" = "stuff." 

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2018, 08:08:11 AM »
Update: FIL gave it to DS on Xmas Eve, and told DAD she would get one when she is 10.

We joked for the next few days about reminding Grandpa not to forget when she turned 10. If he does forget, we will buy it.

She was a tiny bit sad when he opened it but overall was fine with it.

Late to the fray (dealing with own family holiday stuff!), but FWIW, I think this is a good lesson -- specifically, that "equal" does not mean "the same," and that our love for them is not measured by the size/cost of their gifts.*  And I think those lessons are far more important in the end, even if the short-term cost is some hurt feelings. 

My kids are 4.5 years apart, and so we have already had several occasions in which the elder got something significantly larger than the younger, usually for birthday or Christmas (because, come on, if I'm going to pay for something like a damn laptop, I'm going to get credit for it as a present!).  They have been very clearly given and received as "age-specific" gifts -- the laptop when it was needed for school, the phone when DD was first coming home alone, etc.  And so now DS is making his own mental list of when he gets those things.  :-) 

But there are also times when one or the other gets more -- for ex., we have at different times gotten the kids sports stuff related to the sports they were interested in, when we didn't have something comparable for the other kid.  For those, the kids can be a little disappointed, but they just have to learn that it evens out over time, and that the relative value of their gifts does not reflect their relative value to us.

*I am particularly sensitive to this, because I still remember visiting my dad and his new family at Christmas and seeing a huge giant pile of wrapping paper from all the stuff his boys opened, and the two little gifts they had saved for me.  No one ever tried to make it "even," or to make sure I knew that he loved me as much as he loved them.  It wasn't until I was in my 30s and learned some of the backstory that I finally learned that lesson -- and I still have a weakness for big gifts.  So it is a big deal for me that my kids actually get to experience that little bit of disappointment, but in an environment where they know for sure that they are loved and valued, so they don't learn that "love" = "stuff."

I was posting to make this exact point, but here again, Laura33 beat me to it.  This is a great time for a life lesson that, as my dad used to say, "life isn't fair."  Things aren't equal.  Stuff isn't the same as love.  And sometimes that hurts.  People you love don't always treat others as they should.  Etc. 

From what you've posted here, we don't know (and sounds like maybe *you* don't know) whether this is favoritism, an age-related thing, or something else.  So it's hard to even know what to prep the younger child for.  Which makes it an even better time to implement the lesson.

Bourbon

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Re: Huge difference in gifts for kids
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2018, 08:22:07 AM »
Just make the laptop a coming of age gift that happens to come at Christmas time. Then make sure she gets one when it is her turn, even if you have to get it.

We had this tradition with my grandmother growing up, though a bit older.  At 16 each grandchild received a nice watch.

Could definitely see something similar for computers.  My daughter(7) has been asking for an ipad for awhile.  Not gonna happen, but I do see that level of electronics as being an age based gift, as long as everyone understands that up front.