S.B. asks from Wylie, TX on September 22, 2009
Advice on Overly Generous Grandparents
I need some advice in regards to my children's grandparents who insist on being overly generous. There hasn't been a time that can be recalled where the grandparents haven't given my children some sort of toy or money to buy a toy (they then ask what they bought). I want to put a stop to this before it becomes expected. How do I do this tactfully? I've never had a strong relationship with my in laws and don't want this to seem as if I'm attacking them. I want my kids to want to see their grandparents and not expect a toy or something other than love fromt them. To me giving a toy all the time sends the wrong message and feels a little like buying their affections. I also feel that it will lead to problems in the future when I expect my kids to work for things that they want. Maybe I'm wrong, I'd like some advice please.
E.C. answers from Dallas on September 23, 2009
No, you are not wrong. I would express everything that you just wrote to them... it is good reasoning and comes from the heart. I know they will understand. Good luck!
D.B. answers from Dallas on September 23, 2009
Suggest opening a college savings account and diverting the toy funds into that account. Maybe suggest a certain percentage, like half of the time they can give a SMALL toy, the other half goes in the account. Or whatever y'all can work out.
Also, suggest some sort of special thing they always do together like. Grandpa might even like to make up a secret handshake that is ONLY for them. I can guarantee when Grandpa is no longer around that handshake will carry a great deal of meaning!
Try to find some ways of endearing the relationship and perhaps they won't feel the need to "buy" things.
V.B. answers from Dallas on September 26, 2009
What a wonderful predicament and blessing! Why don't you talk to them about opening a savings account for each child and every time they want to buy them a toy or give them money, deposit instead. I don't mean at Christmas or birthdays.
I also give summer camp and gift cards for PuttPutt and Braums, pizza etc.
I ahve even given bunk beds, etc. Good Luck and be glad they can afford to help.
1 mom found this helpful
C.J. answers from Dallas on September 22, 2009
Do they live in area? My inlaws are the same way and I sometimes feel like they way over do it. My 4 year old just had a birthday and they spent probably around $100 on her toy then gave her $50 cash. I thought is was way to much for a 4 year olds birthday. Every time we visit they buy them something, but I know they do just because the don't get to see them as often as their other grandchildren. I thought of telling them to stop, but I know they do this out of the kindness of their hearts. I would hate to hurt their feelings. We have started making the kids put the money they get into a savings account. We were just getting way to many toys and then we felt like we needed to let them buy more toys when they gave them money. My husband talked to his dad one night and let him know that if they give the kids money we would be putting it into a savings account. They were fine with that so it all worked out great.
1 mom found this helpful
S.M. answers from Dallas on September 23, 2009
My parents are very generous as well, but since they are are MY parents, not my in laws, I can do this. I tell my mom that she does not HAVE to buy them something every time she comes to visit, but she likes to. I tell her to set a budget for them so they don't take advantage of it. So, now she says "you have $10.00 to spend" and she takes them to the store and lets them pick something. They really enjoy this time with her and these special treats since they don't get toys all the time from mom & dad. At this point I've tried to make sure my kids know that it's nice of Mimi to do that, but she doesn't have to and to remind them to be very thankful to her for these special treats. Grandparents are in a unique situation that parents are not. I think you should take a deep breath, tell them your concerns, but allow them to do what they want. Explain that you worry about them expecting these gifts from them when they come and that you don't ever want them to become ungrateful. However, if they want to do this each time, you will not complain, but you do expect them to say thank you, etc. You can also tell them that when they give the kids cash, you encourage them to save some, spend some, and give some, so they may not always have a thing they can say they got if they give them cash. But really, just realize that grandparents are not parents and let them enjoy the kids and this special gift they can give.
E.S. answers from Dallas on September 23, 2009
Hi, what we did is make a rule that any toys the grandparents buy have to stay at their house and for holidays we request checks that go directly into our daughter's savings account. We also have one grandfather who brings diapers when he comes. We also send emails before holidays and let grandparents know of big items coming up-carseats, high chairs, etc that we may be needing and usually someone ponies up. I guess we are blessed with practical g-parents. But we made it clear that we are the parents and our wishes should be respected. Good luck!
A. answers from Tallahassee on September 23, 2009
My in-laws are overly generous. I too shared your concerns...and then I had a nice conversation with them to help them understand. They took it well. I asked them to limit their gifts to things we/my son needs like clothes, shoes, or are educational like arts/crafts, books, music, lessons -- or money which goes into an account for future use. This summer, they paid for his summer camps. I don't begrudge them the sneaky extra gift here or there. But I do talk to my son about not expecting gifts, but appreciating when they are given. And my in-laws try not to go overboard.
S.S. answers from Dallas on September 23, 2009
I have been in your shoes! What I did is put a $50 limit on on each child for holidays and birthdays. I asked the family (grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles) to put any $ above that $50 they wished to spend into the child's trust fund. My children at a certain age began the I want, I want, and if you don't buy it for me I will have grandma do it. Needless to say my head started spinning with that. So, after reading a Christian Psychology magazine where the husband and wife psychologists were experiencing the very same thing, I followed the advice of the professionals and limited my children to 5 things each; learning toys and educational games were freebies and not included in the 5. My son chose leggos, kinex, Playmobile, Brio, and video games. My daughter chose dress up, Barbie, Playmobile, Petshop, and American Girl dolls. As they grew older some of the 5 things changed and they would donate to charity what they chose to eliminate. The family gifters were asked to build on these things for Holidays and Birthday's. It sounds extreme, but it worked! My children no longer begged for things everytime they saw a commercial or were at a store. My children and I were less stressed because we no longer had a huge gameroom overflowing with stuff to clean up. Remarkably they liked having fewer things to choose from for play. My children began taking better care of what they did have and have chosen to keep several of their 5 thing final choices for their children. Now that they are adults they have said they will follow this same route with their children. In hindsight I believe this helped my children NOT have the entitlement attitude so many children and young adults have. When we did the initial clean out we discussed the importance of giving and charity and used Bible Scripture to enforce the idea. The relatives were a little hesitant, but got on board when they realized it made gift selection sooo much easier and that my children didn't ask for something EVERYTIME they saw them.. We also explained to the relatives that we thought it was just as important to build the trust funds for the future as it was to give now. We stressed the trust funds' contributions to the childrens' future for college, first cars, down payment on first homes, etc. Enough of my soap box...have a great day and good luck!
K.G. answers from Dallas on September 23, 2009
You're not off base in your concern. I didn't read the other posts so I don't know if anyone agrees with me but I can share my own experience. my mother is not one to wait a gift on a holiday. She likes to give as she gets! LOL And believe me she doesn't go over board or expensive or large on gifts but she always seems to find some little thing for my kids...especially my son since he is younger. (not that she ignores the older daughter). Anyway, she always has some little item when we visit. My son is seven now and will often say "lets go visit nana, I bet she has something for me". when we arrive there he goes to her and says "do you have anything for me?"! And again, these items are just small drug store impulse purchases at best usually...a bag of water balloons, a rubber ball, a water gun, the free super hero comic from the paper even...but it's all accummulated to make him think she WILL always have something for him. I have told him that we don't go to see her to get gifts and he isn't to ask but if she has something that's fine. I tell her that she shouldn't give them so often b/c we simply don't have space for it all and it causes a problem for me to store it all. She works in merchanidizing at the grocery stores so she is always there and there are little things she picks up...just so easy for her to do. she can't afford big gifts. anyway, I don't tell her to stop but i've made headway with her so that she will tell me first. I've vetoed a couple thigns b/c they seemed unsafe (a toy you put in her mouth to make noise and lights that was very cheap looking and worse, made in china, for example) and she agrees.
anywya, this wordy reply was just to tell you that your kids CAN get used to it and it will cause problems. just handle it with sensitivity. your inlaws are only wanting to enjoy and please your child but it can't come at a cost to your kids being polite etc.
S.B. answers from Dallas on September 23, 2009
I understand what you mean about too many gifts. It was my mom who bought all the time, though I think part was because it was her first bio-grandkid (her husband has several in another state.) I told her I wanted my kids(s) to want to see her for her, not just because she brought gifts. You hear all the time that time is the best gift. The money might be better spent going on outings (zoo, parks, etc.) and getting pictures to remember.