Shouldn't Parents Get a Thank You Note?

Karen10125February 25, 2013

I'm wondering why I'm even asking this, but times have changed and maybe I expect too much. My stepdaughter got married last summer. We paid for about 1/4 of her wedding costs. And then I decided I still wanted to get a gift so I purchased her whole set of china (since no one had purchased any of it yet). When we gave it to her, she just looked at it and said oh I was wondering who bought that off my registry and walked away. Personally I think she was expecting more. So I figured some time after the wedding we'd get a thank you card for our contribution to her wedding costs and the china. Never got anything. Am I expecting too much? I mean even a verbal thank you would have been nice. Her dad wasn't thanked either. Should we say something to her? It makes me not want to doing anything for her going forward and I hate that feeling.

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nancylouise_gw

Yes, she should be sending thank you notes to everyone that gave her a gift. Seeing as how the marriage ceremony was last year, she is behind in sending you one. But, she is your step-daughter. How is the relationship between she and your husband? You may want to let him handle it if you don't want to start anything between you and her. He can innocently say "Hey Suzy, we didn't receive your Thank you card yet. Are you still sending the rest out? " Or something to that effect.
Nope manners have not gone out of style yet. Thank you notes are still expected and should be done. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:15PM
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sweet_pea10

Yes, your step-daughter should have sent a thank you note, though many children don't send them to parents when they do send them to other relatives. My concern is with her response when presented with the china. Her lack of enthusiasm and gratitude tends to indicate that she is self-focused, thinking only about herself and not about the giver and the gift. Has she perhaps been raised without the best of manners or sensitivity toward others?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Karen10125

I don't think she was raised that way, but her mother encourages her bad behavior toward us. Still, she's 31 years old now and should be thinking for herself. I don't get any of it because I have adult children too and I wouldn't allow them to be disrespectful toward their father, in spite of any issues we've had. It's bad parenting. She is very self focused, she never sends a fathers day card, never remembers her dad's b'day (and of course not mine either). I recently started doing the same to her, to make a point. I just feel she's way too old to not have any appreciation or consideration toward us. The relationship between her and her dad is just ok, and that's mainly because of his effort, not hers.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:11PM
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gellchom

I agree with Sweet Pea. The problem is the lack of enthusiasm and gratitude, not with the absence of a written note.

I am HUGE on thank you notes, and even I don't expect or usually send them within the immediate family. Just seems a little too distancing or something. We just call each other if we don't get the gift in person.

Please don't "do the same to her, to make a point." It makes you seem petty and punishing. You won't make your point, you'll just relinquish the high ground. If you don't want to send her gifts or cards because you feel unappreciated, then don't, but don't do it to try to manipulate her behavior, and don't try to stop your husband from sending things anyway if he wants to.

Of course you are right about her behavior, but it's not for you to try to fix it. Leave it to karma. Likewise, don't be heard to blame her parents -- as you note, she's 31, not 10 -- and in the case of her mom, it will make you seem vindictive.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:38PM
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gellchom

I just want to add that it's not that I am OPPOSED to immediate relatives sending thank you notes, especially a bridal couple sending them to their parents for the wedding. It's a classy and charming thing to do. If memory serves, ours took the form of a picture postcard from our honeymoon thanking my parents for the wonderful wedding -- not very formal, but enthusiastic and sincere. I just meant that I wouldn't read anything into it if otherwise appropriate expressions of gratitude were expressed otherwise.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:46PM
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colleenoz

If a gift is given in person, it is acceptable to give thanks verbally, especially if the thanks are very effusive (which clearly they were not in this case).
I agree with gellchom, don't think you'll manipulate her into behaving better by "forgetting" her birthday. It probably won't even occur to her that that is what is going on. But, if you feel unappreciated, don't give gifts/cards/whatever, simply because you don't wish to. You are never _compelled_ to give a gift to someone if you don't wish to. That's why it's called a "gift" and not an "obligation".

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 5:13AM
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sheilajoyce_gw

Our son married last fall. We received a thank you note from him and his wife for our providing the wedding finances a few months after the wedding. However, at the wedding reception, the bride and groom toasted their parents and in that toast thanked both families for helping make the wedding possible.

This situation sounds different. To me, the bride's response to the wedding present was almost a non response, and quite rude. I am sorry you are in this situation as it sounds to me as if you would like to have a great relationship with this young woman. Perhaps she will come around some day, but don't hold your breath.

If I were in your shoes, I too would pass on future gift giving with this attitude. If anyone is going to say something to her, it should be her father and not you. Have you talked with him about this?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Karen10125

Thanks everyone for the help and advice. If I don't give gifts going forward it will be just because I don't feel she deserves it, I'm not trying to change her behavior at all. I know that's up to her considering her age and nothing I do will make a difference in how she behaves. I have left it up to her dad to confront the situation. He has and gets a million excuses. He says she's ungrateful. There was no toast or thanks at the wedding reception either. As for the china, it was one of those times where I felt I nailed the gift idea and then when she turned her nose up at it, it hurt. But like someone else said I'll wait for karma.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:48PM
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southernsummer

Karen, weddings seldom bring out the best in people, especially step children. You are doing too much for them. Don't be surprised when they don't appreciate it. Stop doing anything that requires a thank you. You will feel better about your relationship, and so will they. They resent your gifts, and they resent you. I have much less stress in my life since I stopped doing nice things for my adult step kids.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:36PM
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bail0081

You said that you paid for 25% of the wedding? The expectation is that the bride's parents cover the full cost of the wedding. Perhaps she was upset at the minimal contribution? Also, perhaps your step daughter does not like you since you are not actually the biological parent. Rather than worrying about a trivial thank you card, you should work on building your relationship with her.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 8:35AM
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colleenoz

Sorry bail, that expectation only holds when the bride is being married from home, not when she's 31 and presumably has been financially independent for some time now.
My own DD recently married at age 30, and she and her fiance paid for the whole wedding; in fact they said they did not expect any financial contribution from us. We did help with the logistics of the wedding and in addition to being thanked in the speech the groom made, we received a lovely, heartfelt effusive thank you letter from our DD.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 1:07AM
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talley_sue_nyc

If you ever do say anything, don't make it be about her behaving badly. Say, "I was hurt; I had hoped so much to please you. And I feel taken for granted. We love you, of course we do, but it is still so valuable to know that our loving gestures are recognized."

And yeah, feel free to scale way back on gifts; if she ever says something, Miss Manners suggests a reply like, "I never hear that you like our gifts, so I thought you didn't enjoy receiving gifts from us, and I didn't want to impose."

1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 10:47AM
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talley_sue_nyc

Oh, i wanted to say this:

Colleenoz wrote: "If a gift is given in person, it is acceptable to give thanks verbally, especially if the thanks are very effusive (which clearly they were not in this case)."


I actually disagree when it is a wedding gift. I think all wedding gifts must be responded to in writing, even if they're presented in person.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 1:28PM
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colleenoz

Talley-Sue, I should have added "If the gift is from a parent". As a parent I wouldn't expect a thank you note for a personally given wedding gift if I was thanked in person. A written note is a bonus in this situation, for me. All others should be thanked in writing.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 4:08PM
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karen10125b

bail0081, we paid for 1/4 of the costs because 1) that was a huge chunk of $ for us; 2) she also has a mom & stepfather who I'm assuming paid for some of it; 3) we know her in-laws paid for some of it and 4) her husband is 33 years old, they have been living together for 6+ years both working lucrative jobs so the expectation was of course that they would pay for some of their costs. The son-in-law is very responsible and expected nothing from any of the parents and was very grateful for the costs we picked up. As colleen noted, times have changed, and for my own daughter, she and her husband paid for their entire wedding. If someone isn't happy with a parent picking up $5K of their wedding costs well they can get what I got for both of my weddings - nothing. We had modest weddings, paid for everything ourselves and had no hard feelings toward our parents.

Since my original post, we have cut back a lot on gift giving, etc. when it comes to her because it isn't appreciated or even recognized. You are right southernsummer, I do feel a lot better now, no more frustration wondering if the gift was good enough, was it the right gift, was it not enough?? It's ridiculous, people should be appreciative no matter. We did send a really nice gift basket during the holidays, which i had custom made based on what they like. In return my husband got a text message, "got the basket, thx". Again, no enthusiasm, no thx to me, I guess she expects a new car.

As for thank you notes, I don't even expect actual paper thank you notes at this point, but a verbal thank you when she got the gift or at the reception would have been nice.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2015 at 4:37AM
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