Do you help/encourage your child with gift giving for mom/dad?

myfampgDecember 3, 2011

My daughter had asked me last week if she could get her stepsister a Christmas gift and wrap it to take it to dad's. I said of course! You may earn Money for Christmas shopping by doing additional chores and helping out. We made a list of 'acceptable' things she can do each day that I wouldn't normally expect of her... Like helping little brother clean his room before bed. Getting the mail every day. Straightening up in areas she is not normally responsible for.

I don't care what she spends the money on as long as she earns it.

So I asked if she had anything in mind.. Maybe a funny winter hat with a character on it. Or a snowglobe. She mentioned she would also like to get something for her dad. I told her that was also fine, again she needed to earn the money for any gifts and she needed to remember SM when shopping if she is shopping for dad and stepsister.

I had an idea for a photo album of this years pictures of JUST Dd. She could put it together herself. She isn't sure if she wants to do that. I also suggested framing her school picture we just got. She said she would think about it. I also mentioned to Dh I thought that he and I should send dd's dad and SM a holiday card, just from us, wishing them a happy holiday. This would be a gesture of kindness and a sign of acceptance of our situation and whether they toss it or keep it, who cares, it will fill my heart with what my heart needs.

My family thinks I'm nuts. 'dad can take Dd shopping for Sm and stepsister and Sm can take Dd shopping for dad'. Both of my parents say 'why would you do that they won't do it for you?' well... I don't care what I receive the point is, I feel making a kid gesture during the holiday, almost saying, hello- white flag, truce, I call mercy, I want to show in good faith that I'm accepting our situation and I'm not out to get your throat... But I've had mostly negative feed back. My Dh said if I'm that desperate to spend money to buy him a present with that money lol

I'm just wondering if anyone else does this.

FYI - before our major fall out a few years ago, we still help Dd shop for each other but I never included sm or stepsister bc they were not married

Yet and didn't live together (not a complete package yet). Last year I sent a card with Dd but she says she forgot to give it to them and I also let her get something for dad at the school holiday shop....

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Myfampg, I think you are teaching your daughter a valuable lesson about sharing and giving. I've struggled with this idea myself, my D13 has wanted to buy her dad something for his birthday and I was against it because I was thinking I don't want to pay for a present for him.
At the time I was still smarting because he had not paid any child support for eight months. I didn't think about your idea of having her earn the money herself, that would have been a good alternative. What D13 did instead was make a book of coupons for her dad on the computer and printed them out. They were things like "one coupon -good for doing the dishes", etc. stuff like that. Since then I've realized I should have been the bigger person and let her buy her dad something. And thanks to you for putting the idea in my head, I think will let her buy her dad something for christmas, if she wants to.

I think your family may just be a little protective of you. They probably feel that you shouldn't do anything nice for your ex who has treated you so badly. But remember, this is not about you, or even your ex for that matter. It's about teaching your daughter that giving is better than receiving. It's easy to be nice to people who are nice to you, the true measure of someone's character is how they treat people who are not nice to them.

I don't think anyone should give you a hard time about this, it was your daughter's idea to start with. And I think it was wonderful that your daughter came up with this idea on her own. That was very thoughtful and caring of her. That's a great kid you have there!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 5:34PM
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Giving a gift is something you do because you WANT to, and I think it says a lot that your DD feels comfortable asking you to take her shopping to get her stepsister and dad a gift. I also understand why you reminded her to get SM something, it teaches her to think of others feelings, etc. though I'm not sure I would push much if she said she didn't want to get certain people gifts if she had an acceptable reason.

As for your family, when they family say something like that, I'd tell them that I understand what they mean but if you stoop to dad's level and refuse to take your DD shopping, the only person that will be hurt by it is your DD. Besides, you are teaching her to be a better person. I wouldn't worry so much about showing her whether you are accepting of the situation, etc. You are showing her that you care about HER feelings, despite your own.

I used to take my exBF's kids shopping for their mother on her birthday, mother's day & Christmas. I would also save the things they made in school for "mom" and put them in a box so when she rolled into town once a year, she had all the stuff they made her over the year, along with school pictures & presents. I didn't like nor dislike her. She wasn't around to know much about her except she chose drugs & her boyfriend over sticking around to raise her kids, but the kids wanted to give mom that stuff & it meant something to them so that is what I did for them.

Now with SD, it's a totally different scenario. In the early years, I took her shopping for her mom. I also got BF's kids and SD's sister things too for Christmas. I made BM a scrapbook with pictures from all of SD's Christmases. It was my attempt to be friendly with BM. As things progressively got worse with BM & SD over the years, I stopped shopping for BM but still bought BF's kids things. I stopped shopping for SD's sister after she wrote nasty things about me on a social network. and this year, I have decided to give SD one gift for me & let DH do the rest of the shopping for SD. AS for taking SD shopping for her mom or anyone else, DH has always said no but didn't care if I did it. Of course, I agree that if the child earns money, they can spend it how they choose. I offered SD a job over the summer & she said she wanted to but never did it. Since now she isn't talking to me, she can't exactly discuss payment for chores with me and DH is not interested in paying her to do anything... he can't even get her to do her basic chores.

Amber is right, you are teaching her something so valuable and hopefully your family will come to see it. On the other hand, if your DD asks dad to take her shopping for you but he refuses, then he will have to deal with the consequences... and your daughter will know who is cooperative and who is not.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:14AM
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Thanks! I really 100% agree. I'm doing this FOR my daughter not for anyone else and maybe a little for me because doing things like this, makes me feel good. Although I prefer handmade gifts from kids instead of a sweater or something like that; I think I will leave it up to Dd as long as she makes the money to spend. I think she is old enough to earn her own money and to spend it on others, if she so chooses.

My parents are just trying to protect my feelings. I do know this and I'm still teaching my husband what it means to do what is in the best interest of the child... He isn't familiar with divorce and how it works or what we should be doing to help Dd feel good about her situation. I honestly believe that if dad refuses to take Dd shopping for me, she will be a little heartbroken and sad. Fortunately my husband has already scheduled a 'date' with her next weekend to go shopping for me. So sweet.

Imma - I would guess since sd isn't speaking to you, it would be difficult for her to discuss payment for jobs. Lol you would think with it being Christmas that she would be more 'inclined' to make nice with you so she could get some gifts! Most kids are that way. They only start worrying about the naughty list on November 15th of each year. Lol
I can't help but believe that this girl is just so emotionally damaged by her mother and she has no where else to spew it but at you. I hate when people tell me that my Dd treats me the way she does when she is dealing with 'daddy' issues because she loves me and knows I will never stop loving her but deep down I know it's the truth. I know it's different with sd but I just really feel this girl is very troubled and dealing with something internally. Im sure you know this though.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:31AM
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--" Although I prefer handmade gifts from kids instead of a sweater or something like that; I think I will leave it up to Dd as long as she makes the money to spend. I think she is old enough to earn her own money and to spend it on others, if she so chooses."

And I think that is the way you need to keep the thoughts. If DD rejects your idea of suggestions, remember this is her gift money she earned and can buy/make what her budget allows with her own ideas. Don't make the 'gift' about you and or what you would do...if she makes/buys something you personally don't agree with or perhaps might feel as the gift might be looked at as 'inferior', keep your mouth shut and don't 'take over' the making/buying. This is her gift coming from her heart to her father's family. It's not about you or have any reflection on you.

--"My family thinks I'm nuts. 'dad can take Dd shopping for Sm and stepsister and Sm can take Dd shopping for dad'. Both of my parents say 'why would you do that they won't do it for you?'"--

Again this is not about you. All you are doing is 'employing' Little MyFam in a temporary 'job' to earn spending money...what she choses to do with her 'wages' is up to her. She is chosing to make/purchase gifts. It does not matter 'who' she is giving the gift to. It is all her idea and her labor out of the goodness of her heart. It is really no different than if she got an allowence and bought an ice cream cone last summer for her and her StS. She's sharing her hardwork and earnings with those who are a part of her life and learning that world is not all about her, her, her.

You're not 'doing' anything for EX/SM/StS, Little MyFam is. Her idea, her wages, her gifts. It's all about her. I suspect if SM thought the gift had anything to do with you, the lady who is not suppose to exist on SM time, would reject it and hurt Little MyFam's feelings. I think that's partly why you need to be sure you let DD make/buy using her own ideas and stay out of the helping (except as the employer providing the wages).

That is also why I don't think I'd send the holiday wishes card from you. Last year's was returned (maybe not on purpose maybe so). I just would not give them the chance to reject , it could upset DD. Can you imagine how she'd feel if the card who stamped 'return to sender' and reappeared back in your mailbox or if she saw it torn up and tossed in their trash can? While there is nothing wrong with families on good terms, co-parenting well together blah blah exchanging holiday greetings, in your case if it were me I would not. Let well enough be enough.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:50AM
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You make an excellent point JMT that I had not thought of. If I send it God forbid she is there at delivery, it could cause her more pain than gain. She could overhear a tempertantrum by SM or watch one (eek!) and then watch as it's torn up and destroyed/tossed. I actually had not thought of that. Thanks!

I really don't want the gift to 'appear' from me At all. It is from Dd period.

What are your ideas on how I should 'pay' Dd? The kiddo could very well work her booty off and make $100. She has done this before. Lol she was not doing well in school and I bribed her with $20 per A expecting her to only make $40. Oops. She was at $100 before I knew it. I never did that again. I downsized to an ice-cream for straight A's lol

Thanks for the help

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 11:02AM
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Perhaps you could provide her some materials and let her make a card to hand deliver. It would be something from her and more personal. Only a heartless B!tch could get upset over getting a card made by the kid herself.

As for money earning... you could make a chart. $.50 or $1.00 for taking out the trash each day. $2.00 for helping clean siblings room. $3.00 for raking leaves. etc. and maybe give her a time card she can use to keep track so you can pay her each week or at the end of two weeks. But, I would not make the dollar amount very high on things she can do everyday or it could build up really fast. Just determine how much total you want to give on payday and adjust the price per chore based on the anticpated number of times she will do each chore. A diligent child will earn more than a child that tends to forget or would rather play than do work.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:44PM
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I do. I take her shopping and she picks out things. I just have a $20 limit, just as I would for a kid's birthday party.

I think it's important, and her dad reciprocates on Mother's day (if DD is with him), my birthday, etc. Of course, she's with me more

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:22PM
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I encourage my son to remember his bio-father & half siblings on holidays and birthdays, but he is an adult and pretty good about that sort of thing. He even remembers my DH on his BD & Fathers day and I never mention it to him.

But different circumstances as my son only got to know his bio-dad starting at age 18, know it's not cookie cutter. But it's nice to do though I'm sure his bio-dad doesn't remind him to call me every few weeks or get me a birthday card, lol!

I just don't want my kid to have any regrets later, so it's for him really, not bio-dad.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 2:42AM
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