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Unwanted gifts from relatives - Page 3

post #41 of 83
She is being manipulative. On the other hand, she probably feels micromanaged, and that's the way she responded. I think you both could stand to budge, and maybe a talk and some compromise on both sides would help.
post #42 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
How do you know this? Have you met the OP's mother? That's a pretty presumptious statement to make.
I don't [I]know[I] that she's passive aggressive, I [I]think[/I she is. A lot of people act passive aggressive when they think someone is being ridiculous or overly controlling. I think the best thing to do is to ignore it. The op has already made it very clear that she doesn't want these sorts of toys in her house and the grandmother is clearly ignoring her. How is that not passive aggressive?
post #43 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageMom6 View Post
What if the next gift was a Bratz doll or a bb gun or... an ant farm?

My eldest child is 15 but if someone gave him a subscription to Playboy magazine, I sure wouldn't be saying, "It's his gift, not mine.".
You're comparing pornography, linked with human trafficking and drug use and human slavery, in addition to sex abuse, to an outdated fairy tale?

Not only that, it's one doll, not the entire Disney Princess DVD box set. It's the equivalent of a door poster of Shakira.
post #44 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
You're comparing pornography, linked with human trafficking and drug use and human slavery, in addition to sex abuse, to an outdated fairy tale?



Not only that, it's one doll, not the entire Disney Princess DVD box set. It's the equivalent of a door poster of Shakira.
No, she isn't. She's using a more extreme example to show that as parents, we certainly have a right to determine what our children can have. And an extreme example to show that other people do not have an exclusive right to introduce things in our home that we do not want.

Obviously all of our boundaries fall in different places, so an extreme example is helpful because we know we all agree on it. Thus focusing on the concept and not quibbling over the side issues of whether the OP should or should not ban characters in her home as she has chosen to do.

Would YOU use your logic as an excuse to blatantly disregard another parent's boundaries? If your best friend banned characters, would YOU buy her daughter a character doll and say "Seriously? This is one doll, not the entire Disney Princess DVD box set. It's the equivalent of a door poster of Shakira."
post #45 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Someone asked if this is the hill you want to die on.

I always wonder why people don't ask if this is the hill her MOTHER wants to die on?
Because, unfortunately we cannot control another's actions. We can, however, choose to control our own reactions to other's actions. so, we have to choose for ourselves, what "hills we want to die on". Even though someone else may be in the wrong.
post #46 of 83
Thank you, Laohaire. You explained it much better than I could have!

When it comes to the OP's mother, I think that many of us are arguing apples versus oranges. It's been my experience that there are two types of challenging mothers/MILs...

One type means well but sometimes misses the mark. Things were done differently in her day. She doesn't set out deliberately to cross our boundaries, she's just going by what she feels is appropriate. Happily, it is possible to work things out with this type of mother, whether through discussions or compromise. I think most posters here are blessd with this type of mother. Lucky you!

But there's another type that is much more difficult. She not only disagrees with our choices, she feels no need to respect them. She makes decisions based on what she wants, regardless of who that hurts. It is impossible to dialogue or compromise with this type. Many of them have actual personality disorders, including one that I know very well.

I have no idea which type of mother the OP has. My responses were based on the second type, based on hearing that she has repeatedly disrespected the same boundary. Many responses seem to think of her as the first type, which calls for a totally different sort of reaction on the OP's part.

Best wishes to the OP!
post #47 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post
You know, when I was a kid, my grandma wrote me and my siblings $25 checks for each birthday. My mom frequently told us--and her mom!--how much she hated that gift, how it was so impersonal, how her mom didn't care enough to pick out individualized gifts, etc. Grandma kept sending the checks. I don't know why. Maybe she was being passive aggressive. Maybe she truly found it hard or overwhelming to pick out individualized gifts for a whole passel of grandkids.

The checks never bothered me--I loved having $25 to spend. At least, they never bothered me until my mom's constant complaining "taught" me that my grandma didn't care enough to pick something out. I don't resent getting the checks at all, but I do regret that my relationship with my grandmother was damaged because I was constantly told that her gifts were "wrong."
I hope everyone reads this and takes it to heart. As parents, I think we need to be very careful about what message we are presenting about our child's loved one to them.

From another perspective: I have a sil who "hates" everything. If you get her or her husband, or the children a gift, 9 times out of 10 it's "disappeared" because it wasn't "right".

It can be very frustrating. We all try very hard to find things we think they will like, heck, it's my brother, but you never know what they'll keep. I realize that gift giving is about the intention but it can be tough to give birthday gifts to kids and know that they will be "ousted" by mom because she doesn't like them. And we're not talking about toy ideals here, it's very, very random. None of us would ever buy something for their kids that was not approved by their parents.
post #48 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageMom6 View Post
When it comes to the OP's mother, I think that many of us are arguing apples versus oranges. It's been my experience that there are two types of challenging mothers/MILs...

One type means well but sometimes misses the mark. Things were done differently in her day. She doesn't set out deliberately to cross our boundaries, she's just going by what she feels is appropriate. Happily, it is possible to work things out with this type of mother, whether through discussions or compromise. I think most posters here are blessd with this type of mother. Lucky you!

But there's another type that is much more difficult. She not only disagrees with our choices, she feels no need to respect them. She makes decisions based on what she wants, regardless of who that hurts. It is impossible to dialogue or compromise with this type. Many of them have actual personality disorders, including one that I know very well.

I have no idea which type of mother the OP has. My responses were based on the second type, based on hearing that she has repeatedly disrespected the same boundary. Many responses seem to think of her as the first type, which calls for a totally different sort of reaction on the OP's part.

Best wishes to the OP!
I think this sums it up well. We're making assumptions based on our own experiences as to what this dynamic is.

Indeed if it is the former dynamic, there is room for the OP to chill out. Though I don't think it's our business to tell the OP she's wrong to not want characters. She can still manage the issue, talk with the MIL about it, whatever. I do think it's unhelpful to push the responsibility of the issue onto the OP, but it is helpful to say "if your mother means well, and I think she does, then it's better to just relax and let it be." Probably anecdotes about how certain things did not lead to disaster would be supportive to the OP: "I completely banned toy guns from the house but my mother/MIL/whatever bought one. DS loves it but honestly he is still sweet, not violent, cares about people and animals, etc. I don't think it harmed him at all." Or "My MIL bought the dreaded noisy plastic toys but DD is still extremely imaginative." That would be really reassuring to the OP.

If it's the latter dynamic, I totally disagree with the advice to just roll over and let the grandmother rule the house in the name of preserving the relationship. That burden is on the grandmother to stop being controlling, toxic, manipulative, passive-aggressive, whatever. The OP will not be better off for allowing toxic behavior to take over her life, even if it does make grandma happy to have "won."
post #49 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Honest opinion? You are being way over-controlling. It's a Snow White doll, not a bomb. I think as your daughter gets older this attitude will really backfire on you. Have you ever heard the term "choose your battles"? Is this battle really that important in the long run?


I agree with this, but if the battle is important for the OP, that's for her to decide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
You tell people what gift to get? Part of the joy for me of birthday's is picking out something I think the birthday child will love. If I was told, "Hi can you come to little one's birthday and please contribute $20 to the gift that I have deemed appropriate" I probably wouldn't contribute anything and would consider not attending.



Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageMom6 View Post
What if the next gift was a Bratz doll or a bb gun or... an ant farm?

My eldest child is 15 but if someone gave him a subscription to Playboy magazine, I sure wouldn't be saying, "It's his gift, not mine.".
Bring them to the Salvation Army - or another place that takes donations. And c'mon about PB, lol. Do you *really* think that someone would give that as a gift (maybe you do, I dunno)? And I think comparing PB to Snow White is like comparing apples to, oh, cars...especially in terms of how one can handle gifts after one receives them.

I would never complain about a gift, nor would I tell someone what they could or could not buy my child (unless they asked outright). Let them have at it, and I will deal with the gifts after the fact. Anything otherwise is, to me, rude.
post #50 of 83
My children don't get gifts from anyone but me and dh-why? Because my family, (as well as my dh's family,) never thinks to buy something for them. Ever. I know this is coming from my own issues with that, but durn, I'd be happy with a dollar store coloring book from one of the grandparents for my children.
And for the record, I never, ever, tried to 'tell' them what to get my kids, it's just that they never cared enough to buy anything at all. My mom gives the occasional christmas gift, usually a set of clothes, but nothing 'just cause she was thinking of the kids'.
I don't like disney at all, for a myriad of reasons, but if someone bought almost any toy at all for them I'd be thankful. It beats hearing your kids ask why grandma doesn't ever bring them a gift, when their friends get stuff all the time.
post #51 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageMom6 View Post
Thank you, Laohaire. You explained it much better than I could have!

When it comes to the OP's mother, I think that many of us are arguing apples versus oranges. It's been my experience that there are two types of challenging mothers/MILs...

One type means well but sometimes misses the mark. Things were done differently in her day. She doesn't set out deliberately to cross our boundaries, she's just going by what she feels is appropriate. Happily, it is possible to work things out with this type of mother, whether through discussions or compromise. I think most posters here are blessd with this type of mother. Lucky you!

But there's another type that is much more difficult. She not only disagrees with our choices, she feels no need to respect them. She makes decisions based on what she wants, regardless of who that hurts. It is impossible to dialogue or compromise with this type. Many of them have actual personality disorders, including one that I know very well.

I have no idea which type of mother the OP has. My responses were based on the second type, based on hearing that she has repeatedly disrespected the same boundary. Many responses seem to think of her as the first type, which calls for a totally different sort of reaction on the OP's part.

Best wishes to the OP!
Great points!!!!
post #52 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapientia View Post
My children don't get gifts from anyone but me and dh-why? Because my family, (as well as my dh's family,) never thinks to buy something for them. Ever. I know this is coming from my own issues with that, but durn, I'd be happy with a dollar store coloring book from one of the grandparents for my children.
And for the record, I never, ever, tried to 'tell' them what to get my kids, it's just that they never cared enough to buy anything at all. My mom gives the occasional christmas gift, usually a set of clothes, but nothing 'just cause she was thinking of the kids'.
I don't like disney at all, for a myriad of reasons, but if someone bought almost any toy at all for them I'd be thankful. It beats hearing your kids ask why grandma doesn't ever bring them a gift, when their friends get stuff all the time.
((((((HUGS))))))

My FIL (and his gf) are like this. They ignore literally everything - FIL even forgot his own son's birthday. They did get holiday gifts for the kids, though. For my six year old? A glow worm. We smiled, said thank you, and gave them hugs and kisses. It was hard, but we did it.

Gifts, gifts, gifts. Grrrrrrr.
post #53 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post


You're getting all that from a grandmother wanting to give her granddaughter a present?
No. I'm getting this from the OP, who specifically stated that her mom is NORMALLY manipulative, and if that's the case, then she needs to decide how damaging that is BEFORE she handles the presents issue.
post #54 of 83
Personally, and I'm saying this in the most gentle way possible, I'd just let it go.

The way I look at it is I try not to criticize the gifts my kid's Grandparents (and Great-Grandparents) buy for them.

My Grandmother, every year, would faithfully buy Barbies, Doras, Tranformers, Disneyish toys/books for my kid's birthdays and Christmases.

I never said a negative thing about any of it, not to the kid's, or even DH (although I often rolled my eyes at yet another Barbie) .

But I knew she loved buying for them, she was old and it made her happy.

She passed away last month and I'm so glad I never wasted a single moment griping to her about the gifts she bought for my kids, or to the kids about the gifts she bought.


Same with the Christmas my Dad found a massive Barbie camper for DD - complete with a swimming pool and disco lights at someone's curb on garbage day.
He took it home and spent days cleaning it, oiling all the moving parts, geez, my Mom even made real bedding for Barbie's bed. And wouldn't you know it, DH's elderly aunt sent a Bratz doll in the mail for DD - complete with hooker boots and a miniskirt.
Even though DH and I completely disapproved of the whole shebang - he claimed that the Bratz doll was turning tricks in the camper while DD was sleeping we never said anything negative to my folks, or his aunt.

I just think if it's a gift given with love for the receiver then really, there's not a whole lot wrong with it.
post #55 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubliette8 View Post
I have to say, if someone told me "no character dolls" and I went out shopping, I might not necessarily consider Snow White to be in that category. I would be thinking more along the lines of Barney, Dora, Sponge Bob etc. The Disney princesses I might see as characters, but she didn't buy all the Disne princesses, she bought a single Snow White. Snow White IS a classic. Beyond Disney, the story itself is several hundred years old, perhaps more. Would you be upset about a doll of say, Little Red Riding Hood? If your daughter is interested in the doll, you could talk about the different versions of the story across different countries and time spans (they will probably need a bit of editing for a 5 year old) If the most trouble you've had is a single Snow White doll, I think you're doing ok, and your Mom is probably trying very hard to stick with your guidelines.

Have to agree. When my girls were around that age, Snow White was a fairly tale character, not a Disney character. That doll would not have bothered me at all.

And I despise Disney.
post #56 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by childsplay View Post
Same with the Christmas my Dad found a massive Barbie camper for DD - complete with a swimming pool and disco lights at someone's curb on garbage day.
He took it home and spent days cleaning it, oiling all the moving parts, geez, my Mom even made real bedding for Barbie's bed. And wouldn't you know it, DH's elderly aunt sent a Bratz doll in the mail for DD - complete with hooker boots and a miniskirt.
Even though DH and I completely disapproved of the whole shebang - he claimed that the Bratz doll was turning tricks in the camper while DD was sleeping we never said anything negative to my folks, or his aunt.

I just think if it's a gift given with love for the receiver then really, there's not a whole lot wrong with it.
Aw, that's really a lovely story (even if she does have hooker boots!). Your dad and mom really meant well, in their hearts, and that is a valuable gift. If the giver means well, then the gift should be accepted as such. And never degrade the gift, no matter how you feel about it, in front of your kids. It just puts them in an awful spot - either guilty for playing with something they know you disapprove of, you think is beneath them.... or not playing with something they want to play with, in order to please you. Now, if the giver is a passive-aggressive manipulative PITA, then obviously different measures need to be taken.
post #57 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapientia View Post
My children don't get gifts from anyone but me and dh-why? Because my family, (as well as my dh's family,) never thinks to buy something for them. Ever. I know this is coming from my own issues with that, but durn, I'd be happy with a dollar store coloring book from one of the grandparents for my children.
And for the record, I never, ever, tried to 'tell' them what to get my kids, it's just that they never cared enough to buy anything at all. My mom gives the occasional christmas gift, usually a set of clothes, but nothing 'just cause she was thinking of the kids'.
I don't like disney at all, for a myriad of reasons, but if someone bought almost any toy at all for them I'd be thankful. It beats hearing your kids ask why grandma doesn't ever bring them a gift, when their friends get stuff all the time.
My in-laws are that way. For Christmas, they'll get the kids breakable Christmas ornaments and that's it. I get the sentimentality of it but she was seriously surprised and pissed last Christmas when two of the four ornaments were broken with in 20 minutes (one was my sons, he was almost 3, and the other was my nephews, he was 16 months old!) She's never gotten any of my kids birthday presents, gave dd a 10 cent book about Saints for her baptism (which I thought was nice, but again she got pissed when it got ripped in half by a 7 month old), ignored my sons baptisms entirely (she's a strict Catholic.)

OP, how do you know your daughter didn't want that doll? To her, it's just a doll with a pretty dress and black hair. You said your mom said she was "looking at it" in the store. Maybe "looking at it" was really begging for it or looking at it longingly because she wanted it but knew you'd never buy it for her. Your daughter is six. Mine is 5.5 and I no longer say flat out no to things. I will steer her away from Bratz dolls (to the Barbies ) but for the most part I just explain why I don't like something and let her make up her own mind. It's worked well and my daughter knows why I say no to the easy bake oven.
post #58 of 83
veering off topic for a bit but why not the easy bake oven?
I only ask because I'm slightly fascinated by it and would've wanted one as a child. Is it a safety risk?
post #59 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
No, she isn't. She's using a more extreme example to show that as parents, we certainly have a right to determine what our children can have. And an extreme example to show that other people do not have an exclusive right to introduce things in our home that we do not want.

Obviously all of our boundaries fall in different places, so an extreme example is helpful because we know we all agree on it. Thus focusing on the concept and not quibbling over the side issues of whether the OP should or should not ban characters in her home as she has chosen to do.

Would YOU use your logic as an excuse to blatantly disregard another parent's boundaries? If your best friend banned characters, would YOU buy her daughter a character doll and say "Seriously? This is one doll, not the entire Disney Princess DVD box set. It's the equivalent of a door poster of Shakira."
No, I don't think this is a relative issue. There are forms of entertainment that are inseparable from the pain they cause others or imaginary hurting of others (violent toys, pornography) or which are addictive (lottery tickets, drugs... okay, I'm not sure who's giving drugs to kids but that is not my point). I can see saying, "Look, this thing is harmful. My child can't have it."

However, a fairy tale doll, marketed by Disney or not, is really, really hard to fit into that box. I don't see it as a slippery slope. All characters in stories live in unjust worlds. There is no perfect narrative, and if it is, I can assure you it lives at the bottom of a landfill in obscurity because it's boring.

And I'm not reading anything into the mom or OP here. Frankly, I don't think that what kind of person she is to the mom should interfere with her relationship with the granddaughter, unless it gets massively screwed up in its own right. I'm not saying her mom is normal or great or bad or anything. I have no idea. I just don't think it bears on her relationship with her granddaughter.

My father is an addict. He sometimes gave us the screwiest gifts, and sometimes they were awesome. He was awful to my mom and totally disrespectful. She never once got in the way of his attempts at love, though.

Family is family, and that is about accepting what you got. I think that nobody here should be judging either the OP or her mom, because all we know is that MIL got the child a toy, the OP took it away, and the mom replaced it. And I do think the mom is right if she believes that she has a right to her OWN relationship with the grandchild, apart from any issues she has or does not have with her daughter.

(As for what I would do, I don't think that philosophical gift-giving examples enter my head when buying gifts. I don't have friends that think it's appropriate to ask for certain gifts, honestly such controlling people would never want to be around me, and if it were a relative, I would buy whatever they wanted... again within the realm of safety and legality for all involved, of course.)
post #60 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmh23 View Post
My in-laws are that way. For Christmas, they'll get the kids breakable Christmas ornaments and that's it. I get the sentimentality of it but she was seriously surprised and pissed last Christmas when two of the four ornaments were broken with in 20 minutes (one was my sons, he was almost 3, and the other was my nephews, he was 16 months old!)
Note to self: when sending keepsakes for parents to keep for children as memories of Christmases gone by, include explicit instructions for parents in the card itself.

My mom kept ornaments from a great aunt for us each year. We got to hang them on the tree when we were older, and take them with us when married. I think of her every time and I'm amazed as well that you gave them to your babies.
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