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Christmas presents for kids who live with somebody who will pawn them

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
My oldest DD & my son currently live with my ex husband about 800 miles away. Eventually I would like the kids to move in with us. My son wants to move in with me but my daughter doesn't want to leave her friends behind.

My husband and I were talking about buying netbooks for my oldest DD & son for Christmas so we can video chat, and schedule "visitation" online. Unfortunately, my ex husband has a history of pawning items. He's not a drug addict or an alcoholic. He's just lazy. He hasn't worked in over 2 years. He refuses to get a job. His girlfriend is supporting him and the kids.

I want to get my kids nice things. I just don't think it'll do any good if their father will just turn around and sell it so he can pay some bills instead of getting a frickin' job. He doesn't take care of things at his house and he doesn't teach the children to take care of their things. So, if the netbooks don't get stolen by him and pawned, they'll definitely end up getting broken within a few months. Also, the people my ex husband associates with are thieves who wouldn't think twice about stealing netbooks from children.

Anything I get for the kids will end up trashed. I would buy clothes for them, they'd wear them once, and he wouldn't wash it for weeks on end, until it had mold stains. They have several pets (at least a dozen) that stink up everything they own, too.

It doesn't seem fair to the kids if I buy them presents, but they have to leave them here when they go back home.

I was thinking about buying an outing for them... something fun they could DO instead of an item that would be trashed. However, if it was something they'd do with their dad, it just wouldn't happen because, well, he's LAZY.

Suggestions, please? I'm seriously contemplating not sending them home with any presents.
post #2 of 19
*sigh*

No real suggestions, just comiseration. My inlaws, not my Huz, but still. Are your kids old enough to do anything on their own--activities? Thinking you could buy them "membership" into something. We had my newphew (who lives with the inlaws) going to Boy Scouts for a while, but then they stopped taking him....

Subbing for ideas.
post #3 of 19
What about signing them up for some kind of kid classes? Ballet, cooking, music, dance, acting, sports? Our local community education center has tons of classes for kids- you can go to their website and sign the kid up (and pay of course).
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justKate View Post
*sigh*

No real suggestions, just comiseration. My inlaws, not my Huz, but still. Are your kids old enough to do anything on their own--activities? Thinking you could buy them "membership" into something. We had my newphew (who lives with the inlaws) going to Boy Scouts for a while, but then they stopped taking him....

Subbing for ideas.
My DD is 12 and my son is 8 years old. DD used to be in girl scouts, but her father stopped taking her. Even if I did pay for them to go to camps or the like, I fear my ex husband would not take them. He doesn't have regular access to a vehicle. If I bought them gift certificates to go out to eat, my ex husband would use them all up on his own, promising the kids he'd "make it up to them". My kids would not keep a gift secret from their dad, unfortunately, so they set themselves up to get their gifts stolen.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama_y_sol View Post
What about signing them up for some kind of kid classes? Ballet, cooking, music, dance, acting, sports? Our local community education center has tons of classes for kids- you can go to their website and sign the kid up (and pay of course).
Unfortunately, I don't think my ex husband would take them. He's lazy. He doesn't have access to a vehicle, and even though the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club are within walking distance, I can't count on him to take the kids. The weather would be bad one day and he wouldn't want to walk the kids in the rain, then he wouldn't feel well, and then, well, they've already missed a couple days, why bother going back, ykwim? He wouldn't appreciate the gifts at all and would see it as something that could be ignored.
post #6 of 19
Seeing this from the front page . . . are they interested in things that aren't exactly pawnable, say art supplies or books?

Even though books can be sold used, at least maybe they could keep them until they've read them.
post #7 of 19
At 12 and 8, I'd tell the truth: "you're not taking stuff back to your dad's house, because I know you won't get to keep it." Do something special with them while they're with you, maybe buy a game system or something that lives at your house and is always there for them when they visit - but if you're dealing with somebody who is a low enough creature to steal from his children, then the best gift you can give them is to acknowledge what is happening, refuse to play the game, and do everything you can to bring them home to you. If this has been a pattern, then they know their dad steals from them, even if they won't talk about it with you. It will likely be a relief to them that you understand and won't put them in the position of (fruitlessly) defending a prized/valuable possession such as a netbook.

post #8 of 19
hmmm I'm stumped right now, but will keep thinking.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtYourCervices View Post
I was thinking about buying an outing for them... something fun they could DO instead of an item that would be trashed. However, if it was something they'd do with their dad, it just wouldn't happen because, well, he's LAZY.

Suggestions, please? I'm seriously contemplating not sending them home with any presents.
It sounds like they'll be spending some time at your house? Why not schedule the fun outing to be while they're with you instead of while they're with your ex?
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
It sounds like they'll be spending some time at your house? Why not schedule the fun outing to be while they're with you instead of while they're with your ex?
We're planning on doing that anyways. We're going to go to a couple plays for the holidays.
post #11 of 19
If they have a washer on premises, your 12yo could wash clothes for themself - so that could make clothing a usable gift.

Unless your Ex is really something else, maybe a watch would work - they'd be wearing it all the time so it'd be hard to pawn without slipping it away in their sleep or something...

Would your ex pawn a used scooter/bike? I wouldn't think they'd be worth much, but would be a fun present.

HTH

Tjej
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post
If they have a washer on premises, your 12yo could wash clothes for themself - so that could make clothing a usable gift.

Unless your Ex is really something else, maybe a watch would work - they'd be wearing it all the time so it'd be hard to pawn without slipping it away in their sleep or something...

Would your ex pawn a used scooter/bike? I wouldn't think they'd be worth much, but would be a fun present.

HTH

Tjej
Ex already has the 12 y/o wash laundry, and he doesn't keep her on task so it never gets done.

Something like a watch would definitely work. However, as soon as the battery would die, that would be the end of that.

I did give my 12 y/o daughter a bicycle the summer before last. I even gave her a bike lock so she could keep it from being "stolen". Then my ex started riding her bike around town (yes, he rode his then 11 year old daughter's bike around town). Soon, the bike "disappeared". He sold it.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtYourCervices View Post
Ex already has the 12 y/o wash laundry, and he doesn't keep her on task so it never gets done.

Something like a watch would definitely work. However, as soon as the battery would die, that would be the end of that.
Get a fresh battery put in when you purchase it, and it'll at least last until your next visit with them. My watch batteries tend to last 3ish years.
post #14 of 19
Maybe I've been watching too many TV commercials, but how about a trip instead of things? Walt Disney World, or a weekend of snowskiing, or something else that your kids would both enjoy?

If you do get a laptop for the kids, perhaps you could have it engraved (I think there is a different term that applies, but it isn't coming to mind) with Property of Your Child's Name and Your Name with your phone number inscribed in the metal to cut down on the odds of a pawn shop owner accepting the item.

When I was around 9 my grandmother gave me a shadowbox and a couple of ceramic figurines that I then started collecting. I would ride my bike to the mall every weekend to spend my allowance on little ceramic horses and penguins and dogs, and dozens of other animals. Maybe there is something your DD would like to collect that you could start her on and then send a new item each month?

I gave my DD and nieces a "subscription" last year to the "Tanya Times" where each month I mail them a package with either books or crafts or other little things to do or make.

12 is old enough to discuss the issue with. What does your 12 year old say regarding the possibility of pawning?

What a stinky problem to have. I hope you find a good solution.
post #15 of 19
What about etching your name/number onto any pawnable items that you give to the kids? It might serve as a deterrent to him. I know that pawn shops have stolen goods in them, but not so much with identifying information, right?

Do either of the kids have an mp3 player? You can get them pretty inexpensively now, and maybe they could be given with an extra set of batteries? This might be a good option for low initial cost/ resale value yet still be something the kids think is really cool?
post #16 of 19
thats awful all of it, I hope your kids come to live with you soon!
post #17 of 19
Hmm. Magazine subscriptions?
post #18 of 19
I would just go with great events while they're with you and then photo albums so they know you're thinking about them and can remember the great times they had with you.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mummoth View Post
What about etching your name/number onto any pawnable items that you give to the kids? It might serve as a deterrent to him. I know that pawn shops have stolen goods in them, but not so much with identifying information, right?
That was my first thought.
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