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Dealing with gifts during holidays, birthdays, etc... help! - Page 2

post #21 of 61

You can be concerned about what toys they're given, or you can be concerend about whether they're having politeness modelled to t hem and whether they're being raised to have a good realtionship with their grandparents. But there is no polite way to tell people what presents to buy your kid. If you don't like a present, say "thank you" anyway and donate it.

post #22 of 61

 

Quote:
i was hoping there would be suggestions as to how to bring it up in a loving peaceful way, that's what i was looking for.

 

I don't think there really is a good way to bring up presents tactfully, unless someone asks you first. It might be a good idea to be prepared with something like an Amazon wish list (or I think there are websites you can use to make a wish list from anywhere on the web), or somehow spread the word through relatives - if there is one person you know who can tell others....


Good luck. I've tried for years and some relatives "get it" and others, no matter how directly I've asked them to please not buy battery toys or GIGANTIC TOYS THAT BARELY FIT IN OUR HOUSE - they still do. :( At least with a baby you can donate or return the gifts without her noticing.

post #23 of 61
Thread Starter 

thanks i really liked your response and suggestions. especially your wisdom about it being a delicate dance. and, about having your home and lifestyle to work for you - that's how i feel about it too, but much of what i hear is that i need to respect everyone else's standards and not expect any respect in return.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pandd06 View Post

 

My MIL is a dear woman who shows her love through giving gifts and we so appreciate her. But, we also want to have our home to the standards that work for our small space and lifestyle. It is a delicate dance of respect and appreciation and boundaries.



 

post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

You can be concerned about what toys they're given, or you can be concerend about whether they're having politeness modelled to t hem and whether they're being raised to have a good realtionship with their grandparents. But there is no polite way to tell people what presents to buy your kid. If you don't like a present, say "thank you" anyway and donate it.


Yes, this.  I would  MUCH rather my children learn grace and courtesy than to have the best toys.  I buy my children exactly what I want them to have.  Other people gift what they feel the child would like.  We accept every gift with the grace and courtesy I want my children to learn.  After all, it's far better to learn to be polite than to always get what you want.  I do let my child have every gift they are given unless it is really an unsafe choice (very very very rare...I'm talking about a gift meant for a school age kid, and I have a toddler or something like that)...eventually the ones they don't play with anymore get donated.  But I have no right to take away my children's personal property (by taking a gift immediately and not letting them have it) or tell someone else how to spend their money.  

 

It is far more important to teach your children how to be gracious gift receivers....

 

(And personally, I've found that it is far more likely that we'd receive a gift that was against our ideals if we outright mentioned that we didn't like something.  Oh, we don't like plastic toys that suck up batteries and make noise?  Well, here's this fantastic new toy that is just PERFECT...it's the latest trend...and a couple packs of batteries with it!  Not really to be spiteful, but because in someone else's eyes, the toys that are the "it" toys are exactly the ones that they believe all children like....and truth be told, most of them DO like those toys, even if one thinks there is little redeeming value to it... ;-) )

 

post #25 of 61
Thread Starter 

But I would never teach a child to accept any gift with anything but politeness, courtesy, grace, gratitude, etcetera. That is so not an issue that I have.

Not to toot my own horn, but I'm a pretty polite person, something I learned as a child, and I know I would pass that on to my kid(s).

While it is important to consider the giver and receive gifts in a good spirit, I'm also considering a lot of other aspects of gift-receiving. 

And, yes, the gifts are given to the children and I'm so sure they do enjoy them, but isn't it the role of parents to decide what's good or bad in a kid's environment until they are able to choose for themselves? Also, a lot of these things don't just come into contact with our children - they affect the world we live in. I don't feel so great about my kid playing with something made, for example, in a sweat shop where children work. 

Anyways, I'm just discussing for the sake of discussion now. This has gotten kind of interesting philosophically.

 

post #26 of 61

What they learn most is what you model, not what you try to teach them.

 

And no, you don't control your child's entire environment. Some people try to, but it's an illusion. You can control what toys you'll keep in your home, but you can't control what presents people choose to give your kids. If you find something is really awful, then take it to Goodwill. Trying to control how people give gifts will just lead to resentment, and I do worry that it can teach kids to become entitled. "I get to decide what gifts I get."

post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinasMommy View Post

And, yes, the gifts are given to the children and I'm so sure they do enjoy them, but isn't it the role of parents to decide what's good or bad in a kid's environment until they are able to choose for themselves?


This stuck out to me. I know to some, this is just an issue of simply not wanting plastic noisy toys... and I don't want them either... but I also found that DS cannot HANDLE being around noisy plastic toys. He gets overstimulated and jumpy. Maybe this is just because of his sensory issues, and other kids have no problem at all with them, but somehow I suspect that bright flashing noisy toys DO affect many children in various ways.

But I also agree with the majority here that you can't & shouldn't try to dictate what others give your kids. I feel like it's a bit of an issue for us still. Last year, one side of the family asked for suggestions & understood (and respected) our desire for simpler toys. We never totally discussed it with the other side of the family, though we did send along DS's wish list when we asked for theirs. He got a pile (HUGE pile) of noisy plastic toys. We kept maybe 2 of them (the ones that didn't make noise or anything) and returned or donated the rest. I don't know if I can do that this year because he's older now & might (though might not) ask for them if they disappear. Just because I know they are 'bad' for him doesn't mean he knows that, he still wants to play with them of course, so it puts us in a tough situation. All I can come up with this year is when that part of the family visits soon, we might subtly mention something about how the noisy toys affect him. It will have to be handled carefully so if the right opportunity doesn't come up we won't discuss it.

Also, what annoys me is that the pile of noisy toys weren't exactly chosen for him. They were the toys they thought his cousin would like, and since they are the same age, they felt they had to get oth kids an identical set of gifts. For some reason, that really bothers me... I guess because they didn't really get to know him??? IDK. But anyway. We did accept graciously and they don't visit often so never noticed we got rid of them all. But at some point I have to think of how this affects DS too, and how it will feel to him to have most of his presents just disappear...

And I think this whole issue affects parents of babies/toddlers/preschoolers more than those with school-age kids... By school age you've relinquished a lot of control and the kids' interests get more specific and the noisy flashing toys are more directed toward little kids (aside from video games etc.)
post #28 of 61

 

 

Quote:
But I also agree with the majority here that you can't & shouldn't try to dictate what others give your kids

 

 

I really don't get this?

Why is it except-able to have a baby shower and make a wish list (as with a wedding) and not once you have a child spell out what is desired?

 

by dictate I mean flat out- there are things we will not use on our child (when an infant) - we used disposables and only used one brand- we made it clear, same with other products we used (for medical reasons) this was all we were using, if we got something else it was donated- it was a dictate and people got it

 

this progressed on to toys as the child ages, given the size of our place, my DH's job (and that was clear to friends and family so they knew where we were coming from) these all factored into what we said we would and would not have in our home-----it is to us about respect for our form of parenting

 

make things clear-" thank you but this is simply not something we want for our child to have"--that doesn't mean it's rude to say it- there clearly are certain times we do this

 

 

we don't do random candy (everyone seems to want to give infants candy for some reason) we say no, same with gifts

 

we made a clear list of no's and it was easy to pick things we did want, what it spelled out was what we would not have in our home

 

 

 

if you are anti gun and someone gets your say 5 year old a play gun as a gift are you really going smile and say thank you?

 

we simply are not

 

making things clear from the start avoids a lot of problem gifts later on

post #29 of 61
Thread Starter 

well, since i am a polite person, i feel i would model politeness and all that good stuff without even trying. modeling is a form of teaching, right?

 

also, i never said i would try or recommend controlling anyone's entire environment. that's laughable. i can't even control my diet 100%, or a lot of things about myself and my environment - there are things that are just not in my hands. but i am a parent and i have the right and the responsibility to make certain decisions until she's capable of doing so for herself. i'm understanding that this is an issue where people can choose how much responsibility they want to take with it.

 

maybe the entitlement could become an issue. i hadn't thought of that, but i'm definitely thinking it through right now.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

What they learn most is what you model, not what you try to teach them.

 

And no, you don't control your child's entire environment. Some people try to, but it's an illusion. You can control what toys you'll keep in your home, but you can't control what presents people choose to give your kids. If you find something is really awful, then take it to Goodwill. Trying to control how people give gifts will just lead to resentment, and I do worry that it can teach kids to become entitled. "I get to decide what gifts I get."



 

post #30 of 61
Thread Starter 

re: a couple of things people said:

 

1 - if someone gave your baby a pile of dog poo or an open bottle of corexit dispersant, would you smile and say thank you and take it home and let your baby play with it? 

 

2 - if your baby did play with it, and really really enjoyed it, would you continue to allow her to play with it because she was enjoying it so much in spite of the fact that there are very good reasons that you shouldn't allow her to?

 

these are, of course, very exaggerated scenarios, but i thought they would inject some humor into the discussion. orngbiggrin.gif

i'm not trying to be smarty pants.

(scenario #1 inspired by serenbat's last post smile.gif)

post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

I really don't get this?

Why is it except-able to have a baby shower and make a wish list (as with a wedding) and not once you have a child spell out what is desired?

 

People buying baby shower gifts and wedding gifts are coming from a slightly different focus. They're looking at establishing a household or gathering items for a new baby...basically, they're all about starting out, in one way or another. While the forms have morphed, registering and wish lists were just so the bride/mom to be didn't end up getting 12 place settings in three different china patterns (I never registered, and that's what I had for dishes...not china, though) or 24 sleepers and no nursing pillow. And, honestly - I got lots of wedding gifts and baby gifts that weren't on my wish lists. Some of them ended up being among my most treasured possessions. Even with weddings and showers, a wish list or registry isn't supposed to dictate gifts. I've always seen them more as a courtesy to the gift givers, honestly. If I really wanted to buy the new bride china, I'd want it to be a pattern she liked, yk? My family does a lot of wish lists. We also have a lot of conversations about what our kids are into. A lot of gifts are bought off the wish lists...and a lot of gifts aren't. .A wish list isn't an order (or it's not meant to be, anyway - it's called a Wish List, not a Demand List).

 

 

by dictate I mean flat out- there are things we will not use on our child (when an infant) - we used disposables and only used one brand- we made it clear, same with other products we used (for medical reasons) this was all we were using, if we got something else it was donated- it was a dictate and people got it

 

this progressed on to toys as the child ages, given the size of our place, my DH's job (and that was clear to friends and family so they knew where we were coming from) these all factored into what we said we would and would not have in our home-----it is to us about respect for our form of parenting

 

make things clear-" thank you but this is simply not something we want for our child to have"--that doesn't mean it's rude to say it- there clearly are certain times we do this

 

we don't do random candy (everyone seems to want to give infants candy for some reason) we say no, same with gifts

 

Everybody has the right to say "no", of course. But, a gift is between the giver and the recipient. It's not just about the recipient. While I completely understand that it would be frustrating to get a bunch of stuff one doesn't want, for whatever reason, that's the nature of gifts. Personally, I'd state that I want no gifts before I'd dictate what people get for my kids.

 


if you are anti gun and someone gets your say 5 year old a play gun as a gift are you really going smile and say thank you?

 

we simply are not

 

I don't know how other people handle that one, and I'm not anti toy guns. But, I am anti-Bratz dolls...and dd1 has two. They were given to her, not to me, and I'm not going to tell her that something she really likes is so awful that I won't have it in the house. (I have to admit that, over the last couple of years, I've begun to find some amusement in her Bratz doll going to bed in her Plan Toys dollhouse.) And, yes - we smiled and said, "thank you" when she opened them.

 

making things clear from the start avoids a lot of problem gifts later on

 

That's not always true, in any case. Not everyone will respect that kind of thing, and some families end up dealing with just as much stuff, and a whole lot of family drama, over this issue. I've always been pretty lucky that way - my family and dh's family are very sensible about quantities, and mostly very sensible about specific items. So, it's been easy for us. But, that's not true for everyone.



 

post #32 of 61

This reminds me of something that I thought about saying in response to my MIL. She was saying on several occasions 'oh well, a little bit of plastic/ nitrates/ white bread/ sugar etc. won't hurt' when we were telling her why we don't want our baby to have those things (or ourselves for that matter) because nitrates in meats cause cancer, white bread leads to intestinal disorders, sugar to diabetes etc. Of course I know that he will have those things occasionally when he's older, but he's less than a year old, so gets none of it for now. But I wondered if she would say the same thing if had been smoking during my pregnancy : )

We'll see if I ever have the guts to say that to her...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NinasMommy View Post

re: a couple of things people said:

 

1 - if someone gave your baby a pile of dog poo or an open bottle of corexit dispersant, would you smile and say thank you and take it home and let your baby play with it? 

 

2 - if your baby did play with it, and really really enjoyed it, would you continue to allow her to play with it because she was enjoying it so much in spite of the fact that there are very good reasons that you shouldn't allow her to?

 

these are, of course, very exaggerated scenarios, but i thought they would inject some humor into the discussion. orngbiggrin.gif

i'm not trying to be smarty pants.

(scenario #1 inspired by serenbat's last post smile.gif)



 

post #33 of 61
Luckily for me, both of our families love wish lists, but we don't ban plastics in our house. They go off on their own sometimes and get other things, but we found sticking with giving them a list of good ideas was a positive way to have a little influence. My MIL has still bought my dd TONS of Disney movies which remain unopened/sold/given away. I did try to gently say that she didn't really like movies at a time that wasn't around bday or holiday, but I guess I was so gentle that she didn't get the point. But it's OK. Once in a while, she'll hit on a movie my dd likes, and my dd definitely thinks of others before she speaks so it's all good.
post #34 of 61

In response to the dog poop question, no I would not say thank you and let my child play with dog poop. LOL. It would obviously be rude for someone to give me dog poop so I would not accept it and leave, and probably cut off contact over something so awful.

 

But if their heart is in the right place, then it is rude to think you are entitled to choose what gifts people give you, and it is ungrateful to not thank people for them. You don't have to keep them in your home if you do think they are harmful, and you can donate them to Goodwill and someone else will llove them. But you aren't entitled to only get gifts you like. Gifts are gifts, they aren't things you order.

Whether I'd keep something if my child loved it would probably depend on how horrible it was and how old the child was. Case-by-case decision on that kind of thing.

post #35 of 61

I would first handle it by communicating positively year round with them about your child's interests and the things they like best. They want to get your child things they will like.

"Little Sally made this picture for you. She absolutely loves to paint and draw. Our walls are a regular art gallery. We sure go through art supplies fast with her!" or "Jared loves farm animals. It is so cute how he lights up every time he sees a picture of a sheep. We were reading x book and he said 'baa' and pointed to the sheep!" "Dd loves the wood blocks at preschool. She loves building towers! Her teacher said it is really helping her motor skills. I wish we had a nice set of wood blocks for her at home."

 

Since your child is so young, you do not know these people well and your dp does not want to pursue it with them  I would wait and see how things go before I have a talk about appropriate vs. inappropriate items. I would honestly be more concerned about limiting quantity of gifts first and worry about types of gift later.

 

You can always get rid of items you or your child receive.

post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 

 


 

if you are anti gun and someone gets your say 5 year old a play gun as a gift are you really going smile and say thank you?


 

 



Yes. Yes I am.

Afterwards, I will deal with the gun or Bratz doll. But I will teach my children to say thank you, with a smile whenever they are given a gift.

post #37 of 61

Every time we visited my great grandmama when I was a child she gave us piles of, stuck together with age, ribbon candy.  She was housebound for the most part, and when she was growing up sweets were a true rarity.  

 

These were not candies we were encouraged to eat at home--and I'm sure my parents were not thrilled at the sticky mass of rock hard, yet at the same time, gooey stuff that traveled into the car with us.  

 

But, I don't remember most presents from childhood and I remember those candies.  Mostly because they tasted of love...and lint...but mostly love, because my grandmama was old and infirm and soon after those visits experienced a stroke which left her in a vegetative state.

 

Sometimes when folks don't know how to say "I love you" they buy or give something to try to show their love.  Unfortunately, many people think bright, loud, splashy and plastic is the most loving thing to give ("all the other kids I know LOVE this!"  "Oh, I saw it at the store and I just HAD to get it for her"; "I saw the add for this and it just looked to neat to pass up!").  

 

So, how something is received can represent how a person is loved in return (to the giver).  And, dictating presents can become a dance in which the giver feels that their love doesn't measure up or isn't good enough.  

 

Just my thoughts on this.  And, I was worried about the same thing as we approached our first holidays--and really, it wasn't an issue.  And, given our extended family dynamic, I sometimes wish it was (my son received NOTHING from my mother until he was almost a year old...and she rarely inquired after him).

post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by wishin'&hopin' View Post

So, how something is received can represent how a person is loved in return (to the giver).  And, dictating presents can become a dance in which the giver feels that their love doesn't measure up or isn't good enough.  

 

YES. That is how I feel about it, but I didn't know how to put it into words. To me dictating presents or refusing to accept something someone gives my child is equivalent to saying, "The present you lovingly chose for my child isn't good enough for us." There is just nothing good about sending that message to the relatives who love my child and want to be part of her life.

post #39 of 61

 

 

Quote:
Afterwards, I will deal with the gun or Bratz doll. But I will teach my children to say thank you, with a smile whenever they are given a gift.

 

 

we don't compromise our values for the sake of a gift- that is not a message we want sent to our child

 

understand the values (and in some cases morals) of the person getting the gift is also important and some gifters get it and show respect

 

frankly if the person that is giving you items that can't respect you, do you really want that message shown to your children?

 

random person giving a gift is not like a close person who is a part of your life and should have an understand of who you are (what you value and what messages you want your child to receive)- if they don't are they really giving you a gift from the heart? 

 

 

 

Quote:
I would honestly be more concerned about limiting quantity of gifts first

 

 

 

by dealing with our way we also have eliminated the excess and it sends the value message we want to our child


Edited by serenbat - 10/15/11 at 5:46pm
post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by wishin'&hopin' View Post

Every time we visited my great grandmama when I was a child she gave us piles of, stuck together with age, ribbon candy.  She was housebound for the most part, and when she was growing up sweets were a true rarity.  

 

These were not candies we were encouraged to eat at home--and I'm sure my parents were not thrilled at the sticky mass of rock hard, yet at the same time, gooey stuff that traveled into the car with us.  

 

But, I don't remember most presents from childhood and I remember those candies.  Mostly because they tasted of love...and lint...but mostly love, because my grandmama was old and infirm and soon after those visits experienced a stroke which left her in a vegetative state.

 

Oh, my - I almost choked up reading this. I remember visiting my paternal grandparents and being allowed to have one butterscotch candy from the candy dish. We didn't visit them very often (saw my maternal grandparents every weekend, because they were much, much closer), and that was the only place we ever got butterscotch. I rarely eat hard candies, but to this day, butterscotch makes me feel warm and cozy and reminds me of being at Nana's, watching the dachshund run around on the floor, and looking at her paintings. They tasted of love, for sure.

 

Sometimes when folks don't know how to say "I love you" they buy or give something to try to show their love.  Unfortunately, many people think bright, loud, splashy and plastic is the most loving thing to give ("all the other kids I know LOVE this!"  "Oh, I saw it at the store and I just HAD to get it for her"; "I saw the add for this and it just looked to neat to pass up!").  

 

So, how something is received can represent how a person is loved in return (to the giver).  And, dictating presents can become a dance in which the giver feels that their love doesn't measure up or isn't good enough.  

 

So, so, so well said. That's not a message I want to give my family and friends.

 

 

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