Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Since the custody change (almost-10-y-o SS came to live with us when he was 8-1/2; his mom lives across the country and lost custody for all she did to alienate him from my husband), my husband's ex pointedly outdoes us, with gifts and entertainment. We bought him a Firefly (kid's) cell phone to keep in touch with her, she replaced it with a camera phone. We gave him an iPod Shuffle for Christmas (a couple years after they came out, when the price went down) and she immediately replaced it with an iPod Nano. We get him a new bike, she gets him a moped. We take him camping, she takes him on a cruise to Mexico. Get the picture?
Sadly, her childhood family did a lot of cruel, alienating things to each other, after which large sums of money or noteable material things tended to be given as gifts, to inspire each other to make up and "bond" again. So, literally, material things were equated with love. There is no question that she is banking on getting my step-son to tell a judge when he's 14 that he wants to go back to live with her and she expects to accomplish this, in part, by convincing him that life with her is infinitely more lavish and entertaining.
Of course I'd hate for my stepson to be seduced in that way (living with his mom again would be markedly unhealthy for him, on a number of levels), but I also hate the thought of him being trained to become one of those kids who only appreciates heartfelt gifts that somebody sacrificed to be able to give him...until the newer version hits the shelves!
I took all 4 kids to run errands today, during which time my step-son said he wants an iPod Touch for his upcoming birthday. Should I tell him we can't afford one? (true) That we've already bought all his gifts? (true) That I think it's a bit obnoxious that he's only had his Nano a year, and scarcely uses it, but he wants to upgrade? (also true) That I'm really not that crazy about kids his age having all this technology and I wish he just wanted stuff like Legos and a slingshot? (again, true)
I thought for a minute and told him that I believed it had been a big deal to his mother, to give him the Nano; that sometimes the person and thought behind a gift is more important than whether it's the latest thing; and that if I were his Mom, I'd feel a little hurt that he wanted to replace it so quickly. Furthermore, if his Dad and I were the ones who replaced it, his Mom might feel like we were trying to show her up and outshine her gift to him, which we have no wish to do. Both his parents love him equally and they each give him the nicest gifts they're able to, so it would really be sad if it seemed like there were a contest to give him the better gift. I suggested we could spruce up what songs are loaded on his Nano, load some new photos, maybe figure out how to upload a new movie onto it, to watch on his flight out to see his Mom this summer - remind him what a nice thing that is to own, and remember how nice it was of his Mom to give it to him.
Thankfully, my step-son's not a brat and didn't push. And I'll bet that his Mom will buy him the Touch. But I was glad to have a more-or-less neutral opportunity to tell him directly how we wish material things would be handled - and I hope it'll stick with him a little, when he's with his Mom. ???
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate:
... twin sons:
(HS seniors) ... step-son:
(a sophomore) ... our little man:
(a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all