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Does 'fair' mean a similar amount is spent on each child?

(42 Posts)
evmil Mon 17-Nov-14 13:21:57

DSS1(15) has asked for a ridiculously expensive present for christmas and that and a stocking will be well over £1000. Me and DH have spoken about it and agreed he can have it. However, DH now thinks we need to spend more on DSS2(14), DSS3(12) and DS(4) to make it 'fairer' as it isn't rights to spend a lot more on one than you spend on the others.

I think he is wrong. For a start, once all DSS2's presents have all been bought it will be about £250 as it is (which is a lot) and he doesn't really want/need anything else. We have spent on DSS3 as he hasn't really asked for anything and also gets more than his brothers throughout the year as his hobby is expensive (practice, costumes, comps ect) so i think it evens itself out really. I refuse to spend more than about £100 on DS as i think its ridiculous to spend that much on such a small child and he has tonnes of toys that belong to his bothers that he plays with.

This is ignoring the fact that DSS2 and 3 will both get a lot of presents of their mom and her family whereas DSS1 doesn't. If DSS2 or 3 had asked for something this expensive it would of been split half and half.

Anyway, i basically think DH is being ridiculous. I am of the argument that it will even itself eventually as some years there is obviously gonna be a price difference in what is asked for between the boys.

Blu Mon 17-Nov-14 13:27:17

Definitely no need to shell out more for the 4 year old.

If DSS1's present is something like a computer you could tell them all that before they are 18 they can have one opportunity to have a REALLY expensive present. The 14 and 12 year olds will be keenly aware of the price of everything, so I don't think you need to give them gifts of equal value but I do think you should acknowledge that you know DSS1 has had an especially expensive present and they will get their turn.

ooerrmissus Mon 17-Nov-14 13:28:15

As a general rule I would say you have to spend the same amount. A couple of quid wouldn't matter but to spend 4 times as much on one child than the other is going to cause resentment.

RunawayReindeer Mon 17-Nov-14 13:28:51

It depends on how much the difference is imo... To be honest I wouldnt get one child 1000 and others 250 or less when they would be obviously able to see the difference (and they will notice at 14 and 12)

I don't think.it matters so much for the 4 year old as long as quantity is there but I would be very hesitant spending such a different amount on my dh's and not expecting disappointed faces.

Particularly the 12 year old as it is the cusp between childhood and adulthood.

ReallyTired Mon 17-Nov-14 13:30:51

I think that your DH has a point. Your step children are very close in age and are old enough to notice the difference. Spending £1K on one child and £250 on a child who is a year young is blatent favourism. Such favourism will ultimately damaging the relationship between you and your children.

If your younger children have not asked for expensive stuff then I feel you should put a similar amount of money into savings account for them.

Why do you need to spend so much on your children? Just because a child asks for a stupidly expensive present doesn't mean it right to give it to them. Givng children everything they ask for will create a generation of spoilt brats.

Leeds2 Mon 17-Nov-14 13:31:02

I don't think the 4 year old would notice, but I'm fairly certain that the other two would be aware of the discrepancy. I would find that very hard.

HoHoHappyHolidays Mon 17-Nov-14 13:31:22

You have to try and ensure each child is equally happy... this has nothing to do with how much money is spent on them!!!

RunawayReindeer Mon 17-Nov-14 13:31:58

Dc's sorry, not dh's.... I agree to some extent that you are going to have to explain that you get one big present before 18 yrs or something and their time will come if that's really the route you want to go.

Otherwise, and personally, I really do think in the spirit of fairness you are going to have to spend a similar (potentially nt exactly) amount on them

RunawayReindeer Mon 17-Nov-14 13:36:11

Sorry, did you say you havent spent anything on dss3 as he has money spent throughout the year on hobbies??

So to clarify you would be spending:
Dss1 (15)- £1000
Dss2 (14)- £250
Dss3 (12)- £0
Ds (4)- £100

??
They would have to be very understanding hmm

WaitingForMe Mon 17-Nov-14 13:37:23

I think Blu has the right idea.

FWIW DSS1 is getting a present worth £130 plus a stocking whereas DSS2 and DS are getting gifts worth £60 each. I want DSS1 to have this thing but don't see the need to go bigger than usual for the other two.

Incidentally were redecorating (including new bed) DSS2's room for his Birthday. That'll cost a lot more than we usually spend.

Mitzi50 Mon 17-Nov-14 13:39:56

My children are a year apart - for her 17th birthday my DD got a car from her dad. DS's (16 at the time) present from his dad that year was worth about £100. There was no resentment because he assumed that when he was 17 he would also get a car (he was correct). My point is that your older children are sufficiently mature to recognise fairness over time. IMO this would only be unfair if you repeatedly and consistently spent more on one child than on the others (I know a family where this happens)

VeryStressedMum Mon 17-Nov-14 13:40:06

The 4 year old won't notice but the older ones definitely will.
Your dh is right.

AndHarry Mon 17-Nov-14 13:44:53

I don't think you have to spend the same amount, just get gifts that are of similar non-monetary value to the recipients. E.g. DS1 is getting a £1k laptop that he wants and needs for studying. DS2 is getting the latest xBox game that he's been dying to have for the past 3 months and will, according to him, play every day for the rest of his life. That would seem fair to me. If DS1 was getting a £1k laptop and DS2 was getting Clarks school shoes, I think that would be unfair.

GooseyLoosey Mon 17-Nov-14 13:45:52

I was going to say no, but that was in the context of spending �40 on a main present for one and �65 on the other.

I think a �750 difference is another matter. Generally, I would say you have to even it out a bit. The one situation I might allow it is if it was "necessary" for some reason - like a laptop for GCSEs or a musical instrument where the child had a serious committment to music. There I think the expenditure could be justified by need and there would be no need to spend the same on each. Otherwise, I think you may have to.

MisForMumNotMaid Mon 17-Nov-14 13:48:46

This year DS1 has had a rather expensive computer and a TV/ monitor. DS2 has had a new TV, DD has had DS2's old TV (they're 11, 8 and 3).

DS2 knows that when he's older (going to high school)and if savings allow we'll get him a fancy PC (if thats what he wants). DD is happy with lots of little bits. All three will get some under tree presents for christmas but their gifts will in no way be financially equivalent. If that was the case we would not have got DS1's computer.

I think so long as its discussed it shouldn't be an issue.

Notbythehaironmychinnychinchin Mon 17-Nov-14 13:49:39

Agree with Goosey if it is something "necessary" then explain this and as blu said, maybe even it out in different years.

Hushabyelullaby Mon 17-Nov-14 13:51:57

There are 4 of us and we always had the same amount spent on us. I think your DH is right (jmo obviously), but spending loads more on one child looks like favouritism. Whether it is or isn't is another matter, but to children (apart from the 4 yr old), it would probably look that way.

ChippingInAutumnLover Mon 17-Nov-14 13:52:57

I think you are right. DSS2 & 3 can be told they get much more every birthday and christmas as it is and if, in the future, there is something 'big' they really want, you will consider it.

Boomtownsurprise Mon 17-Nov-14 13:56:34

I wouldn't put the computer as Xmas present. It's mainly for homework/education.

I'd buy a computer but give games for Xmas. A computer is imo not a gift so much as a necessity at that age.

Does it have to be in his room? Can other dc use?

evmil Mon 17-Nov-14 13:57:44

Thanks all for your responses. The general consensus seems to be I have to do something to make it a bit fairer

Just to clarify, DSS3 is getting something, i wouldn't buy him nothing! He is getting an iPad off his mom (the only thing he has actually asked for) so i have bought some accessories to go with that, a lego set i think he will like and some bots for his stocking already. Will probably spend about £200 on him.

I think i will try the you all get a one big year idea. I just don't see the point shelling out £1000's when there is noting they actually want. It would be £750 of things me and DH have picked for them as there is nothing that DSS2 and 3 have really asked for. Tbh would be happy just giving them the money as then they could just buy as and when they see things they actually want throughout the year.

It is a laptop btw (well a macbook) they currently have one really old laptop between them which is on its last legs. As for the cost, like i say it was something me and DH did have a big think about. DSS1 gets considerable less than DSS2 and 3 for christmas and has done since they were small as they get a lot of stuff from their moms side.

Lastly, i know they will notice (well bar DS he won't be bothered!) and i do think that maybe it is slightly unfair on them. I will have a word with DH and both of them and see what they think about the idea of them having more spent on them at another time when there is something expensive they actually want

Boomtownsurprise Mon 17-Nov-14 13:58:24

Also agree with mitzi

AugustaGloop Mon 17-Nov-14 14:01:24

I would go the route of explaining to the other older ones that it is a one off and they too will get their opportunity to a get a more expensive gift one year when there is something they really want. If you have money, stick it in a bank accoutn so they can see it is there.
I am sure my DC would understand that.
Otherwise, if you spend 1k on them all this year, what happens when in another year one of the others wants something really expensive - you have to spend vast amounts on them all all over again.

Frogme Mon 17-Nov-14 14:10:50

I like the idea of one big present each

But also

I think you need to chat with dss's 2 and 3, and say that you will spend a little more on dss1 and eventually ds because they only have you to buy for them. They should be able to understand the fairness of that.

TheAlias Mon 17-Nov-14 14:29:06

For my Dc it very much depends what the wants are, how much I approve of them and what the chances are of me "having" to buy it anyway.

e.g. If anyone needs a new bike they'd get it. But that doesn't mean everyone gets the equivalent value of a bike this year, someone else will get one next year.

DS2 wants a piano, which I approve of, so we will probably engineer some way of FC bringing a family present, although it will be DS2 who mostly benefits. Other than that DS2 has asked mostly for more plastic toys, of which he has too many already, so we won't be getting those.

DS1 has asked for some camping stuff and again, I approve, so he'll be getting that. (but it won't cost as much as a piano!)

A Lap top that was to be used for schoolwork as well as fun I would probably justify (to myself) on the grounds that it was "needed"

I try and make it more or less equal in terms of number of presents and excitement value to the recipient. So, if DS1's biggest want is cheaper than DS2's main request but they want the things equally, I wouldn't worry about making everything equal in terms of cost IYSWIM.

Agree is one child was a lot younger than the other, there's no need to make things equal at all and if one gets a lot more spent on hobbies then Christmas can be a time to even that out, or not, if it doesn't fit in with what you were planning to buy.

AppleAndBlackberry Mon 17-Nov-14 14:55:04

I think it would be fair if the others were given the opportunity to have a laptop at the same age and I would explain it explicitly to the ones that are old enough to understand. I would not see it as a requirement to spend 4k so that they all have the same, that is a lot of money (for us anyway)!

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