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To think that it is pointless buying a Christmas present for my estranged nephew.

(9 Posts)
pongonperdy Mon 15-Nov-10 16:54:31

DH and his brother have not spoken for two years over a big row. (long story and unlikely to be a reconciliation) BIL has since had a new baby. DH does not want his brother sending our children gifts. Despite this they still send birthday, christmas gift vouchers. DH and I don't see the point in them doing so or us sending their baby gifts. We are never likely to meet the child let alone have an active part in his life. I don't think it's fair on the children getting gifts from random family members they don't know.

Am I being unreasonable?

MrsNonSmoker Mon 15-Nov-10 17:10:25

You've got my attention, as I am in a similar boat. DH and his brother (and his brother's family) had an almighty bust up with us 9 years ago, they never speak to me and refuse to acknowledge me, but they have insisted on sending cards and gifts to our two children, they even wrote to my DD1 when she was 3 years old, saying that they were sad they "weren't allowed to see her" ... wtf? Maybe I'm BU, but you are not. My kids are now worried by these cards, usually containing cash, addressed to "Dear Niece" etc., coming out of the blue and have actually asked me to stop them arriving. As far as I can see they only do this so that they can say look what kind people we are, despite how horrible the parents are we still send gifts, aren't we fab.

Other than make sure I recognise their handwriting, intercept the post and send it back I'm not sure what I could do short of a solicitor's letter! YANBU.

Vallhala Mon 15-Nov-10 17:14:09

Not in my opinion. If the rift is truly that great and the damage irrepairable there's no point, it just keeps wounds open longer.

There's been such a breakdown in this family too. AFAIAC the relationships I had are over and I've moved on. I never want any more to do with the 3 family members I've fallen out with and that they have children whom I will never see again is just unfortunate.

I'd certainly be very unhappy about them continuing to send gifts to my children as it would IMO give them some idea that the channels of communication might be slightly ajar, when they most ddefinitely are not.

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 15-Nov-10 17:21:15

The falling-out was between your DH and his brother. It is your choice to have no contact with your BiL/Sil, but your children are not and never should be involved. This is not just your nephew but your children's cousin. A first cousin.

For context, my sister has not spoken to me for some years now and I don't expect that to change anytime soon, but she sends gifts to my son and I encourage him to e-mail/phone his thanks to her. His relationship with his aunt and uncle is not close, but it exists and has nothing to do with the relationship between me and my sister.

Vallhala Mon 15-Nov-10 17:28:19

Doesn't it depend on the reason for the falling out and even whether the estranged family would try to use contact with DC as a way of upsetting the applecart further in any way, WhereYouLeftIt?

I wouldn't dream of letting two of the three warped, toxic members of my family anywhere near my girls and nor the third until he comes to his senses wrt the other two. There is no way I would allow them to cause my children the heartache they have caused me over the years.

I'm not suggesting that pongonperdy's experience is similar, but it might be.

pongonperdy Mon 15-Nov-10 17:37:52

I think it is hypocritical of me to say that my children can have a relationship with their uncle and aunt if we don't. What does that say to them.

Also whereyouleftit, how do cousins have a relationship if their parents don't? Not meaning to be negative but I don't see how that is healthy.

Briar Mon 15-Nov-10 17:45:40


I always returned any gifts/cards/letters sent via my toxic family member to my children...finally after 3 years the gifts etc stopped.

I would deem myself irresponsible to protect myself from the toxic relationship but not protect my children.

SparklingExplosionGoldBrass Mon 15-Nov-10 18:13:43

It depends on the reason for the falling out. If your BIL and his partner are violent drug abusers or something, or even just very manipulative, unpleasant people who you are better off having no contact with, then you could send a solicitor's letter or indeed just write a formal letter yourself (or rather your H could) instructing them to make no further approaches to you and not send any gifts. Technically, sending unwanted gifts and cards to another person is harassment, and you can take legal action to have it stopped.
Though this is pretty bloody drastic if it's just some crappy family squabble and both sides are being silly.

pongonperdy Mon 15-Nov-10 18:28:59

They are not that bad. Just self absorbed selfish and manipulative. I doubt very much that the gifts are heart felt. More likely so that they feel they have the moral high ground. I main difficulty that they live at the other end of the country to us and have always refused to discuss the argument over the phone. They will only discuss it in person. DH and his brother have never met up to try to sort things out and my DH has no intention of doing so as he doesn't like his brother or his wife.

Prior to the fight they rarely saw each other or exchanged gifts etc.

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