Advanced search

to think BIL + SIL should either give to all or none?

(15 Posts)
3duracellbunnies Sun 07-Oct-12 12:35:32

Each year they give christmas presents to all my dc, but they only send a birthday card for ds but presents for both dd. I wouldn't mind although the girls might if they didn't send any presents (on my side of the family we only do presents at Christmas). At the moment ds is only just 3, and his birthday is at a different time of year so it's not a big problem, but I'm worried it might be in the future.

I can understand why it might be diffiicult for them as the dd were both born before BIL+SIL were married, while ds was born about a year after. They haven't had any children, they don't usually talk about it, so we don't ask despite lots of comments from FIL I think it is probably too late for them now. I just don't know how to get dh to tackle the topic. I mean we could get something extra for ds, but then that might be awkward if he or the girls talk to them about the present/ thank you cards etc. Any advice?

AgentZigzag Sun 07-Oct-12 12:48:33

YANBU because you've looked at how this came about and so aren't being grabby or anything, you're just thinking of how it might hurt your DS in the future.

I don't think you could bring it up with them without risking them taking offence, but it does make it difficult not being able to make the difference up yourself.

Do you think they've genuinely not thought that they leave him out? Or if they have, that because it's at a different time of year they forget and don't feel comfortable saying anything when they remember?

The other explanation is they're doing it on purpose, but if they think about your DDs that doesn't sound to be the case.

I'm not sure what the answer is grin A third party subtly pointing it out?

diddl Sun 07-Oct-12 12:51:54

Can´t your husband just ask his brother why his nieces get bday presents but his nephew doesn´t?

wildfig Sun 07-Oct-12 12:54:07

How involved are they with the children generally? I do all the gift-buying for children in our house, and I never know what to get little boys, especially if I don't see them often and know what they like - it's much easier (when you don't have kids yourself) to pick up something for a little girl.

Maybe phoning for a chat/calling round a few weeks before his next birthday, and casually mention that it's coming up/you're planning a party or something would give your SIL or BIL the opportunity to say, Oh, yes, what would be a nice present?

thebody Sun 07-Oct-12 12:58:20

It's odd but maybe it's because ds is only 3 so they don't feel he understands/cares.

Still it's not a fair policy going forward, I would just get your dh to chat about your side of the family's policy on presents and just say Christmas only. If they push back then tell the truth.

wildfig Sun 07-Oct-12 13:05:59

Also what does despite lots of comments from FIL mean?

3duracellbunnies Sun 07-Oct-12 13:08:19

I don't think dh would discuss it, BIL is rather domineering and dh is too sensitive and would hate to cause any offence.

I really don't know if it is deliberate or not, or maybe subconscious. If they always forgot then it might make more sense, but they sent a card (which ds was delighted with - then drew all over it).

Each year I wonder whether they have decided not to send for birthdays, so I don't ask as that would seem grabby, but then come february presents arrive for the girls. I don't want to seem ungrateful and say not to bother with birthdays, as dh + BIL still swop presents at birthdays, as do FIL, they make much more of birthdays than my family (cards + money in bank from GP). With his family it is always a present, no gift/wish list, they don't usually ask what would x like, which is nice as it is always a surprise. It would seem strange though to say FIL can give but not BIL, but FIL is of an age where I don't think he would accept a change of protocol.

3duracellbunnies Sun 07-Oct-12 13:27:25

Sorry lots of X posts. FIL is often commenting on the lack of them having any children in a rather insensitive way, to us and them i.e. He thought I was SIL (we look similar from the back) and was saying what a good dad BIL would be and he did hope that I would give him a child soon, he apologised when he realised it was me and said he thought I was SIL (I said never to say that to SIL, but I have little doubt, based on the number of times that he mentions it with us there that he is still making comments)- that sort of insensitive!

They aren't massively involved with the children, they were much more involved and keen to see them a few years ago, but now there is often a reason why any plans aren't practical, which I guess I see as that it is just too hard to see our manic little family when they don't have their own children. I totally get that I found it hard enough when we were trying for 6 months for dd1 and a year for dd2, they are now of an age that I am guessing that as it hasn't happened in the past 4 years or so it might not happen.

So far ds has only had trips out for his birthday with just us, or this year he wanted 3 friends. Next year we might do a bigger party and invite them, but all our family live quite a long way away, our house is tiny and I didn't want to overwhelm ds. SIL has nephews a little bit older, and their presents are always appropriate, but as I say I wouldn't mind if they decided to give no presents, but it seems I am NBU to think that maybe next year we should say something.

diddl Sun 07-Oct-12 13:37:16

How old were the girls when the present sending started?

If your so is that age, phone after his bday & say that his present must have got lost in the post.

Sad that your husband would rather keep the peace with his brother than find out why his son is being treated differently.

Goldenjubilee10 Sun 07-Oct-12 13:47:32

Ds3 is 6 and really wouldn't notice who had given presents and who had given cards if we didn't make a big deal about it. I wouldn't draw it to the children's attention and, especially as it is at a different time of year, play it down and he probably won't notice.

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 14:25:28

I probably wouldn't worry about it too much and see what happens. Even if your DS continues not to receive birthday presents he may not notice for a few more years and there is no harm in telling him that your DBIL probably just forgets and doesn't mean anything by it. DC's don't always take offence in the same way adults do.

My relatives are all flakey about when and if they give but it doesn't bother any of my DC's.

3duracellbunnies Sun 07-Oct-12 14:30:25

They have always given presents to the girls since they were tiny, but yes you are probably right Golden that he won't notice yet. And maybe they will find it easier as he gets older and less like a baby though I think he is just adoreable now!

diddl Sun 07-Oct-12 14:35:03

Of course he won´t notice.

But if the girls got presents from birth-why wouldn´t he?

And if they don´t know what to buy-they could ask or send vouchers!

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 07-Oct-12 14:55:03

The trouble is that at some point your DS will notice that he is treated differently from his big sisters, so I really do think it is worth breaching the subject with them. I think you can forget your DH dealing with it. You've described your BIL as "rather domineering" - would you prefer to approach your SIL about this? Or do you feel that she would find it too upsetting? Domineering BIL might be best one to approach (but I'm probably saying that because I care less about the feelings of domineering types).

Whether their actions are deliberate or subconscious does not matter one whit. They are remembering it is his birthday (hence the card) and are choosing to treat him differently to his sisters. I would approach it from that angle - ask him "I have been wondering - why do you treat DS differently to his sisters? Why do you send them presents, but not him?" It's impossible to make that sound completely uncritical (criticism would be imagined even if it were possible, so don't stress yourself on this point) but try to just sound enquiring. Listen to the answer. Although frankly, it doesn't really matter what the answer is. It's the action that's the problem, not the reason behind the action. When he has given his answer, then you must make the appropriate noises, but ask him to be the same uncle to all of his nieces and nephews. Just tell him that you don't want DS to notice this favouritism, because it would hurt his feelings and possibly affect his relationships with BIL/SIL (feeling unloved) and his sisters (resentful of them being loved). Whether they all get presents or they none of them get presents is up to him, but you must insist that they are treated equally.

Yes, your heart will beat at 200/minute as you prepare to raise the subject, you may blush and stumble over your words a bit, he may try and bluster. You will feel very uncomfortable throughout. It is still worth doing it now, before DS is aware of it.

I do not think you will "seem ungrateful" if you "say not to bother with birthdays". The fact that they buy birthday presents for your DH and your DDs, but not your DS (oh - do they buy you one?) and that "they make much more of birthdays" than your family makes this leaving out of your DS very, very strange. And to be discouraged in the strongest terms.

3duracellbunnies Sun 07-Oct-12 15:17:46

SIL and I just exchange presents at Christmas, which suits us both fine, I like her, and we get on fine when we see her, but over the years she has been around less and less when we are there (they live 10 min from FIL, we live about 2hrs away). We see her at Christmas, but neither of us feel massively comfortable around FIL, I see much more of him than she does, and she is often out with friends or sleeping when BIL comes and see the dc. He always seems fine with all three of them, I wouldn't say that he massively plays with the girls more than ds, although the girls are older so more expressive/demanding of his attention. I think I might find it easier to talk to SIL, BIL is the sort of person who would argue that the world isn't round just because someone else said it was.

I guess it feels harder because my sister, although she gives same to each child at Christmas, always goes on about how much she wishes she had girls like me so she could go shopping and buy lots of clothes with them; even though my girls like shopping much less than ds. She has two boys and wishes she had girls. Maybe I should just be more thankful that I have three lovely little children, boys or girls. I will maybe leave it for now and see if it changes as he gets more aware. Thanks for all your perspectives, I will discuss it with dh again, he is v protective of ds so might discuss it.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: