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Too many presents

(12 Posts)
Failedspinster Fri 02-Jan-15 08:20:03

Potentially sensitive situation that I'd like some advice about in order to navigate without causing offence.

My MIL is a lovely woman with a great big heart, who adores our two DS. She lives about forty miles away but visits regularly and loves to take DS1 (aged 2.8) out on her own. The trouble is that she always showers him with presents while she's here, and he's starting to get spoilt. He now expects her to bring something with her for him, since she always does, and will ask for it if it doesn't appear. I had to speak to him over Christmas because he was rude to her, in a way that he isn't to the other adults in his life who spoil him less. I understand she wants to give him things, but I don't want him to look at his loving grandma in the light of "what can I get out of her this time?" And I'm scared it might go that way.

A while ago DH and I discussed this and decided we would talk to her. We explained that we didn't really have room for lots more toys, that there had been a couple of incidents of DS1 having tantrums because we went to the shops and didn't buy him a toy, and that we wanted to scale back the toys and gifts to ensure that he properly appreciated what he was given. We asked that if she wanted to get him anything, could she just restrict it to one thing. MIL listened, agreed, and the following day took him out and bought him two toys ("I know you said one, but then we saw the other and it was only a pound.") She has a history of not listening to us or taking us seriously when we say things like this.

She's visiting again soon and I really want to sort this out. She is such a kind lady and I don't want to saddle her with an ungrateful grandchild. Can anyone suggest a way we can continue to let her enjoy being generous to him without it going over the top? I don't want to hurt her feelings.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 02-Jan-15 08:23:01

You have told her, let her work it out!

Next time he is rude about it say to her afterwards 'see, this is the sort of thing we worry about. We don't want him being rude to you but buying him presents all the time sets the precedent - it's up to you now what you do'.

BastardGoDarkly Fri 02-Jan-15 08:26:11

I'd leave it for a while, hopefully what you said did sink in, but the other thing really was just a pound!

I don't think 2.9 year olds can be grateful can they?!

My lovely mam is the same, she doesn't see Mine much, so always brings them something loads of stuff

My ds is 7 now, and its grateful and polite about it,I think it's just in a toddlers nature to be grabby grin

Kahlua4me Fri 02-Jan-15 08:30:00

Could you ask her to set up a bank account for the dc, or you do it and she can give them cheques when she comes over?

Perhaps over time she will cut it down to just one toy. As the dc get older the toys will get more expensive so she might decide herself to cut down.

If it is only her doing it though the dc won't get spoilt though and will see her for the love and kindness she shows them overall.

Jenijena Fri 02-Jan-15 08:31:09

If you are avoiding a full blown row, can you persuade her to 'spoil' him in another way? 'Look grandma, I know you love to treat him, but the stuff is far too much and turning him into monster child. If you really have to spend the money, why don't you get membership for (insert local place) so you and he have somewhere special to go?'

It's amazing how many toys can go missing in our house...

cedricsneer Fri 02-Jan-15 08:32:34

Please don't ask her to bring cheques

pommedeterre Fri 02-Jan-15 08:33:57

Mil sees us about 6-7 times a year. She always brings mine a bag full of wrapped presents each. Even on the weekend before xmas (separate to xmas haul). It's totally weird.

We know that fil has tried to stop her.

She is overbearing - there are other issues.

I have decided to just leave it - including telling off dd1 for being spoilt with her. I tell dd1 off for being spoilt in other situations but if she hassles mil for presents as soon as she sees her (which she does) then that's mils look out.

My mum always has a sticker book or crayons for them (unwrapped!) but a full bag of wrapped presents is actively trying to buy their affection in my book and so mil will have to suffer the consequences. They are grown adults these grandparents and should take responsibility for themselves.

Elisheva Fri 02-Jan-15 08:50:17

I feel your pain! My MIL is just the same. It's taken a while but we're getting there. After asking, begging, pleading and getting nowhere we steered her on to clothes and books. With clothes she can be really generous and buys some lovely quality things. Having 2 more dcs really helped too! Do you visit her at all? We made a rule that things bought while at grandma's house stayed at grandma's house, which didn't always work but did make her think. For birthdays she now buys Zoo/farm/soft play passes which is great. As a sort of compromise she's allowed to go as mad as she likes at Christmas. I was worried about the dc associating her with gifts but it hasn't happened, they do love her for her.

ChristmasJumperWearer Fri 02-Jan-15 08:56:09

I wonder if you could ask her to switch to buying books or comics instead? Or if your son starts to like a character like Thomas the tank engine or Hot Wheels, to bring a different one of those each time, and help him to collect the set? That way she still gets to do what she wants, but the stuff she is buying is less invasive of your space?

(I agree it does get easier as they get older and the toys get smaller and more expensive.)

ChristmasJumperWearer Fri 02-Jan-15 08:56:41

Clothes and shoes also a good suggestion.

kwerty Fri 02-Jan-15 09:10:00

sSuggest she brings a book to read with the child.

claraschu Fri 02-Jan-15 09:41:40

I don't think kids get spoiled because Grandma gives them too many presents. Kids get spoiled if their parents value material things too much, use gifts as rewards or punishments (taking away gifts), or confuse possessions with love.

Having an overindulgent Grandma is something your children will learn to cope with (though toddlers might be temporarily rude); it will sometimes be wonderful and sometimes be annoying, but I don't think it will hurt the children.

I also think it is really good for kids to learn that different people have different standards, different rules and different ways of relating to them. They pick this all up very early, and it is all good for them, I think.

The only real potential problem is if Grandma really doesn't respect your parenting and tries to undermine you. If she just gets carried away and is a bit excessive, but is loving and supportive, I think you should relax about it all.

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