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To ask MIL not to give gifts to DS every week

(17 Posts)
Maman1234 Tue 21-Jul-15 14:07:43

MIL bring DS several gifts every time she visits. She visits at least once but usually twice a week. She makes a big fuss showing him his 'presents' and letting him examine them and play with them. We've told her we are running out of space in his wardrobe but the gifts keep coming. My main worry is that it's setting an expectation that whenever someone visits DS should expect as gift. As we move into the age of temper tantrums I'm worried about what this expectation might bring. I want to ask MIL to either just bring presents on special occasions, or if she really can't wait to give him something, to slip it quietly into his cupboard without making a fuss about it. I've considered just asking her to reduce the number of gifts but based on past experience anything that's too vague and won't have the desired affect with MIL. AIBU?

Imlookingatboats Tue 21-Jul-15 14:10:21

No you're not. But I'd be asking your partner to talk to her.

bopoityboo3 Tue 21-Jul-15 14:13:40

Yanbu. She is but as imlooking says you should get your partner to talk to her. Or start telling her that these toys will need to be special toys kept at her house as you have no more room. If she has to store them maybe there won't be so many of them.

Lilipot15 Tue 21-Jul-15 14:15:58

I'm afraid I have no idea about whether it will lead him to expect presents but it sounds like she is very generous not only with her time but her gifts.
My MIL lavishes presents on mine, but rarely visits (they are around 3 hours drive away) and I would love her to see them more and have less of the expensive presents. I think if they enjoy buying gifts it is nice. I prefer it with my parents that they give their time and fewer presents, so do appreciate that your MIL is involved in his life OP.

Nabootique Tue 21-Jul-15 14:28:07

I totally sympathise. My ex MIL does this and my DD is turning into an expectant little madam as a result. Get your DH to have a word. My XH does but she doesn't listen, but then he's always buying her stuff as well.

EponasWildDaughter Tue 21-Jul-15 14:39:46


But why isn't your DP doing the asking? It's his mum cluttering up the house with stuff.

Good luck with that - my oldest is now 7 and despite all we say MIL still does it with charity-shop finds and yes, it has created an expectation. She also gives the stuff directly to the ds now so we have no chance to intercept. She is incredibly fucking annoying somewhat stubborn - selective listening just for starters.
We moved to a larger house so she now thinks we have unlimited space. Unfortunately as she is a hoarder herself with a house rammed full floor-to-ceiling she doesn't really understand why I don't want my home full of crap.

Booboostwo Tue 21-Jul-15 15:20:00

DM did this to DD. she was 2yo when she started saying that all packages the postman brought were presents for her (DM lives in another country). Last summer we stayed next to DM for four months and she bought DD around 400 items ranging from toys to clothes to furniture. she actually bought her multiples of things, e.g. three desks with three chairs.

To me all this is pathological attention seeking and has little to do with genuine love for the child. The present given wants to draw attention to themselves. DM was not interested in the process, i.e. a special trip with her grand daughter to the toy store, she just went by herself, and she did not play with DD with any of this rubbish.

I put my foot down about it all as I think it is harmful in many respects.

StarlingMurmuration Tue 21-Jul-15 17:57:20

My dad deliberately DOESN'T buy my niece a present every time he sees her, but unfortunately he does do it often enough that she asks him what he's brought every time she sees him! It doesn't take long for them to learn.

MuddlingMackem Tue 21-Jul-15 18:06:45


My DM used to have a little token present for DS each time we visited - she had Parkinson's and couldn't do stuff with him so compensated this way. I had to tell her that she was going to have to stop doing it as he would be visiting for presents not to see her. Fortunately my DM was very reasonable, saw my point and knocked it on the head.

You can point this out to her and if it matters to her she'll stop, if it doesn't she won't. hmm

My DM still bought him (and later DD too) stuff, but it would be random, infrequent occasions so that the DC really appreciated it, and handily it was usually useful, like clothes (as I hate shopping grin ).

usualsuspect333 Tue 21-Jul-15 18:11:39

Harmful to buy your grandchildren presents?

I've heard it all now.

MuddlingMackem Tue 21-Jul-15 18:17:11

It's harmful when done to excess. It really isn't good for the children.

ollieplimsoles Tue 21-Jul-15 19:40:07

Shes been a doting Grandma, nothing wrong with that. But I think a present every time she visits is a little bit excessive. She sounds lovely though, so you don't want to hurt her feelings- I would get DH to say something like 'Its your time that ds wants, and just seeing you makes him happy, the house is getting a bit cluttered and we are trying to save space.'

I'm sure she wouldn't want your ds expecting a present from her every time she sees him either.

It's not doting or (probably) attention seeking with my MIL, it's compulsive behaviour - she can't leave stuff in the shop once she's seen it. It's not just presents, their house is stuffed, there are narrow walkways carved out through piles of things in the hallways, two bedrooms are completely full and unusable (no chance of her grandchildren staying over), she trawls carboots every weekend and she never buys one bogof if she can get twenty in the car. It's very depressing but I don't appreciate it spilling over to mine with bagfulls of toys accompanying her on every visit.

We think she has Diogenes Syndrome frankly but she's not someone you could talk to about it.

This is a bit more than the odd teddy, they arrive in herds!

CassieBearRawr Tue 21-Jul-15 23:30:46

If she won't stop just chuck (well, donate) something older she's given every time she brings something new.

defineme Tue 21-Jul-15 23:31:40

Your dh should be talking to her.
I have found excellent alternatives to suggest are nice fruit like melon or strawberries or mango,or books- my dc are happy with either and both sets of grandparents now save the sweets and toys for birthdays and Christmas.
it also helped to point out that i was never given sweets or toys unless it was
a very special occasion and I turned out ok!
with 3 kids we were running out of space and ds2 needed a filling from the thrice weekly sweet shop trips.

With 3 kids we simply didn't have the room

AugustRose Tue 21-Jul-15 23:55:53

You need to stop her now or your DP does. I may sound extreme but we had a very negative experience like this with our first DC. My PIL looked after him while we worked and we were very grateful for their help, however MIL bought DS presents constantly, we asked her to stop and it did cause some rows but she didn't stop until we moved when DS was 5.

Not only did it stop DS appreciating new things it also took away the pleasure we had in buying him anything. Her argument was that is was only a few pounds - mine was that a little boy doesn't know the value of the gift, only that he gets one once or twice a week. It even got to the point that I couldn't even mention buying anything new or tell her he enjoyed playing with a particular toy because she would then buy something similar for her house!

As I say, ours was an extreme case and I now know that MIL was a compulsive buyer (still is) but it spoilt my enjoyment with my son many times. Gifts need to be for special occasions.

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