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Who was unreasonable regarding nephew - my sister or my dad?

(27 Posts)
RoboticSealpup Mon 09-Nov-15 17:55:11

My sister is annoyed with our father. They live in different cities, and he came to stay for a few days recently. During his stay, he gave my sister's DS (9) £50 as a belated birthday present.

Nephew asked to go online to spend the £50 on 'some plastic thingy' (sister's words) but apparently it was really difficult to find, and nephew started moaning and kicking off about this. Sister and nephew were in the kitchen on the laptop and our father and BIL in the adjacent room.

Our father overheard what was going on in the kitchen and said, apparently in a harsh tone, to BIL: 'Go and take charge now, damn it! I didn't give him £50 just so he can spend it on some plastic rubbish'. (This is not verbatim, as they were speaking another language).

My sister and BIL think my dad was really out of order, and took this as a harsh criticism on their childrearing. I think dad should have been more diplomatic about it, but I also don't agree with letting a 9-year old spend all his birthday money on a plastic toy.

SilverDragonfly1 Mon 09-Nov-15 18:03:47

DN's money, DN's choice. If there are strings attached to the gift, your father might as well have just bought whatever he felt your nephew should want.

Candypops14 Mon 09-Nov-15 18:05:34

It's your nephews money he should choose how to spend it!

Seriouslyffs Mon 09-Nov-15 18:05:40

Dad should have bought a present then, not fobbed him off with money. Your sister could have been more tactful and ordered it after your Dad had left and said it was spent on books and sheet music

catfordbetty Mon 09-Nov-15 18:06:19

You have no say over what happens to a gift. Your father should be old enough to know this.

TimeToMuskUp Mon 09-Nov-15 18:07:25

I disagree. If you give a gift you don't give it with provisos, otherwise it's not a gift. You can hope they'll spend it on something meaningful or useful but it's in no way a reflection on anyone's parenting when DCs spend their money on shiny plastic tat. Why give a 9 year old £50 cash anyway if you don't want them to blow it?

DS1 turned 10 last month and had quite a bit of birthday money. He bought a Lego Death Star. His Godfathers were thrilled when he texted them to say what he'd spent their money on, not bummed out that he'd refused to open an ISA. Children love plastic tat, it's their thing.

rookiemere Mon 09-Nov-15 18:08:02

I think I'd be annoyed if I had given a child a sizable cash gift and instead of being happy they kicked off about it.

I can imagine DS starting to do similar, but if he had, before Grandad would have heard, he'd have been quickly whisked off to his room to think about being polite and grateful rather than selfish and spoiled.

Grandad was perhaps being a bit harsh and I think that if DCs are given birthday money they can spend it on what they wish, but it sounds as if sister had already said something derogatory about the chosen toy, so Grandad was only repeating what was said.

ChocolateFuzz Mon 09-Nov-15 18:08:32

It's his birthday money he can buy whatever he wants

DepecheNO Mon 09-Nov-15 18:08:36

Truly, if your DF wanted a say in how it was spent, he should've picked something out himself, given vouchers, etc. As he has the cash, it's up to his parents to see that he spends it sensibly (or not).

honeyroar Mon 09-Nov-15 18:10:40

Your DD should have bought him something he felt was suitable himself, rather than having a tantrum just like his grandson! It was his own fault for lazily giving out money for a late birthday present. He should have been told that at the time!

DepecheNO Mon 09-Nov-15 18:10:49

Agree with rookie about parents seeing that child is polite.

Ragwort Mon 09-Nov-15 18:16:11

I think the boy sounds rude and ungrateful, £50 is a very generous gift and to 'kick off' in front of his grandfather because he couldn't find something on line is poor behaviour. However, if you give a gift you can't really say how it is used, but like Rookie I wouldn't be impressed if it was spent 'on plastic rubbish'.

So in a way I think both are being unreasonable grin.

RoboticSealpup Mon 09-Nov-15 18:20:10

Well, ragwort, they both have form for this kind of behavior. But my dad is a grown-up... ;)

SurlyCue Mon 09-Nov-15 18:23:45

I dont even know why its your issue? confused surely its between sister and father. Not really anything to do with you how nephew spends his money.

rookiemere Mon 09-Nov-15 18:27:11

TBH though it reads to me that Sis wasn't happy with the toy that DN had picked and Grandad was echoing that.

If DN had found the toy quietly and Sis had been helping rather than commenting on his poor choices then Grandad would have been none the wiser.

Instead it seems that she wasn't that happy about the choice either, but instead of either letting DN buy the toy, or properly putting her foot down, she was making little passive aggressive remarks about it. Which of course Grandad heard and picked up on.

I do think Grandad is commenting on the parenting, and quite rightly so. A non SN 9 yr old should not be having a tantrum like that without repercussions and if Dsis doesn't like her son buying plastic tat then she should tell DN properly.

Sounds like one of the least obnoxious things my DF says to be honest. We just ignore him.

RoboticSealpup Mon 09-Nov-15 18:30:54

Surly It's not 'my issue'. My sister told me about it, clearly thinking that our dad was being unreasonable. I found myself thinking that I didn't really 100% agree, so I thought I'd put it to the 'mumsnet jury.'

Anyway, why are you here on AIBU, commenting on things that do not affect you personally?

JassyRadlett Mon 09-Nov-15 18:32:34

If your father wants the money he's budgeted for a grandchild's birthday to be spent on a certain type of gift, rather than whatever the child wants, he should actually shop for and choose a gift he's happy with. Giving cash then wanting to influence how it's spent is having one's cake and eating it.

Ragwort Mon 09-Nov-15 18:34:25

I'd just try and stay out of it - I have had sort of similar instances between my bossy mother and difficult SIL - I've learned to keep my views to myself or just shrug and say something meaningless like 'you know what the older/younger generation are like' - depending on which of them I am talking to. grin.

cansu Mon 09-Nov-15 18:39:32

Your father gave the money presumably for your nephew to get himself something he liked because he couldn't be arsed to find out what he wanted or because he wanted nephew to get what he really wanted. He is being bloody unreasonable to then moan about what your nephew wanted to buy. Your sister is right.

Lostcat2 Mon 09-Nov-15 18:39:42

Kids love tat. Why not.

However if mind had kicked off at 9 thru would have been told to zip it in no uncertain terms by mil/fil Dm/Df and by us.

Bratting not allowed in the lostcat household.

Personally op I wouldn't get involved. It's not your ruck.

BackforGood Mon 09-Nov-15 18:41:30

I agree in theory that once you've given it to the child, it's theirs to do as they want with, but maybe your Dad credited your sister with a bit more common sense over money?
He'll know next time to stick £10 in the card, and then quietly ask your sister if dn has a savings account he can add some more money to, if that's what he'd rather happened to the money.

Notso Mon 09-Nov-15 18:41:43

I think 9 is old enough to decide what to spend your own birthday money on.

MerryMarigold Mon 09-Nov-15 18:45:01

I think it is a bit of a cultural and generational thing. I can imagine this happening in dh's family too. They give money expecting it to be spent on a Winter coat or a desk, or towards a bike - not an xbox or a remote control car! I would also probably respect that about them, knowing their preferences, and not let ds spend it on 'plastic tat' even though it is in theory his. (I don't count lego as plastic tat!). I would let him spend money from friends on whatever he wanted so last year he got about £15 from friends. He is very, very sensible tight like his Dad so he didn't spend it for 9 months anyway and then on Ebay lego!

£50 is a lot of money for a -spoilt-- child to be left in control of and to blow all in one go.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 09-Nov-15 18:45:37

His money, his choice.

BUT, kicking off because he couldn't find it?!? Utterly unacceptable.

whoreandpeace Mon 09-Nov-15 19:04:59

There are two issues here:

a) DN is behaving in a spoilt and ungrateful way and your DSis needs to have a quiet word with him about how to behave around presents particularly when the present-giver is in ear-shot - a useful lesson.

b) Your DF is behaving in a spoilt and immature way. If he wants to control what his grandson has for his birthday then he should have made the effort to think about it in advance. The fact is he didn't think about it (lazy) and then tried to buy out his guilt by giving a frankly quite large cash gift. His feeling of guilt has been compounded by now realising that his hard earned cash is going to go on rubbish. But sorry, kids like rubbish. They also love spending money. Mostly on tat. Not many go and invest in an ISA. Next time your DF should just invest most of his financial gift in his grandson's name and give grandson a fiver on the day to buy himself a ton of sugary muck.

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