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To want to stop buying presents for these children.....

(31 Posts)
FantaDog Thu 06-Oct-16 15:50:28

So family fall out quite a few years meant that we were stopped having any contact with DH's Dsis and her children. She is an awful individual in my humble opinion but I and dh do love her children, whom we've had no contact with now for nearly four years (she started this almost as a 'punishment' that we disagreed with her over something relatively small - and at the same time her behaviour towards our children actually was quite worrying for a bit - if she did see them she was extremely abusive to them or about them). We have continued to buy her children christmas and birthday presents but I've no idea if these reach the children. Likewise she does for our children as she told my mother in law 'it proves she is a good aunt'. Our children have no memory of her or her children or her dh, the presents confuse them more than anything! likewise I would guess based on their ages when this happened her children are unlikely to remember us. I feel the present thing is so superficial on both sides (criticism of us here as well!) and almost like we're sending a message to our children that its ok for people not to care about you, have a relationship with you as long as they buy you presents. Other problem in this is she just had another child, a child we have never met, never seen, never seen a photo of etc, do we buy a present for this child at christmas for example... it just feels so empty and meaningless to me and materialistically driven - i.e. that giving things is more important than love and relationships? I would love a relationship with our nieces and nephew but she has made it clear we're being punished (what for I'm not sure). Maybe I'm over thinking this... do I just keep this up and keep buying presents for children I miss hugely but don't actually really don't know anymore (no idea of their current interests etc) or even know if they get them and equally accept the presents for our children... or do we just call it a day. And do I buy a present for the child I've never met? Seems a bit odd?! It just all feels so sad, so pointless and the presents seem like an empty reminder of this.
Just for clarification - she has distanced herself from most of family and Dmil pretty much refuses to discuss it. We've tried to approach her over the past four years to at least get to cordial speaking terms but never worked.
What would you do for the best?

TellMeStraight Thu 06-Oct-16 15:57:02

Is it just Xmas or bdays too?

Either way, I would stop buying. You're right, it's just seems so false. So not what Christmas and giving should be about.

Hopefully she'll take the hint and stop buying for your DCs too.

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Thu 06-Oct-16 16:05:58

Maybe buy a nice card and pop some cash in. In the future when the kids can make up their own mind about seeing you, there will be a little windfall to give them and let them know you did actually think about them all along.

toolonglurking Thu 06-Oct-16 16:13:32

Similar situation in our family, but I'm the childrens position. Contact them to suggest ending the gift giving - your kids won't miss the gifts.

hazebaze87 Thu 06-Oct-16 16:14:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sandsnake Thu 06-Oct-16 16:25:43

I definitely see your point. I'd suggest meeting before Christmas somewhere neutral to exchange presents and see the kids. If she's not interested then I would suggest stopping the gifts - explain that your children find it confusing. There's always the possibility that she will accept and you could re-establish some form of relationship with your DNs. If she refuses then at least you've offered an olive branch and she will find it harder to portray you as the 'bad one' who stopped the presents.

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 06-Oct-16 16:29:18

I agree letter writing sounds good. Perhaps instead of stopping with the presents, you could open a bank account in their names which cannot be accessed until 18 and deposit the amount you would spend on a present. This way she wouldn't be ever able to say you're In the wrong or have done something to prevent a relationship developing with your nieces and nephews. If you choose to do this, I would explain, sadly you don't know the children and as they're getting older and you don't know their interests. You would like any presents to them to be meaningful.

Supernan5 Thu 06-Oct-16 16:32:38

If you're not sure the presents are reaching the kids how about opening a bank account and paying in a little cash on birthdays and xmas for them. It would be in your name but you could keep it separate so hopefully one day they can have a little windfall as it were.

EverySongbirdSays Thu 06-Oct-16 16:46:31

If you do want to reconcile, what about a few weeks before Christmas, literally around the 1st send a card with a 'Round Robin' in, saying how old each of your children are now what they are interested in and what you and DH are up to, and include an invitation for meal either over Christmas or in NY

If she doesn't respond in kind/at all and help break ice, no gifts.

EverySongbirdSays Thu 06-Oct-16 16:47:51

ie she has to actually see you in order to receive gifts, and make that subtly clear also.

daisypond Thu 06-Oct-16 16:53:06

I'd try to get a reconciliation if it's possible. But anyway, I think it's fine not to buy presents. We as a family made a decision a long time ago not to buy presents for our many nephews and nieces, and we see them.

FantaDog Thu 06-Oct-16 16:58:43

No we don't see them or her face to face at all, there is no communication at all, I've emailed in the past, sent letters, sent messages and had no responses. Presents are given via mil... If she sees us anywhere she absolutely 100% ignores our existence, she refuses to attend family things we're at... even if you stand in front of her trying to talk she'll ignore you entirely. So none of the above attempts at communication would work... sadly... I don't miss her too much, she had some good points and at one point we were close, but she was also very dramatic, very self centred, arrogant, difficult, narrow minded and frankly a nightmare if you disagreed with her- but I do miss the children. I sort of like the bank account idea... I've accepted this as the state of play now with her and happy not to rock the boat - I found it extremely upsetting at the time (she turned extremely nasty!) and took some time to get over it, so not that eager to stir her up again!!

Linpinfinwin Thu 06-Oct-16 17:06:55

I think I'd send the kids cash or amazon vouchers and continue to do so, in envelopes addressed to them personally. It's not the kids' fault. I take your point about it seeming like a meaningless gesture but stopping would also send a negative message to the children.

9troubledwaters Thu 06-Oct-16 17:07:21

Personally I would carry on buying gifts, I do for all my God children that I don't see who live abroad & its/a way of reminding them I care about them and would be there for them if they needed it.
Obviously its different situ could you ring your brother and chat about it?
Alternatively ring & say we've decided on a no presents rule except from grandparents this year, lots of people to that now/anyway & it avoids further bad feeling.
Holding a grudge against someone is like letting them live rent free in your brain so let it all go I would

GooseFriend Thu 06-Oct-16 17:12:25

I would stop buying and I wouldn't do anything instead. You're thinking about what you look like to others but you know the truth.

mouldycheesefan Thu 06-Oct-16 17:17:00

I am NC with my dreadful mother. She hasn't seem my children for 5 years. She does write to them and send them presents and cards and she speaks to them in the phone (but not me). They do like receiving things from her. If it's your only contact I would keep it going. They don't need to be big things, a card and a chocolate Santa each is fine.

Lizaveta Thu 06-Oct-16 17:21:09

I think though it show that although you not talk (which sounds for best) that you care about the children. I worry that stopping this make her very upset which not what anybody want as it impact you and your family.

Moonpuddle Thu 06-Oct-16 17:34:40

I would send a new baby card with a voucher for the baby, a bland 'congrats on the baby, hope you are all well' type message and a note to say that you are cutting down on gift giving and that you will only be sending xmas cards in future and that you thought they might want to know. I wouldn't give any further explanation.

I'd also ask you MIL to pass on the same message if you think it might work.

Catanddogmake6 Thu 06-Oct-16 18:28:15

As the now adult 'child' in this scenario, personally I would encourage you to keep open the lines of communication if through cards, small presents or a bank account. Life is long and it is surprising how it turns out. In the future you will have to do things like look after your MIL, arrange funerals etc and the children may well be grown up. 'Pretences' were kept up on both sides of the family despite no one talking and it has enabled a fairly good relationship with one cousin and a friendly working relationship on the other side. This means I can generally act as intermediary when needed, it also gives me a friendship with my cousin. Someone with an understanding of 50% of my DNA and family. 30 odd years ago I doubt anyone foresaw that!

Mummyamy123 Thu 06-Oct-16 19:34:04

Yes I would continue to send, if you would like to have anything to do with the children in the future when they are adults. Would show you tried....

DiegeticMuch Thu 06-Oct-16 20:54:17

I'd keep it up, so they know you care about them and will be there for them in future if they need you. Their parents sound odd.

worldsworstchildren Thu 06-Oct-16 22:04:14

Funnily enough I could have written this very post today. Have been thinking this week about contacting DB and Dsil to say that there is no point doing superficial present giving at Christmas anymore when we do not see their children nor them ours from one Christmas to the next. I agree it is not good lesson for children that presents are the only thing that matter.
I'll be reading your responses with interest.

Cocochoco Fri 07-Oct-16 05:12:38

I have continued to send my nieces gifts when I was nc with my brother. I see it as keeping a thread of communication open. They know I love them and I'm glad I carried on. I do think we will meet again one day.

TheDowagerCuntess Fri 07-Oct-16 05:54:21

I would write, and say you'd love to see them all (ok, would really like to see them all), you miss the contact, would love to get to know your niece/s and nephew/s and meet the new little one. But the continued present buying is contrived and pointless.

Say you're going to continue to send a card, and you'll put some money aside for each of them, each birthday and Christmas, and will give them each a lump sum at such time as you're back in contact with them, whenever that might be.

You can't be accused of withdrawing the gift-giving, which she'd no doubt milk to the nth degree, and the amount of money you put aside can be as big or as little as you see fit.

And you will keep doing it until communication is restored - if they want to make that years and years down the track, then so be it. You're not twisting their arm to get back in touch - you're putting the ball in their court.

SlottedSpoon Fri 07-Oct-16 06:01:25

If her children are also of an age where they will barely remember you either then I think it's time to call it a day. In a way you are doing the same as her by carrying on a fairly pointless tradition to prove a point. I'm sure her DCs are equally as bewildered by presents from someone they know exists but they never see as yours are.

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