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To want to return all my ungrateful child's bday gifts

(302 Posts)
SpaSushi Wed 10-Jul-19 21:48:34

So child's birthday today ( 10) When asked recently about what wanted listed money /vouchers ( to spend on games stuff) and then at a shop begged for particular items of clothing.

sorted out other family members to get the clothes and vouchers. I didn't want to get more money/ vouchers so thought with holidays around the corner i would get tickets for a day at Legoland. We've been once-before many years ago and both children have asked a few times about going back. Winner idea, i thought.

So we lay out all the cards and gifts this evening.
First gift: 'what's this? Paper? My favourite' (sarcastic tone) - its an amazon gift voucher

Second gift- ( clothing item wanted) child ' is this just xxx?'

Third gift (clothing, not a requested item) ' I've already got that exact one from another relative '

Fourth gift ( mine, I'm waiting for happiness to burst forth) 'whats this?' Me: 'read it' ; child reads it ' you've got a gift for you and sibling, not just me'. Me: ' you cant go to Legoland yourself!?' At this point i am so upset, i lose it with child and rant about ungratefulness.

Still has last present from sibling- clothing item specifically requested, opens it and doesn't say anything. No thank you, nothing.

AIBU to want to take the whole lot back?. I am so upset , i get sometimes you get gifts you don't like but all bar two things were asked for. this is just shit attitude. For context child had a meltdown at Xmas over the gifts santa brought- including a requested item and filler items. To cap it off child is now simpering loud crocodile tears in their room and giving me evil looks for telling them off after throwing some surly thank yous at me and sibling.


SureWhatsAnotherOne Wed 10-Jul-19 21:51:37

I would be horrified at that behaviour op 😱 I would be tempted to take all the gifts back, but not sure I'd have the persevere to follow it though and not give them back.

Hopefully someone wiser will be along with better advice soon!

GreenTulips Wed 10-Jul-19 21:51:38

Tough one! It’s their birthday and they are over excited and probably tired.

I’d take the gifts and let them sulk about it for a day or two. See if their attitude changes.

TalkingAboutPride Wed 10-Jul-19 21:56:17

I'd take the gifts out of their possession and tell them to have a good hard think about their attitude,attitude and show no response to the tears.

I'd give them back when they had properly apologised and written proper thank you notes.

Greeborising Wed 10-Jul-19 21:57:28

Bloody appalling behaviour.
I’d be tempted to withdraw the lot and say “if you can’t behave in an appropriate fashion, then you can’t have any of it”
Aged 10?
Put your foot down now

Greensleeves Wed 10-Jul-19 21:58:23

My ds1 can be a bit like this about presents. He has Aspergers though, so it's a bit more understandable, but not any less hurtful! He once almost made my dad cry with his rude response to a Christmas gift. He's nearly 17 now and much better and more considerate than he used to be (lots of hard work on all sides!) but he still finds the pressure of opening presents in front of people very difficult and can blurt out things without meaning to.

I wouldn't take your son's presents away at this point, I would go and have a non-angry conversation about what happened. I would explain how I had thought about each gift and how his reaction had made me feel, and ask him to talk about how it felt for him and why he responded the way he did. Then talk about socially expected responses to presents etc.

But my approach is based around my particular ungrateful little git having ASD, so may not be appropriate here!

Notnownotneverever Wed 10-Jul-19 22:00:54

I would be inclined to remove the Legoland trip (could it be refunded?) and leave them with the clothing only and see what that did for their attitude.

Travis1 Wed 10-Jul-19 22:01:58

Yanbu I would take them all away for at least a period of time

RLOU30 Wed 10-Jul-19 22:02:02

Yes nip that right in the bud. Presents get confiscated immediately and will not be given back until I am completely satisfied my child had learnt a long hard lesson.

Cornishclio Wed 10-Jul-19 22:02:11

I would not tolerate that. Take the gifts away and say nothing until the said child writes or says proper thank yous. Then have a discussion about how some families live without food, shelter let alone gifts. Said child is 10 not 4.

RedDogsBeg Wed 10-Jul-19 22:06:16

Yes take them all off him and return them to the givers for them to get a refund, he has done this before now he needs to see that actions have consequences.

HairyDogsInUnusualPlaces Wed 10-Jul-19 22:15:47

I understand that you are upset by your dc's response, but you need to look behind the behaviour for the reason. Perhaps it's as simple as just being over tired, or maybe they've been hyped up as it's their birthday, or maybe they really wanted something else and for whatever reason felt they couldn't ask for it.

You can't take away their gifts. Once given, they are not yours to remove.

I would wait until the child was calm, then have a conversation about why the child reacted as they did. Depending on their answer, i would also explain how their reaction made me feel and how a reaction like that would make me not want to buy any more gifts in future etc.

I suspect there may be a genuine reason they responded like this, even if it just complete overwhelm and that needs to be handled better.
One of my dc had a crying fit one Christmas as, just about everyone they met on the run up to Christmas, was asking what they wanted etc etc. It built it up in their minds to be something amazing that reality would never match and the let down was too much for her to handle. Now we are more careful to manage the expectation and we have no more melt downs.

SpaSushi Wed 10-Jul-19 22:18:58

Thanks for responses. I had folded it all up on the table but I've put them all away for now; i think child is over tired ( long days of school activities this week) they will calm down -and right the wrongs- I'm just so annoyed right now ( I think especially since i thought they would be so excited by it all)

Child is a high strung emotional type- so i ought to be used to this by now- I'm very good at saying no/ removing wifi/ privileges/ playdates etc when necessary, i just wish they would hurry up and learn !

Beechview Wed 10-Jul-19 22:19:36

I wouldn’t give the gifts back.
Ask your child tomorrow what made them so upset and why they acted like that. A bit of self reflection might help. Especially as you say it happens at Christmas too.

Hopefully they’ll have calmed down by tomorrow and are grateful.

Now’s probably the time to start teaching them about gratitude and helping others. Maybe they could buy an item for the food bank from their own money to help those that can barely afford food, bake something to give to someone, send relative thank you card etc.

YouTheCat Wed 10-Jul-19 22:21:34

Being over tired is an excuse at 3. At 10, if there are no additional needs, it is not an excuse.

I wouldn't remove all the gifts but I would be having a chat about their behaviour and take it from there. If there is still attitude then I'd think about donating some of the clothes.

TheHandsOfNeilBuchanan Wed 10-Jul-19 22:24:32

Very rude and ungrateful. The only thing I would say is that if her sibling gets the same trip as her even though it's not their birthday, (and the trip is the main present) , I'd make sure to do the same on the sibling's birthday, or make it clear Legoland was a birthday trip for them too and they funny get s big present when it's their birthday. Never an issue with me and DB as our birthdays are very close together so joint trips could be for both our birthdays. Wouldn't be fair if she gets Legoland with sibling and then sibling gets an iPhone for example.

Gardenersnaptime Wed 10-Jul-19 22:32:38

Tbf although lego land is a nice treat it might seem a bit unfair to the birthday child that their sibling gets exactly the same treat when it’s not their birthday.
Doesn’t mean they should sulk about it but can see the reasoning.

With the amazon voucher-maybe they didn’t realise they could buy computer games with it? Im not sure my 10 year old would make the link-it’s easier to think they know more about shopping etc. than they actually do.

Dunno-I’d wait until tomorrow and have a chat about gratefulness. Don’t make it a Dudley Dursley thing and get them more but maybe swap the item of clothing they already have for something else once they have shown they can behave politely

Writersblock2 Wed 10-Jul-19 22:33:50

I agree with the pp who suggests looking at whether there’s something else going on. Have a non-confrontational chat with them. It might be a good opportunity to create some additional trust. It feels like there is something else going on behind the scenes. Gift receiving can be very difficult for a number of people for a whole host of reasons (not limited to autism spectrum but this can be included). I think it’s also worth noting that you had a desire for a particular level of excitement from your child about their gift. I suspect that also added to the situation. That’s a whole load of pressure.

4under4our Wed 10-Jul-19 22:36:29

Being tired is no excuse for this behaviour at any age. Definitely not at 10. I'd be returning the presents.

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 10-Jul-19 22:37:32

Oh OP, how disappointing for you. 10 is well old enough to understand they’ve behaved badly. Hopefully your words have sunk in and the next day brings a change in attitude. Mine would be over the moon with a trip to legoland, we went a couple of years ago and they’ve been begging to go back!

llangennith Wed 10-Jul-19 22:38:25

I think it’s also worth noting that you had a desire for a particular level of excitement from your child about their gift. I suspect that also added to the situation. That’s a whole load of pressure.

Stop making this all about you @SpaSushi

sheshootssheimplores Wed 10-Jul-19 22:39:34

God I am just dreading this stage. I can remember never getting the kind of gifts my friends got for birthdays and Christmas and being really embarrassed to discuss it when school went back. I wonder whether your child had some bug present in mind that they hadn’t mentioned and thought you were going to wow them and their friends were going to be massively impressed?

I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong at all. I would want to know what my child had anticipated so I could work backwards from there.

Gardenersnaptime Wed 10-Jul-19 22:39:58

As a slight aside, I once helped out in a lesson about ‘good and bad surprises’ for a group of children with autism and the vast majority put opening a present in the ‘bad surprise’ category.

MindfulBear Wed 10-Jul-19 22:44:38

What Hairydog said. But how frustrating. It would press all my buttons too and I would have had to try very hard not to overreact. Their response seems quite teen like tbh?

However They are gifts. You cannot take them away now. They are the child's things and are not yours to take away. You will have to respect this.

TBH Child is only 10yo. Leave it a few days and have a very calm conversation about the appropriate way to respond to gift giving and see if you can get to the bottom of the problem.

Clearly this is not the first time so perhaps this should have been anticipated and dealt with differently?
Do they have sensory issues? Do they have a problem opening gifts in front of people? Were they tired and over excited? Is there something they really wanted but felt unable to ask for?

There is far more to this than meets the eye I am sure but taking away their things is counter productive as it teaches a lack of respect for personal space and responsibility.

SWhelpplease Wed 10-Jul-19 22:45:26

Hi op, I don’t have a 10 year old so may eat my words in the future, but I do believe that celebrating birthday’s, Christmas etc (and presents are a part of celebrating) shouldn’t be conditional. I think you end up on the thin end of the wedge there. So the presents would remain if up to me.

BUT, I’d be horrified and furious and would be trying to work out an appropriate response - and that might include weekly privileges. Guess it would be good to know what’s going on under the behaviour? Good luck flowers

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