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Christmas presents or not?

(22 Posts)
sweetrasberry Tue 03-Dec-19 13:23:38

Hi All, I feel very sad at the moment. Christmas is approaching and I don't really want to get any presents for my teens.
They are 17 and 19 year old girls. They are expecting money as I sent them money for the last 2 years + gave some small gifts.
I feel that they don't care about me and their dad. It is all one-sided. The 17 year old DD just ignores us, if I try to engage her to chat she answers in a way like I am a nuisance.
The 19 year old DD is away at uni and never calls us. I only talk to her if I call and often she doesn't pick up.
They are both selfish. I realise that it is a typical teenager's behaviour but I feel like I don't want to give them any money as they take everything for granted.
I organised a trip away for Christmas for a few days. They are happy to come as we are paying for everything although at home they don't want to spend any time with us.
Do you think it will be OK not to give them anything for Christmas?
I am just worried about their reaction.

OP’s posts: |
LittleLongDog Tue 03-Dec-19 13:27:07

That’s so sad. I would of course buy them presents (not money).

They won’t be teenagers forever.

I would continue working on building a positive relationship with them as much as possible ready for when they slowly emerge the other side.

cdtaylornats Tue 03-Dec-19 13:36:53

My reaction if I was a teenager would be to find better things to do every following Christmas.

changeforprivacy Tue 03-Dec-19 13:40:24

Do you think it will be OK not to give them anything for Christmas?

No, I don't, sorry.

You have 2 problems here. One is their general attitude and relationship with you and the other is what to do about Christmas.

I would work on the first one form now on but don't use Christmas as a punishment. It won't be productive.

coragreta Tue 03-Dec-19 13:42:37

Get the something small. There's a big difference between 'money and a few gifts' and nothing.

sweetrasberry Tue 03-Dec-19 14:09:56

Thank you for your replies
LittleLongDog and changeforprivac
Could you give me some suggestions how to work on relationships with them?
I try to talk to them, drive them around, buy what they need, organised a cinema trip for 3 of us recently.

OP’s posts: |
merryhouse Tue 03-Dec-19 14:20:41

My 19yo is away at university and never calls. He'll answer messages (I don't attempt to phone, that's not how I work). He's quite busy.

My 16yo spends a lot of time in his room, either homework or gaming with his friends over the internet.

We do sometimes have chats, initiated by the teenager. I think not being particularly interested in your parents is quite normal (fairly sure I was the same).

Definitely don't link Christmas to your feelings.

When you say they are "expecting" money, do you mean in an entitled way or simply that they're assuming you'll do the same as before? Unless you've already said "this is my budget: what do you want?" you can completely ignore assumptions and precedent.

I would suggest that you take some time to consider your daughters' lives and pastimes and to choose things you believe would enhance those. This will help you feel positive about them, and might show them that you care about them as people not just their impact on you.

Jumper? book? make-up? chocolates? bag? stationery? - I realise this list is so generic it's completely negating my paragraph above - something connected to a hobby - hard-to-find CD in their favourite genre - obviously you'll know better than I.

sweetrasberry Tue 03-Dec-19 15:14:06

I will not dare buy them any clothes as my choices are always criticized.
I will buy some books, maybe something else.
Some of you are suggesting that I should show that I care. I do show.
I sometimes send them messages to do with their studies. They don't look at what links I send.
The problem is I cannot see that they care. The youngest sometimes cannot even be bothered to say Hello.
I do remember myself as a teenager. I was not like that. My mum keeps saying that she was lucky with us - I have sisters.

OP’s posts: |
sweetrasberry Tue 03-Dec-19 15:16:17

I think that they are assuming that I will give them money. We have not talked about it.

OP’s posts: |
sweetrasberry Tue 03-Dec-19 15:18:24

And since they went to secondary school they have not bothered to buy any gift for me and dad. They say that we are too difficult to buy for.
When they were in primary school they would buy something at school's Christmas fair for us.

OP’s posts: |
LittleLongDog Tue 03-Dec-19 21:43:15

I would find two (affordable) options that they could get for your dh and send them a link via message but also talk to them about it to make sure it sinks in (“did you get that msg I sent you? I know your dad would really appreciate it if it came from you both”). Two options also means they get to choose which one to buy so they’ll feel more ownership over it.

I would then get your dh to do exactly the same but for you.

LittleLongDog Tue 03-Dec-19 21:45:08

I think that they are assuming that I will give them money. We have not talked about it.

Talk about it: “We’re not doing money/vouchers as gifts this year as it just doesn’t feel festive. But are there any gifts you would like?”

turkeyontheplate Tue 03-Dec-19 21:48:18

Do they have any idea how you have been feeling? Have you tried talking to them about it?

It can be difficult maintaining a connection with self-absorbed teenagers, but the onus is on you to make the effort, not them. Their brain development isn't complete yet and they don't have the interpersonal skills and empathy of adults.

Giving them nothing for Christmas would be devastating. I can't imagine what good you think that will do.

abitlostandalwayshungry Tue 03-Dec-19 22:33:01

It's a really important stage in a teenagers development to test-drive independence (even though they aren't really independent) and what you describe sounds really normal.
They are in their own world and it is a really hard time. Don't hold it against them.

What i would do if I were you is absolutely give them gifts - try to find something that shows them you really get them as a person.

Another idea could be that the gift is an activity you do with them, maybe see a band or exhibition? Sounds like it might be nice if you would spend time with each of them alone, create experiences and memories?

sweetrasberry Wed 04-Dec-19 12:00:30

Thank you very much, everyone
I will tell them that I am not giving them money this year and ask what they want.
I just find it so hard parenting teenagers.
We have had incidents with drugs, smoking, drinking to excess. My parents never had to deal with any of these as my sisters and I were never interested in that.

OP’s posts: |
LittleLongDog Wed 04-Dec-19 14:22:46

I think you’ll find life much more rewarding if you focus on your moments of enjoyment with them rather than comparing them to how you were as a teenager and resenting then for it.

Teenagers can be shit but they’re still your children. You raised them, you loved them. They’re not properly formed adults yet, they need you to continue raising and loving them.

benandmatt Thu 05-Dec-19 15:58:06

Hi you sounds just like me and my 2 boys. My husband says they are just wrapped up in their own world and being self absorbed is part of it. Hurts though doesn't it, Especially if you love christmas and the family things like I do. i am trying to just be there but with little interaction from them it is hard. i buy fun presents and a bit of luxury -chocs and smellies. They probably are broke and money means going out but your the one buying so make sure you gets some fun out of it too. One thing i am confident about is that when they really need me i will be there as will you. they will always be yours just on their terms at the moment. My sister says it my thought that they have grown up to think for themselves but isn't this what we wanted, X

BackforGood Thu 05-Dec-19 19:26:02

I agree with @merryhouse , @abitlostandalwayshungry and @LittleLongDog

Neither of my dc have been in the habit of calling me from University.
It's just not how it works / worked for us.

I would, however, keep a WhatsApp conv going - with ds I used to comment on Match of the Day which I know he'd have watched With dd I ask her about her sporting fixtures / results / injuries / who played well / etc etc. Its what they want to talk about so its what I ask them about.

Think about what your dds' interests are or what they watch or do, and ask them about that, not about what you think they ought to be doing.

I think it would be pretty hurtful to not bother with Christmas gifts.

abitlostandalwayshungry Sat 07-Dec-19 12:15:16

We have had incidents with drugs, smoking, drinking to excess.

It must be difficult to deal with this, but to be honest I think most teenagers will try all of the above. Just make sure you keep building a relationship with them in which they know they can tell you anything.

My parents never had to deal with any of these as my sisters and I were never interested in that.

You keep saying this and it feels really toxic. I really hope you are not telling this this to your teenagers - what you are saying with those words is 'behave exactly like I did, if not you are odd/wrong etc. '

Please understand times are different, and stop comparing your teenage time to your children's experiences. Instead try to listen to your children as much as you can.

MixedPears Sat 07-Dec-19 13:56:22

If it were me and I wasn’t “feeling it” OP, I’d just give a small amount of cash £40 each say, no effort 😁 but not ignored either. Put your energy where it’s welcome and enjoyed, including yourself 🙂

dottypotter Tue 10-Dec-19 13:46:57

are they buying for you?

JaJoJe Sun 15-Dec-19 19:47:44

why do you buy them gifts?

I buy gifts because I love the people I am buying for, which if everyone is the same as me (which I always assumed they are, why would you buy for people you dont love unless its charity) then I find it very sad that your love for your daughters is conditional.

everything you described is perfectly normal for teenagers but sounds a bit co-dependent from you.

I love my mam but I dont talk on the phone to my parents because most people dont talk on the phone now, I only know about 3 people who actively phone people that are under the age of 40. Phone anxiety is a major thing + when I was at uni I was so busy, it wasn't all parties and social bonding. I didn't have time to talk to people I saw in person in the lunch line never mind a phone call from my mam which always last 2+ hours dispite saying I have to go multiple times.

you say you give them what they need but what most teenagers 'need' is space, there's nothing worse than being chased by needy people who get upset over you having your own busy life and its worse when you are a young adult.

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