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AIBU?

Upset DS ignored my birthday

78 replies

DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 19:28

Didn’t see DS on morning of my birthday a few days ago, but picked him up from school and he didn’t say happy birthday…
I know he was aware it was my birthday because I’d talked about maybe going out for supper for the occasion, although I’d eventually decided to cook something nice at home that I know he usually likes. He then got very angry we weren’t going out and said he didn’t want what I’d cooked.
It also became clear he hadn’t made me a birthday card (despite encouragement from other relatives to do so) or even bought one, and hadn’t made or procured any kind of present. I was semi-thinking a late one might materialise a bit late this weekend but it didn’t.

All in all it was a really tiring and crap birthday evening - especially as I could have gone out with friends but I had chosen to spend the time with DS instead.

DS is nearly 10 - pretty mature for his age and has his own money in money box/bank as well as access to all the card making materials anyone could need. Ironically one of his friends the same age even posted me a hand drawn card they’d made!

AIBU to think that a kid of this age should be capable of recognising their mother’s birthday and making at least a token effort? When I was his age, my Db and I made a massive effort for our mother - we saved up our pocket money for ages to make and buy presents and cards. Or is that not a thing any more?

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SpringSparrow · 25/09/2022 21:46

I think your expectations are a little high, although my dd at 9 would certainly have made me a card and a gift but I don’t think my son would have done off his own back. She enjoyed drawing and crafts though. I think you still should have gone out for a meal to celebrate, though as that would have made more of an occasion out of it, and you both could have enjoyed that.

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DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 22:06

Rogue1001MNer · 25/09/2022 20:12

Is it just you and him, OP?

Usually the other parent organises something and involves ant DC.

Much harder (for the child) if that's not your set-up

Yes

Although when I was a kid, my father didn’t aid or abet us - we just did our own thing. I used to sneak to the corner shop to buy stuff, when my mother’s back was turned. Or went off to a department store when I was supposed to be in story hour in the library, clutching our combined savings… it was a huge deal, planning and executing what we were going to do, and we really enjoyed it.

Also - and I still think this is a brilliant idea - my primary school used to hold a little Christmas fair during the day, when kids brought in their pocket money and there were lots of very cheap things they could buy as presents for siblings/parents/etc. I still remember buying a little red candle for my aunt and uncle, and must have been about 6 at the time.

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mondaytosunday · 25/09/2022 22:08

No I wouldn't expect a card or anything, but a happy birthday would be nice.
9 - I certainly would not expect them to BUY anything.

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MichelleScarn · 25/09/2022 22:19

Although when I was a kid, my father didn’t aid or abet us - we just did our own thing. I used to sneak to the corner shop to buy stuff, when my mother’s back was turned. Or went off to a department store when I was supposed to be in story hour in the library, clutching our combined savings… it was a huge deal, planning and executing what we were going to do, and we really enjoyed it.
Sorry this does sound a tad Pollyanna, and it does seem sad you are judging your child fr not being as wonderful as you and your brother. Is your brother older? At least you could plan some things with him.

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MiddleParking · 25/09/2022 22:28

Although when I was a kid, my father didn’t aid or abet us - we just did our own thing. I used to sneak to the corner shop to buy stuff, when my mother’s back was turned. Or went off to a department store when I was supposed to be in story hour in the library, clutching our combined savings… it was a huge deal, planning and executing what we were going to do, and we really enjoyed it.

Two great examples of things we definitely want nine year olds to be doing.

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OnTheBrinkOfChange · 25/09/2022 22:30

Why on earth is making a birthday card for your mother too much for a nine-year-old? It's probably the simplest thing they can do!

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Nannyogg134 · 25/09/2022 22:33

cansu · 25/09/2022 20:03

Sounds like you are expecting to get your need for affection met by a nine year old. Seems a bit unreasonable tbh.

This. Its not unreasonable to want someone to make your day special, it is unreasonable to put that weight of expectation on a young child.

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DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 22:49

Nannyogg134 · 25/09/2022 22:33

This. Its not unreasonable to want someone to make your day special, it is unreasonable to put that weight of expectation on a young child.

But apparently it’s horrific to have considered going out with friends for the evening of my birthday instead!!

As I’ve said, I was expecting some kind of acknowledgement it was my birthday, and enjoying a nice tea together. It’s depressing how unreasonable that expectation seems to be in this day.

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Nannyogg134 · 25/09/2022 23:19

DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 22:49

But apparently it’s horrific to have considered going out with friends for the evening of my birthday instead!!

As I’ve said, I was expecting some kind of acknowledgement it was my birthday, and enjoying a nice tea together. It’s depressing how unreasonable that expectation seems to be in this day.

Please don't get me wrong- I feel so sad that your day was disappointing and I know that and negative feeling somehow doubles on a birthday. It would be lovely if your son had been secretly crafting a birthday card and there had been clinks and clanks in the kitchen as he prepared toast and jam. Unfortunately, our children are not little clones of us and the experiences that led you to get surprise presents for your mum haven't led him down the same path. My only advice here is to take the thinking from what 'should' happen to what do you want to happen? If you want a lovely birthday meal out then book it, if you want him to be excited for a lovely home cooked meal then frame it for him in an excited way. If you want a surprise drawing then, in the lead up to other birthdays, encourage him to do it and he may also then do it for you. Ultimately you need to accept how he shows his affection for you and don't place too much weight on 'shoulds'

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mountainsunsets · 26/09/2022 07:02

But apparently it’s horrific to have considered going out with friends for the evening of my birthday instead!!

It's not that going out with your friends is horrific, it's that if that's what you wanted to do, you should have planned that all along instead of making a 9yo responsible for you having a nice day.

Yes, it would have been lovely if he'd made a card and bought a gift and been all appreciative about you cooking his favourite tea, but most children (despite what MN would have you believe) won't do those things without at least some encouragement and help from another adult or older sibling.

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mountainsunsets · 26/09/2022 07:04

OnTheBrinkOfChange · 25/09/2022 22:30

Why on earth is making a birthday card for your mother too much for a nine-year-old? It's probably the simplest thing they can do!

It's not too much - but lots of children will still need some encouragement and nudging from a parent at that age, especially if they're not particularly creative or crafty.

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OriginalUsername3 · 26/09/2022 07:18

DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 22:06

Yes

Although when I was a kid, my father didn’t aid or abet us - we just did our own thing. I used to sneak to the corner shop to buy stuff, when my mother’s back was turned. Or went off to a department store when I was supposed to be in story hour in the library, clutching our combined savings… it was a huge deal, planning and executing what we were going to do, and we really enjoyed it.

Also - and I still think this is a brilliant idea - my primary school used to hold a little Christmas fair during the day, when kids brought in their pocket money and there were lots of very cheap things they could buy as presents for siblings/parents/etc. I still remember buying a little red candle for my aunt and uncle, and must have been about 6 at the time.

But there was two of you, it's different. It's very hard as a single child in a single parent family to get the hang of it I think, if they don't have a natural knack to it.

I remember finding it really hard and keeping getting shit presents or nothing at all then feeling horrible when I realised I was expected to. I would use other people's birthdays to teach him about buying presents and showing people we care about them on their birthday

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Badgirlriri · 26/09/2022 07:19

slowquickstep · 25/09/2022 19:58

No i don't think it is too much for a 9 year old to say Happy birthday

I don’t think it is either. Why are we babying children so much these days ffs.

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LuaDipa · 26/09/2022 07:25

DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 22:49

But apparently it’s horrific to have considered going out with friends for the evening of my birthday instead!!

As I’ve said, I was expecting some kind of acknowledgement it was my birthday, and enjoying a nice tea together. It’s depressing how unreasonable that expectation seems to be in this day.

I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy your day but yabvu holding a 10 year old child responsible that. He’s just a child. You are an adult. If you would have preferred to see your friends then do that, don’t put so much expectation on your ds.

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ReeseWitherfork · 26/09/2022 07:45

We see it all the time on here that someone’s husband or partner hasn’t acknowledged their birthday. And I think that’s because it just isn’t important to some people. Birthdays don’t register on their radar. My DH isn’t fussed, I don’t even know if he’d know it was his birthday if I didn’t tell him. The difference here is that as adults those people should have the emotional maturity and social awareness to know to make a fuss of someone else on their birthday.

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Miajk · 26/09/2022 07:57

melj1213 · 25/09/2022 20:17

YABU - that's a lot of expectation for a 9 year old to do all of that without direct adult guidance

You make no mention of DSs dad so I'm going to assume you're either a single parent or don't have a good relationship with your Ex. It's not unreasonable to expect your DS to say "Happy Birthday Mum" but any other fuss should be a bonus rather than an expectation when he doesn't have another parent to facilitate taking him out to buy something for your birthday.

A lot of expectation?

A 9 year old who knows it's his mother's birthday is capable of saying happy birthday.

OP said he was encouraged by other adults to make a card and had access to materials to make it.

God no wonder so many kids nowdays are absolutely helpless if people think it's too much to expect from a child to do something so simple!

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saraclara · 26/09/2022 08:03

I really hope this infantilisation and assumed helplessness with which a nine or ten year old is regarded, is just another mumsnet thing. Because in real life I've not come across it. In real life nine year olds are encouraged to start thinking for themselves, start gaining independence and to be caring, in my circle.

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melj1213 · 26/09/2022 10:06

Miajk · 26/09/2022 07:57

A lot of expectation?

A 9 year old who knows it's his mother's birthday is capable of saying happy birthday.

OP said he was encouraged by other adults to make a card and had access to materials to make it.

God no wonder so many kids nowdays are absolutely helpless if people think it's too much to expect from a child to do something so simple!

As I said in my post, it's not unreasonable to expect a "Happy Birthday Mum" but anything beyond that is unreasonable to expect if there is no other parent to facilitate present and card buying.

The OP seems to think that because she independently went out of her way to buy gifts for her parents at a young age then her son should automatically just know that is expected of him. She hasn't said what has happened in previous years so if the child has never independently bought cards/gifts, why is she expecting it now and if he usually gets her a gift/card and hasn't this year, what has changed?

I have older siblings, the only reason I started to buy token gifts as a child for parents/siblings on their birthdays was because I saw the older ones do it, I was grouped in with one of them or mum saying "Come on you lot, we're going shopping and you all need to pick a card for your dad's birthday". They only knew to do it because our parents had modelled the behaviour and supported them with a trip to town, steering them gently towards things the recipient would like etc.

Yes other adults can encourage and he can have access to all the craft making supplies in the world, but if he's not a creative child and the adults aren't there to physically help him then it's unreasonable to hold it against him that he's not made anything.

My nephew is 8 and the most non-artistic child ever. My house is filled with colouring books, glitter, craft supplies etc as DD loves drawing/painting etc but if he was at my house and I said to him "you could make your mum a birthday card" unless I actually physically sit with him and help him create something he just wouldn't know where to begin and nobody would hold it against him if he didn't create something for a parent on their birthday, even if he'd been told he should, if nobody physically sat and helped him.

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DorsetCafes · 26/09/2022 12:20

@OriginalUsername3

I would use other people's birthdays to teach him about buying presents and showing people we care about them on their birthday

Of course I do. This is hardly something out of the blue. I’ve been talking to him about present giving and receiving at Christmas and birthdays since he was tiny. And of course, we make a huge fuss of him on his own birthday. When other close relatives have birthdays, a card is always either made or bought, and he chooses a little present that he pays for out of his pocket money (which is more than adequate). I also make sure he draws or paints a thank you card for his teacher at the end of every year and in the last few years that he writes very brief thank you letters for his Christmas presents. Obviously nursery and school have been helping the kids make cards for Easter, Mothers Day since he was tiny too.

I didn’t see him on my birthday last year and I honestly can’t remember what happened in 2020 (COVID fog) but now he is nearly 10 I guess I thought that all this role modelling would be starting to have an effect and he would be of an age to understand that it’s a good idea to wish people happy birthday and make a bit of an effort in whatever way you can (whether being on good behaviour or drawing a card or giving a hug).

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GabriellaMontez · 26/09/2022 12:36

Yanbu to expect him to wish you happy birthday. Remind him if he neglects this. He is only 9...

It's a bit mean to talk about going out for supper then changing this. He was disappointed. Fair enough.

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mamabear715 · 26/09/2022 12:52

My sis & I have spoken of things like this.. we NEVER missed our late Mum's birthday, Mother's day or anything, as small as we were! Now we're grown up with kids of our own, we sometimes miss out.. we genuinely don't understand! Hugs, I hope you had a lovely birthday anyway. x

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ddl1 · 27/09/2022 12:34

I don't think it's U to expect a child this age to make a card - I think I was doing so for my parents by that age; but I think it's U to be personally upset or offended by a child's omissions in this respect. I also think that it's U to expect people to be 'on (particularly) good behaviour' for a birthday. People should IMO be 'on good behaviour' EVERY day, but not especially for a birthday. One does not want children to grow up either to be birthday-zillas, who annually demand their own way in every respect 'because it's my BIIIRTHDAY!!!', or the type of partner who thinks that they can make up for neglect or unkindness every day by making a fuss of their partner on 'special days'.

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ddl1 · 27/09/2022 12:41

DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 22:06

Yes

Although when I was a kid, my father didn’t aid or abet us - we just did our own thing. I used to sneak to the corner shop to buy stuff, when my mother’s back was turned. Or went off to a department store when I was supposed to be in story hour in the library, clutching our combined savings… it was a huge deal, planning and executing what we were going to do, and we really enjoyed it.

Also - and I still think this is a brilliant idea - my primary school used to hold a little Christmas fair during the day, when kids brought in their pocket money and there were lots of very cheap things they could buy as presents for siblings/parents/etc. I still remember buying a little red candle for my aunt and uncle, and must have been about 6 at the time.

It's a different world now, though. A generation ago, kids had much more freedom of movement. Nowadays, most parents would be horrified at their 9-year-old sneaking out to the corner shop - which probably would no longer be a corner shop, but a big store much further away. A teenager might now secretly buy presents online, but one wouldn't really want a 9-year-old making online purchases without supervision.

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FuriousFurious · 27/09/2022 12:57

At 9, I'd say 'it's my birthday! Where's my Happy Birthday hug??' Then ask if he wants to help to make your birthday cake and maybe draw you a picture or make a card?
This will help him to realise what you'd like without you sounding sad and annoyed.

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Liorae · 15/04/2023 14:52

DorsetCafes · 25/09/2022 22:49

But apparently it’s horrific to have considered going out with friends for the evening of my birthday instead!!

As I’ve said, I was expecting some kind of acknowledgement it was my birthday, and enjoying a nice tea together. It’s depressing how unreasonable that expectation seems to be in this day.

The bar is set extremely low for males af any age on Mumsnet.

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