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Gifts

Step575's picture
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Hello everyone,

My question is about gifts. Birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, etc. SS(13) is quick to ask DH for money to buy gifts for his mom- and yet doesn't get money from his mom to by gifts for DH. Whenever BM's birthday comes around, SS will ask DH for money to get her something. DH's birthday just passed and I assumed SS was going to get some help from his mom (since he got help from his dad for her) and NOTHING. I felt so bad for DH that SS didn't even remember it was his birthday. Same exact thing at Christmas. 

Do you think this is a fight worth fighting? Its usually only $20... but for me its the principle. Either A. he just dosn't think of his dad in the same way as his mom or B. she doesn't offer to help and he doesn't feel comfortable asking her. I'm not sure if I should just stay out of it? My heart just breaks for DH. It has to be weird for SS becuase I get DH a present from DD. I get him a present from me. The only one he doesn't get any acknowledgement from is SS. Thoughts? Have others dealt with this? Thanks! 

Ursula's picture

Can you help SS get a gift for his dad?  Maybe a month or so before his birthday, remind SS and tell him that you'll give him some money for a gift if he can do some chores around the house?

Step575's picture

Excellent thought. He gets an allowance at our house for chores. I did ask him about a month before Christmas if he needed my help either ordering something or if he needed help buying something I could help him if he needed it. Christmas got closer and nothing.

I ended up just getting something and put it from both SS and DD so that it looked like he put in some effort. For me this is more about BM. I'm more than willing to help SS- apparently moreso than his own mother? Thats what bothers me...   

futurobrillante99's picture

I just want to point out that your SS ASKS his dad for money and help getting the BM a gift.

You offered SS the chance to earn $ and help getting a gift and he declined, so it's not that BM isn't giving him the money or offering to help him. Your SS clearly feels like he MUST do something for the BM and not his father.

Either he holds the BM in higher regard (not uncommon with mothers) or she has impressed it upon him that she'll be upset if he doesn't.

I'd let it go and try NOT to overcompensate for him. Your husband CAN teach him better by telling him his feelings are hurt that he shows more regard for BM than his father, or he can just let it go. Maybe your husband doesn't care as much as you do whether or not his son does anything for him.

Step575's picture

Maybe your husband doesn't care as much as you do whether or not his son does anything for him.

I think it bothers DH- but not enough to make a big thing out of it. He will say something to me- but ultimately just let it go. I don't think he ever wants to make SS feel bad- but part of learning is learning how your actions (or lack of) impact others. 

You point is a good one. He does ask his dad for money to get something for his mom. He may not be asking his mom for help and didn't follow through when I offered. Both excellent points. 

CajunMom's picture

This was a big deal for me, back before disengagement. We'd take SKs shopping for BM's birthday, Mother's Day and Christmas. She NEVER reciprocated. In a counseling session between me, the BM and her sister, I brought this up. Therapist strongly suggested she do the same as we did, for DH. Happened ONE time. Then back to nothing. At that point, I told DH this had to stop. It was sending a very bad message to his two younger kids on how to treat him and others. At the next "BM" holiday, we told the kids BM chose to do things differently than the counselor had suggested so we were following her lead. Put that responsibility on the BM

Any way you can take our experience and modify it to fit your situation?

SKs here were greedy and self centered. Christmas was horrible. They'd show up empty handed, yet would extend those hands for the big cash bonanzas DH put out every year plus the gifts I purchased for them. We'd always take the younger kids shopping. Once, when they were older, we gave them cash. Oldest SD took them shopping. Guess who did not get a gift? Yep. DH. I outright asked SD why. She said she ran out of money....to which I replied, well, considering WE gave you the money, the first person on your list should have been your dad. That ended that practice. We eventually ended even Christmas gift exchanges when they were adults. Only recently have a couple been sending DH little gifts. As I'm disengaged, I don't ask. I see a few things around, will ask, and he'll say, it was a gift. Glad they are finally acknowledging the man who funded their lives way into adulthood. SMH

Step575's picture

Wow it sounds like you've been through it, too. I think saying somtehing like, "we're going to follow your moms lead when it comes to gifts" might put him on the defensive as he immediately gets defensive over anything that even seems like a dig at her. Even though its not a dig- I'm sure he must realize that his mother doesn't contribute in the same way his dad does. I'll have to think this over though... If it continues as he gets older- I think we'll be able to have a more age appropriate conversation around this. 

futurobrillante99's picture

Does BM have a husband or boyfriend? He should ask that person or his grandparents to help him.

You don't need to inform him that you're going to follow his mom's lead, but when he asks for help, his father can direct him to a more appropriate person to assist him on the grounds that he's old enough now to understand that it's HIS responsibility to make sure BM gets a gift and not DH's - DH has a new relationship and you are his focus. SS should expect to earn his own money and seek assistance from someone closer to BM for help to get a gift - or he can make one for BM at her house.

Step575's picture

The thing is- I don' tthink DH would direct him to a more appropriate person because he wouldn't want to make SS feel bad for asking for help. Like- the help is here, we have the money, its more principle than anything. Do you think its something I should bring up? Like, wouldn't your mom's family help you with your mom and your dads family help you with your dad?

ndc's picture

I don't think there's anything wrong with SS asking and your DH helping him if DH can afford it and wants to do it.  But that's letting a teaching moment go past.  That is your DH's opportunity to point out to SS that he's thinking of BM but he doesn't think of DH, and letting him know it's hurtful.  It's a tough conversation to have,  but it's part of raising SS to be a kind and thoughtful person. 

EDIT TO ADD: If SS says his mother won't help him,  DH can let him know that an acknowledgement,  or doing a chore or something else that costs nothing but benefits DH would be enough. 

 

CajunMom's picture

I get not being able to follow our path on the "following BM's lead." We were all in counseling at the time...including the SKs, so therapist is the one who guided the process. But definitely guide him to get help else where if BM is not reciprocating.

I'm a big gift giver.Doesn't have to be anything big or costly...my favorite gifts this year were some cute socks. I think it's a way to honor those who are good/kind/loving to us. Not just our parents. It's something I taught my bio kids at young ages. While they were young, we funded it but as they got older and had allowances and/jobs, I expected them to buy something from their money and own their own. Today, as adults, they are excellent in this area, including with their bonus parents (I use that word honestly because we have a great blend with my ex and his new wife). 

I'm also big on personal responsibility and accountability. That's why I was infuriated when youngest SD didn't buy her dad one damn thing with the $500 we gave her and her brother to Christmas shop. 

I'd definitely talk to your DH about this and try to explain how he's missing a great opportunity to impact his child for future interactions. 

 

ESMOD's picture

Unfortunately, while it's frustrating that BM is not apparently reciprocating the assistance for gifts for him.. it is not something that SS, you, or your DH really have any control over.  Would it be nice if she did the same thing? sure.

Perhaps SS asks about the gifts for mom because mom makes a bigger production about her birthday and mother's day than DH does for related holidays.. and maybe BM displays more disdane for his dad.. so SS is either afraid to ask.. or he has asked and been rebuffed.

If it's not really the money.. and you are inclined to help SS get something for his dad.. that is admirable and would be a nice thing to do.. it might even be something that  you could do that would be to gently remind him that it woudl be nice to show his appreciation of his dad.. especially since his dad makes it possible to do the same for his mother.. and buys the kid himself, nice gifts and provides him a comfortable life.. 

Step575's picture

You know what we did for his mom for Christmas? SS asked DH to order something for BM. About a week later- SS asked DH if he ordered her gift yet. DH told SS that I ordered her gift. Christmas morning we had SS and I heard him on the phone with her on facetime in his bedroom saying, " Do you like it? XXXXX helpped me get this for you I really hope you like it" so she knows it came from me. Bet those items never get used haha 

She's defintiely self centered and self serving- so i'd be willing to bet my life on the fact that she makes a big production out of her birthday and mothers day. She definitely displays distane toward DH in passive ways that I'm sure he picks up on. I'm sure SS will grow up to see the differences (if he doesn't see them already). 

ndc's picture

It's not BM's job to worry about DH's birthday. They are divorced. Now, would it be nice if BM helped SS get DH a gift, as part of raising him to be a kind, thoughtful person, if he asked her for help? Of course.  But for all you know he didn't even remember DH's birthday. And frankly,  BM has no reason to be thinking of your DH's birthday these days. 

BM here is sane and cooperative, but she doesn't help the kids buy DH a present for any occasion.  She does help them buy Christmas, birthday and Father's Day presents for the Golden Goose (their stepfather). She also helped them buy gifts for their sister (my bio with DH) when they asked.

I am the one who reminds them of occasions and help them get presents for DH.  If SDs ask (and often they do), I'll help them make a craft/card for BM for her birthday or Mother's Day.  DH does not remind them of BM's birthday (I don't think he remembers when it is - he's no longer FB friends with her,  so he doesn't have FB to remind him) or help them buy her gifts. I'm sure the Golden Goose is taking care of that. 

My skids are younger and sometimes need reminders. A 13 year old is old enough to remember his parents' birthdays and recognize them in some way. IMO, the blame here is on SS, not BM. If the non-recognition hurts your husband, I'd suggest you start reminding SS of these occasions rather than relying on him and BM to remember. If SS doesn't care enough to follow through when reminded, then I guess his parents have failed him.

Step575's picture

Thank you for your perspective- much appreciated! 

This is actually very helpful. Thinking of this as more SS than BM. Would you suggest when SS brings up a gifts for his mom- that we point him in the direction of mom's family? Let her family help him out? 

ndc's picture

Not necessarily.  See my comment above about using his request as a teaching moment to tell him it's great that he recognized his mom,  but he should do the same for dad. 

Stepmom2020's picture

Adult SD has never bought anything for our family but her "daddy." This year on this forum, I've learned to disengage. Why didn't I do it sooner? DH had to buy gifts for SD and GSD for Christmas and Birthday. It doesn't seem to bother him that there are no acknowledgements or thank you's. Actually, the Christmas gifts are still here. So they aren't engaged either. Give it a shot, try to disengage and stop worrying about DH presents. When SS gets older, you can think about letting DH deal with the presents.

Rags's picture

Nope. It is not either BP's responsibility to buy gifts for their X.  Even if they have kids.

We married the week before SS-28 turned 2yo.  

Never once did we buy gifts for anyone in the SpermClan for SS to give them.  Neither did they ever buy gifts for his mom for him to give to her.

In our blended family case... they belong to a fringe Christian cult that does not recognize Christmas.  It was never done for birthdays either.

We always made Christmas and Birthdays a big deal in our family.  SS has always gone out of his way to be very thoughtful and generous when thinking of gifts for his mom and I and for my parents.

When he was young, he often asked me to go shopping with him for his mom.   We had some very nice and interesting adventures finding just the right thing for her.  He would do the same with his mom for gifts for me. 

Never once did he ask to go shopping for gifts for the SpermClan. Other than genetics, I think he recognized that they were never really family.  They never demonsrated to him that they are family.