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Too many gifts from doting grandparents - am I ungrateful or reasonable?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by nick909, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Just wanted to get some opinions on this.
    My mother-in-law is understandably still extremely excited about having become a grandmother for the first time around 11 months ago.
    She, like all grandmothers surely do, likes to spoil our daughter whenever possible, but we feel it's become a little OTT.
    Our house is a small one and we haven't got room for loads of toys and moreover, we don't want our daughter to grow up with TOO much in the way of expensive toys as we both feel that children should have an appreciation of the value of things and that everyone has to go without things they'd really like sometimes. We certainly can't afford to buy her everything she wants as she grows up.
    We've tried to ask M-i-L to cut it down a little but every time we see her she's bought another expensive, plastic toy (you know, the really noisy ones that seem to be popular these days) that takes up space and adds to the huge pile she's already got.
    The toys are an issue in itself - we feel that too much in the way of flashing/singing toys are a bad thing. That it might inhibit creative play and using imagination - in the same way that too much console gameplaying seems to inhibit creativity in certain older children. We've suggested and shown her toys we'd ideally like her to get - nice wooden ones, for example - but she doesn't pay attention. It became slightly ridiculous recently when she bought her an electronic, plastic tambourine that simulates a tambourine noise - why on Earth not a proper tambourine?!
    We've also suggested that our daughter doesn't need any more toys and if she really wanted to help, she could get things she does need, such as clothes and nappies or even just pop some money in the savings account we opened for her (other relations are perfectly happy to do this). It's not even as if an 11 month old needs much anyway - she's as happy playing with pans and spoons from the kitchen and some boxes as anything else.
    We do appreciate her and all of her help she's given in the first year of our daughter's life. We have mentioned it to her sensitively but she has become offended on these occasion and has withdrawn all support entirely for a period.
    What do people think? Are we being ungrateful? Should we just let her have her fun and continue to accept endless expensive but unnecessary gifts (something that will only get worse as she gets older)? Or are we reasonable to put our collective foot down ask her to slow down and just get things she needs with the occasional treat? And can anyone suggest how to deal with this carefully?
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I'm sitting here in my son's house waiting to hear about the birth of my second grandchild and I agree.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    When your parents had you they didn't have the money to spoil you properly (we certanly didin't) but now we have more disposable income and we want to dispose of it in the direction of the grandkids.
  4. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I tend to buy toys that are kept at our house and recycled when the grandchildren grow out of them. I have bought books and clothes for Easter and 1 egg each. I put money into an account each month, for when they are 18, so I feel that I'm doing my bit and hopefully not spoiling them too much. Too many noisy plastic toys in a small house is a definite no-no. Perhaps your MiL could be persuaded to open an account instead. I bought my granddaughter's first school uniform and I'll do the same for my grandson next year.I also buy things like shoes and boots sometimes and will knit jumpers and cardigans as well.
  5. I completely sympathise with you on this one. My MIL was a professional shopaholic and would bombard us with all sorts of stuff, usually whatever her latest craze happened to be. We REALLY suffered during the tupperware phase, which was closely followed by an obsession with Lakeland. At one point we literally had boxes of the stuff in our cellar. Eventually we had to give it away. When our daughter was born it was the same ... Every Christmas we'd be bombarded with so many presents, too much for our daughter to take in. Half of it was never really played with. As we were an army family, and kept being moved into progressively smaller quarters, it really caused us problems.

    You could suggest they reduce the number of presents and put some money into savings accounts for the grand kiddies. Point out that you don't have any more space.
  6. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    I don't even have one on the horizon, but I agree.
  7. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    It's not your job to encourage children to grow up into spoiled brats, or to ignore the wishes of your son & daughter-in-law. Why waste so much money, when the child would have much more appreciation of a contribution to a deposit on a house / university fees later in life?
  8. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    ... and I bet you got much more pleasure from seeing your granddaughter in her first school uniform that you had purchased - than you would have from seeing her with another plastic toy that she didn't need.

    Top marks to you for being a fab grandparent [​IMG]
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    My grandson and step grandchildren are all perfectly delightful children, bright and articulate with excellent manners and great social skills.
    I'm a daughter and was (until my in laws died) a daughter in law. When I didn't agree with them I gritted my teeth, smiled nicely and SUCKED IT UP. Doing so meant that I had a fantastic relationship with my MiL despite her son and I splitting up when my kids were young.
    What I do with my money is entirely up to me.
    By that time there is every chance I'll be dead. Many grandparents don't see their grandchildren into adulthood. However, if I haven't squandered all my money on presents while they're young maybe they'll get something in my will.

  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I also bought my grandchildren their first school uniforms...
  11. I can't wait to become a doting grandad. Just take the gifts.

  12. My parents in law reacted in much the same way when my children were born spending a fortune. I too found this overwhelming. I soon realised that they were anxious that as the parents of the dad rather than the mum they would not have the same access or relationship with their grandson as my parents would. They had a number of friends who's daughter in law had restricted access and favoured their own parents. Naturally they overcompensated with both gifts and offers of help and I felt suffocated. As soon as they realised that I had no intention of behaving like this and have worked hard to include all things calmed down. I work full time and have two boys and could not survive without their help. I think things will calm down and accept that your house will be full of plastic stuff until your children are about 8.

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    I'm tempted to say let things be.
    You have tried the subtle approach and it didn't work - is it worth the risk of upsetting her for this?
    The plastic stuff goes with the territory really I'm afraid. Keep dropping hints about the nice stuff/clothes/savings/practical stuff - but what's the worst that can happen?
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Being a grandparent is wonderful.
    According to my grandson I make the BEST soup, read the BEST stories, buy the BEST toys etc. He is great fun to be with and, so far, he loves coming to see his granny. Many of the toys, books etc that I buy for him live here with me.
    I don't see my step grandchildren as much as I'd like but I always go bearing gifts - some cheap and cheerful and some not so cheap.
    I won't be remembered for buying school uniforms or holiday clothes or shoes etc but I may stick in their minds for being generous with things they enjoy!
  15. OP, it's my experience that however you ask and regardless of HOW MANY times you ask, grandparents won't hear/can't hear requests to go easy on the buying of gifts for the beloved grand-children.
    Seriously - when you're standing there, explaining (and sweating in case they get all upset) that you just don't have any more space, all your parents/in-laws are seeing is a blurry-edged blob making blah-blah noises. Fact.
  16. After the bairn's had plenty of fun with the toys and after a respectable period of time has elapsed, have a clear out and take a bag to the charity shop.
    Your parents-in-law probably won't notice and lots of less well off kids will have the joy of some new (to them) toys.
    And a charity benefits.
    Result. [​IMG]
  17. hazeymazey

    hazeymazey New commenter

    Aw, tricky one this! I've got an almost 3 year old and a 15 month old and they do get spoilt by the grandparents. In fairness my o/h's parents listen really well to what we say when they ask what to buy for Christmas and birthdays, my parents are a bit more, shall we say random, with their gift buying but the gifts are mostly thoughtful and appealing rather than lavish. I'd say take the gifts, either filter them in later in the year, re-gift them to other children as appropriate or charity shop them (most charities are really hard up at the moment and always need new stock) - we give a lot to charity and some even tell us how much money they have made from our bits and pieces sometimes (not that we want them to but it does bring it home how valuable donation can be). And lastly - she is doing it with the best of intentions so maybe just live with it a bit. You will be the greatest influence on your child even if she does have more flashing and squeaking toys than you would like!
  18. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Sell the (slightly) older ones on Ebay.
  19. indulgence=horrible child=adult expecting to be indulged=disappointed adult.
  20. Capitalist! [​IMG]

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