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Advice please re birthday money.

(47 Posts)
Tallulah57 Wed 19-Jul-17 12:07:31

My younger brother has two children who are 15 years and 13 years old. He has, in the last two years divorced and remarried and I haven't seen the children in the last three years. I have always been especially close to my brother has had my other brother but since meeting his new wife my younger brother has taken to sending really nasty and hurtful emails to members of the family which has resulted in us not speaking to him. When he got married none of his siblings or his best friend attended the wedding.

My dilemna is this, I have always sent money for birthdays and Christmas to the two children even though my own children never received anything from him or his previous wife at all. The children used to send me thank you cards (not received any in the last two years) in return and whenever I saw them or my parents visited them I always sent money for both the children and gave them little presents. Last December I received a letter from the older child asking for the Christmas and birthday money early in order to enable a mobile phone purchase. Odd I thought as the family are moderately well off, their mother having a very good job, my brother giving his ex wife the house in the divorce settlement in exchange for his pension, but I sent the money. I recently had a very big birthday (3 months ago) and I didn't even receive a text message from the children wishing me a happy birthday which upset me. I didn't want a present but a card or text message or telephone call would have been lovely. I am now wondering whether or not to stop sending them money and presents. Would it be mean of me to stop?

shysal Wed 19-Jul-17 12:15:30

I should imagine the children have had/are having an unsettled time. You have been a constant in their lives, so I feel stopping the money might make them feel rejected. When they reach 18 might be a better time to discontinue the money, but of course still send cards.

Smileless2012 Wed 19-Jul-17 12:19:13

When our boys were that age, we had to remind them to thank their GP's for birthday and Christmas gifts. They should at that age of course think to do this for themselves but sadly there are a lot who don't, and also forget birthdays unless reminded by their parents.

If it were me Tallulah I'd keep doing what I've always done, perhaps stopping gifts and just sending cards when they reach a certain age; 18 springs to mind.

Sadly, when marriages end some family members can be left on the outside. I hope that you hear from the children in the not too distant future. Just a thought, you could contact them and ask them if they received the last gifts you sent as you hadn't heard from them.

paddyann Wed 19-Jul-17 12:30:36

I always send gifts until their 21st ,when I send a really nice one ,then I stop .They then get engagement,wedding and baby gifts when the occassion arises and I send little gifts to the new generation until they start school.I have at present 25 close family and friends on my present list so I'll buy things weekly for my present cupboard otherwise it can get out of hand trying to buy loads of presents at one time.I had 6 birthdays in April and some other months I have 3 or 4 ,it makes more sense to collect throughout the year

Daddima Wed 19-Jul-17 12:46:40

Am I the only one who thinks it's a damn cheek to ask for the birthday & Christmas money early?

Welshwife Wed 19-Jul-17 13:08:47

I now often give my DGC money for Christmas and/or birthdays and as a matter of course I usually send it early - for most of them I do a direct bank transfer or for DS abroad for his family I do it by PayPal - or if anyone would like something in particular DS will send and Amazon link.
One of DH's Grand daughters has her birthday on Christmas Day so I usually give one present and some money for the other - she and I had a discussion one year and she agreed she would like one present to be money so she could buy anything she really wanted but did not get!- she is now12

We get messages in some way to thank us and we do receive cards and presents for our birthdays/Christmas.

Luckygirl Wed 19-Jul-17 13:18:07

I should go on sending it - sounds as though they could do with all the expressions of love and support they can get.

glammygranny Wed 19-Jul-17 13:23:46

I do think its a tad cheeky to ask for a present in advance. Why the urgency. Could the new phone not have waited a few weeks? Lest you cause any more angst I agree with other commenters that you should continue to send money until they are 18.

Jalima1108 Wed 19-Jul-17 13:25:21

It seems rather a materialistic thing to do, to ask for money in advance like that.

I would just carry on sending at birthday and Christmas as you always have done until they are 18, then stop.

Hellomonty Wed 19-Jul-17 16:32:46

It is awful to not get a thanks, but the time scales suggest that it was their mum who "prompted" the polite thank yous, and understandably now she and your brother are separated doesn't see it as her responsibility anymore. Perhaps a word with your brother ...

Christinefrance Wed 19-Jul-17 16:59:28

I agree with Jalima, continue until they are 18. They do need to know you care, although sadly it seems a bit of a one way street.

TriciaF Thu 20-Jul-17 09:03:28

Tallulah when you have so little contact otherwise,I agree, just until they're 18.
Do they still have a special birthday at 21? Our eldest GD will be 21 next month.
But I also agree with Daddima - and this seems to be a reflection of the materialistic timessad. Especially if you don't get a thankyou, or even an acknowledgement that the money has arrived.

wildswan16 Thu 20-Jul-17 09:13:47

I would continue sending a money or voucher gift as you have been doing. Hopefully the children will receive it and at least know that you are still in their lives, however remotely. As they become older they will be able to make their own decisions as to whether they wish to keep in touch with you. It also sends a message to their father that you are not cutting any of them out of their lives.

adaunas Thu 20-Jul-17 10:57:21

I'd just send a card. You will probably hear from them then.
In a similar situation I did that for a 14 year old, with a note to say I wasn't sure if the gifts were getting there or not. I got a fairly prompt reply saying something to the effect that they were sorry they'd forgotten to thank me. I then sent the money and my email address asking them to confirm they'd received it. Got a 'thanks' email and have done so ever since. Cynically, I wonder if I only get the reply to make sure I keep sending, but it maintains the link.

NameChange2016 Thu 20-Jul-17 11:01:47

I stop sending presents to children who stop saying thank you. With my DSis's children the eldest stopped thanking me at 14. I persevered until they were 16, and then stopped. Their younger siblings are older than that now but still thank me so they still get presents!

leeds22 Thu 20-Jul-17 11:26:04

We get thank yous from one set of grandchildren and never receive any acknowledgement from the other set. One Christmas I asked GD if I could see the requested present we sent her via Amazon in November and she didn't appear to know what I was talking about. Now we just send that set book tokens.

A lot of it is down to parents when they are young but as they get older and tech savvy even an email would be good.

JanaNana Thu 20-Jul-17 11:41:44

This is an interesting subject that you have raised and one that quite a few people might ponder on at some point. Firstly I can understand you feeling sad/ upset on your big birthday earlier on in the year and not so much as a card or a message...I think as I have said before on a birthday related post ...some people think birthdays only happen for themselves and other people's are irrelevant. As you get older it is the thought that counts very much so. Now to your present dilemma! Depending on their ages ....if they are say over 18 or 21 you could say now they are this age group you have decided to cut back somewhat on the present giving to everyone and will not be doing what you previously did . It could be just the prompt you need to review your birthday/ Christmas gift list. It was only this week that I was thinking back to my own childhood and how materialistic everything has become now.

blue60 Thu 20-Jul-17 11:42:47

I suppose it's down to whether you want to continue sending a gift of money.

Would you have sent it if you hadn't been asked?

I think if you feel resentful, then perhaps it's time to stop. I often found with my two nieces they would forget to thank me for their gifts, but I knew in heart they were very appreciative.

I stopped when they both started work, not that it should be a reason but I felt the time was right. xx

sweetcakes Thu 20-Jul-17 11:43:18

Just send a card at 15 and 13 they should know their manners by now and let's be honest your brother and his previous wife never sent your children anything and now with his new wife the trend continues if she has children will you buy for them! They sound ungrateful children and to be frank will you see them any more?

mags1234 Thu 20-Jul-17 11:44:58

It maddens me! A phone call. Or e mail of thanks would be so appreciated! I got so annoyed sending presents abroad, never acknowledged receipt of them or thanks, so I stopped. It almost certainly would be your ex daughter in law who made kids thank you. You could send an e mail now to each child saying you are thinking of not sending cards or pressies any more to any family because they don't seem to be receiving them, maybe postal system is worse, because u haven't been hearing from them to say they have arrived and to thank you. Make sure the kids see these, can u text or e mail them personally? Might cos bad feeling but at least they know where they stand. Ask them to reply e mail. Then send a card for birthdays and Xmas and put money or a token in. If u get no acknowledgement then only send a card from then on.

Tallulah57 Thu 20-Jul-17 11:46:45

Many thanks for all your replies, it's difficult as I think it is not too much to ask for a text message from her new phone saying thank you. Also my grandson who is my brothers nephew has never received a birthday card from them either, I know that's not their fault but it just seems all one way and to be honest I thought the letter asking for the money early was cheeky and something myself or my children would never have done. A gift is just that, it is a gift and not an entitlement. I think I might carry on until they are 16 and then call it a day. Thank you all again for your replies.

JanaNana Thu 20-Jul-17 12:47:29

Tallulah57. I forgot the ages in the post you gave ..sorry. However I still think it is rude to not thank someone who sends a gift and ruder still to ask for money in advance is being very presumptuous ....I would feel very taken for granted. Don"t give them money as a gift now. Either just send a card or enclose a book token inside for a small sum. Whether they read books or not is besides the will be making your point very much!.....This can be at birthdays and Christmas. ...then stop at 18 or 21as the cut off point for gift sending adults presents. I have had to do this in the past to a very close friends daughter who I looked on as family...completely taken for granted.

newnanny Thu 20-Jul-17 14:38:39

Their parents separating is still quite traumatic for teenagers even though they like to appear cool. They need to know they have not lost their extended family too. I would keep sending gift vouchers (we send Amazon as so much they can choose from) and include your mobile number and ask for text to confirm they have received. It is not the children's fault your brother is acting like an idiot. They are probably more upset by it than you are.

Legs55 Thu 20-Jul-17 14:49:30

I wouldn't be sending money but a gift voucher if you feel you still want to give them a present, certainly card only once they turn 18.

My DD makes DGS1 write thank you notes to people he doesn't see often. I know it's a chore but it's good manners. I used to hate writing them as did DDgrin

Direne3 Thu 20-Jul-17 15:48:42

We stop giving Birthday money as each GC reaches 16 but buy a special present for 18ths'. Still buy presents for all 9 at Christmas. It's harder to find age appropriate gifts as GC get older but if I see something that I know they will like I now feel free to buy for them at any time of year (and this action has proved to be far more appreciated). I never worry about getting 'thank you' notes once they get older (hate to think of it becoming a 'duty' thing) although the little ones have always been well schooled to do so by their parents.