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Rewarding GC's good work - what should I do or say now?

(61 Posts)
cassandra264 Mon 20-Jul-20 00:31:34

When I was a child, a teacher's good marks for good school work were considered sufficient reward by my parents and grandparents. However, I did have friends whose parents bought them small presents if they did particularly well; and whenever my AC lets me know of especially good work done by my very dear and only GC, I send a handwritten letter with some extra pocket money (NOT huge amounts) to acknowledge this.We live at a distance, and even before Covid could not meet frequently, though we are in contact 2 or 3 times a week.The money is always gratefully received, and I am usually happy that GC uses it to choose whatever would add a bit of sunshine to the day!

However, this year I sent more than usual. GC's achievement, we all felt, was especially great - not only because of lockdown, but also because last year my SIL was very seriously ill,and GC was old enough to understand this. We thought SIL had recovered - but it now appears that the disease has returned. For the time being GC will not be told - in a few weeks after term has started, the news will have to be broken that treatment must start again.

The concern I have may seem very trivial by comparison in the circumstances; but I am worried that my daughter, who has up to now been holding things together brilliantly, has now allowed GC to fritter what I have sent - plus other money - on an extremely expensive toy of little or no educational or developmental value. This is out of character (she is a teacher, although now for only two days a week) and my partner and I, who live in a low income area where so many people are struggling, feel it is wrong. I don't know whether to say anything, or just resolve not to do this again.

At the same time, daughter and SIL - who is still able to work full time, at least for now, have also gone ahead with major (not essential) house purchases, planned before the recurrence of his disease. They are usually sensible with money, and I do not wish to interfere or upset them when they have already had so much to bear, but with so many question marks over the immediate future, it is hard not to worry.

MissAdventure Mon 20-Jul-20 01:00:37

Perhaps they don't feel like being sensible, and you can't really blame them.

It's nice for them to have what they want, for now.

I would go back to giving the usual little treat for work well done.

cornergran Mon 20-Jul-20 01:55:28

I do understand your worry cassandra, but have to agree with missadventure. Sometimes when serious illness strikes and can’t be controlled by the individual or their partner what might seem like a foolish ‘something’ can make life easier for a while. It doesn’t mean they will spend every penny they have, just that for a little while they will enjoy a treat and perhaps put the illness aside, even if for just a few minutes. The same would apply to your grandchild who sounds both resilient and determined. Yes, do keep rewarding educational efforts. I think with gifts we have to let go of our expectations and accept that once given the gift is not ours to control. It sounds as if the whole family have had treats, perhaps they needed them . It’s a difficult time for you too, worries are bound to surface, I hope your son in law responds well to treatment and you can all settle again.

BBbevan Mon 20-Jul-20 06:27:35

Really sorry to hear about your SiL Cassandra.,and wish him well.
We give our eldest GD pocket money every month. The youngest will get hers as soon as she starts secondary school
It is theirs to do with as they please. We only ask for a thank you now and then. Just let your GD enjoy it.

Marydoll Mon 20-Jul-20 06:54:16

Cassandra, what a lovely grandparent you are, but I can see where your DD is coming from.

It has been a difficult time for all of us. Chronic illness sometimes makes us re-evaluate our lives. I had so many plans for before Covid and shielding changed everything.

Sometimes we need to do a bit of frittering and not be sensible, we feel we may not get better and wish to live for the moment.
There is no joy in a gift with conditions attached. Let your granddaughter enjoy her frivolous gift, life is going to get tough for her.

By the way, I'm a teacher too and sometimes we get tired of being sensible!

mumofmadboys Mon 20-Jul-20 07:23:42

Someone once said to me children have to learn to waste money before they can learn to be sensible with it!
I would say nothing. Your DD and SIL have bigger problems to concentrate on. Hope your SIL's treatment goes well.

kittylester Mon 20-Jul-20 07:29:37

I agree with everything the others have said. They need to have some fun times

GrandmaKT Mon 20-Jul-20 07:47:40

Gosh cassandra, you seem to have your priorities a bit upside down! I would imagine that with all they have going on - the lockdown followed by the sad re-occurrence of your SIL's illness, your DD will have thought - give him whatever he wants for once, life is short! Please don't say anything, they have bigger problems on their plate.
Don't worry about the house purchase, so long as it is a sensible buy it should appreciate in value and they can always sell it if needs be in the future.
Just be there for them when they need you flowers

eazybee Mon 20-Jul-20 07:54:08

I really don't think you should give someone a present, particularly money, and then try to control how it is spent. You don't say how old your grandchild is, but it seems that the toy bought is one that is much wanted, as other saved money has contributed towards it. It may not be value for money but not every toy should be educational or aid development. Frittering money, to me, is wasting it with nothing to show for it; this is something desired and may bring a huge amount of pleasure and satisfaction. I would trust your daughter who as a teacher will be aware of these desires, and appreciates the need for a bit of frivolity occasionally.
The same applies to the money spent within the home; they know what they are facing.

MerylStreep Mon 20-Jul-20 08:02:28

My grandchildren fritter away most of the money I give them.
It's my choice to give the money, it's their choice how they spend it.

Auntieflo Mon 20-Jul-20 08:10:31

cassandra264 I am so sorry that your SIL is ill.
Your family are having a tough time, on top of all the worries that Covid brings.
The GN's before me have put what I was thinking so well, that there is really nothing more to add.
Let your DD and SIL enjoy their purchases and don't begrudge your GC the pleasure in their new toy.

Hetty58 Mon 20-Jul-20 08:19:54

By all means treat your grandchild from time to time if you want to.

As a retired teacher, I'm not at all keen on the 'reward' aspect of gifts, though.

What message does that send? (That you only value your grandchild for their achievements?) You could create unnecessary pressure and anxiety about doing really well and producing good work. That could be damaging and counterproductive.

Give your gift freely as a token of love, for occasions or just randomly, instead. Allow it to be spent freely too. Remember once given, it's no longer yours. Give up the control.

Praise for good work is quite enough. The family are going through a tough time so will make different choices. Don't criticise them.

Humbertbear Mon 20-Jul-20 08:21:39

If you give money as a gift you can have no control over the way it is spent. It sounds as if your GC deserved a treat.let your family get on with their lives.

trisher Mon 20-Jul-20 08:27:05

I have to agree with the posts so far. You are worried about your family but allow them to have fun. And remember what Robert Frost said Never ask of money spent Where the spender thinks it went. Nobody was ever meant To remember or invent What he did with every cent.

sodapop Mon 20-Jul-20 08:54:39

I agree with momb your family are under a lot of stress let them enjoy what they can. A gift should be freely given no strings.
I hope your son in law responds well to the treatment cassandra264

midgey Mon 20-Jul-20 08:56:38

Good advice here from everyone. How lovely to write a letter as well. In the midst of doom and gloom frivolity is a bit of a must!

RAZZLEDAZZLE Mon 20-Jul-20 10:08:39

I think as a family they have found that life is too short , and if they can afford, why not have the things they really want if it makes them happy.

jaylucy Mon 20-Jul-20 10:14:55

It was your choice to send money rather than a gift and so his choice how to spend it. If you wanted him to spend it on an "educational toy" sorry, but you should have bought something yourself and had it sent to him!
More's the point, when did children stop being children and when did all toys have to be educational ?
The items that your DD and SiL had been planned earlier so not as if they are impulse buys. No reason why they can't buy things that they can both enjoy for as long as both can.

Luckygirl Mon 20-Jul-20 10:17:48

A gift of money is just that - a gift. What it is spent on is no business of the giver.

Leave them be - they must make their own life choices.

Luckygirl Mon 20-Jul-20 10:19:13

I cringe when I hear the words educational toy!

Franbern Mon 20-Jul-20 10:27:37

Cassandra, so sorry to learn about your SiL. He and your daughter sound lovely strong people. and they are going ahead with their lives as they had planned. This outlook will serve them so well whatever the outcome. Well Done to them
All of us need, at times, to spend on items we would like but do not need. Such fun, at times. provided not going in to debt to get them, that is a really good tonic.

I never send any sort of pressie as a 'reward' for success. With eight g.children and limited resources, I do send them all a small monetary amount following GCSE and A levels
but these are 'set' amounts and given as they finish these exams, well before results. Once given it totally up to them how they use it.

Success in anything is a reward in itself, sometimes, it can be important to give a pressie when there has been perceived failure.

I do send my own five very adult - children money pressies at the winter festival (call it what you will), always with a note saying it is sent with love for them to use on themselves for something totally frivouless. NOT to bejust put into h osuehold accounts

Best wishes for a good final outcome for your SiL

MaggieMay69 Mon 20-Jul-20 10:32:40

Iwouldn't dream of just wanting my grandchildren to have 'educational toys'. Sounds boring to me!
You are only young once, and when I send money, my only proviso is 'Make yourself happy!'

Its not really a gift is it if you have certain expectations on what the money goes on? Its more of an order!

Children are already stressed enough, if your grandchild chooses to treat themselves with money given, especially with all they are going through, I would consider that money very well spent! x

Now, to quote one of my wonderful grandsons who drew me flowers so I wouldn't 'Catch the bad bug from real ones'....chillax!

geekesse Mon 20-Jul-20 10:39:44

Perhaps your SiL is considerably more ill than you think, and they have chosen to use money (and allow GC to do so) to create memories while he is still with them?

Beanie654321 Mon 20-Jul-20 10:42:56

I have 4 grandsons and have recently retired. I have always said a gift given is receivers responsibility to how it is used. I also believe that how others deal with their financial things is their business. I personally would say nothing about the gift or DD personal family business, but concentrate on supporting them emotionally in their time of need. It is hard to step back, but you don't need to fall out with them especially at this time. Live life as some dont get their true length. God Bless you all and I apologise if I seem blunt. Xxx

CrazyGrandma2 Mon 20-Jul-20 10:50:39

You are clearly a loving and generous GP and it must be hard to watch what you consider to be reckless behaviour. It really isn't up to you what any of them spend their money on. Kids need fun toys as well as educational ones. We have to let the AC and GC lead their own lives, just as we lead ours. Their priorities may well be very different to yours.