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Am I being unreasonable expecting a small gift from my adult grandchildren?

(47 Posts)
Yanene Thu 11-Feb-21 12:33:15

Hi I’m new to this so bear with me please. We have always been very involved with our two adult grandchildren and love them dearly. We have always been financially supportive of them, helping them over the years whilst they were at uni, even helping with housing deposits. It was our birthdays a couple of weeks ago and although they both sent a card neither bothered with even a token gift of sweets or even wine. Neither of them are short of money and we do not expect or want gratitude it just felt like they couldn’t be bothered. I guess I’m more hurt than anything and wonder if I’m being unfair and expecting too much, I know they are both busy.

Calendargirl Thu 11-Feb-21 12:40:18

Do they live away? With current restrictions, perhaps they will bring something later on when they are able to visit.

keepingquiet Thu 11-Feb-21 12:41:32

People can't shop in the way they could during Covid. I haven't even sent cards during lockdown as I have all my shopping delivered. However, I do ring of I can and wish them a happy birthday directly.
It could be they can't be bothered.
Maybe you could take more of an interest in them, too? Send a message thanking them for the card which is a signal they were thinking of you.
We are living through hard times any any support we offer each other will be appreciated more than criticism.

Septimia Thu 11-Feb-21 12:44:29

I don't think you're unreasonable but maybe unrealistic! The chances are that they just didn't think. At least they remembered, which is something to be thankful for.

Perhaps, when you are able to meet up you could watch for the opportunity to insert a comment into the conversation along the lines of 'I do enjoy getting flowers on special occasions' or 'I love it when I get a box of chocolates for my birthday'. But they probably won't even register that!

NellG Thu 11-Feb-21 12:46:27

I think it's reasonable to feel hurt - we all want to be treated well and tokens of affectional are good as reinforcement that we matter and are thought of. The cards mean they thought of you.

However I do think things are changing with this in younger generations for many reasons - most not because they don't care, but they care differently 'at a distance' almost. Family seems to have a different meaning for them than it does for those of us who grew up in a very different society.

My advice is always to talk about it - next time you talk thank them for the cards but also say you'd have appreciated a small gift as that is how you've always understood birthdays should be celebrated and also ask was there any reason that they didn't send one. My bet is that they couldn't think of anything you didn't already have, or couldn't get for yourself and showed their thought by sending a card.

It's either that or accept they don't see it like you do and the chances are you wont be getting gifts now as it's not important to them.

I hope that makes sense, and in all honesty I would feel the same, but equally wouldn't want them to waste money on something I don't need.

Having said that I have discovered the very hard and painful way that money and help do not buy love and loyalty even when the money and help was given because of love and loyalty!

best wishes x

Luckygirl Thu 11-Feb-21 12:58:24

Lucky lady - you had a card!

Summerlove Thu 11-Feb-21 13:12:26

I think you need to tell them what you expect.

They can’t read your minds, and likely thought they were being extremely thoughtful by sending cards vs a quick birthday text.

This is strictly mismatched expectations. The only way to solve is to talk.

PamelaJ1 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:17:25

My mum has 11 grandchildren. She hears/gets gifts from 8 of them on her birthday and at Christmas. 8 of them give her a ring now and then.
Unfortunately 3 of them don’t bother. I blame my sister for not instilling this as a good thing to do.
It’s not something that is spoken about though, at least not with the sister in question present. Life is too short.

Esspee Thu 11-Feb-21 13:18:02

I don't even expect a card from my children (they live so far away) but if they didn't call on the day I would be very disappointed.
Fortunately that has never happened.

Jackie12 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:29:43

I can understand you're feeling hurt. There thought of you and sent a card which is more than most ppl they know would receive - it's usually a fb greeting. So they probably feel that they've done sthg you'd like. Personally I wouldn't mention lack of gift as the last thing you want surely is to receive sthg because you prompted it. Instead, I'd send a note saying thank you, asking questions, giving news, May be send a pic or sthg to ensure you strengthen your obvious bonds.
Stay safe and take care.

NotSpaghetti Thu 11-Feb-21 13:30:03

I don't know why you are expecting gifts.
I think a card is enough.

Sara1954 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:36:32

Apart from a few handmade cards from when they were little, we have never received cards or presents from our grandchildren.
Until you raised the subject, I’d never given it any consideration.

Helenlouise3 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:37:00

I have 6 grandchildren, the eldest two are a boy 20, who's been working full time for 2 years and a girl 18, who had just started a part time job before lockdown. I had such a surprise at Christmas when the granddaughter bought me a beautiful scarf and perfume from the shop she works. I don't hold it against my grandson, I know I'm loved and don't need gifts to tell me this.

NotAGran55 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:37:44

Do they usually send you gifts for birthdays or Christmas?

Sara1954 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:37:46

Oh I forgot, usually get a WhatsApp message

timetogo2016 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:41:59

I wouldn`t dream of getting a gift off g/children tbh.
I think a card is enough regardless of their earnings.
But that`s just me.

Baggs Thu 11-Feb-21 13:43:02

Once one is a grown up, I don't think it's ever reasonable to expect a gift.

Have they sent you gifts in previous years?

Nanny2020 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:49:13

I think just the fact that they made the effort to send you a card is wonderful! If they think of you in between birthdays with phone calls to stay in touch shows a lot for their generation. Are gifts something that have always been done from them to you? from them to their own parents? If yes then I’d say it’s probably related to Covid so that probably is the reason this year. Some families aren’t big gift givers. Focus on what you did get and thank them for the lovely card and express how much it meant to you that they remembered your birthday!

Grandma70s Thu 11-Feb-21 13:50:20

I would never have thought of expecting presents from my grandchildren.

Iam64 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:58:42

I’d be happy with a card or Facebook message. I did get a special gift when I was 70 but suspect a lovely girl friend was the power behind the grandsons throne

ginny Thu 11-Feb-21 14:18:53

A card is lovely , they were thinking of you.
A gift is nothing if not freely given, so personally I would not speak to them about it. Just thank them for the card.

Calendargirl Thu 11-Feb-21 14:29:53

Personally, I wouldn’t drop hints such as ‘I like chocolates’. Also wouldn’t bring up not receiving a present with them, that to me is an invitation to bad feeling and awkwardness.

Aldom Thu 11-Feb-21 14:38:23

How lovely that your adult grandchildren are thoughtful and caring enough to send you cards on your birthday. Contact them to let them know their thoughtfulness is appreciated. Especially at this difficult time.

Gwyneth Thu 11-Feb-21 14:44:29

I always bought my grandparents presents and would visit them on their birthdays as I lived close by. All their other grandchildren did the same. I think it gave us as much pleasure as it did them.

Grandmabatty Thu 11-Feb-21 14:46:24

Do they live close enough to hand a gift in? I haven't been able to give a friend a birthday gift as I live outside her area and I don't want fined. Have they ever given you gifts for birthdays? If not, then it's unreasonable to expect them to start without some nudging. They may have sent you a gift but it's lost/delayed. I agree a gift would be lovely and understand why you are hurt, but I don't think you can expect one.