Gifts to my niece

Old 01-30-2017, 06:45 AM
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Gifts to my niece

I am estranged from my family of origin, but I have consistently sent birthday and Christmas money to my niece and nephew.

My nephew sent me nice thank-you card for his Christmas gift this time. My niece has not acknowledged the past several gifts, and I am never invited to her birthday dinners.

I would like to continue sending gifts to my nephew, but am torn about what to do about the niece.

I am relying on your experience, strength and hope here. Many thanks in advance!!!
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:54 AM
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Eauchiche....I would continue to send the money, just as you have. You have no way of knowing what it means in their hearts.
In the pure sense..a gift comes from the heart because you want to give it...not, predicated on getting something back....If you give...just to get something back (even a thank you card)...then it is more of a manipulation than a true gift....

for myself...I can remember getting gifts from aunts, as a child that I didn't send a thank you card to...and the gifts meant the world to me! (I wasn't taught , as a small child to send thank you cards to extended family. I would say "thank you", in person, if they handed me something....and, maybe, my mother might have thanked them, beyond my range of hearing---I just don't know.

If you give to one kid, and not the can foster feelings of sibling rivalry and all kinds of bad feelings...

At least, these are my feelings on the subject.....
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:59 AM
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It may be a generational thing more than any judgment. My husband sent his grandson cash for a graduation gift...heard nothing...and was told by his mom (DH's daughter), "He doesn't do thank you notes." Ummm. Okay, Mom, way to go on the raising.

We have decided that no acknowledgement, no gifts. It's about not wanting to reinforce bad manners...that will not serve them well in life.

Point is, maybe he's just rude or doesn't know any better.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:59 AM
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Eau, I think your connections with these young people are great. I wonder if you could try something my parents did when the grandkids, my sisters kids, didn't respond or didn't even cash the checks they sent. Mom sent the usual check but wrote in the card a message, simple, but honest. "I love you and look forward to sending you these gifts. I also really appreciate hearing from you to know you received the gift but more importantly to hear how YOU are doing, this makes me so happy to be a part of your journey." Something like that?
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:20 AM
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Eauchiche.....another thought---since there is enough tension in the family of adults to warrant estrangement....perhaps the niece doesn't have the freedom to invite you to festivities, on her own.
A gift is a gift...and it should come from love and respect for another....
Beleive this---when they are adults...decades from now...they will remember you for what you have done for them.....and, it may be a factor in their own generosity with their own nieces and nephews....
This is how things can become generational....
Love, kindness, generosity and compassion gets passed on....
Rigid rules and tit-for-tat attitudes get passed on, also.....
I certainly do....

In particular, I remember....My Aunt Juanita, when I was in the forth grade 9yrs. old, came to our house with gifts for everyone. We had never exchanged gifts with extended family, as a tradition. I am certain that neither my mother or my stepfather had ever sent a thank you card in their lives.
she gave me a pair of expensive mittens of real red leather and white rabbit fur ..and a green hat with fur trim...and a matching purse (my first purse!).
I felt like a queen, wearing those things to school!! they were my most prized posessions. I cherished them for years. Every time I think of my l ate Aunt Junita, I get teary-eyed, remembering her generosity to me.
Now, I know that she did not hold resentment or bitterness toward me that I didn't send a thank-you card. She was always warm and smiling whenever I saw her....
As an adult...I follow Emily Post more, I was just a child, then.....
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:35 AM
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MANY thanks, everyone!!!
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:35 AM
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Welcome Eau.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:04 AM
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IDK, I think it's kind of punishing to give a gift with expectations attached. (yes, even when the expectation is Manners - we cannot control others, right?)

I think that if all this is hard for you to wrap your brain around sometimes, your niece must have equally big moments of confusion about her "loyalties" & the dynamics at play, regardless of her age. Maybe she feels torn being acknowledged while other people she loves are on the outs with you & simply doesn't have the maturity to express her feelings.

Quite frankly, regardless of whether we like it or not, thank you notes have become quite passe in this day & age of technology, outside of large events like weddings, baby showers, etc, Can you all honestly say that you send notes for every gift received, from every person, all year long? I don't know a single person IRL that does this for birthdays, holidays, etc. & I don't think twice about it because they'll have expressed their gratitude when I gave the gift to them directly - and if not, whatevs. Not my monkey.

Thing is - YOU decided to cut contact & pick & choose how YOU continue those relationships. They aren't required to comply with how you expect them to manage it, IMO.

If niece & nephew are grown & I feel slighted by her, I think I'm perfectly within my rights to stop sending gifts. But I also have to acknowledge that relationships are more than gifts & thank you notes - am I doing my part to be in her life? What's reasonable to expect in this type of relationship situation?
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:00 PM
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I guess I'm old school. My kids have always sent thank yous and they are 23 and 24. When I was a child I always had to thank people for my gifts. I was taught to do that and I hope my children teach their kids to do that. I think its disrespectful to send a wedding gift or a baby gift and not be acknowledged. I would always think twice about sending future gifts if they can't take 5 minutes to say thank you.

I do agree with Dandy you send the gift because you want to, but if no one acknowledges the gift, you have no idea if they are even getting the money. You could always send a check and not sign it.... haha... I am sure you will get a thank you and the check back to sign.

I feel if you don't acknowledge a gift, it gets old, year after year. I would stop sending them. Sorry, just my opinion.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by maia1234 View Post
I guess I'm old school. My kids have always sent thank yous and they are 23 and 24. When I was a child I always had to thank people for my gifts. I was taught to do that and I hope my children teach their kids to do that.
THANK YOU, maia! At least you are ONE of the last standing people on this earth instilling proper etiquette with their children! I have to tell you... I know you're supposed to not expect anything in return when giving a gift... I can agree with that ONLY if you are expecting a gift or something of value coming back to you. A simple verbal THANK you or email does NOT equate this! And to me it shows total lack of respect. No respect = no more gifts in my world. I can give them a pass until they're 17 or 18 knowing bad parenting was the reason, and know to pretty much expect nothing to change after that, but no more presents from me.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:30 PM
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I must hasten to add, that I have not gotten a "thank you" in any way, shape or form from this girl. She is a senior in high school this year.

I do take the point, however, from some who posted that I should give a gift without any expectations.

I must also confess that this issue has opened up some apparent resentments I could still be fostering towards my FOO. If any of you have some practical advice you have learned from your program how to get rid of resentments, I would appreciate that as well.

Many thanks again!!!
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:30 PM
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I know what you mean. I spent on my 4 nieces and nephews this year for the holidays as well. No thank you note this year, got one last year though. I just try and think about, do I want to give the gifts. You sound like me in that it might eat away at you a little bit if you were to show favoritism to one over the other. At the end of the day, I am a giving sort, and I like the idea of knowing I got the kids a little something every holiday, at least while they are kids.

To each their own though, the best gifts are love and caring, material things and money come and go. Do what makes your heart feel good!

Oh and by the way, I got a lot of years to go -- But I think once my nieces and nephews are out of high school, the gravy train ends!
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:47 PM
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Well, I have several grandchildren. For many years I have given them money at Christmas and for birthdays. Every child is different. One texts me thank you, one messages me on Facebook, one I don't hear from. I love my dil and son dearly. They are terrific parents, but thank you notes are just not on with them. As the parents go, so too the children.
I don't give gifts to get thank yous, though they are nice. Money is tight there, and I know the extra helps. My son doesn't ask me for anything, ever, so I'm good.
I do have a cut off age for them: 21. Seems reasonable.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:21 AM
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I think the 21 idea is really good. My nephew turns 20 this year on his birthday. If they are over 21 and want to start reciprocating, I will continue.
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