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AlmiraGulch

Advice Needed Please!

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I just logged into my Facebook account and got a private message from my children's aunt (my ex-husband's sister-in-law). She and haven't really spoken since my divorce 5+ years ago, and she and her husband (the ex-hubby's brother) haven't been exactly involved with my kids since the divorce either. That said, my kids like this aunt and uncle and there are no hard feelings.

 

In the message, she said that they wanted to get each of my kids a Kindle Fire for christmas, but then we'd need to buy the cases and accessories since they don't know the girls' styles. She asked what I thought.

 

I'm torn.

 

On the one hand, I think it's very generous. On the other, I just this week bought my eldest a brand new computer and we stood in line at Target last night to get the youngest an iPod Touch for her birthday in two weeks. My 15 year old already has a Kindle that she got for Christmas last year, so she doesn't really need another e-Reader.

 

I feel like I appreciate the gesture, but they just don't need that many electronics. Also, I don't want the electronics we just bought them to be "upstaged" by long-absent, if well-meaning, aunt and uncle.

 

I'm thinking about telling them thank-you-very-much and it's very generous, but they already have these other things and so now what they need are Amazon gift certificates (for books for the Kindle and Kindle-app they already have) or something like that.

 

What do you think? Should I let them just go ahead or should I gently try to steer them in another direction? At the end of they day they're going to get them what they want anyway, but I'm hoping since they asked they'll take my advice

 

ETA: I just finished a marathon shopping day and only have one thing each left to buy for each kid, so adding Kindle Fire cases was not in the plan if I had to buy those, too.

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Since you aren't close to them, any attempt at re-directing the gift will seem like a rejection of them, I'm afraid. Even when families are close, this is ticklish.

 

When children are very little, there are many opportunities for troubles with gifts, when generous relatives don't understand the appropriate ages and stages, or when they give things that the parents do not let their kids play with (weapons, Bratz dolls, would be two examples).

 

The general rule I have used and seen other families implement successfully is to draw a distinction between the actions of others outside the family (which we cannot control without overstepping our boundaries) and how those actions affect our children (which we should be directing and controlling).

 

You can legitimately thank the relatives with all appreciation for their kindness and generosity, while not handing over the kindles to the children until such time as you deem appropriate. Which might be a birthday or some other date.

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Since you aren't close to them, any attempt at re-directing the gift will seem like a rejection of them, I'm afraid. Even when families are close, this is ticklish.

 

When children are very little, there are many opportunities for troubles with gifts, when generous relatives don't understand the appropriate ages and stages, or when they give things that the parents do not let their kids play with (weapons, Bratz dolls, would be two examples).

 

The general rule I have used and seen other families implement successfully is to draw a distinction between the actions of others outside the family (which we cannot control without overstepping our boundaries) and how those actions affect our children (which we should be directing and controlling).

 

You can legitimately thank the relatives with all appreciation for their kindness and generosity, while not handing over the kindles to the children until such time as you deem appropriate. Which might be a birthday or some other date.

 

This could work, but I don't want my kids to think their aunt and uncle forgot about them when they didn't. They aren't small kids, (9 and 15), so I'm not sure it would be as effective as if they were toddlers or something. Something to ponder.

 

Thanks for the input!

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I think it is about them - so allow them to give a gift and be gracious and say thank you.

 

Yeah, you're right, I'm sure, except......I don't want the gifts that I paid for and am so excited to give them to be "forgotten" because of the newer, cooler stuff.

 

I know, I know....juvenile and self-centered. Still, it's true. These people have not really been involved in my kids' lives for 5+ years. So even though my kids still think fondly of their aunt and uncle, I kind of think my privilege of giving the cool gifts outweighs the absent aunt and uncle's privilege of generosity. Maybe.

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I'd just let aunt and uncle give the presents and have my dc write thank yous. It may not be what you want or even what they want, but it's not something that you philosophically oppose/attacks your parenting/is dangerous, so I'd just let it be. If they knew the kids better, they'd know that this isn't the best gift given what they own, but they don't know them better.

 

If you were philosophically opposed to this type of device or had issues with aunt and uncle being a "bad influence", then I'd handle it differently.

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I'd just let aunt and uncle give the presents and have my dc write thank yous. It may not be what you want or even what they want, but it's not something that you philosophically oppose/attacks your parenting/is dangerous, so I'd just let it be. If they knew the kids better, they'd know that this isn't the best gift given what they own, but they don't know them better.

 

If you were philosophically opposed to this type of device or had issues with aunt and uncle being a "bad influence", then I'd handle it differently.

 

Really? Wow. I'm definitely being swayed toward this response since that's what everyone seems to be saying. But the DO know what the kids have, now anyway, because I've told them. At any rate, I appreciate the response. It seems I may be way off on this and I don't want to be an @ss about it.

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If *I* was the aunt, I'd want to know if the kids already had a Kindle or Kindle app. I wouldn't want to buy them something they already had, ya know? I'd appreciate the info from the parent. Maybe I'd have another cool idea up my sleeve.

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Can you start a dialogue and let them know they have acceptable electronics. I had a similar situation last year. My sister wanted to buy ds a new computer. We were going to buy, but dh was mostly unemployed all year. Now my sister and I don't get along and I didn't want this gift lorded over me, kwim. We said yes because it was for ds.

 

In your case I might acknowledge the generous offer, but let them know their electronics are fine. I do think it's kind of presumptuous to offer a gift without really knowing what their need is. I can see it feeling like you are unable to provide properly for them or given them nice things.

 

But if there is something else they truly want, I'd find a tactful way to let the aunt know.

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I think the Kindle Fire is enough unlike the iPod Touch and the new computer to be an appropriate gift. Yes, there is overlap in their function, but there are things that the Fire does better than the computer or Touch (portable movie watching, apps that require a larger screen). There are also things the computer and Touch do better than the Fire (computer - typing, complicated programs; Touch - portable music playing, apps only available to Apple devices). I think your children would still appreciate their new electronics that you picked out.

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Yeah, you're right, I'm sure, except......I don't want the gifts that I paid for and am so excited to give them to be "forgotten" because of the newer, cooler stuff.

 

I know, I know....juvenile and self-centered. Still, it's true. These people have not really been involved in my kids' lives for 5+ years. So even though my kids still think fondly of their aunt and uncle, I kind of think my privilege of giving the cool gifts outweighs the absent aunt and uncle's privilege of generosity. Maybe.

I know it would be a lot of work for you but could you simply take back what you have already gotten and get the things needed for the kindles?

 

I understand wanting to give them the best of the gifts but your kids love you and know your heart. They are not going to be disappointed in you because of the gift you allowed their uncle and aunt to give them.

 

I baby sat two children for many years. I always asked before I gave their children something but they always allowed me to do what ever I wanted as long as the child didn't already have it. When they moved they each moved one of the toys I had given them. One was Buzz Light Year and the other was a baby doll that her mother had put a true cast on the leg as it had been played with so much it broke.(Mom was a nurse.) I guess I am sharing that because those two children loved their parents and still do. The parents were never intimidated by anything I did, even when at times the kids would call me 'mom'. Their mother still to this day calls me their second mom. You won't go wrong with helping this uncle and aunt bond a bit with your children.

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I don't want the gifts that I paid for and am so excited to give them to be "forgotten" because of the newer, cooler stuff

I can relate. One grandparent does this every year. So I gave up. I don't try to compete. She sees the kids once or twice a year, and I have them all year round. If she wants to overwhelm them at Christmas, I'll let her have that little joy. I'll wow 'em at other times. :D

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I think it'd be totally acceptable to thank them for their generosity but let them know that the kids don't need the new Kindles right now, then redirect them to something more appropriate. I'd hate to be the aunt who gives an almost duplicate gift. Especially if it's such an expensive gift.

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I think that there is more than one acceptable way to handle this:

 

1. Tell your former SIL that the kids already have kindles. Suggest something else.

 

2. Take the kindles happily. Give your gifts happily. Suggest that your kids earn money for cases on their own.

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"Dear SIL,

 

Wow, what a generous gift for you to give them. Just to let you know, they already have Kindles, so it's up to you if you'd still like to get them the upgrade to the Fire or if you'd rather give them something else like an Amazon gift card so they can purchase books. Either way, they'll be so excited and appreciative."

 

Would something like that work? I know your son technically doesn't have a Kindle, but with the laptop he could download books onto Kindle for PC. My main point was to try and be nice by letting SIL know a Kindle isn't really needed and to let her know that it's up to her whether she gets them an upgrade or something else.

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I would first ask myself if my concern was more about the extra electronics or the upstaging of the other gifts.

 

I am pretty sure if it were me, I would let them get the kids the Kindle Fire since it's what they want to give.

 

I would let the kids get the cases.

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I think the Kindle Fire is enough unlike the iPod Touch and the new computer to be an appropriate gift. Yes, there is overlap in their function, but there are things that the Fire does better than the computer or Touch (portable movie watching, apps that require a larger screen). There are also things the computer and Touch do better than the Fire (computer - typing, complicated programs; Touch - portable music playing, apps only available to Apple devices). I think your children would still appreciate their new electronics that you picked out.

 

:iagree:

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Yeah, you're right, I'm sure, except......I don't want the gifts that I paid for and am so excited to give them to be "forgotten" because of the newer, cooler stuff.

 

I know, I know....juvenile and self-centered. Still, it's true. These people have not really been involved in my kids' lives for 5+ years. So even though my kids still think fondly of their aunt and uncle, I kind of think my privilege of giving the cool gifts outweighs the absent aunt and uncle's privilege of generosity. Maybe.

 

Sorry, but being the mom also means being a grown up, even when it hurts. That means putting aside your feelings on this, IMHO. ((hugs))

 

Be gracious. Let the kids have the presents.

 

Believe me, I understand your mixed feelings about this, and I often have to remind myself that I am the grownup . . . It is a hard fact of parenthood. My mom and my brother both have a tendency to spend lots of $$ on my kids. Sometimes it stings a little bit, but I remind myself to be the grownup.

 

Your kids don't love you because of the stuff you buy them. Let other people gift them with cool stuff. It really is OK. Be enthusiastic about it, even if you have to grit your teeth to do it. Don't let your pridefulness prevent your kids from benefiting from your relative's generosity, or more important . . .

 

Don't let your pridefulness diminish the chance for your kids to have a positive relationship with these decent people. Expensive gifts are one "love language" that these folks speak, and one that is easier for them to use simply because of the limited relationship they have with your kids. Let them use it.

 

You never know what the future may bring. If you were to die tomorrow, these relatives would be that much more important to your kids. Maybe they'd be the ones to step up in some important way -- whether to raise them, love them, send them care packages at college, or invite them over for holidays . . . or just BE THERE in some way. Someday, when one of your kids is in trouble and won't come to the parents, maybe they'll have these people in their lives to whom they can go for advice or help. BTW, these thoughts are *not* directed at you personally, they are simply the thoughts that I myself use to convince myself to swallow my pride and encourage/facilitate relationships between my kids and the various imperfect but loving relatives in our lives. It is meaningful for kids to feel that there are OTHER people in the world who love them.

 

FWIW, they really don't need covers and accessories, but if you want them to have them, they can pick out their own using any Christmas cash they get from other relatives, or you can help them pick out cheap and functional options if Christmas cash isn't forthcoming.

 

HTH

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Yeah, you're right, I'm sure, except......I don't want the gifts that I paid for and am so excited to give them to be "forgotten" because of the newer, cooler stuff.

 

I know, I know....juvenile and self-centered. Still, it's true. These people have not really been involved in my kids' lives for 5+ years. So even though my kids still think fondly of their aunt and uncle, I kind of think my privilege of giving the cool gifts outweighs the absent aunt and uncle's privilege of generosity. Maybe.

 

:iagree: Honestly I think people should get permission from parents before giving kids this type of gift. I would give them a gentle shove in another direction ! I frequenly veto electronic gifts - pretty much every Christmas and every birthday. I would just say thank you, but they both already have ereaders .... now they just need to order books for them.

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I'd definitely let them give them - but I might set it up so that they were pre-gifts! IE, opened a week before Christmas or something - oodles of time to ooh and aaah but not out-shining Christmas Day excitement presents from you.

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"Dear SIL,

 

Wow, what a generous gift for you to give them. Just to let you know, they already have Kindles, so it's up to you if you'd still like to get them the upgrade to the Fire or if you'd rather give them something else like an Amazon gift card so they can purchase books. Either way, they'll be so excited and appreciative."

 

Would something like that work? I know your son technically doesn't have a Kindle, but with the laptop he could download books onto Kindle for PC. My main point was to try and be nice by letting SIL know a Kindle isn't really needed and to let her know that it's up to her whether she gets them an upgrade or something else.

 

I like this response, it warns them (so to speak) that they already have similar items.

 

I'd definitely let them give them - but I might set it up so that they were pre-gifts! IE, opened a week before Christmas or something - oodles of time to ooh and aaah but not out-shining Christmas Day excitement presents from you.

 

I like this idea too.

 

I think that the Kindle Fire is different enough that the kids would enjoy it, even with their other things.

 

I think you should let them get cases and what not on their own. Your present does not need to revolve around that of others.

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If you are close enough that saying "hey - that's awesome... But they already have one." then I would do that. As a pp mentioned- they kinda already do have it. Then, give a couple of similarly cool suggestions that would go over big- but not be so similar.

If you are not that close- then I would allow them to send it on- and them exchange them for other stuff that the kids do want.

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:iagree: Honestly I think people should get permission from parents before giving kids this type of gift. I would give them a gentle shove in another direction ! I frequenly veto electronic gifts - pretty much every Christmas and every birthday. I would just say thank you, but they both already have ereaders .... now they just need to order books for them.

 

If *I* was the aunt, I'd want to know if the kids already had a Kindle or Kindle app. I wouldn't want to buy them something they already had, ya know? I'd appreciate the info from the parent. Maybe I'd have another cool idea up my sleeve.

 

I think it'd be totally acceptable to thank them for their generosity but let them know that the kids don't need the new Kindles right now, then redirect them to something more appropriate. I'd hate to be the aunt who gives an almost duplicate gift. Especially if it's such an expensive gift.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree: I vote for speaking up and steering her in another direction!

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This is probably uncouth, but I would consider accepting the gifts, selling them, and then letting the dc use the money for what they want to buy. My kids receive gifts all.the.time that we don't keep just. We thank the giver, and then do with the gift as we see fit.

 

I used to feel guilty about not keeping gifts, but I decided life is too short to keep things that other people want us to have that we don't want to have.

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Thanks to everyone for your advice! After much consideration, I went with this:

 

"Kindle Fires? That's very generous! E. has a Kindle and just got a brand new laptop for Christmas, and R. is getting an iPod Touch for her birthday (XXX stood in line at Target for 3 hours last night to get the thing! LOL) so I'd hate for you to spend all that money on such a cool thing and have them be "over-electronicized" and not have their things be used, ya know? What about a gift certificate to Amazon so they could get books and music? The Kindle app is free, so R. could get that, too, and download books of her own to read on her iTouch. Just a thought. Of course they'll be grateful and love anything you do."

 

I decided that being "a grown up" has nothing to do with allowing fringe relatives to indulge my children in items I could have purchased myself but chose to go another route instead. They don't need all of those electronics and I'd rather they have something else. If they end up with these gifts, they won't die and it isn't detrimental to their well-being, but I decided there was nothing wrong with me stating they'd be better off with something else.

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Thanks to everyone for your advice! After much consideration, I went with this:

 

"Kindle Fires? That's very generous! E. has a Kindle and just got a brand new laptop for Christmas, and R. is getting an iPod Touch for her birthday (XXX stood in line at Target for 3 hours last night to get the thing! LOL) so I'd hate for you to spend all that money on such a cool thing and have them be "over-electronicized" and not have their things be used, ya know? What about a gift certificate to Amazon so they could get books and music? The Kindle app is free, so R. could get that, too, and download books of her own to read on her iTouch. Just a thought. Of course they'll be grateful and love anything you do."

 

I decided that being "a grown up" has nothing to do with allowing fringe relatives to indulge my children in items I could have purchased myself but chose to go another route instead. They don't need all of those electronics and I'd rather they have something else. If they end up with these gifts, they won't die and it isn't detrimental to their well-being, but I decided there was nothing wrong with me stating they'd be better off with something else.

 

Your response is very gracious.

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I wouldn't say anything to them, have your kids write nice thank you notes. And then return them - I'm pretty sure Amazon.com's return policy on their kindle's is generous. Then you'd get the gift cards you really wanted ;).

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I would definitely mention that one child already owns Kindle and provide several alternative gift ideas. Further I would thank them for thinking of the children during the holidays and wish them and their family a happy holiday.

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