When it comes to gift giving holidays like birthdays and and Christmas, it can be hard to teach children that it’s really not all about the gifts. After all, it’s what they look forward to most during that particular day. In all honesty, the child’s reaction to the gifts is what the parents and grandparents look forward to as well. So how can parents and why should parents set limits for the grandparents on these gift giving holidays?
At some point, almost every parent is going to struggle, especially if they are young parents just starting out. They may have house payments and other bills that the grandparents no longer have. Of course a grandparent who doesn’t have these types of bills wants to do something nice for their grandchild. But no parent wants to see the look of disappointment on their child’s face when they open the gift from the parent and compare it to what the grandparent bought. Here are some tips for parents to use to let the grandparents know what the limits are.
Set a dollar amount limit. Talk to the grandparents. Let them know that you would like to set a limit on the amount spent on your children. Explain to them that you would rather the gift giving process not end up being a financial comparison.
Go over the child’s list with the grandparents. If the child has made a list of things that they want, it might be a good idea to go over this list with the grandparents. Let them know what you plan on getting for the child and ask them to keep that in mind when they do their shopping.
Ask the grandparents to do accessory detail. If there is a large item that your child wants and you can afford it, why not ask the grandparents to get the accessories as a gift?
Do a co-op gift. If need be, the parents and the grandparents can go in together on a gift. In this way, the child can receive the gift with the knowledge that it was a joint effort between all of you. This prevents any kind of comparison.
It’s important that parents address this issue in a rational way so that the grandparents aren’t offended, but so that a compromise can be made. It’s hard for a struggling parent to watch the grandparents get all of the praise. Parents need to explain to the grandparents that the things that the grandparents do for the grandchildren might make the children look down on the parent. For instance, if the grandparent pays for the grandchild to have Internet, but the parent can’t afford it and doesn’t really want it anyhow, the grandchild ends up being able to pick and choose their values from between the parents and the grandparents. Any child who receives too much is not going to appreciate any of it in the true sense anyhow. Grandparents need to keep the parent’s financial situation and values in mind when they do their gift giving so that the children can learn to appreciate the effort the parent puts into their lives.