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Grandchildren Ungrateful for Gifts

As I can't shop I usually give (fairly large amounts) of money to my children and grandchildren for Christmas. My children usually thank me in some way or another, but not my grandchildren. Some of my grandchildren live 20 minutes away, a few live 2 hours away (their ages range from 10 to 40). The problem is these grandchildren never come to see me, call me on the phone, not even a Christmas card, birthday card, no thank you notes, no school pictures, no acknowledgement of any kind.

I no longer wish to give money to them. My husband says it will cause a lot of family trouble if I don't but I really don't want to give to them anymore. What should I do?

By perplexed

Recent Answers

By Jo C.12/26/2012

This situation occurred when my ailing mothers health was going downhill. I made the decision to note everytime a grandchild went to visit her [ in a book] throughout the years. For every visit there was an assigned $ value. When she passed, and they all gathered, the $ gifts were handed out. Some $0, as there was never a visit, and some $ high because those G/C visited and comforted her through her darkest moments.

They made the effort, they sat through the painful process when she was hospitalized, they held her hand and talked to her [which can be a very difficult process]. they were there through her final moments. I will do the same when the time comes.

This process can occur annually for Xmas gifts - it makes the young ones understand the process of lifes journey, to hear the stories of hardship, & sacrifice to know what qualities really matter in the long term, and most importantly appreciate those in their lives before its too late.

By Betty [104]12/08/2011

A gift is a gift with no expectations is a bunch of crap. Nothing wrong with expecting a little love, attention and appreciation for what one does. Those who say that are not being sincere. The ones making that comment don't understand and have not been in your situation.

By Betty [104]12/08/2011

Stop it! Sounds like your husband may be part of the problem and personally, I wouldn't care if it caused trouble. You teach people how to treat you. I have a Brother and his kids before my Mother passed who wouldn't give my Mother the time of day. They were always borrowing things from her and never returning them, probably pawning them. Sometimes even taking things without asking. They'd ask for money and promise to pay when income tax check comes in or another different reason that never panned out. When she was in the hospital and then in the nursing home before she passed they didn't even come to see her.

Just reading your frustration upsets me. Please don't let them treat you this way. I wouldn't say a word to them, I'd just not send the money. Wonder if they'd call asking where it was? Why give to someone who's not in your life. Doesn't make sense to me. And I wonder what your children, the parents of the ungrateful grandchildren have to say about his.

If you give their parents money, let them give to their own kids as gifts. Your situation hits so close to home that you may can tell how it upsets me.

By Lynn Marler [39]12/07/2011

Someone suggested that she just hold out her arms and give the g'kids a big hug since everyone wants to be loved and some people just don't know how to show it. Um...how's she supposed to hug them since they never come to see her? (And she shouldn't have to go see them; they should be going to see her!)

By Purr12/07/2011

As long as you understand that giving a gift does not obligate the receiver to anything (besides thanks/acknowledgment), ignore hubby-dear. He means well, but he's unintentionally turning you into a doormat. This year, the grandkids should each get a lovely box of thank you notes (Order them online if you must).

Include the following note: "Previous years, I've given you what I thought you wanted. This year, I'm giving you what I think you need. Love, Grandma."

If you really want to drive the point home, pack the thank yous in an empty iPhone box, or something similar before wrapping them (maybe you can get one on craigslist).

Happy Holidays, Gran!

By Litter Gitter [91]12/07/2011

Give them a hug and tell them you love them. Everybody wants to be loved. Some just don't know how to show it. If you are not a hugging family, get them started by holding out your arms and tell them to give you a hug.

By Vicki [21]12/07/2011

Ultimately, a gift is a gift and not about what you get back. That's the 1st thing. However, most people and me too, would feel like you do. I like the idea of giving a party and making them come get their gifts. No show - no gift. (I'd try that a year or two and if they don't become more grateful, I'd just stop giving altogether.) And also the idea of donating to a charity in the grandkids names, which will get their attention.

I do want to say one thing about the grandkids not doing as the parents do...expressing thanks. I am very considerate as a gift receiver. I thanked people, even by mail and am very appreciative of anything anyone gives me or does for me and relatively generous myself, and my kids saw that all their lives and while they were little I controlled their responses by making them send thank-you cards, etc... but they DO NOT now, either one, show all that much appreciation or thanks towards anyone nor are they especially generous either.

So in my defense and all other parents with "ingrate" offspring, it's not always the parents fault (Once grown, we can't control them and shouldn't try to)! In general, this current generation of kids is pretty self centered. What I just said about me and my kids, also applies to other people I know...they were thankful, generous and their kids turned out to not be.

My point being on that part is that your grandkids are probably "par for the course" for the current generation, not that that excuses any of them!

By Anonymous [848]12/07/2011

I don't understand why your hubby would think not giving gifts of any sort would cause family problems but if it does cause problems then that will go to show both you and him just how truly ungrateful your grandchildren are.

Personally, what I would do is print out some little gift certificates that say something like, "Good for an afternoon visit with Grampy and Grammy for dessert and lots of hugs and kisses" and then place one certificate in each Christmas card. You do not have to explain anything! No one is 'entitled' to a gift or money nor should 'anyone' expect either.

People need to learn that Christmas is not about gifts and money but rather about love and sharing with family and friends, and giving to those less fortunate and, most importantly, gratitude of the reason for the season.

By Vicky [5]12/07/2011

Maybe there's a time frame for you all to host an open house for family members, serving only cookies and hot cider/coffee, where they could drop in during a 2-4 hour span, or whatever suits you and your husband. Those who have been previously receiving and not acknowledging your generous gifts would have to make a visit to receive them!

Surely you would at least get a verbal thank you then. If not, you can reply 'You're welcome' and see their response. You could send postcards and/or emails, RSVP, to each explaining the new tradition - due to the economy, price of postage, or just the need to see, visit, and stay connected.

It might at least get a visit from them and might alleviate the hurt feelings or estrangements if you just stop giving at all. Those who don't show up or contact you in some way, don't receive this year nor in following years (no explanations), unless there's a good reason they could not come. In which case, they can arrange a time suitable to you and your husband when they can come! If you feel you must, explain how hurt and unappreciated you feel.

I do like the suggestion, though, of donating to a charity in their names, which I already do for those who have all they need or want. May we all remember the 'reason for the season'. Blessings.

By Jan [14]12/07/2011

I read some where that a Grandma sent her grandkids checks but didn't sign them. When the kids called to tell her, she said they had to come to her for them to be signed. I wonder if this would really work?

By MB Norton [6]12/07/2011

Thanks so much for the Charity idea! This solves our problem, too. We cannot afford to send the grand kids the expensive electronic gifts they want these days. And since they are, unfortunately, lacking in manners perhaps this will nudge them to remember there are many people out there who don't have it so good.

By Lilac [18]12/07/2011

I think the best idea so far is to explain to your own children that you feel unappreciated and ignored when you give to the kids and they don't even thank you. I wonder though why their parents didn't see that they learned to do this when they were young. This way, when you give a cheap gift, a lot less money or nothing at all, and the kids complain to their parents about it, they can tell them why.

By meshelle [4]12/07/2011

Call me tight but am not sure why you are giving money to adults? I wouldn't give any money to a child past schooling/college age. If they were having difficulties due to the current climate then I would help out but otherwise, they have their own dosh. Don't do it. Why would it cause problems? It's your money do what you like with it. I would spend it on myself and enjoy it.

By Debby [6]12/07/2011

A gift is just that - a gift. There should be no strings attached. No expectations of what you get in return. You give to see the joy it gives to others. If you don't want to give - then don't. The problem lies in your expectations. You cannot change others. You can only change yourself. And you should not worry so much about what others think if you are truly doing what feels right to you. You do not have to give explanations for your actions. All you have to say is that you have decided to cut back on your giving.

By Casey Eckert [28]12/07/2011

There are so many people hurting - financially and emotionally - who would be forever grateful to have someone generous like you in their family. How unfortunate that your grands are so spoiled and ungrateful, but that's their choice, and it's your choice not to continue with the trend they started.

If you donate money to a homeless shelter or other charity of your choice and do so in your grands' names (as "Suntydt" suggested), and you get angry calls (as your husband thinks will come), explain in a matter-of-fact tone that you want to share what you have with those who don't have as much and who would be grateful to receive your gifts. Simple and straightforward.

I read a great hint sometime ago from a mom who said her kids had 3 days to send thank-you notes for their gifts or else they would have to return them! Love the idea, and think the mom did so much to teach her kids some basic manners - which your grands evidently never learned!

Take comfort that you're not alone with this problem, but know that you can - and should - do something about not perpetuating it any longer! Good luck and God bless you for your generosity!

By Laura Justice [2]12/07/2011

Gave my grandchildren underwear one year - got their attention! Like the giving to charities with the thanks card for the kids.

By Frances Adams [11]12/07/2011

The money is yours. Sounds like your grands feel entitled to your money, and that your own children do nothing to convince them otherwise. If my parents gave my kids large sums of money, and my kids were not kissing Grandma's hand, and visiting, and calling, I would smack them myself!

Gifts are gifts, just that and that only. They are not income, payments, dues, etc. People today need to learn to be thankful for what they are given.

Best of luck to you, and hope you can figure out what works for you. As to your husband saying that it will cause problems. It very well may, but that is the recipients' fault, not yours.

By Suntydt [75]12/06/2011

Give the money you would give them to a charity under their name and send them a Christmas card saying that such and such charity is thankful for their giving. When they get in touch with you to complain express how wonderful it is for them to finally get in touch with you and tell themthey should do it again some time under better circumstances.

By gbell12/06/2011

You're story is so true to my own grandmother's. She goes through the same thing. I was the only one that thanked her and appreciated things. My other two cousins live 10 min. away and never come to see her, call etc...as well. And they most definitely don't thank her.

She was tired of giving large sums of money for x-mas without getting a "thank you". So, she starting giving cheap gifts. It's certainly put them in shock. If I were you, I would personally talk to your own children about your grand children's habits. I would just be completely honest and tell them how you feel.

You can't let the kids walk over you and expect to get money from you and snatch it and walk out the door basically! Christmas is about family, and hopefully you can straighten the situation out.

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