My partner and I recently moved to Sydney from Melbourne so my partner could attend a very specific college. We are currently living paycheck to paycheck as I am the only one working, as it is sometimes we get to the end of the week and have no food. Recently my partner’s niece had her 9th birthday and we sent our very last $30 in a card to her, which means for 2 nights we just ate bland plain rice for dinner as it was all we had.
Previously to this my partner had told me that when we were still living in Melbourne he had given his nephew $30 for his birthday and if he wasn’t the send the same amount to his niece she would get upset and throw a tantrum of epic proportions. Then when she got her card with the money in it, we didn’t know. My partner had to ask his sister if his niece had even received the card.
Growing up my family never had a lot of money so if someone made a gesture of even sending a card then as soon as we received them we would call the person, thank them and then send a thank you card after our birthday which would usually be a beautiful hand made card. I was shocked that his sister wouldn’t even ask her to call us and say thank you at the very least. I was also appalled when he told me that “no one ever does that in my family.” I thought was we did was very generous considering our financial circumstances but if our gift was that unappreciated that it didn’t even warrant a phone call at the very least then I have to say, next year I might not be feeling as generous.
My partner said that she is only 9 and it was a bit unfair to expect so much from her, however I remember at 9 my mum would have taken all my presents for the next year and sent them back, or donated them to a charity and then told me send thank you cards. He has said I am being unreasonable, but I don’t believe I am. If she can’t take the time to even make a simple phone call to say thank you, then why should I have to go without food so she can have a small gift? 0714-12
Generosity is a good thing but not if you have to starve in order to stave off histrionics from a deprived nine year old. Because that is what you and your partner did. The gift doesn’t appear to have been given as a gesture of affection but rather as an obligation to equalize the monetary gift amount between the two siblings lest the one receiving lesser throws the greater fit.
I would suggest decreasing the gift amount to both children next year to maybe $10.00 or even none at all. You are not helping them develop good character qualities be feeding their greedy, unappreciative attitudes. Instead, have your partner arrange a special yearly outing with them, like hiking or camping. Give them an experience instead of a card.
And btw, plan a yearly budget that factors in birthday gift costs as compared to your living expenses and then stick to your budget. No one should have to miss meals just so a young lady doesn’t have a nuclear meltdown.