Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 03:25:02 PM

Title: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 03:25:02 PM
BG: I have two nephews.

Nephew1 is 14 yrs old and his name is Riley. Nephew 2 is 16 yrs old and his name is Will. My brother is their father, but they have different mothers.

For reasons that I don't really want to get into here, Will has not been a part of our family. That started to change last year.

I do not live in the same area as the rest of my family, so I met Will for the first time around Christmas last year. We had communicated through facebook before that. When we met, I gave him his Christmas present. It was a card(with a note) and cash. I didn't receive a thank you.

I gave Riley the same amount of cash and did receive a thank you.  End BG.


So, I am a little bitter about not receiving the thanks, since it was a good amount of cash. I know I shouldn't be, but that's just how I feel. I haven't spent all year thinking about it, but I did the majority of my Christmas shopping yesterday and started thinking about this years gift to Will. I don't want to let this cloud my judgement, but if I am going to be honest, it did bug me.

I am going to give Riley the same amount of cash as last year. Should I also give Will the same amount of cash? My relationship with Will is almost non existent, but I have a very good relationship with Riley.

Will says that he is going to be spending Christmas with my side of the family this year, so that does change things. 

Maybe I made him uncomfortable by giving him that kind of present when we didn't really know each other. I haven't really spoken to him since.

I am really confused about what I should do here. Any advice or input is appreciated.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: JennJenn68 on November 24, 2012, 03:29:20 PM
My only thought on the matter is this... is Will aware of the concept of a thank you note?  I ask because so many of the younger generation seem completely clueless, and it's not necessarily their fault--it tends to go back to whether he/she has been properly instructed by parents.  I know that it burns your buns that he didn't thank you, but I'm wondering if his mother never got around to explaining the niceties of the receiving of gifts...?  (You did say that your nephews have different mothers.)
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 03:34:03 PM
My only thought on the matter is this... is Will aware of the concept of a thank you note?  I ask because so many of the younger generation seem completely clueless, and it's not necessarily their fault--it tends to go back to whether he/she has been properly instructed by parents.  I know that it burns your buns that he didn't thank you, but I'm wondering if his mother never got around to explaining the niceties of the receiving of gifts...?  (You did say that your nephews have different mothers.)

We don't do thank you notes in my family either. I handed him the gift in person, so I did expect a verbal thanks. When it didn't come, I assumed it was because he hadn't opened the gift. I thought that he would go home, open the gift and then text/facebook me a thanks.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: JennJenn68 on November 24, 2012, 03:41:21 PM
Ah.  I see.  Yes, that does put a different complexion on things...

I would be inclined to give him one more chance, just to be absolutely certain.  Maybe he was nervous and tongue-tied.  Maybe he was in shock to receive a gift from someone he had just met, even though you are blood relations.  Maybe he is, as I said before, completely clueless and oblivious for the need for thanks.

If you decide not to do so, though, I for one would completely understand.  I know that there's lots more backstory that you haven't posted--you intimated this in your original post--and in the end, you must do what is right for you.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: bonyk on November 24, 2012, 03:49:27 PM
I think you have to give a 15 year old meeting his family for the first time a bit of slack.  He was probably extremely overwhelmed. 

If Will had said thank you, but remained out of contact with you, would you still feel resentful?  If you want more contact, I think you, as the adult, have to initiate.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Outdoor Girl on November 24, 2012, 03:49:41 PM
Do Riley and Will have a relationship?  And if so, are they likely to see each other over the holidays and perhaps compare notes?  If that's the case, I would gift them the same once more and see if Will was just a little uncomfortable last year and didn't know how to respond.

If they won't, or won't have an opportunity to, compare notes then I think it would be fine to gift Will a lesser amount.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Roe on November 24, 2012, 03:51:40 PM
My only thought on the matter is this... is Will aware of the concept of a thank you note?  I ask because so many of the younger generation seem completely clueless, and it's not necessarily their fault--it tends to go back to whether he/she has been properly instructed by parents.  I know that it burns your buns that he didn't thank you, but I'm wondering if his mother never got around to explaining the niceties of the receiving of gifts...?  (You did say that your nephews have different mothers.)

We don't do thank you notes in my family either. I handed him the gift in person, so I did expect a verbal thanks. When it didn't come, I assumed it was because he hadn't opened the gift. I thought that he would go home, open the gift and then text/facebook me a thanks.

A verbal thanks, even a text or email is the least one can expect.  (we don't do thank you cards in our family either but not geting a verbal thanks would bother me too)

However, I say give him another chance. He's new to the family.  And given the fact that both nephews will be part of your Christmas celebration, I say give the same amount to both. 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Zilla on November 24, 2012, 04:05:49 PM
We were also raised not to write thank you notes.  Did he thank you verbally as you handed him the envelope? 
 
Maybe you can buy a gift instead of cash?
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Sharnita on November 24, 2012, 04:09:26 PM
I guess I have a bit different take on this.  Whether you chose to or not you have already gifted these boys differently.  One of them has had you there his whole life and so he has had a christmas present (and probably birthday present?) every year.  One has not been involved and so has not had presents until last Christmas.  Not your fault but not his either and the end result is that they have benefited unequally from you and your family on all levels.  For that reason, I would not penalize him even if he misses another thank you.  You feel somewhat bitter over what you missed (a thank you), maybe he is dealing with some bitterness over what he has missed over the years - not only the material things but everything.  This seems like it is so much more complex than a thank you that I would not focus on that.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: gramma dishes on November 24, 2012, 04:18:06 PM
I guess I have a bit different take on this.  Whether you chose to or not you have already gifted these boys differently.  One of them has had you there his whole life and so he has had a christmas present (and probably birthday present?) every year.  One has not been involved and so has not had presents until last Christmas.  Not your fault but not his either and the end result is that they have benefited unequally from you and your family on all levels.  For that reason, I would not penalize him even if he misses another thank you.  You feel somewhat bitter over what you missed (a thank you), maybe he is dealing with some bitterness over what he has missed over the years - not only the material things but everything.  This seems like it is so much more complex than a thank you that I would not focus on that.

I'm glad I read all the responses, because I would have typed almost word for word what Sharnita has said.  Will has NOT been gifted equally and that has not been his fault in any way.  I'm sure he was surprised to receive a gift from you at all under the circumstances.  And I also doubt he has been taught about thank you notes.  Add to that a little embarrassment perhaps for not having a gift for you?

I think I'd certainly give him another chance or two.  See how things go.  If he acts happy and excited, consider yourself thanked.  You've made his day.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 04:22:34 PM
We were also raised not to write thank you notes.  Did he thank you verbally as you handed him the envelope? 
 
Maybe you can buy a gift instead of cash?

No, he didn't.

I would buy a gift, but I have no clue what he likes.

Even Riley seems to change his style/interests every couple of months.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Zilla on November 24, 2012, 04:29:44 PM
We were also raised not to write thank you notes.  Did he thank you verbally as you handed him the envelope? 
 
Maybe you can buy a gift instead of cash?

No, he didn't.

I would buy a gift, but I have no clue what he likes.

Even Riley seems to change his style/interests every couple of months.

You can gift him with movie tickets with popcorn and drinks from a local theater in his city.  Beauty of this is no value is put on it and he can sell it/give it away if he doesn't like movies.  Or allow him to treat a friend or date to the movies.
 
As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know. 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: gramma dishes on November 24, 2012, 04:39:53 PM
...   As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know.

You do know we're not talking about "gifts" here as in the 'wrapped up presents' sense of the word, right?

We're talking about this teenager (a tough enough time of life anyway) who has never had the 'gift' of family here.  No, not his fault.  No, not the OP's fault.  Circumstances beyond either of their control determined that. 

But the younger brother has had the joy and comfort of knowing this family, knowing they love him, knowing they care about him for his whole life.  Will has had none of that.  The gift of being part of this family has never been his until very recently.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Marbles on November 24, 2012, 04:42:56 PM
I wouldn't lay his lack of Thanks solely on his mother's doorstep. Why hasn't his Dad taught him this if Mom hasn't?

OP, have you mentioned to your brother that his son never thanked you for your Christmas gift last year? Your Bro needs to coach Will to say "thank you" (or text, phone, or message if the gift is opened later) because that's an important part of fitting-in in your family and in society in general.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Iris on November 24, 2012, 04:49:15 PM
I think Marbles makes a good point. Mention it to your brother. I know many, many 15 year olds who were raised in good homes with good manners instilled who would forget to say thank you simply because they felt overwhelmed in a strange situation and without their parent to guide them. Even a casual "Did you remember to thank Aunt Sio?" from your brother would do the trick.

Other than that, I think it's a bit rough to write him off over one forgotten thank you at an awkward age in an awkward situation. I would cut him some slack.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 04:49:56 PM
...   As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know.

You do know we're not talking about "gifts" here as in the 'wrapped up presents' sense of the word, right?

We're talking about this teenager (a tough enough time of life anyway) who has never had the 'gift' of family here.  No, not his fault.  No, not the OP's fault.  Circumstances beyond either of their control determined that. 

But the younger brother has had the joy and comfort of knowing this family, knowing they love him, knowing they care about him for his whole life.  Will has had none of that.  The gift of being part of this family has never been his until very recently.

I never said they were gifted equally. I said that I gave them the same amount of cash. Also, Christmas gifts are really all I am asking about.

I am not asking about all the other "gifts" that they may or may not have gotten in life.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 04:52:41 PM
I think Marbles makes a good point. Mention it to your brother. I know many, many 15 year olds who were raised in good homes with good manners instilled who would forget to say thank you simply because they felt overwhelmed in a strange situation and without their parent to guide them. Even a casual "Did you remember to thank Aunt Sio?" from your brother would do the trick.

Other than that, I think it's a bit rough to write him off over one forgotten thank you at an awkward age in an awkward situation. I would cut him some slack.

I can't/won't  bring this up with my brother. He can do nothing about it. Even then, I would consider that overkill considering the situation.

Since the only person that I can control is myself, that is what I am going to focus on. What I should or shouldn't do going forward.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 04:55:09 PM
I wouldn't lay his lack of Thanks solely on his mother's doorstep. Why hasn't his Dad taught him this if Mom hasn't?

OP, have you mentioned to your brother that his son never thanked you for your Christmas gift last year? Your Bro needs to coach Will to say "thank you" (or text, phone, or message if the gift is opened later) because that's an important part of fitting-in in your family and in society in general.

I was thinking the same thing. Why didn't your brother prompt him to thank you, either at the moment, or later on?

My brother wasn't there. The whole thing was kept a secret from my brother.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Sharnita on November 24, 2012, 04:59:50 PM
Sio, when the title of your thread is "Gifting brothers differently" it seems reasonable for people to address the fact that the brothers haven't been gifted equally, although I think gramma dishes was responding to something Zilla posted.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Sharnita on November 24, 2012, 05:08:50 PM
If this gift and/or interaction had to be kept fromhis father (no idea if the whole relationship with the family in general was done in secret) then I think this kid deserves a major pass.  I don't know why he/it/you (?)  have to be kept a secret but I would think being denied all of those connections and then being kept sectret could be really confusing, possibly hurtful. This all sounds like a whole lot for a 15 year old to deal with - actually it sounds like a lot for a mature adult.  I don't know how I would handle it so judging the choices this kid made while keeping it from at least one parent? 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 05:11:47 PM
If this gift and/or interaction had to be kept fromhis father (no idea if the whole relationship with the family in general was done in secret) then I think this kid deserves a major pass.  I don't know why he/it/you (?)  have to be kept a secret but I would think being denied all of those connections and then being kept sectret could be really confusing, possibly hurtful. This all sounds like a whole lot for a 15 year old to deal with - actually it sounds like a lot for a mature adult.  I don't know how I would handle it so judging the choices this kid made while keeping it from at least one parent?

Will did not know what was being kept from my brother.

Its a very complicated situation, which is why I didn't really want to jump into it. I had to mention it so that ehellions would know why I don't really have a relationship with Will.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Sharnita on November 24, 2012, 05:27:56 PM
I think it sounds way too complicated too examine it as an etiquette issue.  Maybe with a family therapist who you can trust with all the details and back history.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Iris on November 24, 2012, 05:29:47 PM
If this gift and/or interaction had to be kept fromhis father (no idea if the whole relationship with the family in general was done in secret) then I think this kid deserves a major pass.  I don't know why he/it/you (?)  have to be kept a secret but I would think being denied all of those connections and then being kept sectret could be really confusing, possibly hurtful. This all sounds like a whole lot for a 15 year old to deal with - actually it sounds like a lot for a mature adult.  I don't know how I would handle it so judging the choices this kid made while keeping it from at least one parent?

Will did not know what was being kept from my brother.

Its a very complicated situation, which is why I didn't really want to jump into it. I had to mention it so that ehellions would know why I don't really have a relationship with Will.

Given the extra information about the situation I honestly think that it would take a 15 year old of unusual grace and maturity to remember their manners consistently throughout. I would cut him some slack. If you model really good manners for him then he will probably pick up on that (maybe not immediately).
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 05:32:35 PM
I think it sounds way too complicated too examine it as an etiquette issue.  Maybe with a family therapist who you can trust with all the details and back history.

The only issue I had was whether or not to give them the same amount of cash or how i should go about it.

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 05:33:45 PM
We were also raised not to write thank you notes.  Did he thank you verbally as you handed him the envelope? 
 
Maybe you can buy a gift instead of cash?

No, he didn't.

I would buy a gift, but I have no clue what he likes.

Even Riley seems to change his style/interests every couple of months.

You can gift him with movie tickets with popcorn and drinks from a local theater in his city.  Beauty of this is no value is put on it and he can sell it/give it away if he doesn't like movies.  Or allow him to treat a friend or date to the movies.
 
As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know.

That's a great idea! I hadn't thought about that. The movies are something that most teenagers enjoy, so he probably would too. Thanks!
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: gramma dishes on November 24, 2012, 05:37:10 PM
I think it sounds way too complicated too examine it as an etiquette issue.  Maybe with a family therapist who you can trust with all the details and back history.

The situation is already complicated, but the secrecy issue (which we weren't previously aware of) makes it so much more so.  I have to agree with Sharnita.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 05:40:05 PM
I think it sounds way too complicated too examine it as an etiquette issue.  Maybe with a family therapist who you can trust with all the details and back history.

The situation is already complicated, but the secrecy issue (which we weren't previously aware of) makes it so much more so.  I have to agree with Sharnita.

You and Sharnita seem to be really stuck on a part of the background that has nothing to do with the Christmas gifts. I understand if you cannot look past it and I appreciate the advice. I would really like some advice on the actual Christmas gifts, so could we please stick to that?
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Zilla on November 24, 2012, 05:43:20 PM
...   As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know.

You do know we're not talking about "gifts" here as in the 'wrapped up presents' sense of the word, right?

We're talking about this teenager (a tough enough time of life anyway) who has never had the 'gift' of family here.  No, not his fault.  No, not the OP's fault.  Circumstances beyond either of their control determined that. 

But the younger brother has had the joy and comfort of knowing this family, knowing they love him, knowing they care about him for his whole life.  Will has had none of that.  The gift of being part of this family has never been his until very recently.

Again not the OP's fault either.  But I didn't realized there was a whole backstory of him not having family around.  I thought he was with his mother's side only till recently and now able to meet his dad's side of the famly. 
 
While I think the thank you note might be a bit beyond a typical teenager perhaps not raised that way (I think it's a great idea to see if bro can influence him to do so since his other son does) I do think at 16, he is accountable for saying thank you verbally.
 
ETA to add, just read the updates.  I think movie tickets are the way to go as well if you rather not gift the same amount in cash.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 05:46:59 PM
...   As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know.

You do know we're not talking about "gifts" here as in the 'wrapped up presents' sense of the word, right?

We're talking about this teenager (a tough enough time of life anyway) who has never had the 'gift' of family here.  No, not his fault.  No, not the OP's fault.  Circumstances beyond either of their control determined that. 

But the younger brother has had the joy and comfort of knowing this family, knowing they love him, knowing they care about him for his whole life.  Will has had none of that.  The gift of being part of this family has never been his until very recently.

Again not the OP's fault either.  But I didn't realized there was a whole backstory of him not having family around.  I thought he was with his mother's side only till recently and now able to meet his dad's side of the famly. 
 
While I think the thank you note might be a bit beyond a typical teenager perhaps not raised that way (I think it's a great idea to see if bro can influence him to do so since his other son does) I do think at 16, he is accountable for saying thank you verbally.

You might have missed it, but I mentioned in an earlier post that my family doesn't do thank you notes either. Verbal thanks are the norm. Text or facebook messages are fine with me too.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Zilla on November 24, 2012, 05:49:44 PM
...   As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know.

You do know we're not talking about "gifts" here as in the 'wrapped up presents' sense of the word, right?

We're talking about this teenager (a tough enough time of life anyway) who has never had the 'gift' of family here.  No, not his fault.  No, not the OP's fault.  Circumstances beyond either of their control determined that. 

But the younger brother has had the joy and comfort of knowing this family, knowing they love him, knowing they care about him for his whole life.  Will has had none of that.  The gift of being part of this family has never been his until very recently.

Again not the OP's fault either.  But I didn't realized there was a whole backstory of him not having family around.  I thought he was with his mother's side only till recently and now able to meet his dad's side of the famly. 
 
While I think the thank you note might be a bit beyond a typical teenager perhaps not raised that way (I think it's a great idea to see if bro can influence him to do so since his other son does) I do think at 16, he is accountable for saying thank you verbally.

You might have missed it, but I mentioned in an earlier post that my family doesn't do thank you notes either. Verbal thanks are the norm. Text or facebook messages are fine with me too.

Yep, just edited a post.  Computer isn't showing me notifications of new messages posted for some reason.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Hillia on November 24, 2012, 06:12:47 PM
I think if the gift has to be hidden from your brother, you should respect his wishes and not give that nephew anything, regardless of whether you agree with your brother's reasons.  Gift the other nephew privately.

I really feel sorry for that poor boy...meeting relatives he has never seen before, then receiving a nice gift from someone obviously out to do him a kindness but having to hide it from his father.  I'm not surprised he didn't say thank you; he probably got as far as 'don't let your father know' and everything else locked down.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: JenJay on November 24, 2012, 06:17:27 PM
I would gift them the same amount again and I'd be doing it for myself and the hope that we could someday have the kind of relationship I have with my other nephew. You can always gift him less in the future if it turns out he's not interested in a relationship with you or appreciative of your gifts, but you can't go back if you make a point of gifting him less now and end up regretting it (even if he never knows). I vote err on the side of bygones and maybe even prompt him with something like "I hope cash is okay. I have no idea what teen boys want!" See if you get a "No, cash is great, thanks!" out of him.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 06:17:48 PM
I think if the gift has to be hidden from your brother, you should respect his wishes and not give that nephew anything, regardless of whether you agree with your brother's reasons.  Gift the other nephew privately.

I really feel sorry for that poor boy...meeting relatives he has never seen before, then receiving a nice gift from someone obviously out to do him a kindness but having to hide it from his father.  I'm not surprised he didn't say thank you; he probably got as far as 'don't let your father know' and everything else locked down.

He wasn't on speaking terms with his father, so there was nothing to hide. He didn't know that we were hiding it from his father either.

This year is much different then last year. I mentioned in the OP that this year, Will is going to be celebrating Christmas with my family. We have a large Christmas party and he is going to be attending. Nothing about this year is being kept secret from my brother.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: mj on November 24, 2012, 06:20:02 PM
So, ok he is just meeting this side of the family.  Who can tell Will what the norms of this side of the family are if his father cannot do it?  It's a little drastic to me to change how you gift him based on a) one incident during a highly charged emotional time for a teenager and b) information he does not know and apparently, no one will let him know. Now he is deliberately not going to be treated as equals with his own sibling because he doesn't know the norms and protocols and no one will tell him?  Someone should be able to tell him.

And as far as the title, I absolutely do think siblings should be gifted roughly equal.  And especially so in this case.  I cannot imagine what Will would think or feel should he find out this disparity between himself and his brother, especially given the back story.

Just as some posters have posted their family norm was to give a verbal thanks, many families the norm is a written thanks.  As a teenager not knowing any better, I can imagine many being introduced to a new family only giving verbal thanks as something that would very likely would happen until they noticed or it was pointed out, the family norm to give written thanks.  This teenager doesn't have the benefit of having a few of these occasions under his belt to observe (much less deal with the backstory and the baggage he likely has with it) or even a guide into the family ways.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: JenJay on November 24, 2012, 06:26:39 PM
Given that the whole family will be together for the first time I'd definitely gift the two boys the same. Even if they don't see what the other received one may say something conversationally that makes it obvious Will received less. That would create more awkwardness in an already awkward situation, for all 3 of you.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: TootsNYC on November 24, 2012, 07:03:18 PM
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

And if he says yes, then say, "I would have liked to know you got it safely, and I always like hearing 'thank you.' If you can't say it in person, a Facebook message would be smart. Not a bad policy anytime someone gives you something. It makes them more likely to want to give you something again. See you at Christmas!"

And then I'd give him the same type of present.

And see if he learns something from it.

But Will is 16--you can talk directly to him about how *you* feel. Or about society's expectations in general. Just keep it from sounding like a lecture or a scolding.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: miranova on November 24, 2012, 07:21:38 PM
Sio, the details DO matter.  They DO change people's advice.  I know you want to stick to a yes or no answer here, but the fact that you had to gift him in secret matters.  You may think he doesn't know that it was kept from your brother, but you have no way of knowing if he figured that out somehow.  A 16 year old kid who just met one side of his family and has to keep things a secret from his father is in a really, really difficult spot and I would not blame him at all for missing a thank you.  Heck I have adult family members that I've known my whole life who have missed thank yous at times. 

This is not an unforgiveable offense by any means.  My advice is to gift him the same as the other nephew and give him some time.  Maybe ask him "did you get my gift?" and see if it prompts a thank you.  Lots of 16 year old kids need some guidance on thank yous.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 07:28:03 PM
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

And if he says yes, then say, "I would have liked to know you got it safely, and I always like hearing 'thank you.' If you can't say it in person, a Facebook message would be smart. Not a bad policy anytime someone gives you something. It makes them more likely to want to give you something again. See you at Christmas!"

And then I'd give him the same type of present.

And see if he learns something from it.

But Will is 16--you can talk directly to him about how *you* feel. Or about society's expectations in general. Just keep it from sounding like a lecture or a scolding.

I can definitely do something like this. In person, I do have to watch my tone, especially with people that don't know me very well. I can practice this for sure. Thanks for the script!
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 07:34:18 PM
Given that the whole family will be together for the first time I'd definitely gift the two boys the same. Even if they don't see what the other received one may say something conversationally that makes it obvious Will received less. That would create more awkwardness in an already awkward situation, for all 3 of you.

You do make a good point. Will and Riley are working on their relationship and I certainly wouldn't want something as petty as a Christmas gift to get in the way and cause resentment.

That leads me to worry about the way I gift everyone then. My brother also has a younger son, JoJo, who is 9(maybe?). I buy him several presents. I already bought him most of his presents, but now I'm going to be worried about overdoing it.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Veronica on November 24, 2012, 07:56:27 PM

That leads me to worry about the way I gift everyone then. My brother also has a younger son, JoJo, who is 9(maybe?). I buy him several presents. I already bought him most of his presents, but now I'm going to be worried about overdoing it.

You are now adding in a third nephew that is a brother to Will and Riley?
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: JenJay on November 24, 2012, 07:57:51 PM
I'm sure you're fine. My 9 year old enjoys having cash but he still prefers wrapped gifts of new stuff (Especially Legos! Man that kid is crazy for Legos!). As long as there's no obvious difference in the amounts you spend on each kiddo I doubt any of them will notice or care. When my kids were little we made sure they had the same number of gifts, regardless of cost. Now that they're older we make sure to spend equal amounts even if that means DD gets one expensive gift and the boys get two less expensive things each.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: ccnumber4 on November 24, 2012, 08:11:36 PM

You do make a good point. Will and Riley are working on their relationship and I certainly wouldn't want something as petty as a Christmas gift to get in the way and cause resentment.

I think this is wise. 

My brother has children with 3 different women and I would never, ever consider not treating them unequally.  Some of these kids require constant reassurance that they really are part of our family and that they are loved and accepted unconditionally.  There are so many complicated emotions and challenges there that I would never dream of interfering and making a petty issue of my own more important than them forging new relationships within our family.  They have enough problems.

I don't think Toot's suggestion is a good one.  There will be plenty of time for gentle guidance when you have established a relationship in which he respects you as a trusted adult in his life.  You aren't there yet.   
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 24, 2012, 08:17:45 PM

That leads me to worry about the way I gift everyone then. My brother also has a younger son, JoJo, who is 9(maybe?). I buy him several presents. I already bought him most of his presents, but now I'm going to be worried about overdoing it.

You are now adding in a third nephew that is a brother to Will and Riley?

Technically, my brother added him a long time ago. I didnt mention him here because he doesn't get cash. My question didn't involve him. I have mentioned him here before when asking advice for his birthday gift once.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: --- on November 24, 2012, 08:18:01 PM
I would go ahead and gift him the same amount this year as you did before, if he's going to be celebrating the holidays with your family. If he doesn't seem like he's really interested in the cash recieved, or recieving any kind of present, then don't do anything next year. If anyone asks in the future, just politely say that Will didn't seem interested in recieving any type of gift from you prior and you don't believe he will do so again.

Then again, I'm basing this on the limited information and some of my own experiances.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SPuck on November 24, 2012, 10:41:54 PM
I think with sending him a gift the previous year you have set a precedent. Since they are going to be the same place this Christmas you wouldn't want your gift being the lighter for this potential emotional powder keg. I would say give him the gift and follow Toots suggestion if you feel the need for action.

As for not giving him a gift and treating relatives unequal in gift giving, there isn't anything wrong with that. Some relationships are complicated because of situations beyond the gift givers control, which it sounds like in this case, and life just isn't fair. It isn't your job to make up for the lack of gifts your nephew hasn't received.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Deetee on November 24, 2012, 11:46:55 PM
Like just about everyone else, with the added backstory, I think both brother should be gifted equally. This is too emotionally fraught a time to gift based on a lack of thank-you and I think siblings of similiar age should be treated the same.

However, a nudge that you would like the gift acknowledged is fine. But for many people, a gift accepted in person does not require a note afterwards. And personally, I find it odd to thank someone for a cash gift and then go check the amount and then thank them (verbally or in writing) once I know the amount. It feels oddly mercenary The fact that it was a gift or a card is enough.

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: MariaE on November 25, 2012, 01:36:14 AM
I agree, gift them equally.

Buying multile gifts for a 9-year-old is different. As long as it's not blatantly worth a lot more than you're giving the two others, then you're fine. But you do need to give the two oldest the same. Especially if they're likely to compare and as you gave them the same last year. If Will is only just starting to have a relationship with his brother, it could bring out bad feelings if it becomes apparent that the brother is obviously preferred.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Sharnita on November 25, 2012, 07:17:13 AM
I think making up for the gifts he hasn't received would mean giving him more to close the gap.  Continuing to give him less or nothing perpetuates the disparity that already exists.  I think OP can shoot for the middle.  She certainly doesn't need to give him what she would have given him the first 14 years of his life but that doesn't require a continuation of a gap.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: cicero on November 25, 2012, 08:18:53 AM
I agree, gift them equally.

Buying multile gifts for a 9-year-old is different. As long as it's not blatantly worth a lot more than you're giving the two others, then you're fine. But you do need to give the two oldest the same. Especially if they're likely to compare and as you gave them the same last year. If Will is only just starting to have a relationship with his brother, it could bring out bad feelings if it becomes apparent that the brother is obviously preferred.
I agree.

ANd I like Toot's idea for "nudging" a thank you (or grunt of acknowledgement).

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Redsoil on November 25, 2012, 08:43:59 AM
Perhaps it could be useful to ask him at the time he receives the card and cash "So, what do you think you'll spend it on?" or similar phrasing.  Or even "I wasn't sure what you already had, so I figured cash would be good, same as last year.  I hope you enjoyed whatever you got with it - do you remember at all what that was?"  If he doesn't say anything resembling a thank-you, I'd definitely address it.  A simple "thanks" isn't emotionally fraught, no matter how "overwhelmed" someone may or may not be with the family dynamic. 

Plain and simple, it's rude not to thank someone for a gift, especially if it was a "substantial amount" as was mentioned.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 25, 2012, 12:14:55 PM
Thanks for the advice, everyone.

Having him at the Christmas party is something that everyone has wanted for a long time. We are very happy to have him there. I don't know if he will actually show up, but I need to plan as though he will.

I know his life has not been easy. Yeah, he's had it tough. I am struggling with this, because after all that, I just don't feel the same way about him as I do for Riley.

I will give them the same amount of cash again this year. I already bought some "extras" for Riley, so I can pick up something extra for him also.

Thanks again.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Deetee on November 25, 2012, 12:34:24 PM
I also want to mention that if you want to gift them differently, the way to do it is not at Christmas (when it is easy to compare both for you and them), but over the year.

It makes sense that a child you are closer to will end up with more gifts (either presents or experiences or lunches out). And I think that is OK as long as it arises naturally out of the relationship.

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: JenJay on November 25, 2012, 01:18:10 PM
I am struggling with this, because after all that, I just don't feel the same way about him as I do for Riley.

That's understandable, heck you just met the kid a year ago. The important thing is that you want to care about him as an Aunt. Hopefully he'll let you.  :)
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Sharnita on November 25, 2012, 01:30:35 PM
I am struggling with this, because after all that, I just don't feel the same way about him as I do for Riley.

That's understandable, heck you just met the kid a year ago. The important thing is that you want to care about him as an Aunt. Hopefully he'll let you.  :)

The phrase "fake it until you make it" comes to mind.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: TootsNYC on November 25, 2012, 02:15:15 PM
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

And if he says yes, then say, "I would have liked to know you got it safely, and I always like hearing 'thank you.' If you can't say it in person, a Facebook message would be smart. Not a bad policy anytime someone gives you something. It makes them more likely to want to give you something again. See you at Christmas!"

And then I'd give him the same type of present.

And see if he learns something from it.

But Will is 16--you can talk directly to him about how *you* feel. Or about society's expectations in general. Just keep it from sounding like a lecture or a scolding.

I can definitely do something like this. In person, I do have to watch my tone, especially with people that don't know me very well. I can practice this for sure. Thanks for the script!

You're welcome!
To help get the right tone, get the right mindset. Make it "cluing you in, something I know that you might find useful one day."

Also, feel free to say, later in the day, "Be sure to let me know what you decide to do w/ the money. I like to hear about the followup! And it helps me know what to do for next Christmas, if I hear about this one."

There's a cause-and-effect here  that LOTS of perfectly nice people don't "get" until they're older. And some of them never.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: gorplady on November 25, 2012, 02:28:26 PM
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

And if he says yes, then say, "I would have liked to know you got it safely, and I always like hearing 'thank you.' If you can't say it in person, a Facebook message would be smart. Not a bad policy anytime someone gives you something. It makes them more likely to want to give you something again. See you at Christmas!"

And then I'd give him the same type of present.

And see if he learns something from it.

But Will is 16--you can talk directly to him about how *you* feel. Or about society's expectations in general. Just keep it from sounding like a lecture or a scolding.

I can definitely do something like this. In person, I do have to watch my tone, especially with people that don't know me very well. I can practice this for sure. Thanks for the script!

You're welcome!
To help get the right tone, get the right mindset. Make it "cluing you in, something I know that you might find useful one day."

Also, feel free to say, later in the day, "Be sure to let me know what you decide to do w/ the money. I like to hear about the followup! And it helps me know what to do for next Christmas, if I hear about this one."

There's a cause-and-effect here  that LOTS of perfectly nice people don't "get" until they're older. And some of them never.

Sorry, Toots, I disagree. Sio does not have a relationship yet with this young man where she can hint or teach under any circumstance.

 I think, first, they need to establish that there is going to be an ongoing permanent relationship and then she can start showing him by being a gracious example, not instructing him. Kids tune out instructions, but they do observe behavior.

And yes, Sio, you have to gift equally. Put yourself in Will's shoes. He sees the known-about child getting $100 and he gets $10. That's going to send a powerful message. If you want to set a good example for him to follow (and the rest of your family), treat him as well as you treat your son. 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: dietcokeofevil on November 25, 2012, 03:19:19 PM
I agree that you should give both nephews the same amount of cash if they are both present when the gifts are handed out.    I also don't see an issue with prompting for a thank you, if none is forthcoming.

In the even that he doesn't make the family party, then I would probably just send a movie gift card rather than sending him the equivalent money.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: mj on November 25, 2012, 03:43:04 PM
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

And if he says yes, then say, "I would have liked to know you got it safely, and I always like hearing 'thank you.' If you can't say it in person, a Facebook message would be smart. Not a bad policy anytime someone gives you something. It makes them more likely to want to give you something again. See you at Christmas!"

And then I'd give him the same type of present.

And see if he learns something from it.

But Will is 16--you can talk directly to him about how *you* feel. Or about society's expectations in general. Just keep it from sounding like a lecture or a scolding.

I can definitely do something like this. In person, I do have to watch my tone, especially with people that don't know me very well. I can practice this for sure. Thanks for the script!

You're welcome!
To help get the right tone, get the right mindset. Make it "cluing you in, something I know that you might find useful one day."

Also, feel free to say, later in the day, "Be sure to let me know what you decide to do w/ the money. I like to hear about the followup! And it helps me know what to do for next Christmas, if I hear about this one."

There's a cause-and-effect here  that LOTS of perfectly nice people don't "get" until they're older. And some of them never.

Sorry, Toots, I disagree. Sio does not have a relationship yet with this young man where she can hint or teach under any circumstance.

 I think, first, they need to establish that there is going to be an ongoing permanent relationship and then she can start showing him by being a gracious example, not instructing him. Kids tune out instructions, but they do observe behavior.

And yes, Sio, you have to gift equally. Put yourself in Will's shoes. He sees the known-about child getting $100 and he gets $10. That's going to send a powerful message. If you want to set a good example for him to follow (and the rest of your family), treat him as well as you treat your son.

Actually, Toots example didn't come across as teaching or hinting to me, necessarily.  It sounds more like the Aunt would be saying to her nephew that she wants to talk and get to know him more.  Outside of just Christmas.  It's a way for Aunt and Nephew to establish a relationship and keep in touch.  I see it as a caring gesture in the way Toots phrased it, also tone and body language will come into play too.

Sioteh, I think it's very normal to have these feelings.  I have a cousin that we didn't know about until I was in my teens and he was in his teens.  We just aren't as close as the cousins I've known since birth.  Looking back though, I do think it was possible to get closer to him but circumstances of the adults involved didn't really allow it.  I think you've got a chance though.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: stargazer on November 25, 2012, 03:54:19 PM
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

And if he says yes, then say, "I would have liked to know you got it safely, and I always like hearing 'thank you.' If you can't say it in person, a Facebook message would be smart. Not a bad policy anytime someone gives you something. It makes them more likely to want to give you something again. See you at Christmas!"

And then I'd give him the same type of present.

And see if he learns something from it.

But Will is 16--you can talk directly to him about how *you* feel. Or about society's expectations in general. Just keep it from sounding like a lecture or a scolding.

I can definitely do something like this. In person, I do have to watch my tone, especially with people that don't know me very well. I can practice this for sure. Thanks for the script!

You're welcome!
To help get the right tone, get the right mindset. Make it "cluing you in, something I know that you might find useful one day."

Also, feel free to say, later in the day, "Be sure to let me know what you decide to do w/ the money. I like to hear about the followup! And it helps me know what to do for next Christmas, if I hear about this one."

There's a cause-and-effect here  that LOTS of perfectly nice people don't "get" until they're older. And some of them never.

Sorry, Toots, I disagree. Sio does not have a relationship yet with this young man where she can hint or teach under any circumstance.

 I think, first, they need to establish that there is going to be an ongoing permanent relationship and then she can start showing him by being a gracious example, not instructing him. Kids tune out instructions, but they do observe behavior.

And yes, Sio, you have to gift equally. Put yourself in Will's shoes. He sees the known-about child getting $100 and he gets $10. That's going to send a powerful message. If you want to set a good example for him to follow (and the rest of your family), treat him as well as you treat your son.

Actually, Toots example didn't come across as teaching or hinting to me, necessarily.  It sounds more like the Aunt would be saying to her nephew that she wants to talk and get to know him more.  Outside of just Christmas.  It's a way for Aunt and Nephew to establish a relationship and keep in touch.  I see it as a caring gesture in the way Toots phrased it, also tone and body language will come into play too.


I agree with gorplady.  There is not enough of a relationship here where you can send that message (a YEAR later no less) without it coming across as scolding.  Will has no idea what Siotehcat's normal "tone" is because he hasn't spent a lot of time with her and so you can't use a normal aunt teaching her close nephew something.  The boys should be given the same gift amount and prompt for a response then if needed.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: kherbert05 on November 25, 2012, 05:07:56 PM
I wouldn't lay his lack of Thanks solely on his mother's doorstep. Why hasn't his Dad taught him this if Mom hasn't?

OP, have you mentioned to your brother that his son never thanked you for your Christmas gift last year? Your Bro needs to coach Will to say "thank you" (or text, phone, or message if the gift is opened later) because that's an important part of fitting-in in your family and in society in general.
To be fair the Father didn't have contact with the son until recently that is why the OP doesn't know the boy. The father should now educate the son on the value of Thank You notes.
 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: miranova on November 25, 2012, 07:20:06 PM
I wouldn't lay his lack of Thanks solely on his mother's doorstep. Why hasn't his Dad taught him this if Mom hasn't?

OP, have you mentioned to your brother that his son never thanked you for your Christmas gift last year? Your Bro needs to coach Will to say "thank you" (or text, phone, or message if the gift is opened later) because that's an important part of fitting-in in your family and in society in general.
To be fair the Father didn't have contact with the son until recently

 I'm not sure being absent really excuses the dad unless he had absolutely no choice in the matter.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: gorplady on November 25, 2012, 09:50:37 PM
<snip>
To be fair the Father didn't have contact with the son until recently

 I'm not sure being absent really excuses the dad unless he had absolutely no choice in the matter.

How can someone instruct anyone if they're not present in that person's life?
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: kareng57 on November 25, 2012, 11:11:07 PM
<snip>
To be fair the Father didn't have contact with the son until recently

 I'm not sure being absent really excuses the dad unless he had absolutely no choice in the matter.

How can someone instruct anyone if they're not present in that person's life?


That's kind of my take on it, as well.

Naturally people can do whatever they want in this kind of situation - such as never giving a gift again if they don't get a thank-you - but I think that it's preferable to take into account this particular child's background.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: BeagleMommy on November 26, 2012, 01:38:45 PM
Sio, I would gift the boys equally.  Knowing what DS was like between the ages of 16-18 I can tell you that it is not unusual that this boy didn't express his thanks.  Many teenaged boys get kind of sulky and uncommunicative for about two years.  Fortunately, we were around DS when he received gifts and could nudge him to remind him of the manners we knew he had.

Add to this the fact that this young man has started to connect with a family he doesn't know and it might be overwhelming for him.  Patience would be the key.  He may end up being a completely different boy when he's 19 than he was at 16.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Winterlight on November 27, 2012, 10:02:04 AM
I agree with gorplady.  There is not enough of a relationship here where you can send that message (a YEAR later no less) without it coming across as scolding.  Will has no idea what Siotehcat's normal "tone" is because he hasn't spent a lot of time with her and so you can't use a normal aunt teaching her close nephew something.  The boys should be given the same gift amount and prompt for a response then if needed.

This. If I were in Will's shoes and got that message, I'd feel scolded, resentful and tense up around Sio. He's only met her once and it doesn't sound like they've been in contact in the meantime, so that first interaction would be soured by a late telling off.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Texas Mom on November 27, 2012, 11:31:24 AM
I've read the entire thread.

The etiquette question:  Should OP give Riley & Will equal amounts of cash after not receiving a thank you from Will last year?

My answer:  If the gifts are going to be given at the same time, Riley & Will should be given the same gift, not similar, not equivalent.
To do otherwise (in spite of  OP's feelings over lack of acknowledgement) would not be in the spirit of proper etiquette.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: rashea on November 27, 2012, 11:53:09 AM

My answer:  If the gifts are going to be given at the same time, Riley & Will should be given the same gift, not similar, not equivalent.
To do otherwise (in spite of  OP's feelings over lack of acknowledgement) would not be in the spirit of proper etiquette.

Why? Was it wrong for an Aunt to give me a cd of Plumb while my sister got a cd of Ace of Base?
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Yvaine on November 27, 2012, 11:55:39 AM

My answer:  If the gifts are going to be given at the same time, Riley & Will should be given the same gift, not similar, not equivalent.
To do otherwise (in spite of  OP's feelings over lack of acknowledgement) would not be in the spirit of proper etiquette.

Why? Was it wrong for an Aunt to give me a cd of Plumb while my sister got a cd of Ace of Base?

I think she means if it's money amounts--at least I hope so. Equivalent gifts are not rude if they're "stuff" gifts.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 27, 2012, 12:16:53 PM
My initial reaction to a 16 year old not verbally thanking you upon receiving a gift was very negative and I thought I'd probably plan to reduce my gift to him the next year.

But I thought more about it and realized I'd be excited that the newphew was being re-introduced to the family that I wouldn't do anything that could potentially create a future rift with him.  Right now is when bridges are being created and as the adult, I'd be very forgiving over the next couple of years. 

So I'd give the same gift with the unspoken, internal message of "You can be as distant, sulky, and sullen, as you like but we'll still want you to be part of our family and since a big hug and a sloppy kiss is probably out of the question, here is some money to try and make that point."

Then after 2 more years, if a connection wasn't growing, I'd reduce my gifts to him.   

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Texas Mom on November 27, 2012, 12:20:48 PM
I think she means if it's money amounts--at least I hope so. Equivalent gifts are not rude if they're "stuff" gifts.

I was talking about cash, which is what the OP indicated she gives, since teenagers' tastes change frequently.

My recommendation of the same gift was prompted by posters upthread suggesting giving Will movie tickets and Riley cash. 

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: ettiquit on November 27, 2012, 12:27:52 PM
I'm glad you decided to give the brothers the same amount again.  I don't think I'd bring up last year's lack of thank you at all though.  It's been a year and I think the time to address it would have been shortly after the gift was given.

I do like the idea of saying something this year when you give the gift that will prompt him to contact you and let you know what he did with the money.  That's a great way to start fostering a relationship with him.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Yvaine on November 27, 2012, 01:02:12 PM
I'm glad you decided to give the brothers the same amount again.  I don't think I'd bring up last year's lack of thank you at all though.  It's been a year and I think the time to address it would have been shortly after the gift was given.

Yes, this. There are differing arguments on whether or how to bring it up around the time it happens. To bring it up now, a year later, is rather like being criticized in your performance review for something that was never brought up a year ago when you actually did it.  ;D You may be able to say something if he repeats the rudeness again this year.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: SiotehCat on November 27, 2012, 04:38:24 PM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Kaypeep on November 27, 2012, 10:28:00 PM
In addition to a cash gift, perhaps you can give him a box of notecards, a book of stamps and an address book with family members names and addresses inside.  When you give it to him, you can tell him that TY's are a big deal in your family and now that he's a part of it, you wanted to pass on the tradition as older relatives did with you when you were young.  Use some of Toots' wording about how it's nice to hear appreciation for birthday gifts or xmas gifts.  Even a FB message saying TY and nice seeing you is also appreciated and helps foster good will.  And be sure to set an example to him, too.  Send him a TY if you get a gift from him, or send a FB message saying it was nice to spend time with him, how you enjoyed playing cards with him or whatever activity or memorable thing stands out.  Let him know he should send them to non family members too, maybe a teacher who helped him with a hard subject or something like that.  And when he's looking for a job, even if it's at McDonald's, a TY note thanking them for their time can go a long way in being memorable and landing the job.  Basically, teach him that TY's are a valuable life skill, not just a familial obligation to score more gifts.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: miranova on November 27, 2012, 10:28:49 PM
<snip>
To be fair the Father didn't have contact with the son until recently

 I'm not sure being absent really excuses the dad unless he had absolutely no choice in the matter.

How can someone instruct anyone if they're not present in that person's life?

They can't, of course.  Which is my whole point.   In this young man's father voluntarily walked away from parenting responsibilities, then I think it's highly unfair to cast all blame for this young man's lack of manners on his mother.  Both parents have the responsibility to "be present" and instill values unless one is actually prevented from doing so against their will, which I allowed for as a possibility here.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: AngelicGamer on November 28, 2012, 03:11:23 AM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

Re: the bolded - please don't.  Even if he doesn't show up, I would still give the same amount of money.  The brothers are probably going to talk or Will is going to find out another way.  Even if you think that Will won't, Murphy's Law says that he will.  Which is the big reason why I would keep it equal no matter what.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Addy on November 28, 2012, 03:21:37 AM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

Re: the bolded - please don't.  Even if he doesn't show up, I would still give the same amount of money.  The brothers are probably going to talk or Will is going to find out another way.  Even if you think that Will won't, Murphy's Law says that he will.  Which is the big reason why I would keep it equal no matter what.

I agree. These boys are brothers, it is not inconceivable that they will talk. Also, does Will even have control over whether he "shows up" to this party?

I also agree with Miranova, I would be interested to know the details of why Will's father was not involved in his life before now before he gets a pass on being responsible for Will's lack of manners.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: MariaE on November 28, 2012, 03:26:55 AM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

Re: the bolded - please don't.  Even if he doesn't show up, I would still give the same amount of money.  The brothers are probably going to talk or Will is going to find out another way.  Even if you think that Will won't, Murphy's Law says that he will.  Which is the big reason why I would keep it equal no matter what.

Completely agree.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: MindsEye on November 28, 2012, 07:27:27 AM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

That sounds fine to me.

Honestly... you can gift however you want.  Not everything has to be 100% equal all of the time, and you are much closer (for various reasons) to one brother.  So, it just seems natural to me that of course you would gift them differently.  (My opinion only, YMMV)

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: TurtleDove on November 28, 2012, 09:08:50 AM
I agree. These boys are brothers, it is not inconceivable that they will talk. Also, does Will even have control over whether he "shows up" to this party?

I also agree with Miranova, I would be interested to know the details of why Will's father was not involved in his life before now before he gets a pass on being responsible for Will's lack of manners.

POD.  I think the OP can give whatever gifts she wants, but there will likely be consequences of unequal gifting.  Also, without knowing really any details, I feel really bad for Will, and would hate for him to feel as though he is currently being "punished" because adults failed him earlier in life (and seemingly still now). I don't think the OP's question can be truly answered without the background details. 

In general, I believe brothers should be gifted comparably. Based on what the OP has told us, I believe that gifting these particular brothers differently would really hammer home the message Will has gotten all his life of "you are not a part of this family."
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: mj on November 28, 2012, 10:01:14 AM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

That sounds fine to me.

Honestly... you can gift however you want.  Not everything has to be 100% equal all of the time, and you are much closer (for various reasons) to one brother.  So, it just seems natural to me that of course you would gift them differently.  (My opinion only, YMMV)

This goes against a lot of etiquette advice I've seen.  I'm much closer to one SIL, but I gift them both the same.  It's not fair the other SIL lives across the country and we don't have as much opportunity to bond.  I also gift both sets of kids from these SILs the same, irregardless that I'm closer to the set that lives near me. 

I would feel just terrible gifting kids differently because of their life circumstances.  It's not at all what the season is about. 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: sourwolf on November 28, 2012, 10:22:51 AM
In addition to a cash gift, perhaps you can give him a box of notecards, a book of stamps and an address book with family members names and addresses inside.  When you give it to him, you can tell him that TY's are a big deal in your family and now that he's a part of it, you wanted to pass on the tradition as older relatives did with you when you were young.  Use some of Toots' wording about how it's nice to hear appreciation for birthday gifts or xmas gifts.  Even a FB message saying TY and nice seeing you is also appreciated and helps foster good will.  And be sure to set an example to him, too.  Send him a TY if you get a gift from him, or send a FB message saying it was nice to spend time with him, how you enjoyed playing cards with him or whatever activity or memorable thing stands out.  Let him know he should send them to non family members too, maybe a teacher who helped him with a hard subject or something like that.  And when he's looking for a job, even if it's at McDonald's, a TY note thanking them for their time can go a long way in being memorable and landing the job.  Basically, teach him that TY's are a valuable life skill, not just a familial obligation to score more gifts.

But that's a complete lie.  Sio said that thank you notes are *not* done in her family, they do verbal thank yous. 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: MindsEye on November 28, 2012, 10:28:27 AM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

That sounds fine to me.

Honestly... you can gift however you want.  Not everything has to be 100% equal all of the time, and you are much closer (for various reasons) to one brother.  So, it just seems natural to me that of course you would gift them differently.  (My opinion only, YMMV)

This goes against a lot of etiquette advice I've seen.  I'm much closer to one SIL, but I gift them both the same.  It's not fair the other SIL lives across the country and we don't have as much opportunity to bond.  I also gift both sets of kids from these SILs the same, irregardless that I'm closer to the set that lives near me. 

I would feel just terrible gifting kids differently because of their life circumstances.  It's not at all what the season is about.

So I didn't explain myself well.....  by gifting differently I mean something like this - you know brother A very well, so you get him the deluxe tinkertoy set you know he will love, but don't know brother B very well so you get him a giftcard. 

The brothers don't have to get the exact same thing, and frankly I find the insistence on perfect fairness down to the exact same item or exact same dollar amount to be rather boggling.  Frankly, that kind of thing spoils the season for me.  Where is the pleasure of getting gifts for people when they all have to be gifted identically in order for everything to be perfectly fair?  Eh, that is only my personal opinion, and YMMV. 
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Yvaine on November 28, 2012, 10:37:22 AM
The brothers don't have to get the exact same thing, and frankly I find the insistence on perfect fairness down to the exact same item or exact same dollar amount to be rather boggling.  Frankly, that kind of thing spoils the season for me.  Where is the pleasure of getting gifts for people when they all have to be gifted identically in order for everything to be perfectly fair?  Eh, that is only my personal opinion, and YMMV.

I had a relative who did identical-except-for-color gifts. I'd get red knit gloves, next oldest sis would get green knit gloves, then the next would get blue knit gloves..it got so we were careful to all open at once because SPOILERS!  ;D
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Amara on November 28, 2012, 11:08:47 AM
I've stayed out of this until now not only because I think you are getting excellent advice, OP, but also because it brings up very painful memories all these decades later. When I was in what is now called the tween/early teen years my maternal grandmother, who made me her favorite when I was younger because I was the first grandchild, did not like my growing independence. She made that point viciously with money, and one Christmas in particular was especially notable. I got a card with a $20 bill inside it and that would have made me very happy (this was about 1963-5)--except that my younger cousins got lots of brightly wrapped gifts, about $200 worth each. This was a major slap in the face, and I recognized it instantly. I never said anything to anyone, but I was deeply wounded and never forgave her. ETA: It completely and permanently destroyed the rel@tionship between myself and my cousins as well.

Please do not use gifts and/or money to favor one over the other, even unconsciously.

Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: Lynn2000 on November 28, 2012, 11:27:29 AM
Lots of good and interesting advice here. I may have missed it, but was there a mention of Will's other behavior last year, and throughout the year, regarding the OP? If someone doesn't literally say "thank you" upon a receiving a gift, but it is pleasant and friendly, and makes an effort to keep in touch with me, that would seem more positive to me. But if someone basically grabbed the gift and ran into the corner, and I hadn't heard anything at all from him since, that wouldn't be cool in my book.

But, I do like to give people a second chance at least, because anyone can have an off day. I like the idea of giving Will a gift equal to Riley's and then engaging him in conversation about it. Not only would that forge a bond in general, it would allow him to show his appreciation of the gift even if he didn't actually say "thanks."

And in this particular situation, with all the backstory, I admit that I would feel sorry for Will, and would probably try to give him more chances even if he didn't respond "the right way." That doesn't mean I would spend a ton of money on him each year, though. But maybe I would keep giving him $25 cash, and I would give Riley $25 cash at the same time; but maybe a couple weeks earlier I would've taken Riley to lunch, or otherwise "gifted" him away from the holidays, because I feel closer to him and he makes more of an effort to be closer to me.
Title: Re: Gifting brothers differently.
Post by: mj on November 28, 2012, 11:49:05 AM
Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

That sounds fine to me.

Honestly... you can gift however you want.  Not everything has to be 100% equal all of the time, and you are much closer (for various reasons) to one brother.  So, it just seems natural to me that of course you would gift them differently.  (My opinion only, YMMV)

This goes against a lot of etiquette advice I've seen.  I'm much closer to one SIL, but I gift them both the same.  It's not fair the other SIL lives across the country and we don't have as much opportunity to bond.  I also gift both sets of kids from these SILs the same, irregardless that I'm closer to the set that lives near me. 

I would feel just terrible gifting kids differently because of their life circumstances.  It's not at all what the season is about.

So I didn't explain myself well.....  by gifting differently I mean something like this - you know brother A very well, so you get him the deluxe tinkertoy set you know he will love, but don't know brother B very well so you get him a giftcard. 

The brothers don't have to get the exact same thing, and frankly I find the insistence on perfect fairness down to the exact same item or exact same dollar amount to be rather boggling.  Frankly, that kind of thing spoils the season for me.  Where is the pleasure of getting gifts for people when they all have to be gifted identically in order for everything to be perfectly fair?  Eh, that is only my personal opinion, and YMMV.

I don't think gifts have to be identical.  Roughly and comparably equal, yes.  Giving one a $100 at the event, but giving the other one $50 who wasn't at the event is the type of issue I am addressing.  Giving one a giftcard that is roughly the same value as the deluxe gift is fine.  But going out of their way to give a lesser gift because one is not at the holiday and based on the idea that they are not there AND not as a close due to circumstances out of their control is what I'm objecting too.