Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Idlewildstudios on October 02, 2013, 12:00:53 AM

Title: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 02, 2013, 12:00:53 AM
For her birthday last year I gave my niece a very cute winter hat that I felt really suited her personality. Since she is very young I knew it would be a bit large but figured she would grow into it.  She appeared delighted with it when she opened it.

When I saw her again several weeks later, with her sister who is a year older, it was her sister wearing the hat.  It had also been damaged.  My IL's noticed my puzzled look and gave me the following explanation- the older sister wanted the hat and was initially denied it.  In her anger she damaged it.  Since she damaged it and caused a fuss, it was given to her to wear.

This fall it has become the sister's regular daily hat.  The niece it was gifted to never got to wear it and by the time she grows into it it will be well used.

Am I wrong to be miffed about this?  I know that once given a gift can used as seen fit, but this just rubbed me the wrong way.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Pen^2 on October 02, 2013, 12:32:42 AM
It's theirs to do with as they wish, so I don't have an issue there. Unless you look at the fact that, technically, it was given to niece, not her parents, and so she can do what she wants with the hat, not her parents. But until she's old enough to really have a say in things, I think it really is up to the parents.

I would be much more upset about the fact that their response to their older daughter's unacceptable behaviour was to reward the naughty one and punish the younger one who did nothing wrong. That irks me to no end. What a good way to raise a special snowflake.  >:(

Next time, try to get a gift you know the older niece won't steal. How old is she? If she can read, maybe embroid/write/whatever younger niece's name on the next gift, so older niece almost certainly won't want it. But if it keeps happening, I'd just stop giving gifts, because if giving younger niece a gift results in her being punished (having her gift taken from her is hardly something she'd enjoy), then it just wouldn't be nice to keep giving her things. That would be pretty sad.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Bluenomi on October 02, 2013, 12:34:14 AM
I'd be miffed as well since a careful chosen present was ruined and stolen by an older sibling probably because the parents couldn't be bothered putting their foot down.

I'd be buying youger niece a new one if I could and be thinking about not getting the older niece anything for her next birthday/christmas. Would it be too PA/snarky to tell her she wasn't getting something because she'd already stolen herself a present?
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 02, 2013, 12:43:54 AM
I feel better it wasn't just me being grumpy.

They are only 3 and 5 so having the older one miss out on a gift for taking the hat won't really work, she won't understand.  I have noticed this seems to be a pattern, things given to them both to use are taken by the oldest and the younger one can only have them when  the older girl has had her fun and moves on.

I will say this year the younger niece gets a handmade gift with her name embroidered on it, so it is marked as *hers*.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Pen^2 on October 02, 2013, 12:52:46 AM
I feel better it wasn't just me being grumpy.

They are only 3 and 5 so having the older one miss out on a gift for taking the hat won't really work, she won't understand.  I have noticed this seems to be a pattern, things given to them both to use are taken by the oldest and the younger one can only have them when  the older girl has had her fun and moves on.

I will say this year the younger niece gets a handmade gift with her name embroidered on it, so it is marked as *hers*.

The parents hopefully will understand, though. They might not immediately change their ways, but you'll at least communicate to them that what they're doing isn't normal. And a 5 year old isn't going to miss one gift at a birthday, so I don't think this would be punishing her or anything. She still comes out with the same amount of loot. You might be a straw that ends up breaking the camel's back. I hope so, for the sake of the five year old. And especially for her little sister, who, it otherwise looks like, will be punished unfairly quite a lot in her life because of her parent's lack of willingness to parent her older sister in this area.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 02, 2013, 02:32:04 AM
I feel better it wasn't just me being grumpy.

They are only 3 and 5 so having the older one miss out on a gift for taking the hat won't really work, she won't understand.  I have noticed this seems to be a pattern, things given to them both to use are taken by the oldest and the younger one can only have them when  the older girl has had her fun and moves on.

I will say this year the younger niece gets a handmade gift with her name embroidered on it, so it is marked as *hers*.

No, you're not wrong to be miffed, I would be too.

And I'd still be miffed if the parents had simply decided to give the older sister the hat when she WASN'T behaving badly (unless there was some pressing need, like they couldn't afford a hat for the older sister this winter).

Next time, you could try telling the parents that the gift is clearly intended for younger sister, and you'd love to see her getting some use from it. You could even tell older sister that the gift is for younger sister, and that older sister is "too old" for it.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: zyrs on October 02, 2013, 03:36:32 AM
This would absolutely miff me.  I hate when parents reward bad behavior.

I would get a new one for the niece, hopefully with her name embroidered on it.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Harriet Jones on October 02, 2013, 05:34:50 AM
I think age 5 is plenty old enough to understand about not getting a gift because she stole her sister's gift.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: flickan on October 02, 2013, 05:48:07 AM
I would be irritated at the parents for the way they handled it (reward the child for damaging the hat??) but I wouldn't try to deny any subsequent gifts to the kids because I think it's the place of the parents to deal with this as they see fit.

I would perhaps find some way of adding younger sister's name to any future gifts...
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: camlan on October 02, 2013, 05:53:40 AM
I'd be miffed, too.

What I'd do is, for the next couple of years, give the younger niece an "experience" gift, not a physical gift. A special day out with Auntie, for example. A trip to the zoo, a joint mani/pedi, a visit to the Children's Museum.

Which isn't to say that the older niece won't kick up a fuss and demand that her parents do the same activity with her. There's nothing you can do to stop that. But you *can* be a part of the younger niece's life, you *can* make her feel special for a day, you *can* show her that her older sister is not the one who gets to have it all.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: sammycat on October 02, 2013, 06:02:53 AM
I'd be miffed, too.

What I'd do is, for the next couple of years, give the younger niece an "experience" gift, not a physical gift. A special day out with Auntie, for example. A trip to the zoo, a joint mani/pedi, a visit to the Children's Museum.

Which isn't to say that the older niece won't kick up a fuss and demand that her parents do the same activity with her. There's nothing you can do to stop that. But you *can* be a part of the younger niece's life, you *can* make her feel special for a day, you *can* show her that her older sister is not the one who gets to have it all.

I like that idea!  The only drawback I can see is if the parents insist that older niece be included. Personally I'd have no qualms in saying no to that, but the parents sound like the type to refuse to let younger niece go if her sister isn't included.

Add me to the list of people who'd be very miffed at this.

OP, do the parents favour the older child in general overall?
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: YummyMummy66 on October 02, 2013, 06:20:12 AM
I would be miffed also, but I would also be miffed at the niece's parents.

Sounds to me like they let the older sister get what she wanted without any repurcussions. Honestly, in my home, the hat would have been taken away and older sis made to buy younger sis a new hat.

Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: shhh its me on October 02, 2013, 06:41:59 AM
    I think a 5 year may understand the concept but a lesson months latter isn't really appropriate.   I would be really upset with the parents.   I want to note I don;t think the 5 year old is bad she is acting like a child whose negative behavior is being reinforced, at 5 this is solely the parents "bad".

I think a pp suggestion of experience gifts is great.  I would do experiences for the older sis as well.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: weeblewobble on October 02, 2013, 07:17:44 AM
I won't say this is the worst parenting i've ever seen on this site, but it ranks near the bottom.  The older sister wants a gift that belongs to someone else, pitches a tantrum, damages the gift and the lesson she learns is that when she gives in to her anger and steals from her sister, she gets to keep the thing she stole?  Uh, no.

I am actually all for giving the younger niece an experience gift that can't be taken away.  If the parents insist oldest niece be taken along, tell them that won't be possible. If they decline, that's their choice.  You've done all you can do.  But oldest niece doesn't receive a present for her next birthday.  If her parents ask about it, tell them she wore it during the fall.

Is this a pattern with the parents? Do they frequently give in to the oldest because it's easier?
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Venus193 on October 02, 2013, 07:39:13 AM
I would be miffed also, but I would also be miffed at the niece's parents.

Sounds to me like they let the older sister get what she wanted without any repurcussions. Honestly, in my home, the hat would have been taken away and older sis made to buy younger sis a new hat.

I agree.  Those parents are being lazy parents and they will live to regret this.

I would take the younger niece to the zoo or the museum instead.  That can't be taken away from her.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: bopper on October 02, 2013, 07:47:13 AM
When you say you talked to ILs, was that MIL/FIL or SIL/BIL?
If it was the kids parents, then you might say that you are concerned if this is going to be a trend?
or you could give gifts that are experiences, e.g., you take the kids to the zoo one at a time so you know the little one gets her chance.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: TootsNYC on October 02, 2013, 07:55:37 AM
I feel better it wasn't just me being grumpy.

They are only 3 and 5 so having the older one miss out on a gift for taking the hat won't really work, she won't understand. I have noticed this seems to be a pattern, things given to them both to use are taken by the oldest and the younger one can only have them when  the older girl has had her fun and moves on.

I will say this year the younger niece gets a handmade gift with her name embroidered on it, so it is marked as *hers*.

Don't sell you niece so short! At five there is definitely the ability to understand. There is no need to be cruel, but I do think that you can say to her "well, I guess that will have to count as your birthday present instead" and then replace the one for younger niece. Absent of developmental delays, the message will absolutely sink in.

These are little kids!!!

Try not to get too upset about it. At anybody. The parents are dealing with the issue as best they can. (I bet that making her wear the damaged hat *was* actually a punishment, at least for a while. She wanted it when it was perfect and lovely. I can't imagine that the parents would "make" her wear the hat if she was happy about it.)

I agree Millionaire Maria, that 5 is old enough to understand that the hat is her gift, if that makes you feel better. But she may not really mind anymore, even if she did when it was new--by now she's attached to it. So she may not see it as punishment, and actually it's not anymore YOUR place to punish her over this. That's her parents' prerogative, not yours. (But it sounds like they are pretty wimpy about it. Though, they *DID* put their foot down--and that's why the girl damaged the hat.)

And if you let this incident affect your feelings for her, I would say that's really, really short-sighted and unfair. She's five.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 02, 2013, 07:56:45 AM
I feel better it wasn't just me being grumpy.

They are only 3 and 5 so having the older one miss out on a gift for taking the hat won't really work, she won't understand.  I have noticed this seems to be a pattern, things given to them both to use are taken by the oldest and the younger one can only have them when  the older girl has had her fun and moves on.

I will say this year the younger niece gets a handmade gift with her name embroidered on it, so it is marked as *hers*.

I took the parents making the damaged hat the older girl's daily hat as punishment not as a reward.  As in "You took your younger sister's hat and then tore it so now YOU have to wear it all winter." But I'm basing this on my own daughter who would have never worn a damaged piece of clothing even at 4 or 5. So in our house, wearing a damaged hat would have been a daily reminder of her bad deed and considered horrible punishment.

Also, I think at 5, she will understand that she is not getting a bday gift because of her actions. If her bday is within the next few months, I would buy something new for the 3 yr old and tell her this was to be the 5 year olds bday gift but since she took her sister's you think the 3 year old deserves hers.

On another note, may I suggest in the future not giving items to little ones that can't be used till later? Nothing worse at that age then getting a cute gift that you can't use. Better for you to buy it, but it away to be given at a future date.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: acicularis on October 02, 2013, 08:13:32 AM
Honestly, in my home, the hat would have been taken away and older sis made to buy younger sis a new hat.

Yup, that's how it would have played out in our house, too.

Now that they're getting older, this isn't as much of a problem, but my middle child has often tried to appropriate her younger sister's belongings for herself. If they were both given something at the same time, she would quickly figure out which one was the "better" one and try to claim that. Sometimes the items would be almost identical, and she'd still see some significant difference between the two, and try to grab the one she wanted. One of the most frustrating things was how persistent this behavior was, even though we did our best not to reward it. She just seems to have been born with a sense of entitlement. I shudder to think of what kind of monster we would have created had we behaved as your ILs seem to.

I would definitely replace the hat for the younger one, and in future give things labeled in some way as hers. Not sure you can do much beyond that, if the parents aren't going to rein in the older girl's entitled grabbiness.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: weeblewobble on October 02, 2013, 08:35:35 AM
yes, they are little kids, but the lessons they learn now help form the values they form as bigger kids, teens and adults.  And unless the parents did make the older girl wear the damaged hat as a punishment (which is an angle I hadn't considered) they are teaching the oldest some very dangerous lessons.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Zilla on October 02, 2013, 08:40:26 AM
I wouldn't be miffed.  I would just make sure next time that my gift fits her.  If it didn't, I myself would hold it till it does fit.  As for how the older girl got it, well that's on the mother and not on you. I also quite frankly don't see why it was included in the OP other than to make them look bad.  The facts remains are that you gifted the younger one with a gift that was a bit too large and the older one got it and wore it.  The younger one will now not be able to wear it new since it will be a worn hand me down.  Solution as I stated before, hold it yourself and gift it at the right time.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: secretrebel on October 02, 2013, 08:47:47 AM
Rather than the OP punishing the 5 year old with no gift in future, I'd advise addressing this with the parents.

Why not call them up and say "look what you told me last time we met really bothered me. I bought that gift for 3 year old because it really matched her personality. To hear that 5 year old damaged it and was then given it. I love you and your kids and I don't want to make things uncomfortable between us but I also don't like to see 3 year old lose a present I gave her in this way."

Then see what they say. Maybe they didn't see it as an issue at the time but this will make them think again. Maybe they will be defensive and not willing to listen. Then try to give a gift that can't be taken away.

But give the parents a chance to listen to your concern first.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: AmethystAnne on October 02, 2013, 09:00:20 AM
My grandchildren are ages 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. The 5 and 4 year olds certainly would understand what they did was wrong.

The parents need to train that 5y.o that the reward for pitching fits is something that is not good, and behaving is the way to go.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: rose red on October 02, 2013, 09:02:35 AM
Are the hats still available?  If so, this year I would buy the younger niece another hat (with her name embroidered on) plus another birthday gift.  Seeing her younger sister wearing an undamaged hat is a punishment itself.  If they are not available, I would still buy her another cute hat plus a second birthday gift (both with her name on it somehow.)

And I agree with those who say a 5 year old is old enough to understand.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: TurtleDove on October 02, 2013, 09:31:28 AM
Am I wrong to be miffed about this? 

I don't know that you are *wrong* to be miffed about this, but I question what you want to accomplish.  I think holding a grudge against a 3 year old or 5 year old would be completely out of line.  I think sharing your disdain for the parenting decisions of your inlaws is not going to be a productive exercise either (and from what I understand, the wearing of the damaged hat was a punishment, not a reward for stealing the hat).  I think if your goal is to convey that you are angry, by all means state this.  To me this would be a short-sighted thing to do, however, because it would cause/reignite bad feelings over....well...over a child's hat.  Five year olds make mistakes.  Parents make mistakes. I am not certain the parents here actually DID make a mistake though, and this is for them, not you, to decide since they are the parents.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: SamiHami on October 02, 2013, 09:54:32 AM
I'm going against the tide here a bit. These aren't your kids. It's not up to you to punish or discipline them. The five year old isn't evil; she's just a kid. Maybe the parents bungled the handling of the issue but you will never really know for sure, since you don't live in their house and you don't know how they have disciplined the five year old already. I think when it comes to little kids you just have to roll with it and trust that their parents will handle disciplinary issues in the future.

That being said, I think experience or personalized gifts are a great way of avoiding this type of ocurrence in the future, but I would just let this one go.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: rain on October 02, 2013, 10:29:36 AM
 :o

sounds like how my OS grew up .... she never changed .... whatever the younger sibs had she wanted & threw a fit until she got it or she didn't want to do it would be "why can't younger sibs do it "


for the kids sakes I hope the parents ARE NOT doing what mine did, which was let her get away with it
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on October 02, 2013, 10:38:16 AM
I see the parents giving the damaged hat to the older sister as a punishment, too, not a reward.  I know 5-year-olds who would absolutely understand that this was a punishment, and wouldn't normally wear damaged hats.  Now it's possible that by now the older sister is fine with the hat, but you don't know whether or not it started off as a punishment.

I don't think it's your place to say anything to the parents.  You can modify your gifts next time, such as telling the older sister that the hat is her gift, but I don't see what good would come out of talking to the parents about it. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Sophia on October 02, 2013, 11:07:21 AM
I see it as a punishment only if the younger girl had been allowed to go into the older girl's room and pick out any toy she wanted to compensate for the hat that was taken from her. 
Or, if the parents bought the younger a hat at least as nice and told the older that she would have gotten a new hat, but instead she'd damaged her sisters.  So, the younger gets a new hat instead. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 02, 2013, 11:08:36 AM
Thank you for the replies!

A bit of BG-  nieces have been raised by my M&FIL for the last year and a half.  It's a sad situation.

That said, the 5 year old has spent her entire life being coddled to by my IL's "because things have been so trying for her."  She's a smart kid and knows if she pitches a fit or cries they will give on to appease her.  I've watched it happen many, many times.

The hat was given to her to wear simply to appease her.  My IL's told me that having it kept her quiet and happy.  I don't blame either child, it was not their decision, they are little kids.

I think this year the younger one will get a new cute hat with her name on it and the older sister will be told that it is not hers to wear.  I have been asked to give clothing gifts that are a but oversized so they can grow into them over the season, which was why the other hat was a little big.

Thank you for all the good advice.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Sophia on October 02, 2013, 11:15:35 AM
You could also make sure that the clothes are at least one size smaller than what older sister wears. 
But, do not gift hats or purses or kid's jewelry, or anything that could be given to the older. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 02, 2013, 11:22:02 AM
You could also make sure that the clothes are at least one size smaller than what older sister wears. 
But, do not gift hats or purses or kid's jewelry, or anything that could be given to the older.

This is why I had to stop giving actual clothing gifts.  Even though I was asked to buy a size up for each girl, they are only one size apart.  So the 5 year old was wearing both sets of clothing and the 3 year old got hers only after her sister outgrew it.  (Like when I gave them both several requested sets if footsie PJ's).

I think I just have to rethink my gift giving.  It made me feel better to talk about it though!
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Zilla on October 02, 2013, 11:25:30 AM
You could also make sure that the clothes are at least one size smaller than what older sister wears. 
But, do not gift hats or purses or kid's jewelry, or anything that could be given to the older.

This is why I had to stop giving actual clothing gifts.  Even though I was asked to buy a size up for each girl, they are only one size apart.  So the 5 year old was wearing both sets of clothing and the 3 year old got hers only after her sister outgrew it.  (Like when I gave them both several requested sets if footsie PJ's).


With this update, I really have to say you can't be miffed.  You have already gifted many times and saw that the older sister wears it first.  As stated a few times already, I would disregard the request for larger sizes and buy exactly the right size.  If they protest, you can be blunt and tell them you wish the younger one to have "new" things to wear. 


I wouldn't have her name embroidered on the front of the hat, this isn't very safe for being out in public.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 02, 2013, 11:25:54 AM
Thank you for the replies!

A bit of BG-  nieces have been raised by my M&FIL for the last year and a half.  It's a sad situation.

That said, the 5 year old has spent her entire life being coddled to by my IL's "because things have been so trying for her."  She's a smart kid and knows if she pitches a fit or cries they will give on to appease her.  I've watched it happen many, many times.

The hat was given to her to wear simply to appease her.  My IL's told me that having it kept her quiet and happy.  I don't blame either child, it was not their decision, they are little kids.

I think this year the younger one will get a new cute hat with her name on it and the older sister will be told that it is not hers to wear.  I have been asked to give clothing gifts that are a but oversized so they can grow into them over the season, which was why the other hat was a little big.

Thank you for all the good advice.

Based on this, I change my suggestion about using her bday to give younger child a gift since I don't know what her emotionally maturity is at 5.

But I will say that you should be honest with your 5 yr old neice each time you see her in the hat.
"Neice, it really bothers me that you took a gift I gave your sister away from her. Do you think that's fair?"
"Neice, would you take that hat off. It reminds me of how mean you were to your sister taking a gift I gave her away."
"3yr old neice, I'm really sorry your gift was taken away and damaged. I'll make sure to give you something really special next year that can't be taken away."
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: TurtleDove on October 02, 2013, 11:36:39 AM
I feel for this family. Personally, if I were OP I would focus on showing kindness and love to both girls instead of repeatedly berating a five year old. Unless the OP intends to take over all parenting of the girls I think if she were to bring up "the hat issue" again and berate the five year old she will only succeed in damaging her relationship with everyone involved. Five year olds, in my experience, are still learning and deserve forgiveness. They also respond far better to positive reinforcement than they do to being told again and again that they are bad. I would imagine these girls already feel "bad" and I would do all I could to show them love rather than judgment. Same for the inlaws caring for them.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: shhh its me on October 02, 2013, 11:37:08 AM
You could also make sure that the clothes are at least one size smaller than what older sister wears. 
But, do not gift hats or purses or kid's jewelry, or anything that could be given to the older.

This is why I had to stop giving actual clothing gifts.  Even though I was asked to buy a size up for each girl, they are only one size apart.  So the 5 year old was wearing both sets of clothing and the 3 year old got hers only after her sister outgrew it.  (Like when I gave them both several requested sets if footsie PJ's).

I think I just have to rethink my gift giving.  It made me feel better to talk about it though!

I get why a parent (grandparent) wants to have clothing a size larger so the kids will get more use of things but I'd start buying the younger one some things that fit now.  I don't want to make an interesting assumption but it sounds like they are using your gifts in part to keep the girls clothed , so I would probably still include some clothing gifts if it was in my budget.  If I could I'd do an experience on their Bdays and maybe a small shopping trip when things are on clearance( which is exactly when most people will need to star wearing seasonally cloths.)  I might even buy them the exact same thing in their appropriate sizes.

Rather then get into a battle with mil/fil and a 5 year old over redistributing birthday gifts I'd change the rules of engagement.  It wouldn't be giving into negative behavior to buy them both a pair of jeans for start of school and take them both for ice-cream on their birthdays, I'f try to not supply a chance for the negative behavior.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: turnip on October 02, 2013, 11:40:03 AM
I feel for this family. Personally, if I were OP I would focus on showing kindness and love to both girls instead of repeatedly berating a five year old. Unless the OP intends to take over all parenting of the girls I think if she were to bring up "the hat issue" again and berate the five year old she will only succeed in damaging her relationship with everyone involved. Five year olds, in my experience, are still learning and deserve forgiveness. They also respond far better to positive reinforcement than they do to being told again and again that they are bad. I would imagine these girls already feel "bad" and I would do all I could to show them love rather than judgment. Same for the inlaws caring for them.

I completely agree.  I understand the OP being 'miffed' but there are larger issues going on than a hat.  I'd change the sort of gifts I buy for a while, work on building loving relationships with my niecees.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 02, 2013, 11:48:48 AM
I just wanted to be clear that I never, other than the initial puzzled look, mentioned the hat.

You are correct that they all need live and support, girls and adults.  And we give that , since it is a bad situation.

I am trying to gift according to what they need and can use, not just toys.  I guess I just need to find a way for the younger one to be able to enjoy her gift without the older one getting it.  Experience trips aren't an option right now, though maybe in the future.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on October 02, 2013, 12:00:21 PM
For the younger niece's birthday, why not combine both a gift and experience?  Take her shopping and allow her to choose her gift.  That way if it's clothing, you can be 100% sure it will fit her.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: weeblewobble on October 02, 2013, 12:43:06 PM
Thank you for the replies!

A bit of BG-  nieces have been raised by my M&FIL for the last year and a half.  It's a sad situation.

That said, the 5 year old has spent her entire life being coddled to by my IL's "because things have been so trying for her."  She's a smart kid and knows if she pitches a fit or cries they will give on to appease her.  I've watched it happen many, many times.

The hat was given to her to wear simply to appease her.  My IL's told me that having it kept her quiet and happy.  I don't blame either child, it was not their decision, they are little kids.

I think this year the younger one will get a new cute hat with her name on it and the older sister will be told that it is not hers to wear.  I have been asked to give clothing gifts that are a but oversized so they can grow into them over the season, which was why the other hat was a little big.

Thank you for all the good advice.

Based on this, I change my suggestion about using her bday to give younger child a gift since I don't know what her emotionally maturity is at 5.

But I will say that you should be honest with your 5 yr old neice each time you see her in the hat.
"Neice, it really bothers me that you took a gift I gave your sister away from her. Do you think that's fair?"
"Neice, would you take that hat off. It reminds me of how mean you were to your sister taking a gift I gave her away."
"3yr old neice, I'm really sorry your gift was taken away and damaged. I'll make sure to give you something really special next year that can't be taken away."

I think this a one-way route to seriously damaging your relationship with your inlaws. You'll alienate them by criticizing their GD, whom they coddle. And the issue that needs to be addressed is being perpetrated by the adults.  They're the ones who need to change their behavior. Yes, niece's behavior is a problem, but it's being enabled by the adults. 

Rather than trying to correct the 5yo, maybe try to give the 3yo some extra love and attention?  Because she is the one being lost in the shuffle here.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: NyaChan on October 02, 2013, 01:00:24 PM
Thank you for the replies!

A bit of BG-  nieces have been raised by my M&FIL for the last year and a half.  It's a sad situation.

That said, the 5 year old has spent her entire life being coddled to by my IL's "because things have been so trying for her."  She's a smart kid and knows if she pitches a fit or cries they will give on to appease her.  I've watched it happen many, many times.

The hat was given to her to wear simply to appease her.  My IL's told me that having it kept her quiet and happy.  I don't blame either child, it was not their decision, they are little kids.

I think this year the younger one will get a new cute hat with her name on it and the older sister will be told that it is not hers to wear.  I have been asked to give clothing gifts that are a but oversized so they can grow into them over the season, which was why the other hat was a little big.

Thank you for all the good advice.

Based on this, I change my suggestion about using her bday to give younger child a gift since I don't know what her emotionally maturity is at 5.

But I will say that you should be honest with your 5 yr old neice each time you see her in the hat.
"Neice, it really bothers me that you took a gift I gave your sister away from her. Do you think that's fair?"
"Neice, would you take that hat off. It reminds me of how mean you were to your sister taking a gift I gave her away."
"3yr old neice, I'm really sorry your gift was taken away and damaged. I'll make sure to give you something really special next year that can't be taken away."

I think this a one-way route to seriously damaging your relationship with your inlaws. You'll alienate them by criticizing their GD, whom they coddle. And the issue that needs to be addressed is being perpetrated by the adults.  They're the ones who need to change their behavior. Yes, niece's behavior is a problem, but it's being enabled by the adults. 

Rather than trying to correct the 5yo, maybe try to give the 3yo some extra love and attention?  Because she is the one being lost in the shuffle here.

Yes, I think this would be inappropriate - you aren't the child's parent and really it is the adults who are making this the problem that it has ended up being. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 02, 2013, 01:27:46 PM
Agreed.  I will not be asking the 5 year old to give up that hat, as far as everyone is concerned it is her hat now.  I will not be denying her gifts either, I think that's mean and it would serve no point.  I was just wondering on whether or not my IL's were rude to basically regift something from one to another  like that.  It's a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease and the oldest is definitely squeaky.

I have a lot to think on as now that I've gotten off my chest I can see that there will not be a normal gift giving thing happening.  The dynamics are different than what I am used to.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: CakeEater on October 02, 2013, 05:17:31 PM
My first thought was that wearing the damaged hat was a punishment. I was going to say that you can be miffed if you like, but it's really not up to you to police anyone else's parenting decisions. You know what - I've let my 4 year old play with gifts given to my 2 year old. There were various good reasons. If the gifter had come and complained about the way I managed the belongings of my children, they'd be welcome not to give gifts any more. And if they berated my 4 year old every time they saw her using the object, they wouldn't be seeing us any more.

And even with your update giving the reasons why the 5 year old was given the hat, it's still not the giver's job to police how the gift is used once it's in the other family's possession. It does sound like a really sad situation, but criticising other people's parenting isn't OK.

I can't think of any gifts that a 3 year old would love that a 5 year old wouldn't be able to take. This would probably grate on every nerve after the hat incident. but could you get each a smaller gift on their birthday, and give the other the exact same thing. So both girls get identical gifts on each others' birthdays to the birthday girl.

It doesn't teach the 5 year-old to respect her sister's belongings, but that's not your job anyway. It would mean that the 3 year old might be able to use her gift, though.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: TootsNYC on October 02, 2013, 05:21:20 PM
I would agree with the idea of buying the girls clothes that will fit NOW. And if the grandparents say anything, you can reply, mildly, "I was so disappointed when the hat I'd specifically give to Youngest ended up being worn by Oldest instead. So I've decided that it's simply more fun for me to give her something that I know she'll be able to wear now, without waiting for it to become a hand-me-down."
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: gemma156 on October 02, 2013, 06:04:45 PM
Perhaps you could give your younger niece an experience instead.  A day trip doing something just the two of you together.  That way her sister couldn't destroy or takeover the gift.  Then when its the older niece's birthday do the same thing a day trip together, just the two of you.  That way each experience is different, and it helps with their personnel growth development and self worth.

It would also promote healthy relationships for them and a deeper connection with you.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: sevenday on October 02, 2013, 06:23:19 PM
OP has already said experience type gifts aren't an option right now (a few posts back).  I realize you say you want to give something they can use now - Unfortunately just about ANYTHING can and probably will be co-opted, unless it is either specifically too small for older child to wear now.  With that in mind I wonder if you could just visit a thrift shop near you and check to see if they have anything in the size the younger child is wearing now.  That way you wouldn't be spending a lot on something that she might only wear for a few months, especially if it is cold weather gear; also, as a thrift item, you wouldn't be as concerned if they were stained/ripped in play and such.  Heck, most of my gifts to my nephews at that age (up to about age 6) were thrift store finds for those reasons.   Either that, or something that is extremely specific, something you know Younger likes but Older does not.  Even things like toys or art supplies would be shared too, as they often are at that age, especially if the parents don't enforce a division of possessions.  Perhaps books might be an option - even if older likes them, they could still be enjoyed by the younger if they are in the household and not stashed under older's bed or something.  In my experience books don't tend to be an item that is kept away from one another. 

 Even embroidering a name on something might not work to save an item from older's greed.  At that age, kids don't know that taking is bad unless their parent tells them... and the grandparents in this case haven't told her this.  She will likely learn this anyway in school, so the GPs aren't doing EITHER of them any favors. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: weeblewobble on October 02, 2013, 06:26:40 PM
I know this is outside of the OP's scope of what she can/should try to control, but eventually this appeasement tactic with the oldest is going to blow up in the inlaws faces.  They are letting the oldest steamroll the 3yo because she is too young to understand how she is being treated.  But eventually, she will and she will object. Loudly.  And the oldest will be so entrenched in getting her own way that they will have to handle her tantrums on top of trying to figure out how to handle the youngest's suddenly wanting to change the dynamic.  They need to change now before the problem becomes too big to handle.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: sammycat on October 02, 2013, 06:32:20 PM
I know this is outside of the OP's scope of what she can/should try to control, but eventually this appeasement tactic with the oldest is going to blow up in the inlaws faces.  They are letting the oldest steamroll the 3yo because she is too young to understand how she is being treated.  But eventually, she will and she will object. Loudly.  And the oldest will be so entrenched in getting her own way that they will have to handle her tantrums on top of trying to figure out how to handle the youngest's suddenly wanting to change the dynamic.  They need to change now before the problem becomes too big to handle.

So very, very true. I know a family in a similar situation but the kids are now teens. Lets just say that letting the older one get away with murder "because of what happened when he was young" has really come back to bite the adults in charge on the backside.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: BarensMom on October 02, 2013, 07:06:49 PM
I'm picturing more of a "Mrs. (Inlaw), we need you to come to school to discuss your (oldest) granddaughter stealing from the other children on the playground" scenario.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 02, 2013, 10:22:41 PM
Agreed.  I will not be asking the 5 year old to give up that hat, as far as everyone is concerned it is her hat now.  I will not be denying her gifts either, I think that's mean and it would serve no point.  I was just wondering on whether or not my IL's were rude to basically regift something from one to another  like that.  It's a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease and the oldest is definitely squeaky.

I have a lot to think on as now that I've gotten off my chest I can see that there will not be a normal gift giving thing happening.  The dynamics are different than what I am used to.

My personal view is that unless there's a good reason for it (eg financial necessity) the parents (or guardians in this case) are rude to take a designated gift away from one child, and give it to the other.

I guess the real question is - is "appeasing a child" a good reason? While I get that the grandparents might be old, tired, and struggling a bit with the situation, I still don't think it's a good reason.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Venus193 on October 03, 2013, 05:33:19 AM
I agree.  No matter what the reason the grandparents are raising these children they are setting themselves up for more grief down the road.

What I'd like to know is why experience gifts are not an option.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Zilla on October 03, 2013, 06:58:32 AM


What I'd like to know is why experience gifts are not an option.

[size=78%]  It might be finances or distance or whatever.  Does it make a difference to know? OP says it isn't an option.  If it was, OP appears to want to if they could and will when it is a doable option.[/size]

Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Harriet Jones on October 03, 2013, 07:10:44 AM
What about a *family* experience gift?  Instead of individual birthday gifts, a set of tickets (or season pass) to a zoo (or children's museum or whatever), so that everyone can go.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Venus193 on October 03, 2013, 07:38:53 AM
What I was looking to find out is whether the grandparents are deliberately setting up roadblocks to accommodate the pweshus older daughter.

And I agree with those who said that 5 is not too young to understand that other people have birthdays, too.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: TootsNYC on October 03, 2013, 09:11:03 AM
Agreed.  I will not be asking the 5 year old to give up that hat, as far as everyone is concerned it is her hat now.  I will not be denying her gifts either, I think that's mean and it would serve no point.  I was just wondering on whether or not my IL's were rude to basically regift something from one to another  like that.  It's a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease and the oldest is definitely squeaky.

I have a lot to think on as now that I've gotten off my chest I can see that there will not be a normal gift giving thing happening.  The dynamics are different than what I am used to.

My personal view is that unless there's a good reason for it (eg financial necessity) the parents (or guardians in this case) are rude to take a designated gift away from one child, and give it to the other.

I guess the real question is - is "appeasing a child" a good reason? While I get that the grandparents might be old, tired, and struggling a bit with the situation, I still don't think it's a good reason.

And I think that specifically, it is rude to the gift giver.

(pretty darned rude to the youngest kid as well)
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: rose red on October 03, 2013, 09:15:59 AM
What about a *family* experience gift?  Instead of individual birthday gifts, a set of tickets (or season pass) to a zoo (or children's museum or whatever), so that everyone can go.

Am I the only one who think they will go on the older girl's birthday and the little one get shafted again?  Even with season tickets.  Maybe not on purpose, but excuses like timing or being tired of the zoo or something like that.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 09:21:30 AM
Maybe I missed it, but I did not get the sense there is some diabolical scheme to favor the five year old over the three year old.  I get the sense the inlaws are doing the best they can in a rough situation.  The five year old happens to be older.  I think rather than painting the five year old as an awful child or the inlaws as somehow shafting the three year old it would be better to focus on being supportive to the entire family.  I am still not convinced that the situation was handled atrociously by the inlaws - we don't know their entire interactions with the girls - but regardless, I don't get the sense they are intentionally shafting the three year old.  I don't think it does any good to make assumptions along those lines.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: weeblewobble on October 03, 2013, 09:46:54 AM
I don't think it's an evil plan to deny the 3yo gifts, but I do think they are being short-sighted and taking the road of least resistance.  Which I understand, they are trying to cope in a really hard situation.  The problem is they are using the easiest solution, which is going to cause them serious problems in the long run if things don't change. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: rose red on October 03, 2013, 10:38:34 AM
No, I don't think anybody is being evil.  But it's very (very) easy to forget the easier child.  I just don't think a family gift is the way to go.  Better to give the 3 year old an individual gift that's the right size for her.  Believe me, she will remember the few things she got that's not given to her sister first, and who she can confide in when she's older.  You can love and understand your family and the things they do, but still get hurt from their actions.  I'm talking from experience.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: artk2002 on October 03, 2013, 12:08:07 PM
Maybe I missed it, but I did not get the sense there is some diabolical scheme to favor the five year old over the three year old.  I get the sense the inlaws are doing the best they can in a rough situation.  The five year old happens to be older.  I think rather than painting the five year old as an awful child or the inlaws as somehow shafting the three year old it would be better to focus on being supportive to the entire family.  I am still not convinced that the situation was handled atrociously by the inlaws - we don't know their entire interactions with the girls - but regardless, I don't get the sense they are intentionally shafting the three year old.  I don't think it does any good to make assumptions along those lines.

Intent doesn't matter, especially when you're talking about young children. Only results. The apparent result is that the younger child was deprived of a gift in favor of the older child.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 03, 2013, 12:26:13 PM
I don't think it's an evil plan to deny the 3yo gifts, but I do think they are being short-sighted and taking the road of least resistance.  Which I understand, they are trying to cope in a really hard situation.  The problem is they are using the easiest solution, which is going to cause them serious problems in the long run if things don't change.

OP here... This is it right here.  The whole situation is exhausting and very sticky.  It youngest is very reserved and biddable , the oldest is very, very loud and used to getting her way.  The IL's are tired and overwhelmed.  I still don't think it makes it okay to regift a gift like that though.

An experience gift is not an option right now due to non settled custody issues.   Hopefully in the future we can do that though, I love the suggestion a lot!
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: shhh its me on October 03, 2013, 12:32:23 PM
I don't think it's an evil plan to deny the 3yo gifts, but I do think they are being short-sighted and taking the road of least resistance.  Which I understand, they are trying to cope in a really hard situation.  The problem is they are using the easiest solution, which is going to cause them serious problems in the long run if things don't change.

OP here... This is it right here.  The whole situation is exhausting and very sticky.  It youngest is very reserved and biddable , the oldest is very, very loud and used to getting her way.  The IL's are tired and overwhelmed.  I still don't think it makes it okay to regift a gift like that though.

An experience gift is not an option right now due to non settled custody issues.   Hopefully in the future we can do that though, I love the suggestion a lot!

if the grandparents are there can you go with them?  What I'm thinking is going to one of those kid restaurants where the Bday child gets sung too and a cake with sparklers type thing.  IT doesn't just have to be you and only bday child but I think even ice-cream and the bday child gets the the birthday special? or that may be the worse idea ever if older child has a melt down at not getting the special.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: turnip on October 03, 2013, 12:36:32 PM
I don't think it's an evil plan to deny the 3yo gifts, but I do think they are being short-sighted and taking the road of least resistance.  Which I understand, they are trying to cope in a really hard situation.  The problem is they are using the easiest solution, which is going to cause them serious problems in the long run if things don't change.

OP here... This is it right here.  The whole situation is exhausting and very sticky.  It youngest is very reserved and biddable , the oldest is very, very loud and used to getting her way.  The IL's are tired and overwhelmed.  I still don't think it makes it okay to regift a gift like that though.

An experience gift is not an option right now due to non settled custody issues.   Hopefully in the future we can do that though, I love the suggestion a lot!

I can understand your frustration at your gift being re-gifted - but I will just say that it's hard to judge parents based on a single decision.  I would hate to justify everything I do with _my_ kids to this entire board.  You may be right that the older one is being coddled at the expense of the younger one, but there may also be issues going on that you don't have insight on.

Books make wonderful gifts.  Also at 3 she may not be two young for games which are meant to be shared.  If you really want to get something 'personal' then perhaps you could find something with her name on it?
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: weeblewobble on October 03, 2013, 01:02:35 PM
I don't think it's an evil plan to deny the 3yo gifts, but I do think they are being short-sighted and taking the road of least resistance.  Which I understand, they are trying to cope in a really hard situation.  The problem is they are using the easiest solution, which is going to cause them serious problems in the long run if things don't change.

OP here... This is it right here.  The whole situation is exhausting and very sticky.  It youngest is very reserved and biddable , the oldest is very, very loud and used to getting her way.  The IL's are tired and overwhelmed.  I still don't think it makes it okay to regift a gift like that though.

An experience gift is not an option right now due to non settled custody issues.   Hopefully in the future we can do that though, I love the suggestion a lot!

I can understand your frustration at your gift being re-gifted - but I will just say that it's hard to judge parents based on a single decision.  I would hate to justify everything I do with _my_ kids to this entire board.  You may be right that the older one is being coddled at the expense of the younger one, but there may also be issues going on that you don't have insight on.

Books make wonderful gifts.  Also at 3 she may not be two young for games which are meant to be shared.  If you really want to get something 'personal' then perhaps you could find something with her name on it?

I agree with your point, but feel the need to offend OP's stance.  She noted earlier that this is a trend.  The OP gave the girls pajamas, slightly larger than what they needed, and the oldest got to wear both pairs while the youngest did not get hers until the oldest had outgrown them and was "done" with them.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: turnip on October 03, 2013, 01:25:08 PM
I don't think it's an evil plan to deny the 3yo gifts, but I do think they are being short-sighted and taking the road of least resistance.  Which I understand, they are trying to cope in a really hard situation.  The problem is they are using the easiest solution, which is going to cause them serious problems in the long run if things don't change.

OP here... This is it right here.  The whole situation is exhausting and very sticky.  It youngest is very reserved and biddable , the oldest is very, very loud and used to getting her way.  The IL's are tired and overwhelmed.  I still don't think it makes it okay to regift a gift like that though.

An experience gift is not an option right now due to non settled custody issues.   Hopefully in the future we can do that though, I love the suggestion a lot!

I can understand your frustration at your gift being re-gifted - but I will just say that it's hard to judge parents based on a single decision.  I would hate to justify everything I do with _my_ kids to this entire board.  You may be right that the older one is being coddled at the expense of the younger one, but there may also be issues going on that you don't have insight on.

Books make wonderful gifts.  Also at 3 she may not be two young for games which are meant to be shared.  If you really want to get something 'personal' then perhaps you could find something with her name on it?

I agree with your point, but feel the need to offend OP's stance.  She noted earlier that this is a trend.  The OP gave the girls pajamas, slightly larger than what they needed, and the oldest got to wear both pairs while the youngest did not get hers until the oldest had outgrown them and was "done" with them.

You are right - I forgot and I'm really not criticizing the OP.    I'm just trying to give a different perspective.  In my case I have one kid who is very disabled and another who is not.  I sometimes make decisions that to an outsider might seem to be favoring one child over another ( in either direction ) but I'm really trying to make the right choice for both of them.

I'm occasionally wrong - of course!  It is rarely easy.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: CakeEater on October 03, 2013, 06:17:35 PM
Agreed.  I will not be asking the 5 year old to give up that hat, as far as everyone is concerned it is her hat now.  I will not be denying her gifts either, I think that's mean and it would serve no point.  I was just wondering on whether or not my IL's were rude to basically regift something from one to another  like that.  It's a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease and the oldest is definitely squeaky.

I have a lot to think on as now that I've gotten off my chest I can see that there will not be a normal gift giving thing happening.  The dynamics are different than what I am used to.

My personal view is that unless there's a good reason for it (eg financial necessity) the parents (or guardians in this case) are rude to take a designated gift away from one child, and give it to the other.

I guess the real question is - is "appeasing a child" a good reason? While I get that the grandparents might be old, tired, and struggling a bit with the situation, I still don't think it's a good reason.

And I think that specifically, it is rude to the gift giver.

(pretty darned rude to the youngest kid as well)

What if it's an awesome toy given to child A that they can't use for whatever reason, or aren't interested in. You're saying it's rude to the gifter to let child B who loves the awesome toy use it? And that the gifter should be able to have any say about how that object is used in our house?

This sounds like a new situation if there's still custody issues to sort out. It may be that GPs are coping as best they can at the moment, and gathering energy needed to sort out 5 year old later.

Or maybe not. Maybe they're just lazy and it will all blow up in their faces later. It's still not OK for a gift giver to judge the parenting decisions made in a family. What's best for a whole family doesn't always look fair from the outside.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 03, 2013, 07:26:07 PM
Agreed.  I will not be asking the 5 year old to give up that hat, as far as everyone is concerned it is her hat now.  I will not be denying her gifts either, I think that's mean and it would serve no point.  I was just wondering on whether or not my IL's were rude to basically regift something from one to another  like that.  It's a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease and the oldest is definitely squeaky.

I have a lot to think on as now that I've gotten off my chest I can see that there will not be a normal gift giving thing happening.  The dynamics are different than what I am used to.

My personal view is that unless there's a good reason for it (eg financial necessity) the parents (or guardians in this case) are rude to take a designated gift away from one child, and give it to the other.

I guess the real question is - is "appeasing a child" a good reason? While I get that the grandparents might be old, tired, and struggling a bit with the situation, I still don't think it's a good reason.

And I think that specifically, it is rude to the gift giver.

(pretty darned rude to the youngest kid as well)

What if it's an awesome toy given to child A that they can't use for whatever reason, or aren't interested in. You're saying it's rude to the gifter to let child B who loves the awesome toy use it? And that the gifter should be able to have any say about how that object is used in our house?

This sounds like a new situation if there's still custody issues to sort out. It may be that GPs are coping as best they can at the moment, and gathering energy needed to sort out 5 year old later.

Or maybe not. Maybe they're just lazy and it will all blow up in their faces later. It's still not OK for a gift giver to judge the parenting decisions made in a family. What's best for a whole family doesn't always look fair from the outside.

Right, but when the giftee never seems to even have a chance to use her gift first? 

I am very close to the whole situation and they are very upfront about the trend of the oldest getting an opportunity to use *all* gifts first.  I don't think, because she hasn't fussed about it, that they even realize it might be hurtful to the younger girl.  They all just seem to accept that this is the way it works.  I find it a bit mind boggling.

I would never say anything to them about it, or even indicate I felt less than cheerful
about their decision,  but the pattern has definitely made me rethink my gift giving.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: esposita on October 03, 2013, 07:36:56 PM
What if it's an awesome toy given to child A that they can't use for whatever reason, or aren't interested in. You're saying it's rude to the gifter to let child B who loves the awesome toy use it? And that the gifter should be able to have any say about how that object is used in our house?

This sounds like a new situation if there's still custody issues to sort out. It may be that GPs are coping as best they can at the moment, and gathering energy needed to sort out 5 year old later.

Or maybe not. Maybe they're just lazy and it will all blow up in their faces later. It's still not OK for a gift giver to judge the parenting decisions made in a family. What's best for a whole family doesn't always look fair from the outside.

This (the quoted) is how I feel too. Don't lose sight of the fact that these people are taking on a huge, challenging responsibility that should not be theirs. They have opened their home to these girls. Having to deal with this problem growing up is probably teeny compared to whatever else these babies might have faced if they had been allowed to remain in their other situation.

For all we know, this propensity, or character trait, in Big Sister might have done a lot to protect Little Sister in their other home. Since she doesn't need to stand up for her baby sister anymore, its manifesting in this way. There is such a thin line between virtues and vices sometimes, and I hope that the Grandparents will recognize this my-way, bossy attitude and cultivate a strong woman who isn't pushed around.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: CakeEater on October 03, 2013, 08:36:44 PM
Agreed.  I will not be asking the 5 year old to give up that hat, as far as everyone is concerned it is her hat now.  I will not be denying her gifts either, I think that's mean and it would serve no point.  I was just wondering on whether or not my IL's were rude to basically regift something from one to another  like that.  It's a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease and the oldest is definitely squeaky.

I have a lot to think on as now that I've gotten off my chest I can see that there will not be a normal gift giving thing happening.  The dynamics are different than what I am used to.

My personal view is that unless there's a good reason for it (eg financial necessity) the parents (or guardians in this case) are rude to take a designated gift away from one child, and give it to the other.

I guess the real question is - is "appeasing a child" a good reason? While I get that the grandparents might be old, tired, and struggling a bit with the situation, I still don't think it's a good reason.

And I think that specifically, it is rude to the gift giver.

(pretty darned rude to the youngest kid as well)

What if it's an awesome toy given to child A that they can't use for whatever reason, or aren't interested in. You're saying it's rude to the gifter to let child B who loves the awesome toy use it? And that the gifter should be able to have any say about how that object is used in our house?

This sounds like a new situation if there's still custody issues to sort out. It may be that GPs are coping as best they can at the moment, and gathering energy needed to sort out 5 year old later.

Or maybe not. Maybe they're just lazy and it will all blow up in their faces later. It's still not OK for a gift giver to judge the parenting decisions made in a family. What's best for a whole family doesn't always look fair from the outside.

Right, but when the giftee never seems to even have a chance to use her gift first? 

I am very close to the whole situation and they are very upfront about the trend of the oldest getting an opportunity to use *all* gifts first.  I don't think, because she hasn't fussed about it, that they even realize it might be hurtful to the younger girl.  They all just seem to accept that this is the way it works.  I find it a bit mind boggling.

I would never say anything to them about it, or even indicate I felt less than cheerful
about their decision,  but the pattern has definitely made me rethink my gift giving.

I'm not saying that this situation isn't sad or difficult, or that GPs did a wonderful thing. Obviously you know the situation best and see how things are working, and it's obviously difficult for you to see. I'm sorry your family is going through it.

But you really can't dictate how things in someone else's house are used, even gifts that you gave.

I think your plan of rethinking gift giving is probably the best way to go.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: AnnaJ on October 03, 2013, 09:21:07 PM
I think it's reasonable for you to be miffed, and if it were me I'd also be wondering what to do in the future. 

If I gave a gift to an adult who chose to give it away I might very well choose not to gift them again, but in this case the child didn't choose to give away her gift, it was taken away and given to another child.  I admit I'd lean toward giving each of the kids a gift - if you continue to give clothing - that can be worn by that child at that time, no more 'grow into' things. 

I understand why the grandparents are concerned about providing clothing and that it seems more practical to have clothes that both girls can (eventually) wear, but the younger one needs a few special things that are hers when they are new.  Maybe, if finances allow, for a birthday or Christmas you could get each of the girls one item just for them (fits, good color, etc.) and a few pieces from a thrift store or yard sale that will be shared clothes.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: johelenc1 on October 03, 2013, 09:35:07 PM
I would be disapproving of the parents' reaction to the child's temper tantrum, but I wouldn't really care who was wearing the hat.  Does it really matter?  I'm sure the older child looks cute in the hat as well.  Also, if the 5 year is wearing it, maybe it's too big for the 3 year old.  At least someone is using your gift.

I think you are over-reacting - or reacting to the parents' bad choice and it's not actually about who's wearing the hat.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Venus193 on October 03, 2013, 09:43:46 PM
I would be concerned that the younger child would feel that she and her feelings don't count.  Lots of kids in these types of situations withhold their feelings to avoid annoying parents or making things worse for themselves.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 03, 2013, 09:45:44 PM
What if it wasn't children but adults?

Say I found a lovely unique necklace I just my friend #1 would love.  I give it to her at her party in front of friends.  Then the next time we all got together I saw that friend #2 was wearing it.  Upon seeing my puzzled look, friend #2 pipes up with "I saw the necklace and just loved it, so I took it.  Friend #1 can have it when I get tired of it!"

That would be horrendously rude, right?
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Sophia on October 03, 2013, 09:49:32 PM
I would be concerned that the younger child would feel that she and her feelings don't count.  Lots of kids in these types of situations withhold their feelings to avoid annoying parents or making things worse for themselves.

I agree totally.  I also won't want to be an accessory to that. 
Would their guardians be OK with quality used clothes as gifts?  Maybe for Christmas get them clothes in their current sizes, but get several things. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 03, 2013, 10:24:14 PM
I like the idea of getting Younger Sister a book, and writing her name in the front.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: GrammarNerd on October 03, 2013, 11:02:16 PM
Can you get them both identical things, like the exact same outfit (for occasions like Christmas, of course, where you might get both girs gifts), so that there would be no point in the older sister appropriating the younger sister's gift?

I remember when I was a new mommy, I had a crib set up for my DS, who was a newborn.  He didn't sleep in it yet; he slept in a cradle by our bed so he was close by so I could nurse him.  But he had this room that I'd spent time decorating, etc.  My first baby....a lot of thought and work went into it, KWIM?  DH's sister and BIL visited, overnight, to see him, with their DD who was about 9-10 months old.  I was adamant that their baby not use our DS' crib, even though  DS didn't use it yet.  I couldn't explain it to my DH (at least in a way that he understood).  He didn't care.  But to me, it was a big deal that my DS would be the first one to sleep in HIS OWN crib.  (Plus, SIL was kind of the golden child, as was her DD, who was the first grandchild.  They could do no wrong.  So I was probably just projecting my worries about the future and if DS would get shuffled aside all the time b/c his cousin was first and was the golden child, so I was trying to start from the outset and not let her take over his bed that he'd never used.)

Of course, now it sounds silly, although I'm sure there are some people who could relate to how I felt at the time.  Both kids are in high school now.  But it was a big deal to me then.  And I think that despite the family situation, the OP should find some way that younger niece's gifts can't be given to older niece.  And despite the family situation, I think it would be a kindness to the older niece in the long run to not let her get away with this, whether it be making a point about the hat, or some other method.

OP, would it be possible to gift the three year old with something at the 5 year old's next birthday?  So as to not disrupt the birthday celebration, could you preemptively tell the 5 year old that her little sister will be getting a gift too, and that's only fair since the older sister not only took the younger sister's hat, but damaged it too?  And your gift to younger sis is to make up for that, and she is not to touch it or else?  I know she's only 5, but let her stew on it for a while.  Actions have consequences. She needs to realize that, even at 5.  If she wants to be the only one getting gifts on her birthday, then she has to act appropriately with other people's gifts at their birthdays.   I still remember a defining moment from my childhood when my father punished me for something.  Looking back on it now, I was totally being a brat and I deserved it.  And let me tell you, that punishment made an impression on me, so much so that I still remember it. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Idlewildstudios on October 03, 2013, 11:16:25 PM
The younger girl has her birthday within the next month.  I will quietly gift her with another hat and she will be getting a handmade character bath towel as well.  My IL's have been making noises that they have too much stuff ( in general) so I'm trying to give a practical useful gift.  I like to give books but books are on the "too much of" list right now.

Thrift store finds are okay too, so I'm always on the lookout for things I've been told are absolute *needs*.

The older girl got her own towel for her birthday already, so it will be pretty clear that this one is for younger girl.  One bath time, two kids, two towels.  :). And as for the hat, I also know that younger girl needs one that has ties under the chin this year, so I should be good there too.

Thank you for all the insight!
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Owly on October 03, 2013, 11:26:10 PM
I think I'd explain to the girls' guardians that I'd really like to get 3-Year-Old a present that's just for her, and ask them for ideas on how you can make that happen. I think this could go over fairly well if you try to make them your allies - if it sounds like you know the older girl is a handful and they're doing their best, they'll be less likely to feel criticized and get defensive. You're not insulting their parenting, just working together to solve a problem, you know?
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: CakeEater on October 03, 2013, 11:54:15 PM
What if it wasn't children but adults?

Say I found a lovely unique necklace I just my friend #1 would love.  I give it to her at her party in front of friends.  Then the next time we all got together I saw that friend #2 was wearing it.  Upon seeing my puzzled look, friend #2 pipes up with "I saw the necklace and just loved it, so I took it.  Friend #1 can have it when I get tired of it!"

That would be horrendously rude, right?

Sure, but towards Friend 1, not towards you, the gifter.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: o_gal on October 04, 2013, 08:39:17 AM
The younger girl has her birthday within the next month.  I will quietly gift her with another hat and she will be getting a handmade character bath towel as well.  My IL's have been making noises that they have too much stuff ( in general) so I'm trying to give a practical useful gift.  I like to give books but books are on the "too much of" list right now.

Thrift store finds are okay too, so I'm always on the lookout for things I've been told are absolute *needs*.

The older girl got her own towel for her birthday already, so it will be pretty clear that this one is for younger girl.  One bath time, two kids, two towels.  :). And as for the hat, I also know that younger girl needs one that has ties under the chin this year, so I should be good there too.

Thank you for all the insight!

I think this is a great strategy because it may have an additional benefit. If the parents are the type that will let the older one take over the younger ones things, then the older one could end up taking over the next hat and the bath towel. You'll know if you again see older one wearing the hat, or the younger one talking about how older one uses that bath towel. It will then be obvious what the dynamic is in the family - whether this first incident is an anomaly or the norm.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: rain on October 04, 2013, 11:22:34 AM
I don't remember if I posted this before


My OS acted like the 5 yr old ... unless its stopped, it will continue day by day (what's one more day right - they add up) - next thing you know the kids are in high school & its still happening ... even after high school ... it never ends ... even after the death of a parent as the definition of "fair" in the family is skewed


(((hugs))) to OP and family

Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: BarensMom on October 04, 2013, 01:09:22 PM
Before the younger girl's birthday, I would talk to the grandparents.  Something like, "(Inlaws), I see there's a problem with older girl appropriating younger girl's stuff.  I would appreciate if you let younger girl keep any and all presents from me.  Older girl will get her own items on her birthday.  If I see older girl with something I purchased for younger girl again, I'm going to stop buying presents for either child."  Then stick to it. 

If inlaws don't like what you're saying, too bad.  Just because they don't have the wherewithal to stand up to this brat, doesn't mean you have to participate in marginalizing the younger girl.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Free Range Hippy Chick on October 04, 2013, 02:18:17 PM
I agree with Baren'sMom, although I might start it a little more gently. 'I'm thinking about YoungerChild's birthday gift; I really want to get her something that's just for her, not for her and OlderChild. Have you any ideas? You remember, last year I bought the hat, and that didn't end well. I really want to be AwesomeRelative who gives great presents, not RottenRelative who gives things to OlderChild so that YoungerChild only ever gets hand-me-downs.' Extra points if you can bring in something like 'you remember how OlderBrother always got the new bike because he was the biggest, and MiddleSister and I always had to make do with his outgrown one? I really used to resent that. I still do, actually.' If there's no family story you can use, pinch one from a friend: 'I was talking to Carol - I don't think you know her - and she was telling me how even now that she's in her 30s, she remembers that her sister used to take her clothes/toys/whatever, and she never got anything new. She was telling me that her sister used to just appropriate whatever she was given, and how much she hated it.'

The GPs may not actually have seen it that way, particularly not if they're winging the childcare thing. If they're managing day to day, they may not be thinking about the long term effects of what they're doing.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Sophia on October 04, 2013, 02:25:47 PM
...and throw in what an entitled snot Carol's older sister turnout out to be. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: LeeLieLow on October 04, 2013, 04:02:59 PM
These children and the custodial grandparents sound like they are have lots of problems that are not related to etiquette.  I understand why OP is miffed about the gift. 

I don't think OP can solve the children's or GP's problems, but maybe OP will feel better her/himself if the gift problem is solved.  Next gift giving situation, give both children the exact same thing.  Hopefully, older child will not take/be given the duplicate gift.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Hillia on October 04, 2013, 04:05:13 PM
When DS was about 10, I had shared custody with his father.  He alternated weeks between the two homes.  My  mom bought DS a small TV for his room at his dads.  Stepmother took the TV and put it in her 12 year old daughter's room, because 'she needed it more'.  I took the TV back, to howls of outrage.  But no - my  mom did not intend to buy a totally random child a gift, it was meant for DS.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: barefoot_girl on October 05, 2013, 02:39:02 AM
For all we know, this propensity, or character trait, in Big Sister might have done a lot to protect Little Sister in their other home. Since she doesn't need to stand up for her baby sister anymore, its manifesting in this way. There is such a thin line between virtues and vices sometimes, and I hope that the Grandparents will recognize this my-way, bossy attitude and cultivate a strong woman who isn't pushed around.

i think this is a very good point. It sounds to me as if these children have bigger problems in their little lives than hats, and hopefully they and their grandparents are getting support and help.

I do like the idea of buying each child their own towel. its something really useful, and easily personalised.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 6
Post by: Idlewildstudios on November 04, 2013, 05:44:13 PM
OP here-

Just in case anyone was curious...Younger niece had her birthday party this past weekend.  I made her a towel, which was a big hit as she now has one like her big sister.  Got her a cute and distinctive new winter hat that matched the towel.  Nobody said anything so hopefully she gets to wear it.

It was sad that she wasn't able to open any of the gifts by herself.  Her older sister crowded in and tire off the wrapping of every present first.  Older sister was quick to pull the gifts out of the boxes and try to lay verbal claim to whatever caught her fancy.  I spoke up three times, asking her to stop and let the birthday girl do the opening ( the birthday girl chose to open presents next to me) but neither the grandparents or the mother ( who was there ) said a peep.  If I had pushed the issue things would have gotten unpleasant so I just shut up. 

The birthday girl did notice me defending her and started getting upset when get sister kept barging in, trying to pull her gifts out of the way, but like I said, none of the adults who should have spoken up did anything.

At least she knows that the towel and hat are *hers* , so hopefully she gets to keep them.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Thipu1 on November 04, 2013, 05:54:24 PM
I know that, as an aunt, you don't have much of anything to say. Still, at 5 or 6, older niece should be old enough to understand the difference between 'mine' and 'what I'd like to be mine'.  Until she understands, I'd make sure that younger niece gets gifts that are distinctly hers. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: TootsNYC on November 04, 2013, 05:59:30 PM
poor girlie!

Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Amara on November 04, 2013, 06:09:28 PM
Could you take just the birthday girl out for a special lunch with her aunt, OP, when it comes around next year and give her your gift then?
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Nemesis on November 04, 2013, 07:05:10 PM
My child is three, and she did not steal her sister's presents when we had the baby's one month celebration. Five years old is MORE than old enou to understand that she is stealing her sister's presents. And three years old is old enough to feel very hurt abd disrespected.

My three years old girl is always generous with her toys and food. But if you take it without asking her and refuse to give it back, she WILL get upset, hurt and angry. They are creating a very unhealthy environment for the three year old, which she may grow up to be abnormally possessive in future.

Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 04, 2013, 07:21:03 PM
If at that age the older girl doesn't understand about things that are not hers, then it's just going to get worse.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 6
Post by: FauxFoodist on November 04, 2013, 07:33:35 PM
OP here-

Just in case anyone was curious...Younger niece had her birthday party this past weekend.  I made her a towel, which was a big hit as she now has one like her big sister.  Got her a cute and distinctive new winter hat that matched the towel.  Nobody said anything so hopefully she gets to wear it.

It was sad that she wasn't able to open any of the gifts by herself.  Her older sister crowded in and tire off the wrapping of every present first.  Older sister was quick to pull the gifts out of the boxes and try to lay verbal claim to whatever caught her fancy.  I spoke up three times, asking her to stop and let the birthday girl do the opening ( the birthday girl chose to open presents next to me) but neither the grandparents or the mother ( who was there ) said a peep.  If I had pushed the issue things would have gotten unpleasant so I just shut up. 

The birthday girl did notice me defending her and started getting upset when get sister kept barging in, trying to pull her gifts out of the way, but like I said, none of the adults who should have spoken up did anything.

At least she knows that the towel and hat are *hers* , so hopefully she gets to keep them.

Maybe this is why she hadn't been saying anything -- because none of the adults would watch out for her.  I feel for that poor child since I went through something similar as a child.

In my case, it wasn't my older sister who got everything she wanted by screaming for it; it was my younger sister.  My younger sister grew up to be an entitled brat prone to temper tantrums if she didn't get her own way.  I was the one who learned to not complain because no one cared or paid attention to me.  Fortunately, YS did finally grow out of the temper tantrums now that we are all headed towards/in middle age.  However, the entitlement *does* still exist, but I think she might be getting better.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Venus193 on November 04, 2013, 07:52:52 PM
Well... what can I say other than Karma Is a [Rhymes with Witch] and she has PMS.  The parents will get payback in spades over this and I wouldn't feel sorry for them.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: chibichan on November 05, 2013, 06:07:35 AM
I agree with Amara -I think it's time to change tactics . Instead of a gift that you know will be commandeered by big sister , why don't you take the birthday girl out for a special treat ?

 Maybe go for an ice cream , a manicure , a trip to a local museum or the library for some story time ?

You can do the same for big sister on her birthday. It gets you some great bonding time and gives the birthday girl something just for her .

I also feel for the little girl and it may provide a chance to tell Mom exactly that -
" I want to give her something no one can take away . She deserves to feel special on her birthday . "

Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Sophia on November 05, 2013, 07:27:01 AM
My heart broke a little when I read in the update that the little girl is so used to being not considered that she doesn't speak up for herself. 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: YummyMummy66 on November 05, 2013, 08:24:31 AM
In my mind this is what I think you should do, but in reality, probably not.

Next time Sis has a birthday, if I were you, I would be all over her every time she opened a present.  Take it and start opening it.  Oooh and aaah over it.  Try it on, or try it out.  When sis complains and raises a ruckus, because she will, "Innocently look at her and say, "Oh, I'm sorry.  I thought this was your norm.  You see, every time younger daughter has her birthday, you let older daughter do what I just did."

Hopefully, the light bulb would go off in sister's head. 

But, alas, probably not.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Sophia on November 05, 2013, 08:47:22 AM
Unfortunately, it is the niece's guardians that need the lightbulb.   
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Twik on November 05, 2013, 09:17:38 AM
I think you can say things to relatives that you can't say to strangers. This includes "I am very upset that ON is allowed to dominate YN, particularly when it involves presents that I intend to belong to YN. Please explain why you allow this situation to exist."
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Venus193 on November 05, 2013, 09:34:52 AM
I think you can say things to relatives that you can't say to strangers. This includes "I am very upset that ON is allowed to dominate YN, particularly when it involves presents that I intend to belong to YN. Please explain why you allow this situation to exist."

I agree with this.  It's time the grandparents were put on the spot.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: SamiHami on November 05, 2013, 09:52:49 AM
As an aunt, I wouldn't be afraid to say,

"ON, I'm giving this gift to YN. No, you cannot open it, stop right now. Go sit down and let YN open her present from me."

"ON, no, that' isn't for you. It's YN's birthday so she gets the presents. Please go sit down and let her open her gifts herself."

"Yes, ON, I understand that you want it, but I'm sorry, it's not yours. It's your sister's birthday and I am giving this to her. Please go sit down now."
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift
Post by: Luci on November 05, 2013, 09:59:59 AM
For the younger niece's birthday, why not combine both a gift and experience?  Take her shopping and allow her to choose her gift.  That way if it's clothing, you can be 100% sure it will fit her.

And then have her wearing it when she gets back home! If you can't take her shopping, help her to try on the new outfit right after the gift opening.

We did a lot of, "Older Sibling, come sit on my lap so Younger Kid can open presents all by himself!' And, yes, it did sometimes involve some physical grabbing. (Toots expanded on this below, before I mentioned it, quite well.)

The twins were great: from the beginning, each knew that she would get a spoonful of food after Twin got a spoonful. Who says 6 month olds can't learn patience and sharing? They also opened their own gifts and were proprietary about the first use, and except for special stuffed animals and blankets, were very sharing. If two two year olds can do this, surely a 5 year old should be able to.

It must be hard watching this. The towels were a wonderful idea, and it it great the the 5 year old seems to have the earlier birthday so things like matching outfits would work.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: TootsNYC on November 05, 2013, 10:08:54 AM
As an aunt, I wouldn't be afraid to say,

"ON, I'm giving this gift to YN. No, you cannot open it, stop right now. Go sit down and let YN open her present from me."

"ON, no, that' isn't for you. It's YN's birthday so she gets the presents. Please go sit down and let her open her gifts herself."

"Yes, ON, I understand that you want it, but I'm sorry, it's not yours. It's your sister's birthday and I am giving this to her. Please go sit down now."


Ditto--except that I'd also be saying, "Older Niece, come sit here on my lap, we'll watch her open the presents together. Come sit in my arms. Isn't it fun, to be the birthday girl? This time it's Younger Niece's turn." And I'd be modeling how one acts when one watches someone else open presents.

"Show us, Younger Niece--hold it up so ON and I can see it. Ooh, how pretty. Isn't that nice, ON? Your sister is really going to enjoy having that towel. You have one of those, remember when you got one for your birthday?"

And I'd be doing similar sorts of things before the birthday. "Isn't it going to be fun to watch her open presents? What can we do to make the day special? Let's put them here so it looks pretty."

With plenty of praise: "You're such a good big sister, to try to make her birthday special for YN. I love doing that--I did it for you, and you learned so well. It's fun to fuss over someone else."

Give her positive attention for being a good *watcher*--let her see that this gains her attention and love.

And redirect her--that's why I'd physically hold her on my lap--It would *look* like cuddling, but a part of it would be physically restraining her where she can't grab the other girl's presents.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Idlewildstudios on November 05, 2013, 10:53:52 AM
As an aunt, I wouldn't be afraid to say,

"ON, I'm giving this gift to YN. No, you cannot open it, stop right now. Go sit down and let YN open her present from me."

"ON, no, that' isn't for you. It's YN's birthday so she gets the presents. Please go sit down and let her open her gifts herself."

"Yes, ON, I understand that you want it, but I'm sorry, it's not yours. It's your sister's birthday and I am giving this to her. Please go sit down now."

Normally I would have done this.  *But* with the grandparents currently trying to get custody and having the girl's mom there at the party, the dynamics were really strained already, so I just tried to lay low.  ON isn't one to sit in my lap, since DHand I make her behave when she is around us, she tends to keep a healthy distance from me and DH.  If the grandparents are present and we nail her on her poor behavior, she just gives us a sly look out of the corner of hey eye and clings to Grandma, who will cave.

I did have both girls for about a week when my ILs had to leave town for an emergency.  I introduced a proper time out policy and did not tolerate tantrums, name calling, hitting or refusal to cooperate.  We had a good time once I established that I wasn't going to cave to a tantrum.  My IL's were amazed at how well the girls behaved, especially ON.  They are now trying to do same and life has been better at their house, but like at the party, they aren't consistent with ON.  But it is getting better.

My MIL actually told me that they didn't think ON was capable of controlling herself so they never insisted she try!!  :0
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Luci on November 05, 2013, 11:30:31 AM

 ON isn't one to sit in my lap, since DHand I make her behave when she is around us, she tends to keep a healthy distance from me and DH.  If the grandparents are present and we nail her on her poor behavior, she just gives us a sly look out of the corner of hey eye and clings to Grandma, who will cave.

I did have both girls for about a week when my ILs had to leave town for an emergency.  I introduced a proper time out policy and did not tolerate tantrums, name calling, hitting or refusal to cooperate.  We had a good time once I established that I wasn't going to cave to a tantrum.  My IL's were amazed at how well the girls behaved, especially ON.  They are now trying to do same and life has been better at their house, but like at the party, they aren't consistent with ON.  But it is getting better.

My MIL actually told me that they didn't think ON was capable of controlling herself so they never insisted she try!!  :0

That is great! The Other Grandma, who sees our mutual grandkids more than we do, caves to every tantrum. The parents and we don't. One time one child was throwing a fit in front of all 6 parents and grandparents and the parent holding her said, "Cut it out! You know that doesn't work with us.!" Instant calm. Lesson learned and still in effect. We do the same  thing. So the kids do know how to behave around different people.

When our son had tantrums, we did let him do what he had to do to get his anger/frustration out, but we never caved to what he was mad about. He's a really great man now.

 
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: TootsNYC on November 05, 2013, 11:58:00 AM
It's sort of too bad that there is so much negative reinforcement in ON's life. And that she's being taught with "don't do" instead of with "please do."

You can get good behavior with positive attention. Plus it lets the grownup talk about what it is a person should DO during a present opening, as opposed to talking about what to NOT do. Kids need that--they don't have the experience to invent alternate things to occupy themselves.

A *huge* part of teaching children impulse control (which is what this is, it sounds like to me) is coaching them toward alternate behaviors. By telling them what those behaviors are, by modeling that behavior, by actively involving them in the alternate behaviors.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Twik on November 05, 2013, 02:25:14 PM
It's sort of too bad that there is so much negative reinforcement in ON's life.

Where do you get this from? Other than the OP, no one seems to be telling her that she can't do what she wants, or that she's wrong to do it.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Peregrine on November 05, 2013, 02:58:39 PM
It seems like an unfortunate situation for everyone involved.  Given what has been said by the OP that Grandparents are currently in a custody battle for the children.  I'm guessing that they have been worried about the bigger picture, grandparents don't generally get full custody unless something is very wrong to begin with. 

Hopefully, once custody is resolved the Grandparents can refocus on behavior and etiquette with the children.  Reading between the lines, it seems like they are absolutely overwhelmed.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: TootsNYC on November 05, 2013, 03:02:35 PM
It's sort of too bad that there is so much negative reinforcement in ON's life.

Where do you get this from? Other than the OP, no one seems to be telling her that she can't do what she wants, or that she's wrong to do it.

Maybe it's that the OP's followup post seemed to focus on negative discipline, not positive. So maybe it's not that there's so much, but that this seems to be the only option that the OP has considered (time outs, "nail her on it," etc.)

The affectionate, friendly guidance seems to have been lost. The grandparents assume the kid can't control herself, so they don't bother, instead of teaching her how. And the OP focuses on the negative parts enough so that the child "keeps a healthy distance." From the comments, there's not much in the way of a friendly, affectionate, *positive* communication going on in regard to behavior.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Idlewildstudios on November 05, 2013, 03:30:39 PM
The normal positive modeling does not work with ON.  That is what my IL's have been using for the past two years.  It has been a constant "ON please do this, not this". "Please use your manners, this is how we take turns.."  Etc, etc.  She was becoming so out of control, hitting, bitting, name calling, that no one wanted to be left alone with her. 

I simply introduced a calm time out, delivered after two behavior warnings.  No arguing, no angry words on my part, just a calm " you hit your sister after being asked to stop, now you can sit for 4 minutes."  Rinse and repeat. 

DH and I are the only two people who have ever made her follow through with a time out and apologize.  Yes, there is a mental issue  concern which is being looked into, but I did show the IL's that she could control certain behaviors.  She is now much more pleasant to be around and they are all a bit less stressed.

Not negative punishment but tough love.  She avoids me when she misbehaves because she knows I'll call her on it.   This is child who was so out of control that DH and I stopped sending our 13 year old DD over to spend the night when she kept coming back with bruises and bite marks from ON.  She didn't want to defend herself against her cousin and the grandparents just kept asking ON to use her manners and not bite but would not step up and actually stop her from hitting and bitting.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Miss Tickle on November 05, 2013, 07:47:55 PM

My MIL actually told me that they didn't think ON was capable of controlling herself so they never insisted she try!!  :0

Please tell me these aren't the grandparents seeking custody. That's seriously frightening.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Idlewildstudios on November 05, 2013, 07:53:04 PM
Yes, same grandparents.  The whole situation is messed up.  Drugs, infidelity, suspected abuse, and two people who never should have procreated.  The IL and DH and myself are all these girls have that is stable in their lives.  It will take all of us to get them through this and hopefully raised up as respectable adults.  It is really heartbreaking.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Quesselin on November 06, 2013, 04:58:04 AM
No advice, but please allow me to say this: Thank you so much for being willing to be a stable influence in the lives of these unfortunate children. You and your husband are good people for doing this.
Title: Re: Am I wrong to be miffed, birthday gift, update pg 7
Post by: Wordgeek on November 06, 2013, 11:34:34 AM
Insofar as this is etiquette, the matter seems to have been addresses.

Toots, your contributions here seem unhelpful, and I deleted the last one.