Author Topic: Gifting brothers differently.  (Read 11193 times)

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Zilla

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2012, 06:49:44 PM »
...   As for all those years you didn't gift him, doesn't matter an iota.  It wasn't the OP's fault either for not being able to gift him all those years and the very first oppurtunity to do so, she did.  And he couldn't even thank the OP verbally.  No matter how someone was raised, please and thank you is very basic skills that everyone should know.

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

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

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

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

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

Yep, just edited a post.  Computer isn't showing me notifications of new messages posted for some reason.

Hillia

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2012, 07:12:47 PM »
I think if the gift has to be hidden from your brother, you should respect his wishes and not give that nephew anything, regardless of whether you agree with your brother's reasons.  Gift the other nephew privately.

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

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JenJay

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2012, 07:17:27 PM »
I would gift them the same amount again and I'd be doing it for myself and the hope that we could someday have the kind of relationship I have with my other nephew. You can always gift him less in the future if it turns out he's not interested in a relationship with you or appreciative of your gifts, but you can't go back if you make a point of gifting him less now and end up regretting it (even if he never knows). I vote err on the side of bygones and maybe even prompt him with something like "I hope cash is okay. I have no idea what teen boys want!" See if you get a "No, cash is great, thanks!" out of him.

SiotehCat

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2012, 07:17:48 PM »
I think if the gift has to be hidden from your brother, you should respect his wishes and not give that nephew anything, regardless of whether you agree with your brother's reasons.  Gift the other nephew privately.

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

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

This year is much different then last year. I mentioned in the OP that this year, Will is going to be celebrating Christmas with my family. We have a large Christmas party and he is going to be attending. Nothing about this year is being kept secret from my brother.

mj

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2012, 07:20:02 PM »
So, ok he is just meeting this side of the family.  Who can tell Will what the norms of this side of the family are if his father cannot do it?  It's a little drastic to me to change how you gift him based on a) one incident during a highly charged emotional time for a teenager and b) information he does not know and apparently, no one will let him know. Now he is deliberately not going to be treated as equals with his own sibling because he doesn't know the norms and protocols and no one will tell him?  Someone should be able to tell him.

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

Just as some posters have posted their family norm was to give a verbal thanks, many families the norm is a written thanks.  As a teenager not knowing any better, I can imagine many being introduced to a new family only giving verbal thanks as something that would very likely would happen until they noticed or it was pointed out, the family norm to give written thanks.  This teenager doesn't have the benefit of having a few of these occasions under his belt to observe (much less deal with the backstory and the baggage he likely has with it) or even a guide into the family ways.

JenJay

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2012, 07:26:39 PM »
Given that the whole family will be together for the first time I'd definitely gift the two boys the same. Even if they don't see what the other received one may say something conversationally that makes it obvious Will received less. That would create more awkwardness in an already awkward situation, for all 3 of you.

TootsNYC

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2012, 08:03:18 PM »
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

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

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

And see if he learns something from it.

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

miranova

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2012, 08:21:38 PM »
Sio, the details DO matter.  They DO change people's advice.  I know you want to stick to a yes or no answer here, but the fact that you had to gift him in secret matters.  You may think he doesn't know that it was kept from your brother, but you have no way of knowing if he figured that out somehow.  A 16 year old kid who just met one side of his family and has to keep things a secret from his father is in a really, really difficult spot and I would not blame him at all for missing a thank you.  Heck I have adult family members that I've known my whole life who have missed thank yous at times. 

This is not an unforgiveable offense by any means.  My advice is to gift him the same as the other nephew and give him some time.  Maybe ask him "did you get my gift?" and see if it prompts a thank you.  Lots of 16 year old kids need some guidance on thank yous.

SiotehCat

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2012, 08:28:03 PM »
I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.

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

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

And see if he learns something from it.

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

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

SiotehCat

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2012, 08:34:18 PM »
Given that the whole family will be together for the first time I'd definitely gift the two boys the same. Even if they don't see what the other received one may say something conversationally that makes it obvious Will received less. That would create more awkwardness in an already awkward situation, for all 3 of you.

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

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

Veronica

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2012, 08:56:27 PM »

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

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

Florida

JenJay

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #41 on: November 24, 2012, 08:57:51 PM »
I'm sure you're fine. My 9 year old enjoys having cash but he still prefers wrapped gifts of new stuff (Especially Legos! Man that kid is crazy for Legos!). As long as there's no obvious difference in the amounts you spend on each kiddo I doubt any of them will notice or care. When my kids were little we made sure they had the same number of gifts, regardless of cost. Now that they're older we make sure to spend equal amounts even if that means DD gets one expensive gift and the boys get two less expensive things each.

ccnumber4

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #42 on: November 24, 2012, 09:11:36 PM »

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

I think this is wise. 

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

I don't think Toot's suggestion is a good one.  There will be plenty of time for gentle guidance when you have established a relationship in which he respects you as a trusted adult in his life.  You aren't there yet.   

SiotehCat

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #43 on: November 24, 2012, 09:17:45 PM »

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

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

Technically, my brother added him a long time ago. I didnt mention him here because he doesn't get cash. My question didn't involve him. I have mentioned him here before when asking advice for his birthday gift once.

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Re: Gifting brothers differently.
« Reply #44 on: November 24, 2012, 09:18:01 PM »
I would go ahead and gift him the same amount this year as you did before, if he's going to be celebrating the holidays with your family. If he doesn't seem like he's really interested in the cash recieved, or recieving any kind of present, then don't do anything next year. If anyone asks in the future, just politely say that Will didn't seem interested in recieving any type of gift from you prior and you don't believe he will do so again.

Then again, I'm basing this on the limited information and some of my own experiances.