Author Topic: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child  (Read 13126 times)

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Onyx_TKD

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #105 on: December 06, 2012, 06:15:13 PM »
I still disagree. My 12yo stepson has quite a few video games. He cannot play them when his grades are bad or before he finishes his homework...but my bio kids also cannot use them without asking or when he isn't here. He owns things outright, but there are rules for their use based on his safety and well-being. My 6yo DD owns a LeapPad, but can only take it in the car with special permission and can't use it after bedtime...but her baby brother and other kids can't borrow it without asking. The fundamental way that OP plans to use this ipad is NOT as DD's that she will agree to share, but rather exactly the way I use MY ipad, letting my kids borrow it at will within the confines of their screentime limitations and behavior. I think it would be unfair to tell a child this item belongs to her and then treat it like it belongs to the parents. My children both knew the distinction at 3, and even if this particular child doesn't get it yet, the goal should be to teach her and guide her to the next level of understanding.

I guess I am not following why the OP cannot simply explain the use of the ipad, as the OP wants it, to her DD.  I didn't see an answer to my question about whether the FIL forbade the OP or her DH from using the ipad because he wanted to give it to the DD. That would be really really odd to me, as I am pretty sure I more fully articulated above (basically, because the DD could not possibly be able to use the ipad totally on her own).  Re the bolded, I don't understand why the DD cannot be taught that for this item, she gets to use it in the ways her parents tell her she can.  As several PPs mentioned, lots of kids "own" various objects but have different rules attached to these objects depending on lots of factors. 

Also, as a PP pointed out, the OP seems to be fine with the DD "owning" and exclusively using the inferior ipad. Just not the nicer one.  It's not about the OP not wanting her DD to have an ipad.  To answer the initial question in the OP, yes, I think that is unreasonable.

I don't think the issue has anything to do with the FIL dictating how the iPad is used. The issue is who owns the iPad, i.e., to whom the FIL gives it. I realize that you may not consider this distinction important, but others, including the OP, clearly do.

RE: children's ownership of items.
Imagine for a moment that the OP has two children, Child A and Child B, and FIL chose to give Child A a doll. It would be perfectly reasonable for her parents to set rules on use of the doll: when and where she may play with it, how she is expected to treat it (e.g. don't throw it across the room, it must be put away in this location after playtime), taking it away as a consequence for misbehavior, etc. It would also be reasonable for them to decide that this particular doll was not an appropriate toy for Child A and not allow her to keep or play with it at all.

However, would you consider it reasonable for the parents to decide that the doll given to Child A will instead belong to Child B? I would not. If FIL gave the gift to Child A, then the parents may refuse the gift on her behalf, but taking something that Child A owns (because it was presented and accepted as a gift to her) and simply decreeing that it will instead belong to Child B would IMO be wrong. This has nothing to do with FIL forbidding Child B from playing with the doll. It has to do with who owns it.

Also, if the doll belongs to Child A (because it was a gift to her), I would expect Child B to get Child A's permission to play with the doll. The parent's might set rules about the children being expected to share their toys, but I would expect those rules to work fairly in both directions (i.e., Child A would not be required to share her doll without also benefiting from Child B being required to share a desired toy with her). Personally, I see a subtle, but important distinction between "This is yours, but you are expected to share it appropriately" versus "This is 'yours,' but others can use it whenever they want without your consent." The former is an expectation of behavior for the owning child: the owner still has final say over how the item is used, but may face consequences based on how they handle this. The latter IMO negates the principle of ownership: the "owner" has no control over how their possession is handled/used. It also pretty much negates the concept of sharing: there's really nothing "nice" or virtuous about sharing one's possessions if you aren't allowed the choice to do otherwise.

RE: the child owning an iPad at all
That was not what I gathered from the OP's posts at all. My impression is that the OP was fine with her child owning a high-tech children's toy, the Leappad. She is also fine with her child using a grown-up toy, the iPad, with the permission of its owners (OP and husband). If the family owned two iPads, there would be less conflicts with two people wanting to use the same iPad, which could be a minor benefit for the child in terms of getting iPad time. However, I got the impression throughout the entire thread that the OP is not comfortable with the child owning either iPad (newer or older) outright, and neither would be designated for the exclusive use of the child. I also got the impression that the OP would much rather have her child receive the Leappad instead of the family receiving the 2nd iPad, but that she was trying to be flexible since the iPad would be easier and cheaper for the FIL.

Bexx27

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #106 on: December 06, 2012, 06:38:05 PM »
Onyx_TKD explained it perefectly.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Bexx27

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #107 on: December 06, 2012, 06:48:25 PM »
OP, I'm curious...how would you handle this kind of gift if it was given without your input?  In other words, if you had no idea what the present was and she opened it and it was an ipad, would you take it from her, limit it's use, share it with her, or something else?

I still say that your FIL asked for your input and he does need to respect your wishes (regardless of agreement on it), but as far as your concerns go with her having the ipad, does her getting it anyway change how you have her use it?  Would you still have her use it the way you'd prefer for her to use it (with a conversation/explanation to your child) or do you consider that once it's given to her, it's hers, and your stuck with her having/using something you'd prefer she didn't?

Well, it would be an unpleasant surprise. I would probably have no qualms in making it a family ipad because I hadn't been consulted on whether she could have it. The fact that he consulted us makes me feel obligated to establish an understanding with him of how it would be used if given.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Lynn2000

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #108 on: December 06, 2012, 08:24:14 PM »
OP, I'm curious...how would you handle this kind of gift if it was given without your input?  In other words, if you had no idea what the present was and she opened it and it was an ipad, would you take it from her, limit it's use, share it with her, or something else?

I still say that your FIL asked for your input and he does need to respect your wishes (regardless of agreement on it), but as far as your concerns go with her having the ipad, does her getting it anyway change how you have her use it?  Would you still have her use it the way you'd prefer for her to use it (with a conversation/explanation to your child) or do you consider that once it's given to her, it's hers, and your stuck with her having/using something you'd prefer she didn't?

Well, it would be an unpleasant surprise. I would probably have no qualms in making it a family ipad because I hadn't been consulted on whether she could have it. The fact that he consulted us makes me feel obligated to establish an understanding with him of how it would be used if given.

And to me, this is an interesting point. FIL started out well, consulting the parents about the gift. But then, it seems to me, that he didn't really like the answer he got from them, so he decided to just do what he wanted anyway. Even though he'd told them he would do something different, that they'd agreed to. Again, I'm not suggesting he has some kind of Machiavellian scheme here; but maybe he just wasn't really listening to what the parents wanted, and didn't agree, and didn't think it would be a big deal to overrule them and go back on their mutual agreement.

So next time he mentions "DD's gift that she'll be so excited to unwrap!" maybe someone could gently remind him, "Oh, that wasn't the plan, remember?" And offer to let him keep the iPad instead (without suggesting a substitute gift), if he's changed his mind about the conditions of the gift.

To a broader point, I think there are circumstances when one can set conditions on a gift from someone else; and even if those conditions seem odd to other people, if the giver agrees to them, the giver should abide by them, or discuss further/ withdraw the gift offer entirely. Not just say they agree, then do whatever they want.
~Lynn2000

bah12

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #109 on: December 07, 2012, 10:50:24 AM »
And again, this boils down to a parenting issue.  The etiquette issue is pretty cut and dry.  FIL consultant with the OP and her DH over a gift he wanted to give their DD.  They gave him guidance and now he wants to go against it.  That is wrong.

The parenting issue is more gray.  The OP specifically asked if her stance on having her DD not own her own ipad is reasonable or not.  And what makes it reasonable is that she's the parent and gets to decide what the rules are.  But, I parent differently.  If my DD owns something, it is hers.  I wouldn't take it away from her and tell her that it's mine, or that it's the whole families, but that doesn't mean that she gets to decide outright that she's the only one that can use something.  We always ask her permission, but she needs to have a good reason to say "no".  And those reasons pretty much boil down to her either using the item at the time someone else wants it, or the person that wants it not treating her things with respect.

And for me, that is a fair rule that I live by.  I let people borrow my stuff.  Our neighbors might want to borrow a certain tool, or my best friend my red blazer.  Of course, I'm not technically required to let anyone borrow anything that belongs to me, but my basic philosophy on life is that as long as the person is respecting my things, returning them when agreed, and in the same condition they got it in, if it's shareable, I have no problem sharing.  And that is the same philosophy I choose to teach my DD.
 
And I get that other parents view "sharing" differently than I do.  That the owner of the item, regardless of age, gets to decide the rules.  That's fair.  It's just not what we do in our family and it is from that viewpoint (as I've stated) that I'm addressing the OP's question of reasonableness.

bah12

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #110 on: December 07, 2012, 10:57:53 AM »
I don't think the issue has anything to do with the FIL dictating how the iPad is used. The issue is who owns the iPad, i.e., to whom the FIL gives it. I realize that you may not consider this distinction important, but others, including the OP, clearly do.

RE: children's ownership of items.
Imagine for a moment that the OP has two children, Child A and Child B, and FIL chose to give Child A a doll. It would be perfectly reasonable for her parents to set rules on use of the doll: when and where she may play with it, how she is expected to treat it (e.g. don't throw it across the room, it must be put away in this location after playtime), taking it away as a consequence for misbehavior, etc. It would also be reasonable for them to decide that this particular doll was not an appropriate toy for Child A and not allow her to keep or play with it at all.

However, would you consider it reasonable for the parents to decide that the doll given to Child A will instead belong to Child B? I would not. If FIL gave the gift to Child A, then the parents may refuse the gift on her behalf, but taking something that Child A owns (because it was presented and accepted as a gift to her) and simply decreeing that it will instead belong to Child B would IMO be wrong. This has nothing to do with FIL forbidding Child B from playing with the doll. It has to do with who owns it.Also, if the doll belongs to Child A (because it was a gift to her), I would expect Child B to get Child A's permission to play with the doll. The parent's might set rules about the children being expected to share their toys, but I would expect those rules to work fairly in both directions (i.e., Child A would not be required to share her doll without also benefiting from Child B being required to share a desired toy with her). Personally, I see a subtle, but important distinction between "This is yours, but you are expected to share it appropriately" versus "This is 'yours,' but others can use it whenever they want without your consent." The former is an expectation of behavior for the owning child: the owner still has final say over how the item is used, but may face consequences based on how they handle this. The latter IMO negates the principle of ownership: the "owner" has no control over how their possession is handled/used. It also pretty much negates the concept of sharing: there's really nothing "nice" or virtuous about sharing one's possessions if you aren't allowed the choice to do otherwise.

RE: the child owning an iPad at all
That was not what I gathered from the OP's posts at all. My impression is that the OP was fine with her child owning a high-tech children's toy, the Leappad. She is also fine with her child using a grown-up toy, the iPad, with the permission of its owners (OP and husband). If the family owned two iPads, there would be less conflicts with two people wanting to use the same iPad, which could be a minor benefit for the child in terms of getting iPad time. However, I got the impression throughout the entire thread that the OP is not comfortable with the child owning either iPad (newer or older) outright, and neither would be designated for the exclusive use of the child. I also got the impression that the OP would much rather have her child receive the Leappad instead of the family receiving the 2nd iPad, but that she was trying to be flexible since the iPad would be easier and cheaper for the FIL.

I don't really see this as the parents taking away the ipad and making it "theirs".  I don't see why the OP has to do that in order to use this ipad herself from time to time.  She already lets her DD use the current ipad most of the time and she only does a few things on it.  Why is it so out there to let her DD use her new ipad and then ask to borrow it when she needs to do something on it?  It's still her DD's...the OP wouldn't suddenly own it.  But she would be using it.  No different than how her DD currently "uses" an ipad that she doesn't own.

But...the OP has also pointed out that ideally, her DD would get full use of current ipad and her and her DH would use the newer one.  And I think that's where some of us are getting stuck.  Because it's not about usage or ownership in that case, it's about who uses which specific ipad.  And if the OP really can't get past her DD having full use of an ipad that is better than the one that her and DH would use, that is a problem that can't be fixed by parental controls and sharing.  And in that case, she needs to insist that FIL not give the newer ipad to her DD at all.

Sharnita

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #111 on: December 07, 2012, 11:01:44 AM »
Actually, Op has repeatedly mentioned they would share both.  She even mentioned there would likely be asome apps DD had that would work better on the new ipad.

TurtleDove

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #112 on: December 07, 2012, 11:15:38 AM »
I don't really see this as the parents taking away the ipad and making it "theirs".  I don't see why the OP has to do that in order to use this ipad herself from time to time.  She already lets her DD use the current ipad most of the time and she only does a few things on it.  Why is it so out there to let her DD use her new ipad and then ask to borrow it when she needs to do something on it?  It's still her DD's...the OP wouldn't suddenly own it.  But she would be using it.  No different than how her DD currently "uses" an ipad that she doesn't own.

But...the OP has also pointed out that ideally, her DD would get full use of current ipad and her and her DH would use the newer one.  And I think that's where some of us are getting stuck.  Because it's not about usage or ownership in that case, it's about who uses which specific ipad.  And if the OP really can't get past her DD having full use of an ipad that is better than the one that her and DH would use, that is a problem that can't be fixed by parental controls and sharing.  And in that case, she needs to insist that FIL not give the newer ipad to her DD at all.

This.  I feel that some of the OP's statements contradict each other which is adding to my confusion.  I am not trying to misunderstand - I truly cannot figure out what is motivating the OP.  It also is not at all clear to me why the FIL cannot be told, "Sure, have DD open the ipad and we will use it as a family."  I don't see where the FIL is insisting that the ipad be for DD's exclusive use so I truly do not see the issue.  He just wants her to open it (and it seems the OP is now okay with that).

Sharnita

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #113 on: December 07, 2012, 11:50:26 AM »
Honestly, the vast majority of people  "saw" OP mention sharing both devices. She never suggested to her FIL that he give the parents the new one and they give DD the other one. I am not sure why you two seem so entrenched on thiis but I jave to day - at this point it seems to be you and not OP. It is like you are refusing to believe her, even when other posters verify what she said.

JenJay

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #114 on: December 07, 2012, 12:09:53 PM »
Quote tree is wonky so I'll do this -

"I feel that some of the OP's statements contradict each other which is adding to my confusion.  I am not trying to misunderstand - I truly cannot figure out what is motivating the OP.  It also is not at all clear to me why the FIL cannot be told, "Sure, have DD open the ipad and we will use it as a family."  I don't see where the FIL is insisting that the ipad be for DD's exclusive use so I truly do not see the issue.  He just wants her to open it (and it seems the OP is now okay with that)."

Re the bolded - That's exactly what OP and her DH did in the beginning, and her FIL agreed. He then began speaking about the iPad as if it would only be for the little girl, saying things like "DD's iPad" and mentioning OP removing the DD's favorite apps from the current iPad and installing them on the gifted iPad instead (as opposed to in addition to), etc. So her original issue was whether or not she was overreacting to being annoyed that he initially agreed to make the iPad a family gift but has since indicated (through his words) that he now intends it to be for the DD instead, and, if eHellers would bring the issue up with the FIL again and reiterate that the iPad needs to be a family gift or drop it and let it be "DD's iPad".

Spin-off discussions about the pros and cons of a 3yo owning an iPad and whether or not parents have a right to use their children's items have evolved, but OP didn't start those topics (though she has weighed in).
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 12:14:05 PM by JenJay »

bah12

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #115 on: December 07, 2012, 12:38:30 PM »
Honestly, the vast majority of people  "saw" OP mention sharing both devices. She never suggested to her FIL that he give the parents the new one and they give DD the other one. I am not sure why you two seem so entrenched on thiis but I jave to day - at this point it seems to be you and not OP. It is like you are refusing to believe her, even when other posters verify what she said.
I'm assuming I'm one of the "you two" you are reffering to, so let me clarify.  This is directly from the OP:

"I was thinking DD would mostly continue to use mine since her apps are already on it. Having another ipad would not change anything for DD since the only time I don't allow her to use mine is when I don't want her to have screen time; the only real benefit would be for me and DH, since we would have another ipad to use at the same time"

She then goes on to ask if this is a reasonable stance...both from the stand point of asking her FIL to gift it to the family and in why she doesn't want her DD to have her own (which she summarizes as "some truth" in not wanting her DD to have a better toy than her and from the standpoint of spoiling her child with such an expensive gift).

And I believe that I have stated over and over again that her FIL needs to respect her wishes.  Period.  But, I have also suggested that she evaluated if this is her hill...and if it is, fine.  But if she evaluates the real issue with her DD having "her own" ipad, it does appear to be something that can be solved with parenting controls.  She doesn't want to do that.  Fine.  She doesn't have to.  Not one of us can tell her how to parent her child.  And there is nothing wrong with her stance.  But, my advice to her stands:  If this is worth the fight, then go for it.  If not, then you can definitely reevaluate the rules surrounding "ownership" and "usage" and get all your concerns met and still let FIL see his granddaughter open an ipad on Christmas morning.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #116 on: December 07, 2012, 12:44:17 PM »
Turtledove, the quote trees in your last post have have gotten messed up. If you are still able to edit your post, would you please remove my name? Not only is that quote bah12's words, not mine, but it directly contradicts my views.

I don't really see this as the parents taking away the ipad and making it "theirs".  I don't see why the OP has to do that in order to use this ipad herself from time to time.  She already lets her DD use the current ipad most of the time and she only does a few things on it.  Why is it so out there to let her DD use her new ipad and then ask to borrow it when she needs to do something on it?  It's still her DD's...the OP wouldn't suddenly own it. But she would be using it.  No different than how her DD currently "uses" an ipad that she doesn't own.

But...the OP has also pointed out that ideally, her DD would get full use of current ipad and her and her DH would use the newer one.  And I think that's where some of us are getting stuck.  Because it's not about usage or ownership in that case, it's about who uses which specific ipad.  And if the OP really can't get past her DD having full use of an ipad that is better than the one that her and DH would use, that is a problem that can't be fixed by parental controls and sharing.  And in that case, she needs to insist that FIL not give the newer ipad to her DD at all.

The OP has stated repeatedly that she does not want her DD to own any iPad. She has also stated that if the family had two iPads, all members would use both iPads (she mentioned that most of her DD's current apps would probably remain on the old one out of convenience, not that her DD would not use the new one). Thus, from the OP's description of the issue, I think it is very much an issue of ownership and the specific rights and responsibilities thereof, not usage. If the OP is not comfortable with her daughter being the official owner of the iPad, and the OP is not comfortable with unilaterally deciding that FIL's gift belongs to the family even if it's given to DD specifically to be hers, then no amount of rules on how the DD is expected to share the iPad will fix the problem, because it's a question of ownership, not usage.

Personally, I think the OP and husband need to clearly establish with the FIL whether he or not he is planning to DD as hers, or if he plans to clearly make it a family gift, which DD will open. If the FIL insists on presenting it to the DD as "hers" and/or describing it as "her" iPad against her parents wishes, then IMO refusing the gift entirely is the only way to resolve the ethical issues of ownership that the OP has presented. In her family, 3YOs are not allowed to own items like iPads, and in her family, treating an item that belongs to a child as if it belongs to the family is not acceptable. Thus, iPads cannot be accepted as gifts to 3YOs. If FIL is clearly told that DD may not own an iPad herself, although she may use those belonging to the family, and he insists on trying to make it a gift to her specifically, then he'll just have to be disappointed.

Also, I do not think the OP has ever said that "ideally" the DD would have full use of the old iPad and the parents of the new iPad. On the contrary, I think the OP's "ideal" solution would be for the DD to receive the toy Leappad as originally proposed instead of anyone receiving an iPad. The idea of a second family iPad to be used by all was a compromise to begin with, since FIL wanted to give the iPad.

O'Dell

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #117 on: December 07, 2012, 12:53:20 PM »
Honestly I wouldn't even be that concerned over FIL calling it DD's iPad. He has an iPad and the OP has an iPad and this is the 3rd iPad in the group/family. How else should he refer to the iPad he is gifting? The OP's family's iPad? That's a mouthful.

My advice, find another name to call it, (George?), and start referring to it that way. Let FIL know it now has a name to avoid confusion amongst the iPads. It might provoke a conversation about iPads for toddlers and family use of the iPad, or he might just switch and go along.

The thing I keep coming back to is that you all had an agreement and except for the reference to DD's iPad and the unwrapping of it, there is no reason to believe that he's reneging on the agreement. I say just assume it's a family gift, use it as you see fit, and if it ever comes up remind him of the agreement and tell him you're sticking to that.

I think your case is strengthened to do that with your update that this is a hand-me-down iPad even if it is nicer than your iPad. This isn't some pristine straight-out-of-the-box gift. It's a used gift. That takes the shine or specialness off it in my opinion. It's partly a convenience for your FIL to gift it to your daughter....one that made you feel you couldn't say no to it and have him keep to the LeaPad.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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bah12

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #118 on: December 07, 2012, 01:04:56 PM »
Onyx...you are misunderstanding my standpoint.  I have never suggested that a gifted ipad to DD be the "family's".  On the contrary, I suggested that it be DD's, but that DD share the ipad with the OP from time to time.  Sharing something with the family does not change ownership.  And I believe I already stated many times that if the OP is not comfortable with that, then she should make it clear with FIL that the ipad not be given to DD.  But, I also went on to say that means that they not ask him to make it a family gift nor do they suggest he spend an additional $100 for the LeapPad.

And I'm speaking as the mother of a 3 year old girl, who is actually going through a very similar dillema right now on a potential gift for my daughter.

She is very interested in a certain musical instrument and has several toy versions of this instrument already.  We have a "real" one at home that we use from time to time and have let her play with it.  On black Friday, my DH ran accross a pretty nice instrument for a very good price and bought it.  He wants to give it to our DD for Christmas.  I have had some reservations in that this is not a toy.  I wasn't sure if DD has the maturity level to own this and take good care of it (she has since demonstrated that she does), and I'm not sure if giving her something "real" that may just be a passing fascination is wise.  I questioned my DH if we should just replace our older instrument with this one and let DD use it from time to time.   We have decided to follow the same advice that I'm giving the OP:  We will wrap it and give it to DD.  It will be hers. But, she will not be permitted to keep it in her room. It will stay in our family room where she can play with it under our supervision (she has friends that come play in her room that would not be so careful with it).  She will also be willing to share the instrument with me and DH if we ask, as well as allow other family members and children who can handle the instrument play with it. I'm looking forward to giving this to her, because I know how excited she will be to see it.  But just because it's "hers" doesn't mean that I can't address any of my concerns with her having it.  I can and I will.

That being said, again, the OP can do whatever she wants.  I'm not arguing with her that she can't (or shouldn't).  I am arguing with posters who insist that if the OP chooses to use the ipad, that she is essentially taking it away from her DD and it is no longer "hers".  I think that's silly.

Where I have disputed the OP, is where she fears that if this is gifted to her DD, her DD would be spoiled and have "expectations" of $500 gifts in the future.  Unless her DD is advanced in the concept of monetary value and can compare monetary value of different items (which is possible), I don't see this as a concern for a 3 year old.  An older child, definitely, but not one that doesn't know the difference between new/used and $500 or $100. 

I still say that it appears she can address her concerns with ownership of the ipad without insisting that her FIL not give it to her DD.  But, again, she doesn't have to.  Her and her DH need to then confront her FIL and not allow the gift.

Bexx27

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Re: Uncomfortable with FIL's gift to my child
« Reply #119 on: December 07, 2012, 01:53:06 PM »
I agree it comes down to definitions of ownership. bah12 makes some good points and I think where I differ is the idea of requiring DD to share something that is hers. I have a strong sense of personal boundaries and respect for autonomy which I extend to possessions. For example, some parents have no problem with going through their teenage children's belongings, reading their diaries, etc., at will. I don't think they're wrong, but my personal values mean I would never do that unless I had good reason to suspect her safety was at risk. I will obviously place restrictions and parameters on her internet and phone use, but as long as she sticks to the rules, she's entitled to her own life and relationships without input or monitoring on my part. It's an aspect of parenting people think about differently, and that's fine.

Similarly, if something belongs to me it's not OK for someone to use it without my permission. I tend to be generous with my things in the same way bah12 described, but it has to be my decision. I have the same respect for DD's property. I wouldn't snatch food from her plate without asking and I wouldn't play with her toys without asking. So I would feel comfortable telling her she's had enough screen time today and putting the ipad away, but not telling her she can't play with it because I want to use it. Theoretically, I would feel comfortable telling her she can't play with my ipad (or a "family-owned" ipad) because I want to use it, though in practice it doesn't come up. I know I have the authority to tell her she has to share something that's hers, but that goes against my sense of fairness and I want to impart my values to her by modeling them/applying them to her.*

FIL is fond of telling DD that something is "hers." For example, FIL and SMIL have a beach house. Whenever we go there FIL makes a big deal about how it's "DD's beach house," using that phrase repeatedly. The first time we went she was barely a year old, just starting to use words much less sentences, and he kept coaxing her to repeat the phrase herself. That doesn't bother me because it's obviously not her beach house and there are no practical consequences if she thinks it is. But it's probably that sort of behavior that makes me nervous about the emphasis he is placing on the ipad being hers.

I spoke to DH more last night and he does think FIL realizes DD won't have exclusive use of the ipad because he also mentioned DH using it for e-mail. I think it's more of a word choice thing -- FIL just enjoys indulgently referring to something as DD's -- but we have to ask him to lighten up on that when there are potential consequences for DD taking it literally.

*Off topic, but in case anyone is wondering, "you don't have to share things that belong specifically to you" does not apply the same way to play dates. Any toys she wants to play with when a friend is over must be shared with the friend. Anything she doesn't want to share is put away beforehand. But if she brings a bucket and shovel from home to the sandbox at the playground, she can say no if another kid tries to grab it, whether she's using it or not. This has actually led to other parents -- strangers -- getting huffy with me for not making her share. I never posted about it because I just assumed it would be a "snake in a restaurant" sort of thing, but maybe not...
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver