Author Topic: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday  (Read 5222 times)

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Miss Bee

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Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« on: January 06, 2013, 11:14:08 AM »
I haven't posted on here for a while, but yesterday's incident - of my 11-year old niece calling me and and asking me for money for her birthday, so she can re-decorate her room - has prompted me to. 

I don't need advice or anything - I told her I'd send her some money for her b-day.  And honestly, in a way, I'm not even annoyed that she asked for money as I never am sure what to get her... And I also feel bad for her, because I know my sister (her Mom) put her up to it.  I could tell by the way niece spoke over the phone, she was very hesitant and seemed embarrassed.  (She's actually kind of shy.)  My sister is also the one in the family that gives everyone a Christmas list for her own kids and gets upset if anyone deviates from the list.   ::)

Just reporting here that I think it's sad my sister doesn't know any better than this - we were raised by the same woman, who taught us you should only give money as a last resort, and when someone asks you what you want for a gift, you should reply, "Oh whatever you'd like to give me would be fine" and agree to something only if suggested by the would-be giver first. 
Actually, maybe I do have a question - is there an acceptable way to ask someone for money for a gift?  Having your kid call relatives - when they otherwise never call - and ask for money just seems really tacky to me.  (I haven't talked to my Mom yet about it, or know if she was even asked.) 
Btw, my feelings about my niece is not affected by this - I still love her and think she's a sweet kid, just wish her Mom were giving her better etiquette lessons.. Can't wait 'til her and her sister's wedding! 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 11:17:32 AM by Miss Bee »

BarensMom

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 11:30:36 AM »
My gimme pig radar is going off on this one.

Evil me would give your niece a dollar in a card, with a small unreturnable gift.  But that would be mean to the kid.

If your niece is local, I would offer a day out shopping or some other activity that doesn't involve giving the kid $$.  If not local, call your niece back and just talk to her, asking her what she likes in a general way, to decipher what to give her.

Forgive me, OP, for the comparison, but this reminds me of Roe's Knnihave(sp?) thread, where the kids would get a gift, but would then have to give it up to the parent's selfishness.

camlan

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 11:36:23 AM »
I think what I find off about the situation in the OP is that the niece called out of the blue and asked for money. That comes across as rude, because it is not polite to assume someone is going to give you a gift and it's not polite to ask for money like that. We're giving the niece a pass on this because she's 11 and it seems that her mother made her do this.

When my niece was 10, she was madly saving money for an iPod Touch. She never asked for money, but she'd drop into conversation how much the iPod cost and how much she currently had saved up. "Oh, Aunt Cammy! Did you know? I only have to save one hundred and five dollars more before I can buy my iPod!" Not exactly asking, but dropping *huge* hints about what she'd really like as a gift.

If you asked her directly what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas, she'd say anything you wanted to give her would be fine.

So I think if someone wants money as a gift, they should only mention what they want if asked directly, and then give options. "Well, I'm saving up for a new iPod/camera/computer, so a gift card to the Apple store would be nice. Or I could use new socks, or a sonic screwdriver. But really, Aunt Bee, I love everything you get for me, so anything's fine!"
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

Miss Bee

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 11:50:28 AM »
BarensMom - if this were an adult, this might be my reaction.  But I don't want to do this to my 11 yr.old niece. 

And yes, camlan, the thing that rubbed me the wrong way is her calling out of the blue.  And I KNOW my sister had her do it, she would not have called on her own.  This incident in itself is not all that offensive to me, as I didn't know yet what I was getting her anyway; but it just sets up a bad precedent, I feel.  I can totally see in the future, say, her getting married, and her and/or her Mom calling people and dictating the wedding gifts over the phone.  That would annoy me.

Also, thanks for the tip about hinting.  I guess it's never good form to just come out and ask - as I'd suspected.  I've forbidden my own DD from asking outright for money or even particular gifts unless prompted. 

Like I said, this alone is not really a big deal... but based on my sister's history of handling gifts, etc for her kids, I see it as a precedent and that bothers (annoys) me. 

Sharnita

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 11:55:49 AM »
Hmmm. She doesn't call yoy frequently but do you call her or her parents to chat? Would there ever be a way for her/them to mention that she is in the middle of a redecorating project as part of her birthday? As an aunt when I don't know what the kids might want I call for ideas so they might say something then.

oopsie

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 11:57:54 AM »
I once gave one of nieces money for her birthday as I knew there was something very specific she wanted to save up for. A few months later she tells me that she gave all her savings to her grandmother because her grandmother had made her feel guilty about the fact that my niece had complained to her mother that she didn't like going to grandmother's house because when there, grandmother has her and her siblings do all of her housework for them. Niece gave her all her money to try to make amends. What's even worse, is that grandmother accepted it! And didn't give it back!!

For this reason, I don't give money any more. It sounds like if her mother put her up to this, your niece could also find herself parted from it like my niece was. I would find out if there is something specific she is looking for and then buy her a giftcard from the store where she could buy it instead.

Either way, calling someone up to ask them to give you any kind of present (much less money) is rude, rude, rude!! It's right up there with stating that a couple would prefer to receive money for a wedding gift and then placing that statement IN THE WEDDING INVITATION (yes, this has happened to me!)

NyaChan

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 12:50:52 PM »
A few things stuck out to me:

1) calling out of the blue rather than answering a question re: gifts
2) the niece was hesitant to do it
3) **the money was for decorating her room**

I think that is low of the mom on multiple levels.  I can't imagine that the niece really wants money the niece sat there and thought, "hey my birthday is coming up, I should ask people for money to do it."  I think that was either entirely mom's idea, or the niece asked her mom to redecorate and her mom told her she'd have to use any birthday money she got.  Then came the "why don't you call auntie and ask."  In your place, I'd probably get a gift certificate to a store of non-home goods store that you know she would enjoy and find fun things to buy or take her shopping yourself.  Otherwise, if you don't mind, take her to a home goods store and see if she actually does want to buy paint or something - I kind of feel bad for her that her parents would make her use birthday gifts for redecorating their house (I mean she's 11 - either say no or pay for it, don't foist it off on others and deny her fun gifts she would have gotten). 

Rohanna

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 12:58:55 PM »
I would not give her money- if her mother is *anything* like mine was, the promised room re-decorating will just never materialize. I would either offer to help, send a gift card for somewhere like a "tween" store that sells room decor (think sparkly lamps, wall stickers, posters etc- somewhere that has little the parents would want), or call back and ask for a specific item. If you're mailing, cite discomfort with mailing cash.

No, I'm not in the least bit bitter over the years of pilfered present money, eaten holiday candy (daddy taxing is one thing, but binging on the whole bag/stocking overnight?), half-finished projects...
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

gramma dishes

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 01:01:38 PM »
You've already told her that you would send her money for her birthday (although hopefully not 'how much').  I think you have to now follow through with that.

But I would enclose a note saying something to the effect of:  As you requested, I'm sending along a little money for your room decorating project.  I hope you'll remember to send me a picture showing me what you bought with it. Happy Birthday and happy decorating!"

If no picture ever arrives, or if it's something like a blank but freshly painted wall I don't think you'd be in the wrong to pull niece aside next time you see her and let her know (gently) that you won't be sending her cash again in the future, but that you'd love to take her shopping and buy something within your price range that she really wants.

Amara

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013, 01:25:25 PM »
If you can, OP, I would go home decor shopping with her. A day out with her wonderful aunt, having fun looking at a lot of different things and giggling over the bad ones, a choice she alone makes that will make not only her room more fun but act as a reminder that you and she have a special relationship. It matters not what she selects. Maybe it will be paint at Home Depot, a sparkly lamp at a lamp store, or a special bookcase to hold her favorite things. But it will be something from you chosen with you.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 01:35:06 PM »
I think that's a great idea to take her shopping for those things without her mother so it might give her a chance to put in her own two cents about colors, etc, if that is what she wants, or to say "Well actually, I'd really rather have X"

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Miss Bee

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 01:43:52 PM »
Oh I already told her she or her Mom should send me a picture of her newly decorated room!  We live six hrs away from them so I can't take her shopping myself. 
I haven't decided how much to send yet, but I usually buy her a gift that's no more than 50.00.  (But it depends on the gift - I broke this rule with my nephew last year, I wanted to get him a  telescope, and the least expensive one with good reviews on amazon was 65.00.) 
My sis will decorate the room for her, too, but I agree NyaChan, if it were my DD I wouldn't ask others to help fund it as a birthday gift.  I've never done this with my own DD, but if she wanted her room decorated and I didn't want to otherwise, I might tell her that her Dad and I would redecorate it as her gift.  I wouldn't ask anyone else to help fund improvements to my own house - unless they offered or really, really wanted to. 

My sister is kinda cheap this way.  They are fairly comfortable, financially.  They can totally afford to re-do the room themselves.  I guess that's another reason why it aggravates me.  (Off-topic but an example of how cheap my sister and BIL are - they re-did their kitchen a few years ago, and my Mom and Dad, who are on a tight budget and retired, asked if they could have the old cabinets for their own kitchen,  Said cabinets were about 3o years old.  Sis and BIL said No, but offered to sell them to my parents for way more than they were worth, imho.  My parents then declined - my Dad could have (and later did) bought new cabinets for what S and BIL wanted for the old ones!  So - S and BIL threw the old ones out when they remodeled. I realize it's their prerogative to sell their old cabinets if they want, but just telling this to demonstrate they would rather throw something out than give it away to someone, even family.  My parents were completely confounded by the whole thing and even a little hurt.  But I digress, sorry....)

My sister will also call my brother and myself and say she's found some expensive item to gift to my parents for Christmas or a birthday, and she'll just buy it and we can chip in, okay?  Um, no.  A couple of times I've agreed, but most of the time I've already planned to get them something else, and declined.  She's learned to stop trying to talk me into it.  One reason I don't like it is because the only thing I would have had to do with the gift is paying for it.  I want to gift things that I actually put some thought into, myself. 

So it is with the niece's gift.  Apparently, though, niece does want her room decorated enough to call me and ask to help out, so I will. 

weeblewobble

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 01:46:06 PM »
I once gave one of nieces money for her birthday as I knew there was something very specific she wanted to save up for. A few months later she tells me that she gave all her savings to her grandmother because her grandmother had made her feel guilty about the fact that my niece had complained to her mother that she didn't like going to grandmother's house because when there, grandmother has her and her siblings do all of her housework for them. Niece gave her all her money to try to make amends. What's even worse, is that grandmother accepted it! And didn't give it back!!


My mouth is hanging open right now.  SHAME on that grandmother!  And shame on the mom for not protecting your niece!

mrs_deb

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 02:00:18 PM »
Rather than cash money, can you send your niece a gift card to Home Depot, Lowes, or some other local store that might sell room redecorating type stuff?  Although it really rubs me the wrong way that an 11 year old child is expected to pay to redecorate her parents' house...

Amara

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Re: Niece asked me for money for her Birthday
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 02:06:40 PM »
OP, how about sending your niece links to some online home decor places and letting her "shop" there, then sending what she loves to you? You might even do some looking around Google and seeing if there are any blogs or websites that specialize in home decor for the younger crowd. Some home decor blogs, websites and stores:

Decor by Color: http://www.decorbycolor.com/
Touch of Class: http://www.touchofclass.com/
Signals: http://www.signals.com/
Pottery Barn Teen: http://www.pbteen.com/
Meijer: http://www.meijer.com/s/furniture-home-kids-teens-rooms/_/N-277
Houzz: http://www.houzz.com/teenage-girl-room-decoration
Google returns for "home decor for teens:" http://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22home+decor+for+teens%22&oq=%22home+decor+for+teens%22&gs_l=serp.3...2936.5211.0.5389.2.2.0.0.0.0.131.248.0j2.2.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.YRLjhVoZCUo&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=59188606f417ebf4&bpcl=40096503&biw=1028&bih=759