Gift Giving to Grandkids living with the ex-DIL

by ZEE
(Coastal Carolina)

I sent gift cards to my three grandchildren, who live with my ex-daughter-in-law, her boyfriend, and their young son. She (my DIL) sent me a message stating that if I did not include her youngest son, who she got pregnant with by another man while still married to my son, I am not to send gifts to my grandchildren.

In past years, I sent gifts to all the children, but now my financial situation has changed....and I never even got a thank you! I send a Christmas card to their entire household every year, but never receive one in return.

She wrote that if her boyfriend's father came to her house with only gifts for his grandson she would not accept them. I certainly would have brought a small gift for her son if I was visiting them, but my gifts were mailed to my grandchildren.

I think she might have kept the money and not allowed them to have it because she felt it was unfair. I don't think I did wrong in trying to send gifts. I was never included in their birthday parties, sports, or anything else...and now this. I can't imagine what my grand-kids think of me being absent from their lives.

Things get awfully complicated in broken families and unfortunately during the holidays there are a lot of hurt feelings amongst them. I don't think I was wrong, but would like to hear what others have to say. In the spirit of Christmas, I reached out with love. I'm heartbroken that the ex-DIL doesn't understand and wants me to include her son in any gift exchanges. Am I obligated?

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Gift Giving
by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Zee~

Whoa! Too much information for such a simple situation. Let me reduce this to a reasonable, answerable question.

Why are you giving gifts to any of these children? Clearly you are disappointed that you receive no acknowledgement for your gifts, no appreciation for your efforts and no invitations to attend family events. It seems to me you are more interested in how they treat you than in what gifts you can afford for them. Is this about the kids or you?

If you are unwilling to send gifts without any acknowledgement, then don't send any. On the other hand, if you wish to remember your grandchildren and overlook the lack of thank you notes, then send gifts to all three kids. It is not the children's fault that they are in a blended family. Adults should do their best to help their kids and grandkids live happy, stressless lives. Gracious gift giving is the hallmark of a civilized holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Ms Practical Etiquette

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