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  1. #1

    Default Grandparents randomly giving kids money

    Ok, so is this just me, or is this slightly irritating. We don't give our kids pocket money. They get enough money spent on them on after school activities. If they want money extra to that, they need to earn it by doing chores around the house. DH's parents typically give the kids money (in addition to presents) on birthdays and christmas. Now it is the school break, just a regular 2 week one between terms 3 and 4, and DH's mother has randomly sent each of the kids $20 for "money to spend in the holidays". I find it slightly (quite) irritating as we do not give pocket money, if they want spending money they need to earn it, it is not a gift giving time (birthday etc.), and its a lot more money than we would ever just give them. It also kind of goes against everything that we are trying to teach them about earning and saving, and that we don't go around spending money for entertainment. It is just not something we do as family. We are very minimalist and we only buy what we need for our own reasons around being sustainable/kind to the environment. For us, school breaks are about relaxing, hiking, spending time outside etc., not going shopping.

    Am I being irrational to find this annoying? I am not particularly unbiased as I generally find them irritating anyway as they are very different to me in terms of they are religious and have very high family involvement expectations.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

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  3. #2

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    Ugh. I'm sorry. I agree that it's irritating - you're not wrong or irrational. You have a particular outlook, and they're pushing against that with these gifts.

    My grandparents gave me money every time we saw them, which was pretty often when I was a kid - they also had high family involvement expectations and would insist on getting together weekly, regardless of our schedules and the distance we had to travel/traffic we had to face. I eventually came to realize that my grandmother wasn't giving gifts out of genuine generosity, but out of almost a compulsion to give - so she could demand affection and attention in return. When I was old enough to see that, it was a real turn off. Don't get me wrong, I love my grandmother (she's nearly 101 and she's still pretty sharp and it's impressive, really), but I prefer to keep her at arm's length, because her need for constant attention is overwhelming. Nowadays, I just think it's sad that she thought the way to get her grandkids' love was to buy it with $5 here and there...

    I don't know if your in-laws are doing the same sort of thing, but consider that if they are trying to buy affection with an extra $20 as a random gift, your kids are likely to see through it one day...

    All that said, I'm not sure there's a way to stop them. Grandparents are sort of notorious for doing things their own way, regardless of what parents say. You can mandate that your kids save that money, or you can let them choose how to spend it - as they grow up, you'll likely see them making interesting/intelligent choices. Because ultimately, a random $20 in their pockets won't overturn everything else that you're teaching them. You're still the ones shaping them most.

    But still. You're entitled to be annoyed! Hang in there, mama...

  4. #3

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    Uggg as well. Anytime extended family members do something “not the way you do” it can be a bit irritating, especially when youre inclined to dislike them anyways.

    If you take it the best possible way, your inlaws were thinking theyd like to do something nice for the girls, and didnt want to choose something either the kids or you would disapprove of. I dont think theres a great risk of $20 turning kids into materialistic brats... and you could see what the girls want to do with the money. Even if they want it for some foolish endeavor or plastic souvenir, at least it wasnt your money. And maybe having opportunities to waste petty money as a child will help them as they get older. (My mother would never let me have or “waste” money. Imagine my overindulgence now when I take our boys to a festival or fair, and they get fair-food, ride tickets, and souvenirs as though it will make up for my wistfulness as a child.)

    When my mother in law gives the kids cash (usually for birthday), I think my older one usually squanders it on snacks at school (although sometimes he spends it on a toy), and DS8’s money gets placed in Dad’s wallet for safekeeping and is forgotten about.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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    Second what everyone else said.

    You could always look at it from a savings perspective. For example with the $20 allowing them to spend X, but require them to save X. For our kids we told them once they saved half of what it would cost to open a mutual fund, we would match them. They both did, and now part of their spending money / allowance goes to long term savings in the fund, and the other portion they can spend or save for the short term.
    Rebecca
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by heatheremme View Post
    I eventually came to realize that my grandmother wasn't giving gifts out of genuine generosity, but out of almost a compulsion to give - so she could demand affection and attention in return. When I was old enough to see that, it was a real turn off. Don't get me wrong, I love my grandmother (she's nearly 101 and she's still pretty sharp and it's impressive, really), but I prefer to keep her at arm's length, because her need for constant attention is overwhelming. Nowadays, I just think it's sad that she thought the way to get her grandkids' love was to buy it with $5 here and there...

    I don't know if your in-laws are doing the same sort of thing, but consider that if they are trying to buy affection with an extra $20 as a random gift, your kids are likely to see through it one day...
    First, your grandmother is impressively old!

    Second, this is entirely our situation, and I guess why it irritates me so much. Particularly because the money was accompanied by a card saying "write me a note and tell me what you bought". The kids already talk to this set of grandparents very frequently, way more than they talk to my family that does not live locally. If the kids had wanted to of their own devices write a letter, I would be like sure, heres a stamp, knock yourself out. But for her to put it as this expectation/obligation with giving them random spending money...

    Anyway, DH's mother is generally very expecting of family involvement and attention. She has to know every little detail of the day to day life of each and every person in the wider family. Expects that people do things the "family way", and that they are all very involved and in each others pockets all the time. If you don't go to the birthdays or weddings of second and third cousins, or go to their family holidays (where we all have to stay in the same accommodation so no personal space) no matter the distance or expense, then you are somehow failing. Just the way she talks and everything she demands a lot of attention from her children. When we moved overseas, one of DH's sisters (who who have been going off what DH's mother said) rang and berated us for "abandoning the family". When we moved back to NZ, he got told off for not taking a position in a town closer to them or his siblings. By contrast, my mother said she would be sad to not have us close but she did not have children to have them sit round her feet and adore her all her life. We were meant to go away and have our own adventures and she would be happy to get to visit a new place.

    I don't want those expectations placed on my kids because I don't think it is fair to feel obligated. You should do things with people because you want to and you enjoy spending time with them, not because you feel like you have to.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  7. #6

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    Thanks everyone.

    I should clarify, that I am not irritated by her just because she is religious but because of her disapproval of other people's choices because they are not being the same. And that she parents/grandparents in a way that makes kids dependent and puts her in a position of being a "required helper", lots of "oh no you could not do that, let me do that for you", along with the high expectations of attention and family involvement.

    So I guess it is not so much the money—I don't mind the birthday money or Christmas money, it is just this random $20 for "holiday spending"—but the expectations that I know she is trying to put on them with it.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  8. #7

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    Don't even get me started on the hugging without asking (or demanding hugs) and generally telling people what to do (e.g., "come sit beside Grandma and..." not "would you like to sit here?)...
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

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    My MIL is like that with extended family too, as far as involvement expectations.
    Rebecca
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by NZ_Mama View Post
    So I guess it is not so much the money—I don't mind the birthday money or Christmas money, it is just this random $20 for "holiday spending"—but the expectations that I know she is trying to put on them with it.
    What I would do in this situation is to talk with your kids about the money. Come up with a plan on how they can use it. Some people have some good suggestions above. Spend some, save some or save all or whatever works for your family. You could talk with them about what to do with unexpected funds that come your way. (Save for a rainy day or???)

    Next, send her a message thanking her for the money, but they will be saving it and not spending it. And that they will talk with her next time, whenever you have that planned. I wouldn't have a discussion about it. Just leave it at that. That is so she won't be expecting a letter from them. I vote for an email so that you don't have to have the discussion, but that is just me.

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Grandparents randomly giving kids money