What do you do when your mother-in-law gives your child a gift that is too expensive or age-inappropriate? What happens when your parents show up with a suitcase full of gifts for your little ones every time they visit?
It’s an age-old problem: should you set boundaries for gifts from grandparents? There is a delicate balance when it comes to the spending habits of grandparents for their grandchildren. Most parents look forward to the day when they become grandparents. They’ve paid their parenting-dues and are ready to be the indulgent bringer-of-gifts.
Is the Gift-Giving Harmless?
All this spending has a price. When grandparents show up with gifts at every visit, it conditions their grandchildren to think that their arrival equals toys. This sets up unrealistic expectations for grandchildren at a young age.
Besides, parents often have bought gifts, and when the grandparents outdo them, it creates hatred and ill-will. Many parents don’t want their 9-year-old to have the latest iPhone, or their 12-year-old to wear makeup. Often, grandparents and parents have different ideas about what toys, electronics, or clothes are appropriate for grandchildren. So, they need to ask about acceptable gifts for their grandchildren.
Communication is the Key
The solution to this dilemma? Communication. As you find out what your parenting style is, it’s hard to get the balance between making your own decisions and respecting your elders.
When grandparent gift-giving becomes too much, talk about it. It may be difficult, but an honest conversation can clear the air. You may not solve the problem completely. Still, you can start to work on it together by setting some boundaries around gift-giving.