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How do I manage this situation?

Green Gummy Bear's Photo Green Gummy Bear 14 Jun 2019

I have three children. My dad and his wife (not my mother) live interstate. Every year for the kids' birthdays they'd put a small amount of money in the bank for us to go and buy relevant child a present from them. This worked for everyone.

For the last three years, they've been putting this money in the account for one child, but not the other two. I'm really not ok with this. It's not about the money, but it's about two of my children being seemingly forgotten about.

I feel like I need to nicely suggest that they stop sending any money. But I'm not sure how to go about this. I don't want it to be blown up and made into something bigger than it is.

So do I call them out on it? What's the best method to do that?
Do I buy the other two gifts and say it's from them anyway, even if that's not entirely the case?
Do I just forget it and keep everything as it is?
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wallofdodo's Photo wallofdodo 14 Jun 2019

I would check with them, maybe they have got the account numbers wrong for the other two? seeing they have done all 3 in the past?

I think I read that wrong! But I would still ask them. maybe the money is for all 3
Edited by wallofdodo, 14 June 2019 - 11:03 AM.
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seayork2002's Photo seayork2002 14 Jun 2019

Do I buy the other two gifts and say it's from them anyway, even if that's not entirely the case?


Not saying what you should do but If it was me I would do this (the above) rightly or wrongly
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Green Gummy Bear's Photo Green Gummy Bear 14 Jun 2019

View Postwallofdodo, on 14 June 2019 - 11:02 AM, said:

I would check with them, maybe they have got the account numbers wrong for the other two? seeing they have done all 3 in the past?

I think I read that wrong! But I would still ask them. maybe the money is for all 3

They put it in my account. It's only a small amount ($20), so as I said, it's not the money, more the principle of it all.
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yellowtulips74's Photo yellowtulips74 14 Jun 2019

Have they favoured that one child in the past?  If they don't have form for this, I would say it could be an administrative error of some kind - they might think they have set up automatic annual payments but two were inadvertently cancelled?  Or something like that?

I'd bring it up very gently, assuming it's some kind of mistake.  

If they actually confirm that they only wish to give one child a gift, that's a whole separate issue.
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Ferelsmegz's Photo Ferelsmegz 14 Jun 2019

How do you know its for one and not all?
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seayork2002's Photo seayork2002 14 Jun 2019

View PostFerelsmegz, on 14 June 2019 - 11:21 AM, said:

How do you know its for one and not all?

good point and for which specific child? I would assume budget rather than favouritism?

if the accounts in their specific names names different though?
Edited by seayork2002, 14 June 2019 - 11:27 AM.
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Green Gummy Bear's Photo Green Gummy Bear 14 Jun 2019

View PostFerelsmegz, on 14 June 2019 - 11:21 AM, said:

How do you know its for one and not all?

View Postyellowtulips74, on 14 June 2019 - 11:16 AM, said:

Have they favoured that one child in the past?  If they don't have form for this, I would say it could be an administrative error of some kind - they might think they have set up automatic annual payments but two were inadvertently cancelled?  Or something like that?

I'd bring it up very gently, assuming it's some kind of mistake.  

If they actually confirm that they only wish to give one child a gift, that's a whole separate issue.

Inadvertently. We lived closer to them when eldest was young. Then we moved away, other grandkids were born etc. I've just never mentioned it before because it seems petty, but it also doesn't strike me as typical grandparent behaviour.
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Green Gummy Bear's Photo Green Gummy Bear 14 Jun 2019

View PostFerelsmegz, on 14 June 2019 - 11:21 AM, said:

How do you know its for one and not all?

So $20 would be deposited in my account a week or so before birthday with the message 'happy birthday (child's name). One of lot is $20 is still being deposited a week before one birthday with the message to them.
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seayork2002's Photo seayork2002 14 Jun 2019

View PostGreen Gummy Bear, on 14 June 2019 - 11:26 AM, said:

So $20 would be deposited in my account a week or so before birthday with the message 'happy birthday (child's name). One of lot is $20 is still being deposited a week before one birthday with the message to them.

sounds like too much hard work for me to keep track of :smile:

Other than asking outright or buying equal for each child not sure what else can be done
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Lesley225's Photo Lesley225 14 Jun 2019

Couldn't you just ask them what happened?
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CallMeFeral's Photo CallMeFeral 14 Jun 2019

View Postyellowtulips74, on 14 June 2019 - 11:16 AM, said:

Have they favoured that one child in the past?  If they don't have form for this, I would say it could be an administrative error of some kind - they might think they have set up automatic annual payments but two were inadvertently cancelled?  Or something like that?

I'd bring it up very gently, assuming it's some kind of mistake.  

If they actually confirm that they only wish to give one child a gift, that's a whole separate issue.

It sounds like they remember and are attached to that child because they knew it better, which certainly happens. So it could be intentional (like "that's our special child") or just an oversight because they don't remember the other kids birthdays because they don't feel as close to them.

Firstly, what have you been doing for the last 3 years? Just doing the gift for the one? Are the others too little to have noticed previously?

I'd assume innocent intent to start with and open with something (depending on what your past 3 years has been) like "hey, just flagging that you've sent gift money for X but not for Y and Z for the last few years - was that intentional or did you want me to get them something?"

Hopefully the answer is "oops, I must accidentally have cancelled those transfers, I didn't notice". If it is instead "well X is our special child and we wanted him to know that" or something similar, then you'll have a different issue to deal with - but it's hard to anticipate without knowing the response.
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Cerridwen's Photo Cerridwen 14 Jun 2019

View PostGreen Gummy Bear, on 14 June 2019 - 10:59 AM, said:

So do I call them out on it? What's the best method to do that?
Do I buy the other two gifts and say it's from them anyway, even if that's not entirely the case?
Do I just forget it and keep everything as it is?

My horrid MIL has been doing this for years. She will blatantly say though, that she does not like boys so DS will get nothing or something crap like a plastic ruler. DD has been given things like a camera (she loves photography) or they will send her a card and money but nothing at all for DS.

I have called her out on it, to which she says that she can't afford anything when it is DS birthday or sometimes reminds us she does not like boys. My daughter has always shared the money with her brother, or I have given him money and said it was from MIL. In later years I decided to just send the money right back and basically have nothing to do with them (lots of other reasons besides this particular issue).

My kids are older teens/young adults now and see their grandmother for what and who she is. Her loss because they both dislike her immensely and have no time for her at all.
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*Nasty*Squeekums*'s Photo *Nasty*Squeekums* 14 Jun 2019

I'd just call them out on it.
I don't do favoritism well.
No I would not cover their behind. They either are equal to all or none at all

To be honest, I'm shocked you waited 3 years to bring it up
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Jenflea's Photo Jenflea 14 Jun 2019

I'd just ask and then my response would be dictated by their answer.

My aunt used to favour the girls in the house and not my brother. She'd buy us stuff but never him because "she didn't know what boys liked" so she just ignored him(he's my twin so it was obvious) so mum and dad used to buy him something out of their money to make up for it, but it's still a sh*tty thing to do.
He knew she was deliberately leaving him out.
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rainne's Photo rainne 14 Jun 2019

View PostCerridwen, on 14 June 2019 - 11:37 AM, said:

My horrid MIL has been doing this for years. She will blatantly say though, that she does not like boys so DS will get nothing or something crap like a plastic ruler. DD has been given things like a camera (she loves photography) or they will send her a card and money but nothing at all for DS.

I have called her out on it, to which she says that she can't afford anything when it is DS birthday or sometimes reminds us she does not like boys. My daughter has always shared the money with her brother, or I have given him money and said it was from MIL. In later years I decided to just send the money right back and basically have nothing to do with them (lots of other reasons besides this particular issue).

My kids are older teens/young adults now and see their grandmother for what and who she is. Her loss because they both dislike her immensely and have no time for her at all.

That's appalling. I think having nothing to do with her is the only logical option in this circumstance.

OP, I hope you'll ask! It seems so odd.
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rainycat's Photo rainycat 14 Jun 2019

We could all guess but why wouldn’t you just ask them?
If they are only doing it for one of your kids I would tell them not to bother anymore.
A old friend of mine used to massively favour one of my kids and ignore the other, I don’t see her anymore.
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TheGreenSheep's Photo TheGreenSheep 14 Jun 2019

View Postrainycat, on 14 June 2019 - 11:49 AM, said:

We could all guess but why wouldn’t you just ask them?
If they are only doing it for one of your kids I would tell them not to bother anymore.
^^^^ this

Sometimes asking is the best way of sorting this out.
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chicken_bits's Photo chicken_bits 14 Jun 2019

Definitely just ask them.

There could be a myriad of benign reasons.

My grandparents forgot their own son's birthday this year. Because of other stressful, health related issues going on.

If there are 3 birthdays to remember at different times of year there may be reasons why they've simply forgotten for whatever reason.
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born.a.girl's Photo born.a.girl 14 Jun 2019

I can understand your leaving it and hoping it would sort itself out, it's not the easiest of questions to ask people.


Perhaps you could play a little dumb, as a straight out question might be a bit confronting for them, and if it's innocent, no bridges to mend.


Could you perhaps say something along the lines of 'now that the kids are old enough to read their name, wondered if you could put the three names against the $20 you send every ?June, rather than just the oldest's name, as it's fun for them to see their name against the money'.


This strongly implies that you're happy with the $20 across the three, and the only issue is a technicality.

If it's inadvertent on their part, they can fix it.

If they only want to send $20pa, this gives them a way to do it and save face (and at least you know where you stand) without any awkwardness.

If they only want to send $20 to the oldest and either ignore the request, or make that clear to you. Where you take it from there is another whole story of course, but at least you would know.

Good luck.
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YodaTheWrinkledOne's Photo YodaTheWrinkledOne 14 Jun 2019

View PostLesley225, on 14 June 2019 - 11:30 AM, said:

Couldn't you just ask them what happened?
This.

They might have genuinely forgotten.

Otherwise, the next time I was talking to them, I wold say "Child#2's birthday is coming up again, I am going shopping for gifts this week. Were you going to deposit $20 for them this time? So that I know the budget, I am buying on behalf of a few people"
And see how they respond.
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Ferelsmegz's Photo Ferelsmegz 14 Jun 2019

View PostGreen Gummy Bear, on 14 June 2019 - 11:26 AM, said:

So $20 would be deposited in my account a week or so before birthday with the message 'happy birthday (child's name). One of lot is $20 is still being deposited a week before one birthday with the message to them.

Fair call.

Im a pretty blunt person and I would just say to them that I had noticed they have only deposited money for one child and its all or nothing.
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Abernathy's Photo Abernathy 14 Jun 2019

I think you’ve waited too long to now ask them about it. Perhaps you should have asked at the time it began (in case it was a bank error etc).
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Pocket...'s Photo Pocket... 14 Jun 2019

I would just ask if the $20 was intended to split between the three kids because you'd noticed that they used to send $20 at each birthday but just one amount is coming now. That you're ok with that but you must wanted to check?
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Luci's Photo Luci 14 Jun 2019

If it was a one off then I would give them the benefit of the doubt and think they had just forgotten. But unfortunately it sounds more deliberate if it has been going on for 3 years now.

Tricky one OP to think of the best way of going about it, if you decide you want to say something.  Is one of the birthday's coming up? Could you say something along the lines of

"Hi Dad, DS's birthday is coming up and I was just wondering if you wanted me to organize a present from you like we used to do. The reason I ask is just because the last couple of years I don't think you have put in any money for him so I was just wondering what you wanted to do?"

I do admit I tend to be a bit passive aggressive so that might be a dreadful idea!!
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