Can't give daughter cash for a present ('cause who knows what she'll do with it).

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bean, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Bean

    Bean Member

    My daughter is 18, living with my parents. She has not lived with us for almost 9 months now (either been in jail in RT, in group home, in jail, etc.). Because of her history, and the foolish things she does with money, gifts, we've decided that money is not the best gift for her (gifts are even risky, as she could sell or "lose" those too). Nobody wants to give her cash that she can spend it on drugs, booze or goodness knows what.

    I've actually had this policy for the past few years. Only has it been recently that my mother is actually on board with it. I feel badly, because her siblings mostly are getting cash for gifts this year, and I know my daughter would like some, too, but she just can't be trusted. We decided to go with gift cards (which she could sell, I suppose, but at least it isn't straight up money).

    Part of me it doesn't bother, and then part of me feels badly about it. I don't think the emotions are completely rational, but probably more nostalgic and sad that she is not in a place where people trust her. That's just the reality of it.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Bean. I hope you are having a nice Christmas.

    When my daughter used drugs, I did not give her money. No allowance. No help for bills. Nothing. She worked for money. I didn't want to think that maybe my money killed her, if she had an overdose. I didn't feel badly about not giving her money. She got things like clothes from us, nothing expensive. If she would have whined about it I would have reminded her that she can earn our trust back and that we are here for her if she wants to seriously try to stop using drugs. But until then, we couldn't trust her with money, even though we wished we could.

    I hope this year brings your daughter and the rest of your family some healing. Try not to feel like a bad guy. We still love our drug using children as much as our other ones, but in my opinion we do have to treat them differently. (((Hugs)))
  3. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree with MWM. I just hope YOU have a great Christmas.
  4. aninom

    aninom New Member

    It's the right thing to do long-term, no matter how hard it feels now. You could always scrap even the gift cards and give her something that yells out "I love you" without being a bit valuable monetary wise.

    Last year (we don't celebrate christmas, but new year is gift-giving day in our culture) I made my parents 52 decorated letters - they were opening one for each week throughout the year, and on the inside there was always a small cheery phrase to remind them they're always in my thoughts no matter how far away we are physically. It didn't cost much, but it was a very feel-good and lasting gift. You could do something similar, or give her something that is funny, symbolic, or specific only to her. It really is the thought that counts, and in this case, the thought counts twice if it can make it a little less harder for her to get even deeper into her addiction.

    I've thought about giving my difficult child a book on handling aggression. I'd never dare do it but man do I wish there was something to buy or make her that would help rather than be turned upside-down into a source of tension, conflict, accusation, etc. We, or at least I, have a similar dilemma with giving her money - she's mooched so much you feel like a tool for giving her cash even voluntarily, now. Can't give her a specific item since she ALWAYS, 100% surefire will explode over how inadequate it is.

    I wish holiday seasons didn't have to be so full of emotional acrobatics.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    mother in law was given a lovely hand-made calendar by her two more physically distant grandchildren. They got the blank month to an opening wall calendar from a staionary store then scrapbooked onto it with decals, personal photos, other personal touches. She loves it, she has been showing it to everybody. The photos are of her (mother in law) having fun with various members of the family, especially the family of the gift-givers. They chose the photos according to the season and the month - the Christmas photo is from last Christmas when mother in law was visiting them, so there is a lovely photo of these girls with mother in law in front of their Christmas tree.

    It wouldn't have been expensive to do - it really is the thought that counts and a lot of thought went into this, if there weren't a lot of dollars spent. I think it's her favourite gift of all this year.

    Maybe it's too late for this year, but it is a good idea for you for next year, or for someone who has a birthday in the new year. Or sometimes you can get 18 month calendars so this could be good for someone with a birthday in April, May or June.

    And animom - anyone who explodes over an 'inadequate" gift - ignore it. Never let them or their explosion become an issue. Where does it come from? It varies. Sometimes it comes from a sense of entitlement. In which case - allowing their tangrum to affect you is like allowing their view to have validity.
    Sometimes it comes from a verbal backlash Occupational Therapist (OT) "Now I know what my gift is and part of me is always going to be disappointed, even if it was the top item on my wish list, because i now have not got the possible anticipation of it being any one of all the other things on my wish list." This is a very childish (infantile?) reaction which again needs to be ignored.
    At most, you can slap it down with, "At least you got something. Be grateful or next time we won't waste our energy. Our love is not to be measured by how much we spend - there are people in the world who get really expensive gifts, but no love. For them, the gift is meanigless and therefore worthless."

    And if that doesn't work, try following it with, "And by your standards, how much did you spend on other people? Don't answer that because, unlike you, I really don't want to know. But you need to think about it before you open your mouth merely to change feet."

    It's not meant Occupational Therapist (OT) be a competition. When it becomes a competition, it has lost meaning and I don't blame you for feelnig jaded about it. I would too.

    I hope she behaves herself for you this year. Hang in there. Don't accept any stuff she tries to dump on you, just shrug it off and walk away. Christmas is for you too, you don't have to wear anything you don't want to.

  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    If she 'explodes' over a gift being inadequate, simply don't give her anything. Ungrateful rude people don't merit gifts. You are under NO obligation to give gifts. Gifts are something you give because YOU want to! (sorry, this "holiday greed' thing is a real hot-button for me)

    I'd suggest, if you feel you must give something, that you go with a small dollar amount gift card from a specific business (as opposed to a pre-loaded credit card).

    I give gift cards from Amazon to hard to buy for people. There's masses of things for them to choose for, and they can either use the card up gradually or put it toward a more expensive purchase.

    For my sister, who is experiencing very hard times financially, but is too proud to accept cash, I got her the cost of a turkey dinner from a local grocery store. She accepted it once I pointed out that husband and I used to buy, cook, and cater some holiday meals for the family. I told her this was the same except she had to do the cooking, LoL.

    Seriously though, I don't really see any need to get her anything if she cannot be trusted with cash and is an ingrate and rude on top of that. Maybe that will get the point across as regards her behaviour being unacceptable.
  7. Bean

    Bean Member

    My daughter actually did OK with what she was given. I think she knew why she was not given cash, and she was hurt, covered with a little anger, but understood and didn't complain. I just pray that it sets in her heart and is a building block for change with her. She send me a nice note about how she appreciated all her gifts, and enjoyed being with the family.

    So hard, because I can see some sadness in her over where she has put herself and how it has affected her relationships with the people who love her.
  8. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I still advise going with gift cards from specific business. Those can't be "cashed out" as they can only be used at the business from which the card was purchased.

    I'm a big fan of Amazon because of the incredible choice of merchandise they carry, everything from books to technology to small appliances. Plus, if you go through the site link to order from Amazon; the site gets a kickback from Amazon.

    My mother got me a small gift card from Kohl's department stores. Kohl's just opened up here about two years ago and while I love their product line, I often wind up buying from Wal-Mart due to their prices being lower.

    I was able to get a nice set of pots and pans from Kohl's for less than it would've cost to get them from Wal-Mart.

    My nephew has a Kindle. 50 dollars will buy a lot of e-books for him. My neice is an artist with a wide range of interest. She can get all sorts of related items from Amazon.

    My mother won't even accept a gift card. We'd been talking about music at our last visit and she mentioned that she wanted Susan Boyle's debut album and that her copy of Fiddler on the Roof was scratched due to excessive use.

    Easy gifts. I got her the two CDs, cost me about twenty five dollars and she's just thrilled with her gifts.

    No one was ungrateful for their gifts. The one person who gave me a hard time was my sister and that was because she didn't want me spending money on her and brother in law
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I think if she's been respectful to you and your parents in recent months, a gift card for this past holiday is/was a great idea and you might want to consider them in the future too (again, as long as she has been respectful to you and your folks).

    Something like Target, Kmart or Walmart. I wouldn't go overboard though. If you are worried about her purchasing alcohol, then I would probably purchase a gift card to a favorite clothing, music store or restaurant that doesn't serve alcohol.

    Don't overly concern yourself about how she feels. Your goal is to get her a present and to make it one that is appropriate (in more ways than one).

    Perhaps it is good that she sees there are consequences to her behaviors. She is blessed to have a mother who cares about her as you do. This is where she should put her thoughts. In time, in the future, she can make better choices and certainly these things can change for her later (if that is her desire and she makes different choices). It is up to her and on her for this to happen. Not your doing.

    Happy Holidays!
    Lasted edited by : Dec 27, 2009