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Old 12-28-2019, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
48,029 posts, read 38,592,487 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCjunkie View Post

Again, this doesn't excuse the 26 year old for failing to reciprocate in any way. It's rude. But if he doesn't want to give anything to anyone in the family (does he give a gift to his mom, I wonder?) that's his choice. Of course it makes him (and his empty-handed girlfriend) look boorish but obviously that doesn't bother them in the least. In the end, none of us is responsible for how other adults behave.
Right. We can only take responsibility for our own actions. These include how we interact with others.

So much human interaction is based on expectations, which may or may not be realistic. But miscommunications occur when someone doesn't meet our expectations. This is the crux of the matter - not gifts, or how someone acts when they receive a gift, or whatever. The stepson is not meeting the stepmother's expectations.

I think she definitely needs to have a sit down private talk with her husband about expectations regarding his son. She needs to find out WHY he thinks and acts the way he (the father) does and he needs to find out WHY she thinks and acts the way she does. Then I would go so far, since the stepson is an adult and has been one for quite a while now, to say that she probably needs to sit down with HIM and find out what each other's expectations are for adult to adult relationships.

Maybe the stepson won't do this, or maybe the father doesn't want her to do this. OK. Then she needs to figure out how SHE is going to assimilate their behaviors into her life (assuming she is, which it seems like she wants to do) and how SHE is going to act in the future, and why. And she needs to keep it classy no matter what.

I wouldn't personally start with the gifts. Well, I might say something like "You can pick something out and wrap it - whatever you want to do," to her husband, but I wouldn't make a scene with family. For instance, personally I think my husband goes overboard with his adult (26 year old) son. So when on Christmas Eve he came up to me and said "I got him some gift cards too - we need to put them in a card," meaning I needed to put them in a card, I said, "The cards are in such and such a place with a pen." And he knew this was on him. It's just a small thing but it's a thing.

But the bigger thing to me is overall adult behavior. This includes bringing a dish or a bottle of wine or ice or whatever if other adults are also bringing items. This also includes helping with clean up. This is on the dad. He needs to lead by example. And I don't think there's anything wrong with the wife saying "Here's the deal. At the very LEAST I expect him to help with the meal and one of us is going to tell him to do so. Hopefully that's you."
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Old 12-28-2019, 03:01 PM
 
377 posts, read 135,131 times
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Just wonder. How bad is his mom's relationship with his (paternal) grandparents and his dad?
If he has been living with his mom all his life except for the one-year rent-free accommodation at your home, her influence over him must be significant.
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Old 12-28-2019, 06:28 PM
 
13,338 posts, read 21,375,718 times
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My response on the other thread:
Christmas became much more enjoyable when we stopped most of the gift exchanging. We still buy something for our sons, but have made it clear we want nothing in return. I always buy something for my mother, but practical items, like this year's diabetic socks. Even that small gesture made her feel badly because she had nothing in return for me. I NEVER want gifts to cause anyone anything but happiness.

Our sons have gifted us generously in the past when we made opening presents around the tree an event. No more. They are relieved, we are pleased they still come to see us. Gifts should be given because the giver wants the recipient to have something that brings them joy or makes their life easier. Anything else is just reacting to advertising pressure.

There is way too much emphasis on who gives what to who here. Let it go, enjoy the family time.
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:55 AM
 
13,087 posts, read 10,440,462 times
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The big elephant in the room is..... what is your relationship with him like during the rest of the year? Holiday season doesn’t occur in isolaton. If he is thoughtful the rest of the year, he probably is just suffering from holiday stress or holiday paralysis and doesn’t want all the drama. On the other hand, if he is a “ taker” year-round, then that is a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed. You certainly have no obligation to take care of him like he’s a child if he won’t contribute, but to get the best outcome in the long term, both you and him must be willing to put in some effort to understand where the other side is coming from. There is no relationship if you don’t relate.
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Old 12-29-2019, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
48,029 posts, read 38,592,487 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncole1 View Post
The big elephant in the room is..... what is your relationship with him like during the rest of the year? Holiday season doesn’t occur in isolaton. If he is thoughtful the rest of the year, he probably is just suffering from holiday stress or holiday paralysis and doesn’t want all the drama. On the other hand, if he is a “ taker” year-round, then that is a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed. You certainly have no obligation to take care of him like he’s a child if he won’t contribute, but to get the best outcome in the long term, both you and him must be willing to put in some effort to understand where the other side is coming from. There is no relationship if you don’t relate.
Well, the OP says this:
Quote:
The grandparents have been so generous over the years, taking him on trips, giving nice gifts on his birthday and holidays, etc. His dad and I welcomed him into our home rent-free for about a year, when he didn't want to live at his mom's house. He has since moved back with his mom (yes, at 26, almost 27), but was selfish even when living with us.
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Old 12-29-2019, 07:40 AM
 
1,262 posts, read 1,592,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
My response on the other thread:
Christmas became much more enjoyable when we stopped most of the gift exchanging. We still buy something for our sons, but have made it clear we want nothing in return. I always buy something for my mother, but practical items, like this year's diabetic socks. Even that small gesture made her feel badly because she had nothing in return for me. I NEVER want gifts to cause anyone anything but happiness.

Our sons have gifted us generously in the past when we made opening presents around the tree an event. No more. They are relieved, we are pleased they still come to see us. Gifts should be given because the giver wants the recipient to have something that brings them joy or makes their life easier. Anything else is just reacting to advertising pressure.

There is way too much emphasis on who gives what to who here. Let it go, enjoy the family time.
Well said.

We found things became much less stressful when we scaled back the big family present exchange to drawing names so that each person was responsible for only one present for one other person.

While I agree some of the behaviors like not helping with dinner cleanup or asking if he should bring a dish for dinner should be addressed by his father, I have to wonder if part of the issue is the pressure to spend a lot of money at the holidays, which may be a burden on some younger and less established members of the family.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:22 AM
 
114 posts, read 88,691 times
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So I am in my 30’s and from the outside may be described the same way about gifts (but not about cleaning up but with that said I don’t visit often).

The gift giving at Christmas can get completely out of hand. We have everything we need as do our family members and friends. Our children have a modest Christmas as do my husband and I. I haven’t gotten around to getting my mom a Christmas present yet and I get my grandmother a few chocolate bars. She loves it. The neighbors all exchange which surprised me at first. The shopping, wrapping, mental effort of trying to get something thoughtful is stressful. Then people end up exchanging fancy body lotion and gift cards. It all took away from being present with my children during the season and I bowed out. Instead, I spend my limited resource of time with husband, children and close neighbors and our financial resources that would go to buying crap that people don’t need/want to buy gifts for foster children off of an amazon list.

We should be giving gifts because we want to not out of obligation. It is not necessarily a lack a manners, it can be a deliberate choice on how to allocate resources. With that said, I do not expect gifts nor do our children. If I am given a gift and do not have one in return I accept it gratefully and thank the giver.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:24 AM
 
Location: southern california
57,162 posts, read 76,145,601 times
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If all he does is get, if he feels entitled, if he is generous with other people’s money but heartless with his own ——
Your son could be a Democrat
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:25 AM
 
3,704 posts, read 1,020,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoxTerra View Post
This has been an ongoing situation over the years, and I finally said something this year. When he came over to his grandparents (where we have dinner and open gifts) I said "Hi! Hey, where are the presents?" And he said "What presents?" and I said "Presents for your dad and grandparents." His response? He just kind of looked down, shook his head and gave me a pissed off look.
You missed your shot.

You should have loudly announced to everyone present that the step-son "Accidentally forgot the presents. He says he will bring them over later." Then turn to the step-son and loudly ask, "It is so generous of you! What time should we expect the presents?"

Then don't let him mumble, keep asking loudly, "what did you say? When? Inquiring minds want to know."
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:29 AM
 
3,704 posts, read 1,020,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
It’s kind of like when adult children with kids go out to dinner with mom and dad, and still expect dad to pick up the check. At least my adult children do do that.
When the check comes, our daughter always asks,
  • "can I split that with you?"
  • to which I always reply, "no thanks; you can have the whole thing."

Then I pick up the check.

Many parents have the issue of efficiently transferring assets to their children in such a was as to minimize gift taxes. Picking up the bill is just one tactic.
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