When Adult Children Don’t Reciprocate Gift Giving

The kids became the image of what their mom portrayed of their father.

The flurry of Christmas rose and fell.  Road trips to neighboring towns, and sparkling festivities came and went.  The aftermath is a welcome slowdown and opportunity to reflect on the joys and a few disappointments of the holidays. 

After the warm hugs, cute babies, and nostalgic family photo albums, normalcy returns.  All a sudden, reality intrudes into the joie de vivre.

Introspection while taking down the Christmas tree brings a sudden awareness of a rude reality. Two kids over the age of thirty did not reciprocate with gift giving.  This led to the revelation that the same is true of birthdays.  Oftentimes, however, a greeting card or phone call happens.

One kid can afford Sirius Radio, a decked out stereo system, and a megalithic sized television – and only comes forth with a gift every so often.  The other one has never reciprocated.  He’s the one who begged the question of “Why should I take a girl out to dinner, when I can have two dinners for myself? 

Patiently waiting for maturity to develop, it’s easy to overlook and create excuses for the tightwad offspring.  Part and parcel of being good natured is how suddenly the feeling that someone has just stepped on your head becomes clear.

A list of self made excuses goes as follows:

  • Oh well, these poor kids are the product of a vicious divorce. 
  • They’ve seen plenty of other people taking advantage of Dad, so why shouldn’t they?
  • Being child victims of a ferocious break up, they saw all the child support going into the purchase of a singular prestigious SUV for the ex to drive.  (The net worth of the vehicle was only slightly less than their home in a shabby neighborhood.)
  • Embittered divorcee blathering successfully brainwashed the kids, making forgiveness appear to be some kind of weakness.

What were the kids thinking?  Nothing.  They still can’t think for themselves because of a dictatorial mother who idolizes power, and is intent on creating clones instead of mentally healthy kids.

After looking at the whole picture, thoughts of more excuses for the kids’ miserly mind-set reveal an underlying irony.

Both kids developed a self serving and convoluted sense of empathy; in doing so, they grew up to be cheap skates themselves. The mother’s descriptions became something they thought they knew of their father due to what she spitefully hammered into their heads.  She didn’t mind using the children for pawns in her game of revenge.  This trait, as described by the wild spender mom, was mordant and to her end, effective; the so called tightfistedness was all they really knew of to emulate of their father.  

Divorced parents who bad rap the ex might want to think twice before villainizing the former spouse.

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  1. Great share — the time to stop giving is when your parents house is bulging at the seams. Then, it’s time to give your loved ones the gift of space.

  2. Very good work good post success

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