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Your Opinions Please

My son is 24 & has a long time gf with family out of state. Both of them have graduated from college and have jobs but certainly $ is tight for both of them. My son's birthday is coming up in Feb. and he came home and said that for his birthday he would like for us to fly both of them to her family's for her brother's high school graduation in May.

Backstory: My son visited her family last Christmas and her parents took him to their "church" where the prophet walked over to him during the service & screamed in his face for at least 2 min. as he was revealing prophecy over him. We are Christian and my son has been raised in church, but he was very disturbed by this episode and actually brought home the CD so we could listen to the events as he described this incident to me. The gf was not allowed to go to the service as she didn't "need it".  Her parents are very controlling and this is one reason she lives far away from them

Regardless of the family situation, I really don't see this trip as a gift that is really "for him" as it's his birthday. Her parents have not invited him, nor will they pay for the airline ticket for her to come home to go to her bro's graduation.

How would you handle this situation? The airline tickets will be about $800. 

Re: Your Opinions Please

  • I'm of the school of thought that people shouldn't make demands for what they want for their birthdays; and ordering your parents to give you plane tickets, anywhere, falls within that school.

    I'd get him whatever it is you want to get him; and if that is payment of one month's rent, or a nice new laptop, or a watch, or a greeting card and a hearty handshake, that's what you get him. I would not buy him plane tickets anywhere; not because of the parents' lunacy, but because you don't buy vacations for your children.

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • I'd tell him to wait for the invitation and then you'll send them money for flight tix but not until then. And if he's not invited, he and his gf can send the bro a nice gift, with card signed by them. 

    Wow. They sound a bit nuts to me as does the megachurch they attend.

    Your son's got a bit of a bigger issue than his gf's parents not inviting him to the graduation. He's seeing her long term, which is great --- but the issue is this: he';s going to have to cope with them and their religious fanaticism.  And if he's planning on marrying this girl? Wow, I'm sure that their religion and church and religious beliefs are going to be a huge huge problem.

    They will probably demand that the wedding be held in their church.

    Does she actually belong to the same church as her parents?

     If she does, and marriage is in the future -- which it probably is, since they're seeing each other seriously -- he and she need to talk about religion when marriage is on the horizon.

    They should decide what they want, not what her parents want. Because I get the very ugly feeling that all hell will break loose with her parents getting into the mix.

  • And you might tell him, since he missed the lesson when he was growing up, that attempting to direct people's anticipated generosity is vulgar and rude.
    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • Unless $800 is your usual budget I'd just tell him that you don't spend that much for birthday gifts and you're not prepared to do it this time either.  I can't imagine expecting my parents to buy me a trip for my birthday.  Resist the temptation to comment in anyway on her parents or the trip. 

    .
  • Has he always told you what to give him for his BD? Have you always spent that amount of money.

    And IF she left because of their behavior WHY would they keep going back?

    Send him some $ and tell him to do what he wants with it, but send the amount you normally would.



  • Give him whatever you would normally give him, which is probably well under 800$.

    Resist the urge to comment on her family and their religion. 

    Hope is not a strategy.
  • Gee, and for my birthday, I'd like my parents to send me to Hawaii.  Not that there's a snowball's chance in helll that it will happen. 

    I'm sorry, but $800 for a birthday present seems mighty extravagant to me.

    I would get him the type of gift you normally would, or the cash equivalent.  If he wants to go on that trip badly enough he will find ways to earn and save the money to do so.

    You're under absolutely NO OBLIGATION to do this.

    image
  • He is an adult with a job.  If he wants to go, he can figure out a way to do it.  That is what being an adult is all about...deciding what is important and working toward it.  

    But let's face it, what is really bothering you is the visit to their church.  You are upset about what happened to your son and you are alarmed about her parents and their beliefs.  This is the root of your discomfort.  If you approved of the parents, I figure you would have easily agreed to at least contributing toward the plane tickets, at least in the amount that you would have normally spend on his present.

    BTW, I have a feeling that the church they attended with your son would identify itself as "Christian".  There are a lot of flavors to Christianity, some of them not to our personal liking.

    Again, your son is an adult.  He now knows what kind of people his gf's parents are and he knows what might occur if he goes with them to church.  He needs to be prepared to insist that he will NOT be attending church with him again.  He doesn't need to be offensive, he just has to be firm and clear.

  • Thanks, Ladies...many good points...

    No, we don't usually spend that amount for a birthday gift. He has never asked for that type of gift which I found a bit unusual. I know that he wants to make her happy and may feel a certain amount of pressure to please gf.

    But, if they want to travel to her family for an event later in the year, that can be on their own money, especially since they have plenty of time to save for it, ie, non-emergency trip.

    And we will be doing our usual birthday gift that will be something for him.

    Yes, he's an adult and will have to deal with all her family issues, not me. It's really not for me to "approve of her parents" anyway.  We like her and have a very friendly relationship.

  • I would say  "son, that doesn't really sound like a gift for you and not something that I feel very good about giving considering what happened at that church, but it does sound like you would like money, and that's what I'll give you for your birthday, to do whatever you want with it"

     

  • I don't think there is anything wrong with giving him cash this year in lieu of a gift to help him save for this trip. He's 24, he probably has enough stuff and this sounds like a nice plan for the both of them. Footing the bill is a bit much, especially for her ticket which is clearly to a family event. Let's get real, this isn't a birthday trip.
    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • If you wouldn't normally spend $800 on his birthday gift, why would you even consider making this year an exception? My parents would have laughed at me (until they realized that I was serious, then they'd just be shocked) if I ever asked for an $800 birthday present, wouldn't matter how old I was.
    Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Who fishes for an $800 dollar present?  That's bizarre - if the graduation is important to gf, and since it isn't a pop-up surprise that graduation ceremonies take place, she should have money already pocketed away for her own trip.  Or her parents can fund her part of the vacation.  Your son, presumably he's living on his own and has a job, also has had the opportunity to save up.  Asking for such a big dollar amount (OK, for me it is big - maybe it isn't to others in this economy) seems just wrong to me.  Added to that your own red-flags over the trip, I wouldn't put penny one down towards the trip.  Yet, if the other parents send tickets to travel, they may still end up at that worship center...so I see you as having to have two different talks with him - one about what you'd like to do for his birthday, and second pertaining to your concerns.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image livinitup:
    I don't think there is anything wrong with giving him cash this year in lieu of a gift to help him save for this trip. He's 24, he probably has enough stuff and this sounds like a nice plan for the both of them. Footing the bill is a bit much, especially for her ticket which is clearly to a family event. Let's get real, this isn't a birthday trip.

     

    THIS is what I am thinking...not about his birthday at all...

  • I disagree about the gift not being "for him."  If he asked for the trip, that's what he wants.  It could be that the gf''s controlling parents keep sister and brother separate and it is important for her to be a part of her brother's life.  If that's the case and your son values THAT relationship, that is his choice.

    However, $800 is a lot of money for a birthday gift!  I can't see giving my children that much money at any time in their lives. 

    Your son is an adult, he's old enough to know what he wants.  However, you are an adult and are able to make your own choices as well.

    I would give my son the $ I would contribute towards a gift (not anywhere near $800).  I would also take the opportunity to open a discussion about dealing with difficult parents / ILS and how it's important to have an action plan.  Maybe also talk about "boundries," and how it is not necessary to attend church with your GFs parents if their services make you uncomfortable.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • I live across the country from my family and when my brother graduated 2 years ago, DH and I (at the time he was my boyfriend) went back. I have a terrible relationship with my family, but you know what? We went to the graduation to support my brother and spent the rest of the week sight seeing and enjoying our vacation. He wasn't thrilled about spending time with my family, but it *was* a vacation for him as well.

     

    My other brother is graduating in May, as well, and we are planning to do the same thing.

     

    When I was still in college, I couldn't afford to go back and see my family. It had been more than a year since I'd seen any of them and even though we had a bad relationship, they're still my family and I missed them. DH (again, he was my boyfriend at the time), asked for cash for Christmas and used it to buy me a $500 plane ticket and a couple hundred on a hotel room so that I could go back by myself (he spent all that money -- his Christmas money and he didn't even come). He said watching me be hurt was the worst feeling and he wanted me to be able to see them.

    That was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Maybe it's a similar situation with your son. When you love someone, it's not always about who's birthday it is.

     

    Take that FWIW.

  • I think the fact that he wants to go visit her family with her even though he obviously had an awkward time last time shows that he's really crazy about the girl, and I think it's great that he's putting her first.  that being said I think that asking for a gift that cost so much is ridiculous, I don't really think that it matters that he's asking for something that's more for her than form him (I think that's kinda sweet actually) but asking for something that costs so much, I'd tell him that you just don't spend that kind of money on birthday gifts and get him something you feel is more appropriate.  IMO people suggest birthday gifts for themselves but it by no way means the giver HAS to give them whatever they wish for.
  • i would say that a lesson in how to save and budget money for something that he wants is a better gift than anything.

    he works. he can save just like everyone else does. so can his GF.

    buy him a nice gift along the lines of what you usually give him.

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • image Sagenhaft:

    I live across the country from my family and when my brother graduated 2 years ago, DH and I (at the time he was my boyfriend) went back. I have a terrible relationship with my family, but you know what? We went to the graduation to support my brother and spent the rest of the week sight seeing and enjoying our vacation. He wasn't thrilled about spending time with my family, but it *was* a vacation for him as well.

     

    My other brother is graduating in May, as well, and we are planning to do the same thing.

     

    When I was still in college, I couldn't afford to go back and see my family. It had been more than a year since I'd seen any of them and even though we had a bad relationship, they're still my family and I missed them. DH (again, he was my boyfriend at the time), asked for cash for Christmas and used it to buy me a $500 plane ticket and a couple hundred on a hotel room so that I could go back by myself (he spent all that money -- his Christmas money and he didn't even come). He said watching me be hurt was the worst feeling and he wanted me to be able to see them.

    That was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Maybe it's a similar situation with your son. When you love someone, it's not always about who's birthday it is.

     

    Take that FWIW.

     

    Honestly to me, It would be your problem along with your family to get you home for something "important" like that or just even to see them. I would feel so guilty if DH asked my IL's for money for X-mas or his BD just to send me home. Graduations,weddings,family reunions etc. are not life or death/valid reasons for a trip home. The only time My IL's gave me money to go home was when they bought both of us a plane ticket to my home (san antonio, TX) because my dad passed away when he was hit by a drunk driver(april 2010) and even in those times i felt guilty for them spending so much on a last min ticket. So no I don't agree with the above said and I think your son needs to save money for a costly trip like that. I'm 22 and couldn't imagine asking for that much money or even asking for someone else to expense my trip. 

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