My brother insists on giving my son, age nine, gifts that I feel are unsuitable, such as DVDs with fighting, coarse language and showing disrespect to women. Should I continue to make an issue of this or just see that, after the birthday party, they disappear? My son will certainly ask about them.
You’re not alone with this dilemma. I often see young children playing games, watching shows or receiving gifts that most of us wouldn’t condone. It’s almost impossible to exert any influence with the parents of our kid’s friends whom you might not know well – it’s bound to cause hard feelings. But, with a family member, you have every right to make your feelings very clear.
Have a heart-to-heart with your brother and tell him about your concerns and your goals for raising your son. Give him some options:
• Suggest that you shop together.
• Offer to shop on his behalf.
• Ask your son to make a list of gifts he would like.
• Suggest your brother give your son a gift certificate to buy his own games.
If he chooses to ignore your pleas, warn him that you will have to confiscate the gifts. This makes you the bad guy, but in your heart you know it’s the right thing to do.
Published March 2010