What is the right way to address this?

This is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Frustrating. You don’t want to deny a good faith gesture, YET you don’t know if he may be possibly using this instance to get you to change your mind about the visiting. I think you have to go with your first instinct. If you feel accomodating you could say “Thank you for taking into consideration the appropriateness of the gift. I will allow ***** to accept it. But, this does not mean I will allow you to visit with him”.

I don’t know if he is an ‘all or nothing’ kindof guy. If he is, then he may use this instance to hold over your head. You can’t really ask your son because of course…he’ll want a gift (what 10 year old wouldn’t).

Tough situation. I’m sorry. [V]

He is an “All or Nothing” type… I know that. I have talked to my son (he’ll be 12 in a few weeks) and explained to him it is not right to accept a gift from someone that is not allowed to see or speak to him, especially when he doesn’t want to see or speak to that person. I told him I understand that he wants the gift, what person wouldn’t, but its not the right thing to do. My son responded that he realizes its not right and it would be selfish to keep the gift. He then looked at me at the end of the conversation and said, “Besides mom, he can’t buy my love.”

I will send his gifr back when it gets here, I just need to figure out a calm and non-aggressive letter to write and send with it as my explanation… “Thank you for thinking of **** on his birthday, but I stand by my original request of there being no more gift exchanges or contact.”


I would have to agree with comingclean2 on this one. Maybe what you should do is, open the gift, see what it is and then if it’s appropriate rewrap it. If it’s not, return it and give him a gift card. Instead of letting the ex make you out to be the bad guy, ask him to let you approve what he sends prior.

The thing my husband and I have learned is that the most of the rated M games are for the violence not due to anything else; cursing, sex, or nudity. If your child is anything like my stepsons, by 11 they had already watched Preditor; Jaws and other movies that have considerable a amount of violence in them. The part that we don’t want them to have on video games in the drug references, sexual situations, or bad language. They hear it on TV, at school and all around. We can’t protect them from seeing violence. It’s in cartoons, it’s on the news, it’s in the nature programs. It’s our job to teach them that violence is not a solution to problems and to also show them the difference in reality and fantasy.

IF your son understands the situation and agrees that accepting the gift is wrong, then returning is with a letter of thanks, but… should be sufficient. Especially since it isn’t about the gift after all.

True about the rated M games, but there is also the type of violence. The particular game he tried to give him Christmas was Call of Duty IV - and is soooo not appropriate. (Please keep in mind, my stbx is active duty military, special forces/ranger and I just recently left the military after 13 years of service.) After personal loss of people I know closely and knowing hoe realistic Call of Duty IV is I find it completely inappropriate.

That aside, he told me the gift he chose already and it is appropriate. That is not the issue - I’ve said no more and I have stood by that. If we accept the gift he will use it against me later, I know that from his past record. That aside - I cannot raise my son to believe it is okay to takes gifts from a person you don’t even want to speak to. My stbx is very materialistic and I refuse to allow either of the children to grow up to be the same way, there is so much more to life.

Then I think you are doing the right thing standing by your original statement of not allowing gifts. If your ex is not visiting, has no custody and the child has no desire to visit or speak to him, then gifts are not appropriate. It’s a way to make you out to be a bad guy. I think Mom23 has a good idea with having the child send the gift back. I remember my Mom making me write thank you notes to my Grandmother for gifts and it would be considered good etiquette. If the note comes from your son and the gift is returned to him it may drive the point home that it’s not just you making this decision. Sit your son down and explain why it would not be right for him to keep any gifts and ask him how he would like the situation handled. I know this puts a lot of pressure on him, he’s 11…he would like to have the video game or whatever. It’s got to be all or nothing. If he has chosen not to have this person as part of his life, then that means a complete break instead of just when it’s convenient.

My son wrote the thank you note (the gifts for both boys arrived yesterday.) He is a mature young man. I told him to write a thank you note to include with the gift when I send it back. He finished and told me here is the final copy mom. I could have been knocked over with a feather with what he wrote (he turns 12 on Monday.)

Paraphrased as follows:

Thank you for the gifts. I know **** really enjoys his gifts. Thank you but I can not keep your gift. You can not purchase love and I know that is what you are trying to do. You can not purchase my love. Mom is sending the gifts back because I want her to. This letter was written by me, *****, to ***** and noone else.

He floored me, he didn’t ask for help and I didn’t offer any, it needed to be his own words. Kids are so much smarter than people give them credit for.

I would not return the gift. Just donate it to charity, and send him a note saying such, and that all further gifts will be donated to a charity. Then you will not have the expense of sending it back. I would not thank him either, why would you thank someone who is trying to manipulate you or your child. Good luck.

I have received legal advice from Helena on how to handle my stbx’s constant requests to speak with and visit my oldest son (not his child with me.) I have also told him no more gifts (it is not right, nor appropriate for me to allow my son to accept gifts from a person that is no longer part of his life. In the past he has repeatedly chosen inappropriate gifts for a child of his age… ex: rated M war games for an 11 year old.) He refuses to abide by my request for no more gifts.

He just emailed me today to tell me he is sending gifts for our son together and my oldest son for his birthday, he stated what he bought him and he tried to get a gift I’d approve of and he wrote:

“I am asking you to keep whatever issues that you and I have between you and I, and allow ****** a gift on his Birthday.”

I’m trying to figure out how to handle this. He is trying to make me look petty with this email rather than looking at the entire picture, his past actions that led to this decision and the situation as a whole.