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Why divorcing parents should take care over gifts for their kids

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Family Law |

If you have recently been through a divorce, you’ll want to show your child that while you no longer love their other parent, your love for them is as strong as ever.

The other parent will likely want to do the same, which can lead to competition over who can buy the best present for Christmas or birthdays.

Guilt can be an issue

Even if competition is not the original motive, parents can feel drawn to overspend on gifts through guilt. They feel bad that they’ve made life harder for their child and want to make it up to them. Or they feel bad that the other parent can buy something big whereas all they can afford is something simple. If each parent thinks like this, it can lead to both spending more than they can afford.

Kids are unlikely to hold a less expensive present against you

Children know if one parent has more money than the other. So they will also understand that one parent can afford to spend more on Christmas or birthdays than the other. While they might like the other parent’s gift more than yours, it does not mean they love you less.

Don’t make your child feel bad about enjoying their presents

Your child has a right to enjoy the presents they receive from their other parent just as much as they have the right to enjoy things you give them. If they hear you moaning about how your ex has tried to outdo you, they may feel guilty and even start hiding things their other parent buys them to avoid upsetting you.

If you are worried about the situation, try talking to your ex before you start buying gifts. Maybe you could agree to put a limit on the spending. Perhaps you could buy a joint present, each putting in what you can afford. It is just one of the many issues you will face as co-parents, and learning to communicate and work together will benefit you and your children.