Left shaking their heads at their parents' and in-laws' gifting track record, these parents are at their wits' end.

By Maressa Brown
July 20, 2021
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An image of gifts.
Credit: Getty Images.

Even when grandparents mean well, they might miss the mark with gifts, creating a frustrating situation for all involved. That's exactly what went down recently for a mom on Reddit writing under the handle u/gaggle_of_can_geese. The original poster (OP), who has a 2.5-year-old and a 9-month-old, said she loves her kids' grandparents who are "kind and loving," but "man, do they not understand age-appropriate gifts."

The OP saw them for the first time in months, due to the pandemic, and to make gifting easier, she texted a photo of a book series her 2.5-year-old likes. "I understand that it can be hard to know what kids are into at the moment," she wrote. "Suggestion was taken well."

But fast-forward to gift-opening, and the grandparents gave the kids a Lego set for 6 , "two beautiful books" that are meant for children 10 and older, and "a small car."

"Small car hit the mark with older kid but has bits that come off for baby to swallow," noted the OP. "Plus, grandparents would not say what gifts were before they were unwrapping them with kid, so not an option to hide it afterwards. Cue meltdown."

Although the Redditor said she didn't mean to sound ungrateful, she wished age-appropriateness was taken into consideration, turning it over to other commenters to share similar experiences, and oh, did they deliver.

u/alpacapug shared that her MIL—aka mother-in-law—"only buys age-inappropriate things." "From the SWORD when he was 18 months old (it was longer than him, warning label literally had a cartoon with a red X through a baby face to warn its not for under 6 y.o.s), the tiny Legos and cars when he was an infant, and a cooking set with measuring cups and recipes clearly meant for an elementary-aged kid," she noted. Her "favorite" was when her MIL bought her not even 2-year-old "a fully motorized, large car" with "gas pedals" that's meant to be used "in a street."

"Imagine your toddler, on their BEST day, using this thing," she wrote. "Nightmare. I wouldn't even open the box."

Another mom, writing under u/brilaaa, shared that her father-in-law's gift for her 2-week-old was pretty much the last thing a new parent needs. "He brought a PUPPY," she wrote. "We didn't accept it." It didn't stop there. When her son turned 1, FIL gave him an electric car for a 4- or 5-year-old. That's "still in the box in our garage."

u/Exhausted-Marge detailed how when her husband explained that a rocking swan wouldn't work for their baby, her MIL "threw a tantrum (yes, like a toddler) but husband stood his ground."

She concluded, "Come Christmas Day, they had not bought the swan thankfully, but MIL made a point to say in front of the entire family that she was really disappointed we didn't let her buy it and that she was crying in the toy store."

u/focused_pineaple pointed out that behavior is not normal, noting, "Your MIL sounds like mine, like a narcissist."

And u/Monztur noted, "My in-laws gift buying strategy seems to be to find the biggest and cheapest gifts they can find for our toddler. They always end up being a huge pain to build, break within days, and then in-laws will ask months/years later where the gift is."

As well-meaning as most grandparents are when they're doling out pricey, age-inappropriate packages, these stories make you wonder if it might be best for some families to skip gifting altogether.