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Gift To Estranged SD - Advice Requested

16 years ago

Hi Folks,

As many of you will recall, our 17 yo SD moved (from our home in VA) to live with her single biofather in FL after years of his promises of a BMW sports car, living in a big new house he "bought for her," endless list of big ticket toys, few rules, and even the offer to have her girlfriend move in with them also. Nothing would be delivered unless she moved in with him. After SD's move in January she has estranged herself from us now, almost totally. SD will not return phone calls from her mother, and only replys to occasional text messages from her mother.

My wife asked that we plan a 1 week vacation in FL at a beach that puts us conveniently only 1 hour away from where SD lives during the week of SD's 18th birthday in early November. This way we get a nice vacation, we can visit other friends in FL, and also ask SD out for a Birthday dinner since we will be in the area over her birthday week. Goal is to try to start a normal communication with SD, to simply see her, and to celebrate her 18th birthday with her. We would keep the dinner conversation very light, and have no motives except to see her and maybe start to regain normal communication; a baby step in the right direction hopefully. SD has not yet agreed to meet with us, as communicated through text messages which is the only way SD will communicate with her mother.

Here is the issue. My wife insists on giving SD a significant dollar value gift certificate to Tiffany's for SD to get herself some exotic jewelery as a gift from us. Sounds nice on the surface, however SD has used this "cutting off of communication and estrangement" technique with her father for many years and he was driven to the point of promising everything under the sun to get her to have a relationship with him. And it worked! Once all of the big promise offers, the big fancy home, and an offer to have SD's 17 yo girlfriend move in also was secured, SD made her move to live with biofather. Now we are the recipients of the "cutting off of communication and estrangement" just like she was treating her father. My concern is that if we give her this high dollar gift certificate to Tiffany's, are we now reinforcing her behavior effectively saying to SD, that this technique of estrangement works over time to get the big ticket gifts and behavior from parents that she wants? I do not want to reinforce this type of "estrangement" behavior. And I must say that to me, it just doesn't feel right to offer an expensive gift to SD when we have been treated so badly for the last 11 months. SD is acting like she doesn't want anything to do with her mother and me. I feel that just going down to see her and having a very nice dinner together, giving her a nice birthday card, and our best wishes to her, treating SD like an adult of course, is adequate and appropriate.

Please let us know what you all think about the gift certificate to Tiffany's (SD's favorite store) idea. I think that my wife is trying to "buy" her affection and I think it will not work, and that this will just bring on more estrangement behavior, since it worked this time! We sincerely appreciate your comments. Thank You!

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