Sibling Gifts on Birthdays: Cool or Coddling?

birthday presents for siblingsI have a very specific memory when I was around three years old. It was my older brother's birthday and my grandmother brought me a Mary Poppins record that I fell in love with. I still feel warm and fuzzy when I hear "Supercalifragilicious Expialadocious." Which is why today is my daughter's fifth birthday, and I've got something in my back pocket for her 22-month-old little brother.

According to some hardcore parents on message boards I'm spoiling my child by breaking out a gift on his sister's birthday. Maybe that's true. After all, we do like to emphasize giving instead of receiving around our house, and after celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and now a winter birthday -- that's difficult to do considering the stacks of toys.

But I don't want my little dude to feel left out on sis's birthday. Is that so wrong?


I don't anticipate any kind of temper tantrum situation. Like I said, the loot from the holidays still keeps him totally occupied. It's more about showing him he's not being forgotten as the crowds of kids and stacks of presents surround his big sister. I remember that act of kindness by my own grandmother, and I'd like for him to feel it as well.

Of course, once his birthday rolls around next month, I'll probably have to do this for his big sister. Which, I actually have more negative feelings about since she's officially a pre-schooler and is better able to grasp the concept of special days. Showing restraint is not her strong suit, but it's time for her to learn that she isn't always the recipient of gifts. I realize this isn't fair, and she will be the first one to make that observation. This double standard will have to do, though, and I'm sure I'll be messing up one of them by my unequal present distribution.

Ahhh, well. They've got to have something to talk about in therapy when they're in their 20s.

Do you give siblings presents on the other one's birthday?


Image via Kevin Briody/Flickr

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