I’m a kid who gave my parents some nice gifts this holiday season. Should I expect them to spend what I want?

Which is more confusing: How can I get a say in the decisions of my parents? Or can they have a say in my spending, even though I support them financially? A surprise gift…

I’m a kid who gave my parents some nice gifts this holiday season. Should I expect them to spend what I want?

Which is more confusing: How can I get a say in the decisions of my parents? Or can they have a say in my spending, even though I support them financially?

A surprise gift from Mom or Dad might be considered a “welcome present” by some. Other times, it’s interpreted as an unsolicited gift that must be returned.

Generally, what parents consider to be a gift is regarded as a gift. Even when they give a gift in cash, it can be considered a gift to keep. It doesn’t matter if you have their permission for the gift.

The courts have made it clear that gifts are gifts. Your parents are not obligated to spend as much on you as you ask them to, so they can’t decide how much you need and want to spend.

The dollar amount used to answer the question has to be “reasonable.” This may be more problematic for your parents since some might want to spend a lot more on you, and they could say that the amount you request is “too much.”

But here’s the good news: If you can afford to be stingy with your parents, you should always be. You don’t have to spend exactly as they tell you to, but you do have to spend what makes you happy.

Discuss this matter with your parents. Explain that you value your relationship with them, but you’d like to make sure you’re spending money on them that is important to you. Emphasize that you would appreciate knowing what they are and are not planning to do with the money. If you’re certain they’ll spend the money on your hobbies or people or whatever they want, then they can say “no.” If they aren’t sure, give them a little space. You have your personal requests, and they will have theirs.

I’m hoping this will help. Thanks.

MARC

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this op-ed do not necessarily reflect those of The New York Times.

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