Is it customary to send your kid’s college SO a birthday card, a gift or neither? They’ve been dating for over a year and we’ve met once during parent’s weekend.
No, I do not think it is customary.
Goodness I hope not, my kids have had many SO’s who dated for over a year (one is pushing four years), I haven’t acknowledged a birthday yet.
I never got a gift or card from family of my SO’s and was in very serious relationships with them over many years (including pre-marital counseling).
Our S has been dating his GF for >5 years and we haven’t been told her birthday. We have met her taken them out to meals several times when we visit, etc.
I don’t give gifts to their other friends on their birthdays so same policy for unofficial significant others.
We have started giving birthday gift checks to my D2s boyfriend, with a message to do something fun. He’s much more into experiences than things. They have lived together for four years. We treat him like we treat D1’s husband and son’s wife. At Christmas everyone gets something cozy to wear, a new book, and a check made out to each couple jointly.
For their college SO’s we did not exchange gifts.
We give SO’s birthday and Christmas gifts.
My view is to “start as you mean to go on”. I want good relationships with all my future daughters in law, and of course you can’t tell at the beginning if a girlfriend will later become a daughter in law.
I had a terrible relationship with my own mother-in-law, mostly because she really didn’t like me. So, the one message I want to send – which I think overcomes many small differences – is “I think you are great! I like you!”. So whatever gets that message across is good! If that means sending a birthday card or present, go for it! Don’t forget that you are intimidating to the boy/girlfriend, so dispelling any nervousness is good!
I made offers earlier and asked S for guidance. He was silent and D told me to back off and stop pressuring S, so I have backed off and don’t pressure. If I send something to both of them, I address if to both of them (e.g. edible treats).
I sort of don’t understand what is the harm in sending a card if you wish to do so. What message are you sending other than you are a caring person who remembered their birthday?
It depends. First off, I’d let your kid take the lead. Ask them first. I like to make little bags of cookies to send to my kids and their roommates. In that instance, I don’t think there is anything wrong with including a bag of cookies for the SO.
As for when kids start dating seriously and long term, I’d say there is nothing wrong with giving the SO something nice, but inexpensive. Or give your kid and their BF/GF a gift card for a place they can go together!
We have a ‘must be present to win’ philosophy. If the person is there for Christmas or a birthday, presents are given.
Both my daughters get gifts from the mothers of their boyfriends. Both guys only have brothers, so I think those mothers are looking for girls to give girl things to. One gave D a formal dress, shoes, the whole get up for her to go to a New Years Eve party with the boyfriend/son.
My gifts to the boyfriends have been sweaters and socks because those sort of things match the other gifts given to family members on Christmas. Exciting, aren’t we?
That is my go to gift for Christmas, a gift certificate to restaurants, one year I got them Broadway roulette gift certificates. I choose the gc I think the SO will like.
I generally did not get gifts. But one of my D’s BF’s parents got her a small bday gift so I reciprocated but didn’t know him well enough to send anything really personal – I opted for a gift card for a movie theater chain that was near campus with enough money to cover two tickets and popcorn - so basically a free date with my D! It was pre-covid and seemed to go over well with both D and her (then) SO).
Nothing really, though I don’t tend to send anything until I’ve met the BF or GF. I’d say let your kid take the lead and ask them…
Maybe a card once they’re “serious” but no gifts until engaged (if not married).
The msg could be that you are overinvested in their relationship. Or that you really want this to work out, when they don’t even know whether they want it to work out. You never know how your innocent-to-you gesture could be construed.
If your inclination is to send something, I’d ask your ds or dd and see what they say. Ds2 is all about these kinds of gestures, but one time I suggested something and he said no, too much. Got it!
OP did say they met the GF at Parents Weekend.
Don’t disagree that you could ask your child “is this ok or is this weird?” But beyond that how can a birthday greeting be a terrible thing? Unless you are sending a DIL card!
I did send a cute dish towel to both my D and S+GF for Valentine’s Day and other than that mostly just edibles because he buys whatever he/they want. Hard to know which places they favor and are open with covid.
I think when couple is engaged or living together could be the right time to start giving gifts.