Over the years, I have sent my nieces and nephews gifts for birthdays and Christmas without any thanks or any acknowledgement that the package was received. Normally, I wait a month and then ask my sister-in-law if the package was received. She will say "Oh yes-thanks." I also used to send my sister-in-law and brother-in-law gifts but I stopped because I was getting the same response. If they don't appreciate it, then why bother?
I don't want to stop sending gifts to my nieces and nephews, but it bothers me that they are not being taught manners. So, I decided to write my sister-in-law and inform her that it bothered me when my gifts were not acknowledged. I also informed her that I would be sending checks from now on so that at least when the canceled check shows up on my bank statement, I will know the kids received my gift. I haven't heard from her since. Was there a better way to go about this other than let it eat me up inside and say nothing?
What to Do
Dear What to Do,
Considerate, kind, and respectful children are not born that way, but need to be taught. You are correct that your nieces and nephews have not been taught manners about acknowledging gifts.
However, it is not just your sister-in-law's duty to teach proper behavior, it is also your brother's. Instead of writing your sister-in-law, speak with your brother directly. Also, so as not to put him on the defensive, gently tell him how it feels when gifts you've sent are not acknowledged. For example, say that you feel hurt and unappreciated.
If speaking with your brother still does not generate an acknowledgement of your gift from your nieces and nephews, then write a short note to each niece and nephew about how you feel. If that still does not generate a phone call or a note of thanks, then you can either stop sending gifts or continue to give gifts but with a change of attitude, or otherwise, as you've stated, it will eat you up inside. One way to start changing your attitude is to realize that children are a byproduct of their parents, and it is not their fault.