It’s easy to buy a gift for the parent who likes you. A mom or dad who adores you will likely adore anything you get them—no matter how shitty the gift is—simply because it came from their beloved child. A far greater challenge is finding the perfect gift for the parent who is actively disappointed in you and the way you live your life. What do you get those parents?

The first thing that you, a disappointing child, have to decide before purchasing your gift is whether or not you want to change your folks’ perception of you. Do you want them to understand you? Do you want them to recognize your success? Or would you rather rub your differences in their faces? I have provided gift options for any and all possibilities.


For the disappointed parent who you want to impress:

Monogrammed locket

What sweeter gift is there for your disappointed parent than a beautiful monogrammed locket (in gold or silver) containing a photo of you from a time when they still liked you? (Lifehack: Have it monogrammed with YOUR first initial so they end up giving it to you.) (Catbird, $68-178)

Apple Watch


An Apple Watch says two things: 1. “I AM SUCCESSFUL ENOUGH IN MY CAREER TO AFFORD BUYING YOU AN APPLE WATCH, MOM OR DAD” and 2. “I am going to make you feel small and stupid as I, smarter in technology, explain this gadget to you.” (Apple, $350)

For the parent who’s terrified of the modern world:

Canary Home Security System


Whether your parents are afraid that Obama is going to break into their house to steal their guns away (you have bigger issues, but we’ll deal with them some other time) or they just want a way to monitor the pets they’ve used to fill the hole that you’ve left in their hearts (hi mom!), the Canary Home Security camera will allow them to secure their home/spy on their dogs through their smartphones. (Canary, $199)

For the disappointed parent who needs to be educated:

Youth culture indoctrination materials


Perhaps your parent doesn’t understand why basic things like saving money and buying a house might be harder for you than they were for them. Perhaps they don’t believe in global warming and still have retrograde stances on gender equality. Rather than screaming about the selfishness of baby boomers, give them the gift of educational reading. .

Capital in the Twenty First Century by Thomas Piketty, $25.42

This Changes Everything: Capital vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein, $9.53

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, $5.75

Or give your parents a glimpse into the lives of white, middle class young people in New York City. It will disgust them


Broad City, Season Two on DVD, $22.24

For the parent you don’t care about disappointing:

A DVD pack of The Bad Seed, The Omen and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane


A pleasant reminder that it could always be worse. (The Bad Seed, $13.89 on Blu-ray; The Omen, $17.76 for multi-format; What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, $15.98 on Blu-ray)

A campaign donation to Bernie Saunders (or the liberal candidate/organization of your choice)


Because what would enrage a conservative parent more than making a donation in their name to that commie who’s running for president? Throw in a donation to Planned Parenthood and make it a gift set! (Varies, $0-Thousands)

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Images via their respective vendors; Illustration by Gawker Media’s art team

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