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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Kid’s Birthday Party

Home Forums Advice & Chat Kid’s Birthday Party

  • This topic has 29 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 2 days, 1 hour ago by Anonymousse.
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  • #1116098 Reply
    Avatar photoLady_Red
    Participant

    My son’s 8th birthday is coming up. This will be his first “real” birthday party where he gets to invite his own friends (in the past it’s just been family and family friends, then even less for the pandemic years). He’s on a soccer team and wants to invite all but 2 of the kids on the team. He claims they could cause problems. I told him that the polite thing to do is to invite the whole team, but he’s very insistent that he doesn’t want to invite these 2. I’m feeling conflicted on whether to insist that we invite these two boys or not. They all seem to get along fine at soccer. He’s also inviting 5 other classmates, so it’s not just the soccer teammates.
    What are your thoughts?

    #1116100 Reply
    bloodymediocrity
    Participant

    Don’t force your kid to invite people he doesn’t want to his party. Don’t call attention to them (“Hey, soccer team, everyone but Tim and Tom are invited!”) but there’s nothing to be gained by dragging kids your own son doesn’t like to his party.

    #1116101 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    I don’t know…it hard when it’s all BUT two. At school, there’s a rule you cannot hand out invitations unless the entire class is invited. I also have an eight year old who is like very adamant in who he likes and doesn’t- and I wouldn’t personally want to force him to invite kids he doesn’t like. In all probability, they may also not like him.

    I’d just invite who he wants and not make a deal out of it. Don’t second guess or worry about kid’s feelings that are not yours. It’s your son’s first party where he can invite his friends.

    #1116102 Reply
    Avatar photoDear Wendy
    Keymaster

    I’m the mom of a kid who was usually the one boy or one of two boys in the entire class not invited to birthday parties. One time, I was with my kid at the playground when we saw all the boys in his class and they all had sleeping bags with them. it was obvious there had been a sleepover bday party for one of the boys the night before and the playground had been designated as the pick-up spot that morning. My kid was 8, and didn’t seem to catch on to what was going on but I did and I was pissed. I blamed the birthday kid’s parents and could not muster a smile at the mother for two years when I’d see her around the neighborhood. Just something to consider if you have to see these parents regularly at soccer games and practice and stuff.

    #1116103 Reply
    Avatar photoDear Wendy
    Keymaster

    And, eek, on the advice not to worry about kids’ feelings that aren’t yours. I hope you didn’t really mean that, anonymousse – that doesn’t sound like you! As a mom of a kid who is neurodiverse, I am super sensitive to this topic. I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it is to experience the effects of people not caring about my kid’s feelings. I wish more parents discussed with their kids the importance of being empathetic to other kids, especially ones who are a little different.

    #1116104 Reply
    Avatar photoDear Wendy
    Keymaster

    Also, I’d encourage to find out what your son means when he says these two other kids would “cause problems.” What kind of problems? I mean, it’s possible the two kids are just jerks and really are troublemakers, but you say you haven’t seen evidence of that? What if the reason your kid doesn’t like these others is that they’re just different somehow.
    This is an opportunity to open a discussion with your kid about navigating personality differences and perhaps even fostering empathy. It’s not the end of the world to exclude one or two kids from a party, but it’s important to discuss with your kid how that might make the excluded kids feel. And thinking about other people’s feelings is such an important quality to foster in young kids! We don’t want other people’s feelings to be prioritized over our own, necessarily, but at least considering others’ feelings is… a good thing, no?

    #1116105 Reply
    Miss MJ
    Guest

    You definitely need to get more information about why your son doesn’t want to invite these two specific boys.

    If it’s because they’re mean to your son or others or are bullying them, then, well, not being invited is a natural consequence, but also, that needs to be addressed by the adults.

    But if it’s because they’re “weird” or no one likes them, then I agree with Wendy that this is a good life lesson on practicing empathy and learning to be kind to everyone. Have him think about how he’d feel if he were excluded. (Because one day, he inevitably will be.) Then, talk about inviting the unpopular kids to a party for a couple of hours. On the plus side, the kids have fun and maybe your son gets a new appreciation for one or both of them and makes a new friend. And even if he doesn’t, he’s extended a kindness to others, which is also rewarding. Also, you’re discouraging group think and exclusionary behavior, which will serve your son well in the long run.

    #1116106 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    You’re right Wendy, I didn’t really mean that. I guess where I’m coming from is I’ve pushed for everyone to get along to get along a lot and felt a lot of pushback. I seriously worry too much about other kids, so that’s what I meant, not that I don’t worry about other kids, I do, too much as it is.

    But I also have seen the awkwardness of pushing kids together that really do not vibe and I don’t know why we do that to kids. I totally agree with everything you said. It’s a tough decision.

    And I would try to uncover why not these two. My son probably wouldn’t say much at first, but if I asked he normally has a legitimately understandable reason he doesn’t like someone, and normally for us, I’m lucky in that he is an empathetic person and doesn’t like the meaner kids.

    #1116107 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    My first thought reading this also was to ask probing questions to get to the bottom of what trouble these two would cause. Then figure out how to get ahead of it so it doesn’t happen.

    #1116108 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    I have put other peoples feeling or what I assume they will feel above what is best for me and my family, so that was my POV going into it. I’m a carer of people to my detriment and it’s something I’m working on.

    #1116109 Reply
    Vathena
    Guest

    Totally agree with Leslie that you need to know more about why your son wants to exclude these children. If he is being bullied, then his parents and coaches need to know about that and deal with it whether they come to his birthday party or not.

    IMO, when you are already doing a birthday party with 15+ kids, you need to always err on the side of being more inclusive. This goes double if the party is at some sort of public venue (playground, trampoline park, etc) – because seriously, what’s two more kids at that point? The chaos will be such that you and your kid will barely be able to keep track of who is there. I wouldn’t allow my daughter to leave out only 2 classmates or teammates from a party to which everyone else is invited, unless there was a damn good reason.

    #1116110 Reply
    Vathena
    Guest

    “But I also have seen the awkwardness of pushing kids together that really do not vibe and I don’t know why we do that to kids. I totally agree with everything you said. It’s a tough decision.”

    I completely agree in the sense that I wouldn’t make my kid do a 1:1 play date or have a sleepover with a kid she didn’t get along with, but in the case of a large gathering of this nature it would be unkind to exclude them. There are ways to run interference if you really think they might ruin the party (ask parents to stick around instead of making it a drop-off, or call in a few adult reinforcements to monitor).

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