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Invite My Kid to Your Birthday Party ... Or Else

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Momlogic's Julie: When a kid from my son's class came up to him and said "I'm going to Caleb's birthday party Friday," I wanted to cringe, scream, or punch somebody ... because my son hadn't been invited.

small boy

I don't know why mothers of second graders feel it's okay to invite a few people from class to a birthday party but not the entire class.

Don't they know that other kids will talk about the party, and make the ones who weren't invited feel excluded?

Don't they realize that this will get back to the parents, who will then feel ill will toward the parents who didn't deem their kids "worthy"?

I brought this up in a staff meeting, and a few moms said I needed to "toughen up." Life's not fair, they said, and your kid needs to get used to it.

Believe me ... I know life is not fair. But I don't know why my son has to learn that lesson in second grade. Isn't that a little young to adopt a "life sucks, then you die" philosophy?

The rule in my house is that my kids must invite the entire class or none of the class to their party, period. No, I don't exactly revel in the idea of that many kids invading my house, but when I think of the alternative ... some kid feeling like mine did on Friday, when he was told all about the party he wasn't invited to, I know it's worth the extra effort. In fact, I couldn't live myself if I excluded even one classmate from the guest list.

One mom I know said that maybe Caleb's mom couldn't afford to invite the entire class. Moms, if you can't afford to invite the whole class to the party, don't have the damn party! That's my opinion.

What do you think?

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97 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ginasmom October 29, 2008, 4:19 PM

I understand your frustration and sympathy for your son, but who can afford to have a birthday party for 30 kids? In today’s economy? I’m sorry, this is life.

Erin October 29, 2008, 4:50 PM

I’d invite the whole class as well. Birthday parties don’t have to be the over-the-top affairs most parents make them to be. Can’t we just throw some punch, cupcakes and easy snacks like popcorn, crackers, etc. together and let the kids go nuts?

How about a no gift policy too? The point is to have your friends over to celebrate which doesn’t necessitate a gift.

geen October 29, 2008, 4:54 PM

Why are we gonna tip-toe around their feelings? Sorry, but my budget doesn’t care if your kid gets left out.

Lisa October 29, 2008, 5:39 PM

My daughter who is now in grade 3 has been to only 1 ‘whole class’ party, back when she was in kindergarten. Her parents felt that 24 presents for 1 child was too much (duh! obviously), so did they tell us not to bring a gift, did they say make a donation to a charity in honor of their kids b-day. NO. What they chose to do was let everyone shop for a special gift for their kid and then after all was said and done the kid got to choose a couple of presents to keep. Well, how do you think my daughter felt when this little brat showed up at school and told her that her gift wasn’t one of the “chosen” ones! Fine if you want to donate the gifts to charity, that’s great, but at least let the families know so that our child isn’t sidelined with the info that gift she brought wasn’t good enough for the kid to keep.

Kelly October 29, 2008, 5:53 PM

I see both sides points of view. At our school it is mandatory to invite the whole class (by gender anyway) if you pass out invitationas at school, but this only applies to the kindergarten. My son has been left out of some parties, but it hasn’t been a big deal. Even home parties get expensive exspecially with the required favors for each guest. I will not be inviting the entire class this time, but I don’t want my son to learn the lesson that … because mommy and daddy can’t afford a party for 40 this year, you get nothing. Wouldn’t your child be crushed if you just said no party more than missing one? Anyway, I do empathise with feeling protective of our kids. I personally dread the “picking teams” thing that is in our near future.

Mollie October 29, 2008, 5:55 PM

I have been down this road with my son but I use it as a learning opportunity. My son’s birthday is in the summer so we don’t have to deal with the whole “I got invited and you didn’t” issue. I don’t agree with inviting the whole class just to invite the whole class. The child should be able to pick the friends they want to spend their birthday with not have to invite the people they may not care for. Do you invite your whole workplace to celebrate your birthday or just your close friends?

chris October 29, 2008, 6:21 PM

Sorry, but I don’t agree with this. Just because you happen to be in my daughter/son’s class does not mean that you and my child are friends. My kids go to about 5 or 6 birthday parties through out the school year which is more than enough for me and them. I would hate to have to go to 40 to 50 party (I have 2 school age kids) just because if would be the P.C. thing to do. If my kids aren’t invited to a party that they hear about later, I’ll ask them “Will are you friends with them or do you play with them?” and 9 out of 10 times they say “No” so why should it matter.

Anonymous October 29, 2008, 7:01 PM

I agree life is not fair but life SHOULD BE FAIR in second grade. Maybe not for fifth, sixth and beyond, but I think excluding a small child like first or second grade is cruel.

Anonymous October 29, 2008, 7:02 PM

Well maybe preschool or kindergarten, but by 1st grade they really have their own set of friends and people they hang out with. I agree that your child should not be forced to invite classmates he/she does not like. I am sorry that may hurt some kids feelings and I would never want to do that, but inviting the entire class is way extreme.

Tammy October 29, 2008, 8:52 PM

We’ve had this happen and yeah, it sucks. But honestly, my daughter isn’t good friends with her whole class and so she invites her good ones and that’s that. I can’t afford to feed a whole second grade class and some of the kids aren’t even nice, why would I ask my daughter to endure them outside of school? You’ve simply got to get used to the fact that your child won’t get invited to everything. It’s a fact of life, get over it.
And seriously, with the attitude you give off in the post, I’d think twice about inviting your child because I’d want not to deal with you.

Linney5682 October 29, 2008, 9:05 PM

you know, i have invited the whole class and then have to explain why the whole class didn’t show up. and of course we were alittle frusterated as we bought food, cake and cupcakes for all these people. so, now we do not invite the whole class anymore. i understand you feel bad for your child, but come on….my son isn’t invited to all the parties (he’s in 2nd also) and he doesn’t care if he gets invited or not. and if you know about it ahead of time, say “that’s okay, we are going to the movies anyway.” it will give you a reason to do something fun with your child”

Teacher October 29, 2008, 9:37 PM

Please listen to the moms who are saying to let this be a teachable moment for your child. My classroom is filled with children whose parents have never let them be disappointed, who have never helped them learn to deal with real life, and now the kids are honestly convinced the universe revolves around them. No, they can’t learn this as older kids or grownups, they need to accept disappointment and learn to move on as young children. I love the idea of using this as a time to announce spending some special time with them. That is being a supportive parent, who lets their child know friends can let you down, but your family will be there for you.

Lindy October 29, 2008, 9:58 PM

Teacher: I agree with your post 100%. I could not have said it better.

Jodi October 29, 2008, 10:51 PM

Anyone who thinks young children should have 25-30 guests at their birthday party is INSANE. The rule of thumb is to invite approximately the same number of kids as the birthday child’s age, which would mean about 8 guests for a second grader. Too many gifts, too much noise and way, way, way too much money for mom and dad otherwise! I was taken aback that so many parents are in favor of huge parties — what do these folks do for a living?? Even if I wanted to have that many children, my modest home could never accommodate them all safely and comfortably. Bottom line: this is a great age to begin discussing the family’s values. Being invited to a party is a privilege, and should be reserved for one’s closest friends.

Anonymous October 29, 2008, 11:17 PM

Not to mention for some reason parents assume when you invite their 2nd grader to a party that you are also inviting their 1st grader, preschooler, or whatever ages the siblings have to be. So if each kid has 1 sibling that is at least 60 kids (30 kids in class + 1 sibling for each kid)!! That is a lot of kids, one huge cake and a lot of work!

Anonymous October 29, 2008, 11:59 PM

Sorry, I don’t agree with this one either. Life isn’t always fair. I don’t see how it can be feasible to invite 25-30 kids to a party. And it’s not black and white…so, if you don’t have the budget for 30 kids, then don’t have a party at all? What kind of logic is that? So, if we are friends with just some coworkers at a company, we have to invite every friggin’ person in the company just for the sake of fairness?? Get real! If your kid doesn’t get invited, then they need to learn how to deal with it, because it’s not going to stop in the 2nd grade, it will happen again and again in real life as they get older.

Jerry October 30, 2008, 12:01 AM

Just because you are in the same class as someone else, it does not give you the RIGHT to be their friend. Not all kids are friends with everyone in their class … actually, there are some kids that they don’t even like. Why should they be subjected to those kids at THEIR birthday party? As for some kids feeling left out, GET OVER IT. Lets face it, you can’t always get what you want, even if you are a kid.

arleen October 30, 2008, 4:29 AM

I have to agree with the majority. Too bad!! And, if your child is friends with that one child..yes invite, but why would you want your child to feel uncomfortable in your own home by inviting a bully. Someone who picks on your child in class, or who your child picks on. I sure wouldn’t want them at my party. It is disappointing, but it is a part of growing up. And some of us are not made of money, and have a very limited income. thank you.

Liss October 30, 2008, 6:35 AM

I think it’s assinine to expect someone to invite 30 kids to their home for a party. The problem with kids today is that they can’t handle rejection in any way,shape or form. They need to learn they won’t always be invited, they won’t always make the sports team. Maybe the kid that wasn’t invited needs to work on his People skills, maybe he’s the class brat. Why would you want him invited if the kid having the party clearly doesnt like him?
Grow Up. Disappointment Happens, get over it.

Anonymous October 30, 2008, 8:29 AM

Well first of all, are Caleb and your son friends? Do they go to each others homes just to visit or play?
I agree it is a hard lesson, but at the same time why invite children that are not friends. I know when I was in elementary school….too many years ago to think about…..those who had parties didn’t invite the whole class but invited all the girls. I was of course included and went because I was extatic to have been included. Once I got there however I couldn’t wait to go home because I was the odd man out so to speak. It was obvious that I was only invited out of fairness and not because the host really wanted me there.

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