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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
Audrey R. June 15, 2010, 1:12 PM

Can’t believe how some of these parents portray themselves. First, nobody said that you had to invite 20 - 30 to a birthday party from school. Second, of course family comes first and siblings, cousins and relatives, before school kids. Third, no way is every kid friends with every other in their class. Most of you are missing the clear cut point: You can obviously read, but can you comprehend the frustrations or any of the words chosen by these parents? I doubt it, especially when you post a statements to situations that don’t even concern the majority of the topic being discussed. Most parents posting are not stating that other parents should invite 30 children at their house. That would be insane not to mention costly. However, it is very clear that most parents that are the causes of those situations posted in the above mentioned, just don’t get it until their child(ren) come home with the tear streaked cheeks. If you feel the need to make a posting that shakes your finger in the face of these parents that clearly love their child, then you must be suffering for guilt. Let these parents vent and have their own support system. If it doesn’t concern you then how did you come across this topic of discussion. Clearly it doesn’t affect you. I totally feel for those parents like mamanbleu, jon divito, bad manners and etc…. I totally applaud those parents like Jennifer E, no more mrs. nice guy, angry mom, ohio grandma and revised the truth - which decided to stand up to those uncaring brats of those dead from the neck up parents and make a statement with their choices. I have seen many children being cruel towards other kids just for the sake of it. They must get their poor up bringing at home. Please, treat others like you would like to be treated and teach your children to be a better human being then you.

Carla June 18, 2010, 1:45 PM

I was so glad to read those comments. I think i needed a little reality check. My son was not invited to two birthday parties in the past two weeks, but his best buddy who lives next door was invited. My son doesn’t really seem to care (and i did take him to a movie during the one party, but mostly to take my own mind off of it). I know my son doesn’t like all the boys in his class and we didn’t invite them all to his party, so inviting the entire class in not an option. I also know my son is a really great kid, not a bully or anything like that, it just hurts my feelings that everyone doesn’t see that! I know it’s silly, and this is a life lesson for both of us. So the comments were good, i need to harden my heart, remember i have a really great kid, but not every child we know will want to play with him and realize this is life!

listens June 19, 2010, 11:37 AM

If you have a boy or a girl and invite just girls to a girl party or just boys to a boy party, how can you have the heart to leave any of them out. The class sizes are about 18-22 students. So say half are 10 girls or 10 boys, if you cannot afford all 10 to come and invite 7, parents of the bday child and invited children should be told not to announce it because some might not be invited.

SuperMom October 10, 2010, 12:59 PM

Honestly, I am not going to spend money EVERY month on the kids in my 2nd grader’s class because she gets ‘a class invite’ to a party. We have declined several party invites because they were ‘whole class’ invites and my daughter is not especially close with any of the kids whose parents were throwing these gatherings. To my superised, the mothers and teacher have unfairly labeled me as ‘anti social’ as a result of not coming to these events. My daughter has a close circle of less than 10 kids she runs with. We are faithfully at these bbqs and parties and the parents of these kids appreciate my viewpoint on events. This year we have decided to do a really extravagant Halloween party for my daughter this year, and only 9 of 35 kids got the invite. The kids who are invited are planning costumes and are very excited,I have had outraged parents of kids who didn’t make the list approach the teacher about this. I have been pressured to invite everyone and I hold my ground on this. We already have 60 kids total coming, family and friends in addition to class mates. I won’t budge.I have had to deal with parents who don’t understand that this is an invitation only event call wanting to know where it is going to be. I have had 3 parents try to get me to invite ALL the kids in the house i.e. infants and middle school kids and I have been firm about the fact that all the kids are aged 4-9 that will be at this event. It has been frustrating, but I won’t back down. I don’t feel I should have to invite everyone because some children in her class are straight up animals and their parents aren’t much better as far as social skills are concerned. I have taken the extra step to hire a Security Guard for the first 2 hours to check a list and keep people no on it out. I recall the good old days, where my parents had me and my 4 friends over for a sleep over for my birthdays, we watched movies,went swimming and had a ball. I was invited to most parties, but only went to parties of people that I was really close to. There were great parties that I was not invited to growing up, but it is just a part of life. I full intend to give my daughter an unadulterated understanding of reality; Reality is that not everyone in this world will like you, and you don’t have to pretend to like everyone, and tiptoe around socially to be successful in life. It’s hazardous in the long run to set your child up for failure by making them think that everyone cares about them, when the truth is that if you have a small tight circle to run with you are truly blessed. You can’t expect that individuals (children/adults) will all get along in any situation. The more realistic of a view you give your child, the better in the long run. I thank my folks for not setting me up for heartache in highschool by being realistic and not spoon feeding me a picture of the world that was harmful in the long term.

Tania Craven  October 19, 2010, 8:22 PM

I am really surprised and shocked at the sheer nastiness of some of the above comments. Inviting 10 out of 20 kids is one thing, but inviting say 8 out of 10 kids in a social group such as a school class is social exclusion and highly stressful for the excluded child (and the parent). Social exclusion is known to be highly stressful which is why it has often been used as a punishment. Its a shame so many parents would seem, from the posts, to be so appallingly mean and thoughtless and are teaching this to their kids as well. I guess I will have to explain that to my child when she is old enough to understand.

reporter October 30, 2010, 8:22 AM

I am a journalist working on a story about this very issue: birthdy parties and the social exclusion that can result when some kids are left out and are talking about the party for others. Would you be available for an interview? If so, please let me know how to reach you.

KidsTheseDays November 21, 2010, 10:40 AM

kids these days! my daughter is never invited to any parties.

BigTrace December 14, 2010, 6:41 PM

Wow, a lot of people are having a great old time just jumping all over this Mom. She’s upset because her child was upset and I think all of us can sympathize with that, even if we don’t agree with the reason. Sure, life sucks, but can you blame this Mom for wanting to protect her child from hurt feelings at a young age? No.

Having said that, I don’t believe it’s realistic to have an all or nothing attitude towards these parties. Everyone will do something different and as parents, we have to accept that and do our best to talk to our children about it when these unfortunate situations arise. I bet your child can understand that a classmate can’t afford to invite everyone. Or simply that his parents chose 6 kids. Or if you feel there is no acceptable explanation, you can tell him you’re going to do something really fun that day. Maybe he’ll go in talking about how great his weekend was on Monday and he won’t even care that some kids went to a “lame” party. ;)

I agree it sucks. I wish I could protect my child from this stuff, too. And I do when I can. And you’re obviously frustrated because in this instance, you couldn’t protect him. You’re doing a great job and are entitled to your opinion, even if it differs from others. Don’t let all these people who are telling you that you’re “selfish” or “have an attitude” or that you need to “get a grip” get to you. But the helpful tips you’re getting on how other people handle parties are wonderful.

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AnnC January 6, 2011, 9:42 AM

I am sorry, but I personally disagree with you. No, I do not feel that any parent should ever feel that they have to invite an entire class to a birthday party. Not only is it expensive, but not everyone has a home that will accomodate that many kids comfortably or even safely, and frankly that many gifts would be very overly excessive. Who needs Christmas when you are getting 25-30 new toys on your birthday? I have 2 children, a boy who is 8 yrs old, and a girl who is turning 6 next week, and what I have found is this. The people who get the most offended and hurt when the kid isn’t invited is in fact THE MOMS. My son has missed out on parties he would have liked to have gone to (what kid doesn’t like a party?), but he was never ever as bothered about it as I was. It came to a point where I just woke up and realized he wasn’t crying over it, and I was being immature and needed to stop being soo overly-sensitive when it comes to my kids. Afterall, when I was a kid, there were rarely more than 8 kids at a party (and certainly never the whole class), and I don’t recall being devastated when I wasn’t invited to one, nor do I feel that I was scarred for life. Kids are much tougher than we give them credit for, and they rebound from these things very quickly (often in a matter of minutes).
Starting the first day of school, ask your kids “who did you play with today”. Keep track. You will get to know very quickly who the genuine friends are versus the aquaintances. Invite the ones they truly spend their time with. Just be sure not to leave anyone out who is truly a friend. If my son’s best friend left him out, yes, he would be upset and rightfully so.

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Nikki April 6, 2011, 2:38 PM

Wow. Entitled much? Or are you just crazy? In all my years of parenting, I cannot remember a single time my 19 yo, 16 yo, or 7 yo were invited to a “entire class party”, and we live in a very affluent area where this would not create a financial hardship in doing so. We always mail our invites so as not to hurt feelings, but inevitable word will get out. That’s just the breaks. I cannot imagine my kids being invited to EVERYONE’S in the whole classes parties! We maybe get 3 invites per year, I’m sure that’s not all the parties and that’s just FINE. Stop wearing your insecurities on your sleeves, sounds like you’re teaching your kid to do the same thing! Shame! I had a SIL who wouldn’t allow her children to attend a party if her younger child could not also attend, and the entitlement didn’t stop there. She also insisted on buying gifts for her children to bring to the party TO OPEN THERE, (as well as a gift for the bday child) so HER kids wouldn’t feel “left out” during the opening process! The rest of the parents were aghast at this behavior, and it was embarrassing to me, so we just STOPPED inviting them. If you’re a whiner, that’ll get around too, and expect few invitations for your son once word gets out. A birthday party is for the CHILD and I’ve reviewed this topic at length online. The current belief is that for a child party there is NO societal or familial obligation to invite cousins or anyone else your child has no interest in entertaining. For you to then go so far as to state a child should NOT have a party if they cannot invite “everyone” is a selfish and unsympathetic stance, if not mentally unsound. I was a single mom years ago, and our kids parties had to be kept small and quaint. Now that they’ve had big party blowouts, we all look back on the smaller parties as some of the best they had. I know you want to protect your child from life, but how far are you willing to go? Seems to me you need to really think about your attitude and make sure it’s not rubbing off on your child.


Nikki April 6, 2011, 2:51 PM

Wow. Entitled much? Or are you just crazy? In all my years of parenting, I cannot remember a single time my 19 yo, 16 yo, or 7 yo were invited to a “entire class party”, and we live in a very affluent area where this would not create a financial hardship in doing so. We always mail our invites so as not to hurt feelings, but inevitable word will get out. That’s just the breaks. I cannot imagine my kids being invited to EVERYONE’S in the whole classes parties! We maybe get 3 invites per year, I’m sure that’s not all the parties and that’s just FINE. Stop wearing your insecurities on your sleeves, sounds like you’re teaching your kid to do the same thing! Shame! I had a SIL who wouldn’t allow her children to attend a party if her younger child could not also attend, and the entitlement didn’t stop there. She also insisted on buying gifts for her children to bring to the party TO OPEN THERE, (as well as a gift for the bday child) so HER kids wouldn’t feel “left out” during the opening process! The rest of the parents were aghast at this behavior, and it was embarrassing to me, so we just STOPPED inviting them. If you’re a whiner, that’ll get around too, and expect few invitations for your son once word gets out. A birthday party is for the CHILD and I’ve reviewed this topic at length online. The current belief is that for a child party there is NO societal or familial obligation to invite cousins or anyone else your child has no interest in entertaining. For you to then go so far as to state a child should NOT have a party if they cannot invite “everyone” is a selfish and unsympathetic stance, if not mentally unsound. I was a single mom years ago, and our kids parties had to be kept small and quaint. Now that they’ve had big party blowouts, we all look back on the smaller parties as some of the best they had. I know you want to protect your child from life, but how far are you willing to go? Seems to me you need to really think about your attitude and make sure it’s not rubbing off on your child.


kat May 30, 2011, 12:22 PM

I am reading thru the comments and find some of them amazing. If the birthday party is for your child and he wants to invite 5 or 6 of his friends, weather or not they are school mates, then I am going to let him. Since we didn’t live in an area with lots of kids, his best friends are from school. If we can only afford to do something for a small group, I am not going to tell my child he cannot have a birthday party and invite his friends because we cannot afford to invite the whole class. (as one moms comment of don’t have a party if you cannot afford to). So if your child never gets invited on a play date, and he hears his other friends talking about going over to so and so’s house, now your going to say “if you cannot invite everyone to a playdate, then you cannot invite anyone”.


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