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Your Brat Makes Me Feel Like a Bad Mom

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The Mediocre Mama: I thought I threw the perfect party -- until your kid screamed at me.

girl leaving party saying i want my damn goodie bag

"I. Want. My. Goodie. Bag!"

This is what your three-year-old screamed out as we wrapped up what I thought was a successful party. Hell, there was the bouncy house, the cake, even arts and crafts. I kept it small so the tykes could enjoy the festivities without being overwhelmed. Was that not enough?

To be honest, I hate goodie bags. A plastic non-biodegradable sack filled with utterly useless cheap toys and candy that kids absolutely don't need after a party filled with pizza, cake and ice cream -- I'll pass. I made the decision to forego the unnecessary crap sack and instead offered kids the chance to bring home a craft they made themselves.

But that wasn't good enough.

Who can blame your kid? Not me. In this day and age, kids are invited to parties every freakin' weekend -- even those of schoolmates they barely know. And at each of these parties, they're handed this mystery junk bag -- it's like a "time to go home, kids" signal, like a last call for little ones. So when our party was wrapping up, she just assumed she'd be leaving with a parting gift.

Kind of makes you wonder -- are kids just spoiled brats now? Or did I drop the goodie bag ball?


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52 comments so far | Post a comment now
Are you kidding? October 8, 2008, 12:04 AM

Hey Jodi,
I’m sure the mothers who spend money on the crappy bags are thrilled you toss them out. In this economy, that is RIDICULOUS that you’re saying it’s necessary when you toss it anyway.

Typical NYC moms.

SLS October 8, 2008, 12:36 AM

At my son’s 3rd birthday party - attended by my friends’ children - I handed out goodie bags that each had a small tub of play-do, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a sucker, stickers and one small “throw away” toy. They were each different because I picked up things on clearance. The kids were all thrilled; however, one of the moms actually went through the extra bags to pick out the items she wanted for her boys!! I was beyond shocked at a complete loss for words! Another mom wanted to take an extra couple of bags for kids who had been invited but did come (didn’t even call to say they weren’t coming, either). I think we will be doing some kind of craft project next year…

Michelle October 8, 2008, 1:00 AM

I feel like if you either do a pinata or a gift of some sort. If I do a pinata I give each child a goodie bag and have them fill it with pinata loot. I f I skip the pinata I like to go to the dollar store buy small gifts and wrap them for the kids to take home, my child passes them out as a thank you (of course we still send out thank you cards!!). There has been the occasion when I’ve done both but I don’t invite bratty kids to my house so it’s not really a problem for me…I don’t want my kids hanging with kids who act like that.

Shawnarae October 8, 2008, 1:29 AM

Hey Jodi—what do you mean by “whats important?” Whats important to you, it seems, is what other people think of you. “Keeping up with the Jones” is so out. Live on the edge…don’t give a goodie bag and be kind to the earth…you know most things that come in those little bags are not biodegradable and you are helping to trash the earth one little bag at a time.

L October 8, 2008, 7:50 AM

Come on people. I agree, godie bags should not be a necessity. But, really, the child that said it was only three. You mean to tell me a three yr old yelling at you gets to you this much. I have raised 4, three yr olds. Can’t say I’ve never been yelled at. Isn’t that what 3 yr olds do? Isn’t this a time to teach the 3 yr olds of the world that just because you got one , what, possible once or twice, (she is only three how many could there be?) that it isn’t always given. After all, it isn’t their party! I think you all have gotten too caught up in the goodie bag thing that an opportunity to teach a 3 yr old right from wrong was missed. It does not make the hostess a bad parent because a child of 3 acted out in a way which they think is inappropriate for a 3 yr old.

Aableema October 8, 2008, 8:08 AM

To me the whole idea of goodie bags just feeds kids more junk and reinforces that it is better to get than give!!! The party is for the birthday boy or girl. They should get the gifts! I have never done goodie bags.
I stopped the whole birthday thing at 8 and my kids didn’t really care. we still make a huge deal of the birthdays, it’s just a lot more personal! We never had goodie bags growing up and we all turned out pretty well. Teach your kids at a very ypung age that they absolutly do not get something every time yu go out and they will not expect it. My 11 and 13 year old girls are well rounded and yes they ask all the time but no is no and they are fine with it. Don’t get me wrong they are spoiled in other ways. Just not material things.

Tracy October 8, 2008, 8:11 AM

I have three kids 7, 8, and 10. For me to through such parties with goody bags would cost a fortune. But why I really don’t do it is….Since when did we have to bribe kids to come to our party? Shouldn’t they want to come out of friendship? I personally take away the bags when they return home. Most of the stuff would probably kill my small dog if he got ahold of it. Super balls, plastic skeletons, candy.

Tracy October 8, 2008, 9:11 AM

your “BRAT”….. and how old are you? After all, your the one responsible for the guest list. Kids will be kids and maybe they weren’t old enough to realize that not every party you get a gift bag. If your that upset over a 3 year old yelling about a gift bag then you need therapy.SHE’S 3 !!!!!

jennifer Bennett October 8, 2008, 9:24 AM

I am shocked and amazed at some of these comments. Goody Bags go back YEARS!!!! They are not a new thing. My children are young and when we throw a party we invite a few of their closest friends not the entire neighborhood or their entire class. What I have seen way TOO much of. Our parents that invite EVERYONE!!!! Only for the purpose of their kids getting more presents. They don’t do much for food do cupcakes instead (which is fine with me) and then when it comes to presents they open them and the ones they like the most (most expensive) get admired and the other ones tossed to the side. It seems to me that the parties have become all about how many people come to my party and how many more presents I will get. Instead of about having a good time with your friends. Goody Bags are a way of saying thank you for coming to my party. I don’t see little junk. We get each kid something personal. For my daughters birthday the other babies all got toys from either fisher price or playskool. But we limit how many kids come and do NOT invite everyone for the presents. Goody bags to us are a most and a way for my child to say thank you. If we couldn’t afford that then we wouldn’t be inviting that many people in the first place!!

Vicki October 8, 2008, 9:27 AM

I don’t think this has anything to do with goody-bags. I think it has to do with rude children and the parents who let them be rude.

I worked in the school system for many years and it seems that every year the students get more disrespectful. I would have been mortified if either of my children had acted like a brat in public. I am not saying that we didn’t have our moments at home, but I taught them to be respecful in public.

I think a big problem with young and maybe not do young parents is that they are afraid to make their children mind. It is not our jobs to be our childrens’ friends, but their parents.

jennifer Bennett October 8, 2008, 9:29 AM

I forgot to mention that we have a very small party with a few kids and give our children the option of what they would like to do. For example this year we are going to Disneyworld instead of having a party. And we make notes on EVERY invitation that instead of bring a present for my child to bring something for us to donate to a local childrens hospital instead.

Jennifer October 8, 2008, 9:34 AM

I think the birthday party has been lost in the — I have to one up my neighbor club — and it just sucks! Kids expect all kinds of crap because parents have to show other parents they have more crap than they have! (Na-Na-Boo-Boo) This is just another article on this site that makes me a bit frustrated. Why are we not not talking about more important issues?

Not to mention, if you take the time to notice, most kids act just like their parents! AND if we don’t take the time to exibit self control and to teach our children manners and to be thankful for the things they get, how are they ever going to learn it?

Sara  October 8, 2008, 10:05 AM

I don’t think parents should expect other children to bring their child a gift in the first place. I mean what kid doesn’t already have everything they need and more? Instead of gifts, ask for donations to the local food shelf and then when they don’t receive their parting ‘goodie bag’ they won’t be so offended. Time to start teaching your kids some good values and manners!

TML October 8, 2008, 10:39 AM

I also went without the goodie bags at our last party. I did have a child ask me where the candy was. I simply asked her “do you really think you need more candy”
About the party every weekend, our school has a rule that if you are going to be handing out invites you must provide on to every child. That way no one is left out.
And yes, children now a days are allowed to call the shots instead of the parents. They are all becoming brats

DS October 8, 2008, 10:47 AM

I give goodie bags as a thank you to the parents for spending their afternoon dragging their kids to my kids’ party. I think they help with the transition from party to home. They give the kids something to do while they wind down from the excitement instead of fussing in the car. I do try to give healthier treats like raisins, fruit juice gummies, and only a little candy as well as bouncy balls, bubbles, stickers. Kids enjoy the “junk” and parents don’t have to listen to them complain because they’re tired and wound up from the party.

Kittyk10 October 8, 2008, 10:52 AM

I didn’t give them out either this year. I thinkk it’s time to put an end to this “social norm”! It is a complete waste, and yes it’s spoiling our children! Enforcing the idea of every time you give; you should expect to receive. Ha! THat’s not real life, nor how I want my daughter’s morals to be ingrained! You bring a small present, which is also completely otional, but usually an appropaiate response to now lavish parties one gets to attend with free activities and food. I think from the comments here, that it’s not just the kids who are spoiled brats, always wanting something in return, but maybe it started a generation earlier. And, once more moms put an end to this and refuse to be bullied into doing something they don’t want, we will all benefit. I mean what’s the point of doing something you don’t want to in the first place? The thougt or heart isn’t there. And, by the way, I do think leaving with a craft is still a parting gift, which I like to do as well.

Tracie October 8, 2008, 12:35 PM

I sometimes do a goodie bag…but sometimes I don’t…
I do feel like it is expected though…
I never spend tons though
cause my kids too like others are usually done with them in the car…cause they are usually cheap stuff, and I usually don’t let them have any more candy one they get in the car…I think society needs to start a new “Norm”…

Sara October 8, 2008, 2:19 PM

It is not the kid’s fault for being upset. Very young kids lack impulse control it is something they have to learn. Haven’t you ever noticed that everything is “mine!” Well it is called your Id (what we define as Ego, but there are really three parts, Id, Ego, and Super Ego). The Id is the part that makes everything all about us and it just so happens that children are not as developed as adults (weird, who knew). So if you are going to let one child be the scape goat for your low self esteem, then maybe you need to step back and work on your confidence before you attempt to raise a child to be a self sufficient, confident, functioning, co- existing person in society. Let’s face it, you are upset because of your own personality traits not her less developed ones. Any normal person would have gotten over it in a heart beat, but calling her a brat means she really hurt your feelings, which is unbelievable. Get over it! Tell your best friend not the whole world.

Valerie October 8, 2008, 2:53 PM

I think it’s fine to hand out goodie bags, infact I’ve done it myself a few times. I waited until the I was saying goodbye to the children and parents as they were walking out the door. But I’ve got to say that I wouldnt know how to respond to a child who demanded something from me after I’d already done so much! But I also wouldnt stew over something a three year said to me, she’s only acting the way her parents let her. I probably would not let my kid socialize with that particular child anymore either, she obviously has zero manners and I’d imagine that her parents are the same way. Think of it as a blessings that the true colors of that family showed and maybe it saved you in the long run. Your child couldve eventually picked up those bad habits and then you’d really be in a pickle!

Rachael October 8, 2008, 4:14 PM

I dispise goody bags. My kids usually take them with a smile(usually trying not to be rude), but my kids don’t eat much in the way of candy anyway. Then when we get home, they throw them out. As for the parties I throw. I do not do goody bags and have never been asked for one. My main reason for this is money is just too tight. We are all feeling the pinch and kids need to understand that they don’t always get, get, get.


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