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My daughter seems to think that all of her playmates will be invited to her party. When she sees friends, she tells them she’ll be sending them an invitation. But we’re not having a blowout, and we’ve limited the guest list for space reasons, focusing on her closest friends. She has already verbally invited several children who will not be attending. Should I ignore it, or remind her in a stage whisper that we’re having a small party?
Don’t do either of those things. And don’t wait until the next time she issues an invitation. Talk the girl right now in a serious, forceful voice. Let her know that the party is small, and that not everyone will be able to come. Allowing your daughter to invite friends, then not including them in the party, could impact both her relationship with her friends and your relationship with the friends’ parents.
If your daughter doesn’t know about the guest list, tell her immediately and explain that the number of guests is already set. In this case, her actions may reflect ignorance rather than rebellion. Address this by clearing up the ignorance. If she already knows about your guest list, than your daughter is rebelling against your authority and passively disobeying you. You need to put a stop to it before the girl’s mouth writes a lot of checks you can’t cash.
You might want to consider giving your daughter some input on the guest list to make her feel better about the situation. If she’d rather invite Suzy than Rachel, then you may want to invite Suzy instead. Such concessions are small, but can feel very large to a young child genuinely upset about not being able to invite all of her friends to a party.
My son’s best friend’s birthday party is today, but I haven’t committed yet because I’m not sure if I want to go. The boy’s parents and I are not close, though we are civil to each other. My son isn’t old enough to attend the party by himself, and I don’t want to burden the parents with baby-sitting for him. The friend has attended my son’s party in the past, and I feel guilty about not wanting to go. Am I bad parent for not wanting to go to the party?
No, you are not a bad parent simply because you would prefer to avoid the party. However, I think you already know what you should do. If you’re just looking for someone to confirm that course of action, I’ll do it.
This isn’t about you, or about the other kid’s parents. It’s about your son and his best friend. Not just a casual acquaintance, but a best friend.
Children understand the concept of fairness very well, and both boys may find it unfair that your son does not attend the party. You wrote that your son knows about the party and wants to attend, and that the other boy has visited your house before. Quite simply, if you force your son to skip the party because you don’t feel like going, you will look selfish to all involved. And the reason you would look selfish is because you are being selfish. Just take the kid to the party, and if you don’t like the other boy’s parents, interact with them as little as possible.
I’ll close with a bit about the baby-sitting. Some parents who host parties want the other kids’ parents to stay, some don’t. If your son’s friend’s parents don’t expect everyone to stay, they’re showing a willingness to handle the baby-sitting duties. Arrive on time and hang around the house until several other children show up. Then take your cues from the other parents. If most of them leave, feel free to leave. If most of them stay, then stay.
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