Birthday party guilt - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-10-2014, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel bad....I really do.  DD is having a Birthday soon and she only invited a few close friends.  She went to a Birthday party last week and I feel guilty that she did not invite that child -- even though she invited that child to her party last year.  I lied and told the Mom of that child that we weren't doing a party this year for dd.  I know, bad.  Very bad.  I couldn't muster the strength to be honest for fear of making a mess.  But, it could still be a mess if they found out.

 

Am I feeling this guilt because I would do things differently than my dd by inviting other kids that have invited her to their parties?  She is turning 9....and her opinions do count...

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#2 of 9 Old 01-11-2014, 08:18 AM
 
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It's HER birthday, so it should be HER invites.  But, she also needs to think of the others. 

 

As far as her attending other kids' birthdays, ask her if she would want them at her birthday.  If she says "No" ask her why she wants to attend their party, when she doesn't want them at her party.  If she isn't willing to reciprocate, she should not attend.

 

If she says yes, invite them.

 

I disagree about lying to the other parents.  And, I would tell your daughter about the lying and why you did it.  She needs to understand her actions and choices affect other people. 

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#3 of 9 Old 01-11-2014, 09:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post
 

It's HER birthday, so it should be HER invites.  But, she also needs to think of the others. 

 

As far as her attending other kids' birthdays, ask her if she would want them at her birthday.  If she says "No" ask her why she wants to attend their party, when she doesn't want them at her party.  If she isn't willing to reciprocate, she should not attend.

 

If she says yes, invite them.

 

I disagree about lying to the other parents.  And, I would tell your daughter about the lying and why you did it.  She needs to understand her actions and choices affect other people. 

When some of my kids were younger they would have been happy to invite every kid they knew.  I don't really like havign an enourmous party.  I think it is okay to attend a birthday party (one were the entire class is invited, for example), and not invite that child to one's own party (where it is just 1 or two kids).  As an adult, I have gone to parties where I don't reciprocate.  A holiday open house, for example, versus a small dinner party I am hosting.

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#4 of 9 Old 01-11-2014, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I have trouble grappling with the reciprocity thing as an adult.  For example, am I obliged as part of my neighborhood to host a bbq if other neighbors have?  Actually, that would take me out of my comfort zone.

 

I forgot to mention that dd wanted to just have her girlfriends at this party -- and the child we didn't invite is a boy.  He actually likes her and she doesn't feel the same way.  It has been an interesting situation to say the least.  I think his parents are very nice as I have gotten to know them better but they aren't people I would have sought out on my own.  So, I do my best to incorporate them into my life in a way that I am comfortable with.

 

I could use a manual on kid/parent etiquette, I guess....if there was one.

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#5 of 9 Old 01-11-2014, 11:44 PM
 
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We've had a few parties where dd only invites a couple friends and a girls party and when the subject came up I just stated the kind if party we were having. Kid parties tend to vary so honesty has never been an issue.
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#6 of 9 Old 01-12-2014, 11:56 AM
 
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I agree about not lying to the parents, because it's very possible for them to find out that it is a lie. All it takes is one of the people invited to tell that boy, or for their parents to mention it to his parents, and you've just created a far worse situation than if you've been honest in the first place. Honestly tell them that either she only wanted girls at her party or that she wanted to keep it small so was only inviting her closest friends, whichever you think is more honest. It's not uncommon for kids that age to do gender-specific parties, especially if they want to have a sleepover party.

 

Some kids like having large parties where they invite all the class and everyone they know. Other kids prefer having small parties with only close friends. I think both are valid. Childhood politics is terribly complicated, just as complicated as adult politics but without the benefit of experience. Refusing an invitation will hurt someone's feelings. Not inviting someone may hurt their feelings.

 

I think it's the parents' job to help their children handle this. They should explain that inviting a person to your party does not obligate them to invite you to theirs and that just because you aren't invited doesn't mean they dislike you. They should be inviting people because they want them at the party, not because they want to go to their party. The problem is, not all parents will help their children handle this properly and will take it as a personal insult against their child.

 

I remember a few times that I gave a friend a birthday gift even though I wasn't invited to a birthday party (if they had one). I didn't only invite people who invited me to their party, and I didn't expect the people who went to my parties would invite me to theirs. There were a few people that I considered close friends that I never was invited to their birthday parties, I don't know whether they had them or not and I honestly didn't care. I still don't. I find it crass to expect someone to invite you to a party/gathering just because you invited them to one. Is it nice to reciprocate? Yes. But if reciprocating makes you unhappy or uncomfortable or is outside your budget, then that's valid.


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#7 of 9 Old 01-14-2014, 08:15 AM
 
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This doesn't seem to me to be a matter of etiquette but of personal boundaries.

Since your daughter doesn't want to have the relationship with this boy in the same way that he does, then it would be very bad, I think, to view the situation in terms of guilt or obligation for refusing to match or acquiesce to someone's interest in her. That's dangerous ground. It's very healthy for her to know and act upon her wishes in this case. This may be an opportunity to learn from your child (precious lessons, I've found).

It has been my experience that sometimes invitations and gift-giving is manipulative. On the other hand, people with codependent personality will tend to assume a compliant posture which will create or enforce unequal power sharing in any relationship and often puts themselves at risk (or at the least prevents healthy relations). You may want to look into codependency and try to adjust your perspective of your relations with others since you seem strongly motivated to please others - strong enough to tell a white lie or to feel guilt when you defend personal boundaries.

In terms of your relationship with your neighbors, you can reciprocate by sending a card of thanks after a social event, or dropping off some garden produce with a note of appreciation to your host, or shoveling snow for them once in awhile. The difference between reciprocity/etiquette and codependence is that reciprocity is constructive for *both* parties - in codependence, one person is giving up personal power to the other through real or perceived pressure.
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#8 of 9 Old 01-14-2014, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you PumaBearclan -- I absolutely understand what you wrote.  A month ago I started therapy to deal with my past.  There is a lot I need to learn and work through -- having grown up in an emotionally abusive home.  I am the oldest and yes, it was always my duty to please everyone....hence my guilt in this situation and the white lie I told.  I definitely plan to rectify this situation at the first chance I get.  I guess I was just scared at how my friend would react...but I should have just told her that it was going to be a girls party only because that is what my daughter wanted.

 

Ugh, on another note, a classmate that hangs out with my daughter (mostly at recess) found out about the party and asked why she wasn't invited.  This little girl is one of the neediest kids I have ever met and has no understanding of personal space --always hugging, putting her hands on kids and standing too close.  My daughter finds it irritating and just doesn't have enough in common with her to want to have play dates -- even though we tried a few times.  There isn't anything that I would have done differently in that case by not inviting her.  She just isn't friend material for my daughter.

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#9 of 9 Old 01-14-2014, 01:54 PM
 
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Good for you Pepin, for working on these issues. So many people are damaged by child abuse and these problems can persist for a lifetime. It's very wise and brave for you to to be honest and motivated to help yourself!

 

I also had an abusive past myself with similar issues. We are (unfortunately) not alone.

 

These pre-adolescent years were awful for many of the little girls I knew when my daughter was that age. There is no subtlety at that age and very little self-control. Later on these social problems can escalate to organized bullying and mental health problems, of course. But often the kids grow out of it and develop better self-regulation.

 

Best wishes!

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