Girls Only Birthday Party...? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 76 Old 12-22-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boatbaby View Post
So are one gender only parties just the norm at a certain age? Am I in the dark? DS's feeling are so hurt and I don't know how to explain it to him.
That must hurt to see him sad. I've only been on the other side of the fence. When DD turned 3, MIL (in n. africa) planned a girls only party. I'm not 100% sure, but it might have been cultural. It would be really hard on me if it were the other way around.

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#62 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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By the way just to clarify, I don't feel any sense of "entitlement" on this one. Of course people can invite whoever they want to a party. But to me saying "X didn't invite Z because she's not to keen on him anymore" or "because they don't play as much" or just... "just because" makes MUCH more sense than drawing an arbitrary gender line.

One of his BEST boyfriends had a birthday party and only wanted to invite 3 kids from his new preschool. They were "new" friends and he was excited to have them over. He just didn't see the need to have anyone else. No sweat. It's still one of DS's best friends, but that was the boy's choice for the party and mom wanted to keep it small and said only 3 anyhow. No problem.

Again, it's using gender to draw the lines that i think is strange. And because it's something we don't do, I was wondering how to explain something that I essentially think is off.

A few times DS tried pulling the "boys only routine on the playground when creating a fort or something when other kids come around. And for me that is NOT ok and it gets nipped in the bud immediately.

Good debate though, eh?

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#63 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 03:01 AM
 
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i have a dd and a ds and if either one of them ever wanted a single gender party, that'd be just fine with me! i don't see why the hurt feelings? not everyone gets invited to every party all the time. i think if you make a big deal out of it to your child, then it shows them it IS a big deal and they SHOULD feel wretchid. if you are casual, and tell them it's only for girls/boys whatever, then move on, they will too. kids are totally flexible and resiliant-this sort of thing isnt a huge deal.

all this heavy comparison of this type of party situation to racial segregation makes me REALLY uncomfortable and angry. seriously???

what about all-girls' schools? how about the studies that show girls thrive in them? should they be abolished because some boys may be offended?

what is the problem with some separation? i love men dearly, most of my good friends have been men, and i spend almost all my free time with my dh, but i do not want to be with men all the time, i like woman-only time sometimes.

and for goodness sakes, the talk of abolishing gender...oh, i cannot stand that. i abhor stereotypes, and have raised my little ones to be very aware of them. my 6 yr old has pointed them out since she was a tiny little toddler, and she knows how harmful they are. "that's a stereotype, and we don't do stereotypes" she proclaims often. but she is PROUD to be a girl, and PROUD of all the strong women who have paved the way for her to be who she is.

we are NOT THE SAME. men and women are DIFFERENT. we will never be the same ever. and that is OK! that is great! we should celebrate our differences!

men still run the world, and own most of the resources. should i ignore that?

also, i refuse to squash my dd's happiness over girlhood and over the things that are feminine and girly. i will loudly support her right to shave her head and play football if that's what she wants too.

ditto my son. i will and do totally celebrate his boyness, and his masculinity. and if he wants his OWN princess tea party, i will throw a righteous one.

i will not be "gender blind" though. never ever.

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#64 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 09:00 AM
 
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One thought that I have is that although these two girls are some of your DS's best friends, maybe he is lower on their list than they are on his. y'know? I know I've had friends that I felt were very close to me that had other friends that were closer to them.
I agree. This could be a very good life lesson for your child if handled properly. Although I know how tough it can be when a child feels left out.

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#65 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 09:07 AM
 
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The only reason a 4 year old boy would not want to do a tea party would be because his parents have been working hard to engrain masculinity and the gender binary in them
I disagree. I don't think that is always true. I don't think parents are the only ones that can influence their own child. A child can be influenced by friends and other adults as well. And some children aren't influenced at all. They just do what they want until a certain age and if they notice kids of their own gender not doing certain things then they probably stop mainly due to peer pressure and fear of being ridiculed.

My oldest child used to have no problem playing with dolls when he was younger and even had a little tykes kitchen set in his bedroom up until he was 5. He shared it with his girl/boyfriends when they came over to play in his room after preschool sometimes. At the same time he also had trucks, cars and other usual boy toys in his room to play with. It depended on his mood what he would do each day. I never encouraged him one way or the other and he is a total boy (according to society anyway) now at the age of 13 and has been ever since he discovered bugs and mud around the age of 5. But he could have kept playing with dolls for as long as he wanted and I wouldn't have cared.

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#66 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by boatbaby View Post
A few times DS tried pulling the "boys only routine on the playground when creating a fort or something when other kids come around. And for me that is NOT ok and it gets nipped in the bud immediately.
Hey boatbaby,

I, too, would nip in the bud "girls only" or "boys only" exclusion on the playground. However, I have observed self-segregation on the playground for several years now. I think it's common and developmentally appropriate. Not all kids do it, but often if you have 15 or 20 kids on a playground the girls will break into one or two groups and the boys into others. No girl is saying, "Hey I wanna go play with the boys!" and no boy is saying he wants to play with the girls. They've just separated into their groups and are happily playing. Would you then interrupt that play and demand that they integrate? At dd1's crunchy hippy independent school they have a rule about games being "elastic" and anyone who wants to join in can, but still they often self-segregate based on gender.

I do feel really bad for your little guy. It hurts to be excluded. I always have a hard time with planning b-day parties for that reason. When dd1 was turning 6 she really did not want to invite a few girls in her class, but wanted to invite almost all the other girls just leaving three out (inviting about 8). I felt really stuck on that because I didn't want to leave anyone out, but she was adamant she did not want to invite these girls and I had seen her often butt heads with one of them. I didn't want to mess up her party by inviting her nemesis, but I didn't want to exclude anyone either. We ended up paring the guest list down further so that we left out more kids. I'm still not sure that was the best plan of action, but its over and done (3 yrs ago) and subsequent b-days haven't been as problematic. Maybe we can take a few special friends to the museum or something this year...

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#67 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 11:10 PM
 
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Have not made it past the first page of responses, but I think this is really sad. When people say "it is a fair way to cut down on the size of the party," they are discounting the damage it does to the close friends not invited ONLY because they are boys, AND to the birthday kid herself, by encouraging her to think that girls are somehow better, or more special, friends. It is NOT fair. It reinforces to all concerned that there is one characteristic more relevant than how close you are to a person or how much you have in common and how many shared experiences you've had -- none of that can outweigh this fundamentally important characteristic that you had no control over, your gender. Ouch.

For all of us who have wondered how gender definitions happen even when we actively resist them ... wow, here is one of the places.

Let me add that I think I had all-girls parties after I was about 3. I've never thought about that critically before, but it certainly does not seem very healthy upon reflection.

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#68 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 11:18 PM
 
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Again, I'm sorry if kids are hurt by not being invited but seriously, rather than slamming the party thrower, how about teaching your child a valuable lesson? That we aren't always invited to everything and it's really not that big of a deal. It's not a reflection on our self worth, it's just a one time party for girls or boys only. It doesn't mean they're not a special friend, it doesn't mean they're not important but, for this one particular event, they weren't invited.

I just don't get the sense of entitlement. That your child should be invited - no matter what - no matter the theme or event. Your child should be invited. Yeah, I don't get that.

I think many posters are missing the point. The issue that BB (the OP) raised isn't how to explain to her kid that he couldn't go to some party. The issue is that the ONLY reason appears to be his gender. Because this is a really good friend of his.

I am beginning to see how our society gets so screwed up. I am pretty sure I will not be allowing all-girls parties ...

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#69 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 11:25 PM
 
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I think what's screwed up is politicizing a 6-year-old's birthday party.
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#70 of 76 Old 12-23-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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Have not made it past the first page of responses, but I think this is really sad. When people say "it is a fair way to cut down on the size of the party," they are discounting the damage it does to the close friends not invited ONLY because they are boys, AND to the birthday kid herself, by encouraging her to think that girls are somehow better or more special friends. It is NOT fair. It reinforces to all concerned that there is one characteristic more relevant than how close you are to a person or how much you have in common and how many shared experiences you've had -- none of that can outweigh this fundamentally important characteristic that you had no control over, your gender. Ouch.

For all of us who have wondered how gender definitions happen even when we actively resist them ... wow, here is one of the places.

Let me add that I think I had all-girls parties after I was about 3. I've never thought about that critically before, but it certainly does not seem very healthy upon reflection.
I don't think a girls only party is going to teach the dd that girls are better then boys.

And in all honesty, if my ds or dd where seriously upset over a party. I'd have to wonder what I'm teaching both of them by claiming it's unfair that the person having the party decided not to invite them. There's more to being a friend then inviting people to your birthday.

DD's had all girl parties because she chose not to invite any male friends, she has also chosen at times not to invite female friends and she's chose to invite both male and female friends but only certain ones. We aren't going to force her to invite everyone she knows just to avoid hurting someones feelings.

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#71 of 76 Old 12-24-2008, 12:29 AM
 
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I happened to have thrown my 8 year old daughter an all girls party this year, but it had more to do with finances than a theme. It was just a regular birthday party with pin the tail on the donkey, ring toss, and concentration as the games and crafts for the other activities. The school rule in her school is that you have to invite everyone in the class for a party, unless you only invite one gender. Since we could not afford to make a party for her whole class (plus we have no room for all of them either--we live in a townhoue), we had to cut the list somewhere.
Again, wow. The school says this is the one and only way a child can determine his or her closest friends for a small party? No wonder children just happen to develop binary notions of gender. Gee, how could that happen? Why would my child start to prefer to just be with children of the same sex?

Mama Shifra, no negative comment about your post -- they gave you no apparent choice. But seems like a rule that is not the school's to make, and one that teaches the students something about gender rules, whether it is meant to or not.

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#72 of 76 Old 12-24-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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What an odd rule. When dd was in school the only rule was that if you weren't inviting the whole class you had to send out invitations outside of/after school.
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#73 of 76 Old 12-24-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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I think what's screwed up is politicizing a 6-year-old's birthday party.
I think it is important to understand that we teach our kids things when we act like certain divisions between people are "natural" or essential or inevitable.

If my DD's school decided that gender is the one acceptable basis on which to leave kids out of a birthday invitation, and DD knew about that ... don't you think that "politicizes" the party?

I am struck by how unexamined it seems to be that this is a healthy message to give to kids.

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#74 of 76 Old 12-24-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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One of his BEST boyfriends had a birthday party and only wanted to invite 3 kids from his new preschool. They were "new" friends and he was excited to have them over. He just didn't see the need to have anyone else. No sweat. It's still one of DS's best friends, but that was the boy's choice for the party and mom wanted to keep it small and said only 3 anyhow. No problem.
How did you explain that parent's reasoning to your DS? Why can't you just use the same explanation this time? His friend is having a birthday party and he's not invited -- sounds like he's done well handling this situation in the past.

I mean, why is it any more okay to "rank" friends or classify friends into "preschool" and "non-preschool" groups than it is to classify them into boy/girl groups?

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#75 of 76 Old 12-24-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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I mean, why is it any more okay to "rank" friends or classify friends into "preschool" and "non-preschool" groups than it is to classify them into boy/girl groups?
Because "preschool" and "non-preschool" are not inherent attributes of anyone's self.

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#76 of 76 Old 12-24-2008, 10:16 PM
 
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that really stinks for your little boy, but i think parties for "girls only" or "boys only" is fine. i wouldn't do it personally (especially at the age of 4) but i would not be offended if someone else did.

there is a boy's playgroup in my area. we homeschool and i would love to take my son there! it would be great for him to make friends and play! but my daughter isn't allowed. no girls are allowed (even if their siblings). the host of the group (also an MDC mama) explained to me why she only wants it to be boys. it made sense actually and i totally respect her decision. but it does suck for my ds, so i can understand your disappointment.

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