5th birthday party invite drama - advice please - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I need advice, if you have a minute, mommas.

My daughter's 5th birthday is coming up and so we're organizing a party for it. I obviously can't invite her whole pre-school (though I know some parents do), and so I invited the kids that my daughter likes the best from school (isn't that normal, or is it not?). We only invited a couple boys whom my dd likes a lot, and then she wanted to invite the rest of the girls- except for 3: 2 of which she's never really talked to, and one other little girl who hurt my daughter's feelings several times last year when she told my daughter to go away and play by herself (away from the other girls in the class).

Well, I now find out from another mom in the class that the mother of the little girl whom we didn't invite because of the unpleasant things the girl said to my daughter during a lot of the year (which the girl's mom is aware of) now has her feelings hurt since she heard about the party from another mom and realized that we didn't invite her daughter to our party. The girl's mom is a nice lady, I don't know her well, but we've always been friendly and cordial. So now I'm wondering if I need to call the girl's mom to apologize for not inviting her daughter and explain that she wasn't invited because my daughter is intimidated by her daughter for the way she treated my dd several times during the school year? I don't hold a grudge or bitterness toward the little girl or her mom, honestly, I just wanted to make some boundaries for my dd on her special day and not invite the possibility of drama into her birthday party. Isn't that what a mom is supposed to do? Protect our kids, if we know there's potential harm coming their way?

I've told my dd during the year not to dislike the other little girl for telling her to go away, but to just pray for peace with the little girl and to find other friends and activities to do if the girl says unpleasant things to her again. The teacher encouraged me in taking this approach with my dd in the matter, rather than making it into a big dramatic thing where the other girl's mom is brought in and everyone tells the other girl that they have to let my dd come along and play - because the teacher says the other little girl will just do what she wants anyways, after the teachers and moms leave.

So, my question is: do I need to call this other mom and apologize and/or explain why I didn't invite her daughter to the party? Or, can I just let it go and the girl's mom can just approach me if she has a problem with it?

Thanks for reading, and I'd love your input!

grateful as always,
joy

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#2 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 04:58 AM
 
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Nope, let it be.

IF she asks say "We could only afford a party for ten children and this was the first year we let little (insert daughters name) choose the ten children, I'm so sorry that she's not chosen your daughter, I'm sure if we gave her the ability to have a larger list your daughter would have been on it!"

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#3 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 05:48 AM
 
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Don't call. I think it could come off as rude and makes things more dramatic.

It does feel crappy when we don't get invited to a party that we want to go to, even as an adult. I don't think there is anything wrong with inviting who your daughter likes, as long as she is kind about it. I personally wouldn't hand out invitations at school but instead mail them to prevent children who don't get one from feeling left out. But the other girl knows and her disappointment at this stage can't be spared.

If her mom approaches you (which I think would be rather strange) about the party. I would not go into the whole thing about how her daughter hurt your daughter's feelings. I'd simply smile kindly and say, "We really wanted to be able to include the whole class, but it is just not possible for us this year. I'm very sorry that (whater the name) won't be coming. I hope you understand." and leave it at that.

Have a fun party!

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#4 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 06:42 AM
 
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sorry you're all feeling bad. that was a tough situation.

i'm guessing i'll be in the minority once all the advice and support comes in, but i would have invited the whole class, especially if it was only 3 kids not coming. i don't know what class sizes are like in your school, but if it's like where i'm from, then 22 out of 25 got invited. that seems like a bit more of a slight (i understand your reasoning) if half the class didn't get invited. if they were a bit older, i'd probably have let her pick, but 5 is so young for that, imo. while your daughter is certainly learning a lesson about boundaries, i'm sure there's a lesson that also could have been learned had you talked to her about inviting the other little girl (empathy? foregiveness? fresh starts? fairness?). i went to a pre-K-12 school and some of the kids i couldn't stand in first grade i liked a lot as we got older.

anyway, i really doubt many/any will agree with me, but i just wanted to throw that out there as food for thought.

hugs all around. sounds like a tough situation. hopefully word doesn't trickle down to the kids.

hoping for a !
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#5 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 08:47 AM
 
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I'd just let it lie. As her child gets older, she'll understand that kids can't invite everyone they might like to invite to parties, and that sometimes her child won't be invited and it doesn't reallly mean anything. But only time and experience can teach that. She'll undoubtably be in your position before too long, and she'll understand then. I don't think there's anything you can say that will help. It'll just stir up the drama more.
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#6 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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No, I wouldn't call. If she wants you to know she's upset, she'll tell you directly. So far you've only heard gossip.

How many girls are in your DD's class? If there are 12 girls and she invited all but 3, that's a lot different than if there are 5 girls and she invited all but 3, you know?

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#7 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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Don't call. You are under no obligation to invite mean/rude/horrible children to your home.
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#8 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by c'est moi View Post
sorry you're all feeling bad. that was a tough situation.

i'm guessing i'll be in the minority once all the advice and support comes in, but i would have invited the whole class, especially if it was only 3 kids not coming. i don't know what class sizes are like in your school, but if it's like where i'm from, then 22 out of 25 got invited. that seems like a bit more of a slight (i understand your reasoning) if half the class didn't get invited. if they were a bit older, i'd probably have let her pick, but 5 is so young for that, imo. while your daughter is certainly learning a lesson about boundaries, i'm sure there's a lesson that also could have been learned had you talked to her about inviting the other little girl (empathy? foregiveness? fresh starts? fairness?). i went to a pre-K-12 school and some of the kids i couldn't stand in first grade i liked a lot as we got older.

anyway, i really doubt many/any will agree with me, but i just wanted to throw that out there as food for thought.

hugs all around. sounds like a tough situation. hopefully word doesn't trickle down to the kids.
I agree with you. Dd has had some problems with a boy at school who can be physically aggressive at times (and dd has twice been on the receiving end), but we still invited him--and the whole class--to her bday party. If they were old enough that all the parents wouldn't be at the party, then I might have limited the guest list, but I felt totally comfortable with all the grown-ups there to monitor the kids' behavior. At this age, so many kids are still struggling with things like impulse control and empathy and I don't think that the kids should necessarily be "punished" for not behaving well 100% of the time. I also think that--again, at this age, not talking about 8 or 10 year olds--being left out will just exacerbate bad feelings between the kids.

In this case, however, I would just let things go. If the mom does ask DEFINITELY don't talk about how her daughter said some mean things in the past (which seems pretty normal to me for five year olds, honestly), but just say you had to limit the size of the party.
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#9 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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I'd let it be for now.

But for future reference, I agree with this:

Quote:
i'm guessing i'll be in the minority once all the advice and support comes in, but i would have invited the whole class, especially if it was only 3 kids not coming. i don't know what class sizes are like in your school, but if it's like where i'm from, then 22 out of 25 got invited. that seems like a bit more of a slight (i understand your reasoning) if half the class didn't get invited.
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#10 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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but i would have invited the whole class, especially if it was only 3 kids not coming. i don't know what class sizes are like in your school, but if it's like where i'm from, then 22 out of 25 got invited
3 of the GIRLS were not invited, not 3 of the class. most of the boys were not invited.

I see nothing wrong with what the OP did. It's ridiculous to invite everyone to a party.
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#11 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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I see nothing wrong with what the OP did and would not talk to the mom about it.

We get to decide who we want to surround ourselves with at celebrations. Every time I've invited someone because, "oh we should include them instead of we want to include them" I've regretted it.

Why in the world would you invite someone who makes your DD unhappy and upset to her birthday? It should be a joyous occassion surrounded by those we cherish. Not an include all so as to not offend, who cares if DD gets picked on event.
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#12 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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3 of the GIRLS were not invited, not 3 of the class. most of the boys were not invited.

I see nothing wrong with what the OP did. It's ridiculous to invite everyone to a party.
Yep. This. She didn't invite quite a few kids, which is fine.

I'd also just let it go. This stuff just happens, and often. At some point, every kid will be left out of something. It's really not that big of a deal.
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#13 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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I would not call. It's your daughter's birthday and she can invite whoever she wants. If you call, you open the discussion and are forced to justify your daughter's choice of invitees. She doesn't need to hear how you feel about her daughter or why you didn't invite everyone in the class.

If I were that parent, I would not expect you to call and explain your decision to me.

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#14 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Leave it be. This isn't the first party her kid won't be invited to and it won't be the last.

I do have a policy that if you're inviting most of the girls, you need to invite all of them. But, since your dd didn't invite 3 of the girls, I think it was OK.

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#15 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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Yeah, I was always 1 out of the 2 girls not invited to a party. It sucks, believe me.

There's nothing you can do about it now. It is just like that for some people, and we learn a lot about exclusion and ostracism. I'm not sure how valuable the learning experience is but I guess it's part of life. A phone call won't make anybody feel better.

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#16 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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Yeah, I was always 1 out of the 2 girls not invited to a party. It sucks, believe me.
Yep, it hurts like hell to be one of the 1 or 2 not invited to a party.
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#17 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 01:49 PM
 
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Yep, it hurts like hell to be one of the 1 or 2 not invited to a party.
While I agree with this... I have to say I had some horrid birthday parties because my mom was so nice she invited everyone. What happens is the other kids at the party know who should have been left out and then they are mean to that kid at the party. The parents step in and it gets ugly and the gossip goes on for weeks.

Why attend a party that you aren't wanted at? Why have your kid attend one if its this way? If the children aren't friends... it is far better not to have invited them in the first place.
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#18 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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I agree with everyone to just let it be, and if asked, just say you couldn't invite the whole class. Personally though, at this age, I think if a big chunk of the class is going to be invited, then everyone should be (barring some serious issue of course).

I think this whole situation could have been avoided though if this girl's exclusionary behavior had been addressed last year. It doesn't sound like she was ever really made aware that what she was doing was wrong, and therefore didn't correct her behavior. Now she's being excluded. I guess that's natural consequences, but five seems a bit young for that IMO. I think kids this age need a lot of help from adults to help navigate this kind of thing, and it didn't do this girl any good to just let the issue go and figure she'd just do whatever she wanted anyway, so there was no point in bothering. I'm glad my daughter's school doesn't tolerate that kind of exclusionary behavior. It's normal to some extent, and kids do it, but they need to learn it's not cool.
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#19 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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I agree with the majority - don't call.

Our pre-school teacher actually laments the large parties and has encouraged us to just to the traditional party with a few close friends. And 5 is coming up for us in October and dd wants the big party she's attended . . . but we're just not gonna.

And I don't feel slighted as a parent or on behalf of my daughter. I realize she is not close to everyone in her class and no one is required to have a party, much less invite my daughter.

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#20 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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While I agree with this... I have to say I had some horrid birthday parties because my mom was so nice she invited everyone. What happens is the other kids at the party know who should have been left out and then they are mean to that kid at the party. The parents step in and it gets ugly and the gossip goes on for weeks.

Why attend a party that you aren't wanted at? Why have your kid attend one if its this way? If the children aren't friends... it is far better not to have invited them in the first place.
I think this depends a lot on how many kids are invited and how invitations are handled. In my dd's school, it is the norm for the whole class (15 kids) to be invited. If I chose not to invite the whole class, I would invite just a few kids and make sure that invitations were not handed out at school. If a large group of kids are invited, and the party becomes a hot topic of conversation at school, then it can be truly horrible for the ones who are left out. When I was a kid, my siblings and I generally invited the whole class or just a very small group of friends (maybe 4-6), so there was never a sense that just a few people were being left out.

And at 3 or 4 or 5 years old, I just think a lot of "bad" behavior can be attributed to the fact that the kids are still developing socially. Hurt feelings now and then are sort of par for the course--and while I would always encourage dd to stand up for herself and/or tell a parent or teacher if she's upset, I also wouldn't want to label another YOUNG child as "mean" or a "bully" just for engaging in some age-appropriate behavior.
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#21 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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I think the number of kids in the class makes a big difference.

In my DS's preschool, 12 was the maximum number of kids per class, so if the OP has a similar scenario, then about half of those kids would be boys, leaving 6 girls including the OP's DD. So, if she invited "all the girls except 3," that would mean she invited 2 and didn't invite the other 3. Perfectly fine, IMO.

It seems that many of you are assuming (possibly rightly, we don't know yet) that the class is much larger and a large majority of girls were invited, in which case I can understand some hurt feelings. I'm not on board with the invite-the-whole-class thing in general, but it does seem iffy to invite, say, 90% of the kids and not just include the rest.

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#22 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I agree that you shouldn't call. It's never a good policy to respond to hypothetical hurt feelings.

But I disagree that you should give a false reason should she confront you. I'd be gentle, but tell her that your daughter doesn't feel comfortable with hers. If you say the other bit, you're being a bit untruthful, since the MAIN reason this particular child wasn't on the list wasn't because of your limiting of the list -- it was her behavior, right? And, I'll bet that mom will spot it, and be offended by it. You also said that the mom knows about her daughter's behavior. Hopefully, she'll use this as a teaching moment with her own child, about the consequences of being unkind. This kind of confrontation is difficult, of course, but I think it's one of those things that us moms who are trying to live with integrity are required to do.

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#23 of 23 Old 08-04-2010, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you soooo much for all your input and advice!! I would have been off calling the girl's mom apologizing and explaining the whole reasoning behind why we didn't invite her daughter - yikes!

Yes, just to clarify, there's 24 kids in my dd's class and we invited 11 of the 15 girls in the class, and 3 of the 9 boys in the class - making a total invite list of 14 of the 24 kids were invited. That means 10 of the 24 weren't invited. It would have cost us much more $$'s to invite 10 more kids and their parents because we have to buy tickets for everyone to come to the party at this place (which would mean 20 more tickets - about a $100 more!), so I would hope it could sound reasonable to the mom or anyone else invited that it would just be really expensive to invite everybody in the class.

I've posted on mothering before about the whole situation between the little girl who excluded my daughter from school, and it was their teacher who encouraged me to not make a big deal about the whole situation because it's "normal" behavior to be exclusionary with friends at 5. She thought it would be more troubling for my daughter to have the girl's mom and the teacher lecturing the little girl on how she has to be nice to everyone and include everyone in her play. The teacher said the little girl would just do what she'd want to do when no one was looking, anyways. It worked well for my daughter when we encouraged her to just make new friends and to find things to play and do on her own (which she never really did before - she lovvvved just playing with other kids, never really on her own before that).

The other little girl's mother was definitely aware of the situation through another mom who was good friends with the little girl's mom and witnessed the exclusionary behavior with me one day when we were both volunteering in the classroom. I don't know what the other little girl's mother ever did about the information she received about her daughter, but the mother never addressed me to tell me she was talking to her daughter about it.

Also, I learned over time that several other girls were being treated just like my daughter was by this little girl- so it helped me at least feel a little better that it wasn't just my daughter who was being singled-out by that little girl- she was just very exclusionary in her play.

As I mentioned briefly in my original post, my daughter and I did originally speak at length about the excluding situation (she cried and cried for weeks about this when it all first started happening - uggggh, it was painful!), and I encouraged her to privately pray for the little girl when she told my daughter to go away and to love her anyways because she didn't understand how she was hurting my daughter. I'm so glad that my daughter doesn't appear to be bitter or mad at the other little girl, but has rather just found a way to move on (we'd talked about forgiveness before, too), and I just felt like it was my responsibility as her mom to provide her with some boundaries on her birthday from having to have the other little girl at her party where the little girl could potentially exclude her again, or tell her to go away again, as usual, on my daughter's happy day. I just wanted to giver her a break from it all for the day, you know?

Thank you so much for reading and responding to my post. It's really kind and considerate of you all to take the time to do that, and I need to try to get better at finding pockets of time in my day to try and respond like that to others on here, too. You're so helpful, mommas!

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