Of classes and birthday party invitations…

School is just starting up and one of the questions that’s arisen in our new first grade class already is the whole question of party invitations. If you have young children and they go to a school where the teachers consciously try to create an optimal environment, I bet you already know what I’m talking about.

The core question: if you have, say, 25 children in your kid’s class, who do you — and don’t you — invite when it’s time for their birthday party?

There are logical arguments for a number of different possible “policies” that parents can agree upon, from the idea of “boys invite all the boys, girls invite all the girls”, to “invite everyone, assume lots won’t attend” to “invite no more than one or two children from the class”.

In another setting (not sure which), I remember hearing that the optimal number of children for a party was exactly the age of the birthday child. If it’s their fourth birthday, then four kids works best, but if they’re turning twelve, well, twelve kids can be a nice circle of friends. I’m not sure I completely agree with it, though I do agree that it’s daft to have lots of kids for a second or third birthday as the wee ones just get overwhelmed.

Nonetheless, we spent an hour earlier this week in a parent meeting for first grade talking about this subject, with parents sharing a remarkable variety of perspectives, ranging from “my child can’t handle more than two or three other kids at a time” to “we love big parties and my girls expect a production and expect me to be in costume too!”

At some level I think that perhaps the key requirement is that invitations be mailed, not distributed at school, but some kids are going to be invited less than others by the very nature of social dynamics. Sure, we could shield them, but maybe it’d be better to let them ask “Mom, how come I don’t get invited to parties?” and for them to begin learning that being a bully on the playground just isn’t conducive to being popular, or being a tattletale, or … well, y’know what I mean.

Then again, that sounds awful adult and logical/rational when we’re talking about sensitive seven year olds going into first grade and still being amazed and intimidated by the world around them. It’s certainly never my intention for any child to have their feelings hurt or be upset by their environment, particularly if we parents can work together to minimize those aspects that we can control… [goodness knows, there are plenty of factors out of our control that will affect them on a daily basis too] But I don’t really want to host a birthday party for 25 7yo children, it’s totally overwhelming to even think about it, and I also don’t want to tell my son G- that he can’t invite any of the girls he likes in class either because of a “boys invite boys, girls invite girls” sort of policy.

We haven’t come to any resolution that meets everyone’s needs and will work for the various children too, so I thought I’d ask you, dear reader, to share your own experiences and thoughts on this subject.

Help!

69 comments on “Of classes and birthday party invitations…

  1. I have no experience to speak of as my daughter is 8 months old so I don’t know why I’m so compelled to comment. I like the idea that you invite the number of kids based on the age of the birthday kid. I’m sure one can’t make everyone happy but ultimately it’ll rest on your needs. What can you deal with? Some can deal with the havoc of an “out do the Johnson’s” party. Others prefer the intimacy of a small group. I’ll be checking in to see what you decided. Good luck.

  2. Can’t you just send “cupcakes” to school to celebrate his birthday with the class and then have a smaller celebration with his friends at another time? Kids tend to play with just a certain number of other kids, not the whole class. Those are the kids he’d probably like to have the smaller birthday party with. Then no one is left out.

  3. I am trying to forgo the whole traditional party and really trying to avoid parties in general as they are stressful. Instead I am going to try to convice my kids each to do something fun like a theme park with just bro and mom n dad.. as they get older maybe invite a friend. I just find that if we do get an invite to schedule something else. If it’s a friend we have known for a long time and if they have come over to our house before and there is a definate relationship already there then I will attempt to make the party. Otherwise it a commmercialized affair of just giving items to a family we don’t really know… anyways I found this webpage a while back and have fun reminding myself why I ‘m not into them as much..
    http://birthdayswithoutpressure.org/

  4. I was going to let my daughter, (2nd grade) give an invitation to all the kids in her class (25) but then I’m thinking maybe she should just pick out 4 or 5 and we’ll mail them. But then what if the 4 or 5 we choose don’t show up? I know from getting invites through out the year from children in her class that we don’t go to all of them. I’ll show her the invite and ask her if she wants to go. Sometimes she says yes and sometimes she says no. Other times if I don’t recognize the child’s name and we are busy then I don’t even mention it to her and we don’t go. Point is, out of 25 kids only a handful, maybe 10 at most will show up. So it really depends on where you are having the party. In our case we are thinking about the local YMCA. It’s only $60 for the first 20 kids. They’ll get an hour of swimming and an hour in the party room where we can have cake/ice cream and play games. If you are having it at your home or at a place where you literally have to pay per child then it’s more reasonable to just invite 10 or less in my opinion. Still not sure what I’m going to do, but it helped to read all the comments.

  5. Hello, I just found your business blog site and through that- this one. I’m a fan already!
    I have to agree that perhaps the party invitations mailed is the best way to deal with the situation. I have raised two children and the truth is, the world isn’t a perfect or fair place to live and sometimes you’ll be on top of it and sometimes you won’t. I am all for doing our best not to cause a childs feelings to be hurt, but there are times we can’t keep it from happening and parents have to use those times as teachable moments. I kind of liken this idea to a conversation I had with my mother shortly after I gave birth to my first child. It was a profound ‘teaching moment’ for me, her child, even though I was an adult. It went like this- As I was holding my precious newborn who was in the throws of suffering some unknown tummy pain. I said with empathetic agony over my inability to do anything to relieve her, “Why do little babies ever have to feel pain at all? Tiny people shouldn’t have to feel pain yet.” My mother was quiet for a moment. I really wasn’t thinking there was an answer when she said something I never forgot. She ran her hand over the sweet little girl in my arms and said, “Well, If they didn’t learn to deal with the little pains along the way, then it would have to happen all at once someday and it would be excrutiating.” So simple and true. I have found this to be a great help in many difficult areas of child rearing.

  6. I can see the parents getting more upset about it than the kids. Say Jimmy’s mom invites specific people but then they don’t invite Jimmy to their party, she might be upset. Parents are worse than the kids sometimes.
    The only year I had a big birthday party (more than family and closest friends from the neighborhood) was the summer before 3rd grade. We had about 10 little girls sleep over on our front porch. What fun that was!

  7. I Believe It is Defiantly up to what the parent can Handle!! My Son Will Be 11, And he has begged every Year For A Big Birthday Party, But we’ve Put it off Till This Year! We Will Be Hosting a Huge Halloween Birthday Party For Him We’re Inviting All The Kids in His 4th And 5th Grade Classes!!60+ Kids From 9-12 Thats Not including our Friends And Family..But We’ve Been Planning Since Mid Summer..It’s Taking Alot Of work and Money But It is what He wants and this is our Birthday Gift to Him.. But We feel Like the kids are old enough to where you can kind of control them..lol..I know I could not have did this with younger kids..Plus I’m Sure all the kids want show up..Thats why we are inviting all the kids,Because we dont want to hurt childrens feelings and I dont believe that the kids who are not close to my son will acually come.. 🙂
    We Believe Our Son will always be able to look back and think this was one of the best Birthdays Ever…And of course you want your child to have his Birthday wish!! 🙂

  8. Wow, no one has yet mentioned the OTHER teaching opportunity for our kids here. It seems to me that the biggest issue in the classroom is not hurting other kids feelings. So if you are not going to invite all the kids, teach your child HOW to not hurt anyone’s feelings.
    Giving invitations outside of school is best, but if your child is old enough to hand them out themself, teach him or her to do it discretely. Gosh, even MY feelings would be hurt if someone excitedly handed out party invitations at my Moms Club meeting, and I didn’t get one;). But grownups know how to be discrete, and invite someone quietly if others are around. Even if it’s just to lunch.

  9. It happens that have had a litte experience with a child not being invited to a birthday party as recently as yesterday. My son was the only boy from his class not invited to another boy’s birthday party. Let me say that given some of the above comments – my son is not a bully. I say this not as an over protective mother but as someone who talks to the teacher to ask how he is doing ect on a regular basis. He has friends who were genuinely surprised that he was not invited to this party. They found out at the same time he did…after school waiting to be picked up a limo pulled up to pick up those lucky enough to be invited to this kid’s party. My son is impressed at first but does not rush forward as every other boy in his class did. Several look back saying “come on” but of course he doesn’t because he realizes that this is the party he did not recieve an invitation to in his ‘mail box’ over his book bag the week before. Let me ad that this is a Christian school and the mother of the child who was having the party is a teacher’s aide. She knows better.
    Every child cannot be invited to every party. Sometimes personalities clash and a child might not want another child at their party. All fair enough. But for goodness sake have the class and empathy to NOT have a limo pick up all the other kids (in this case boys) in front of the one who you chose to exclude. I never take these things personally because as adults we know every kid cannot be invited to every party. But I find it very hard in this situation to understand why this happened. These are eight year olds and I have never had a cross word with this mother. I am seriously thinking about going to the mother of the birthday boy and asking what on earth we did to offend her. I know that is not the most ‘grown up’ thing to do but I will continue to wonder if I don’t. If anyone reads this and cares to reply….what do you think?

  10. Tammy, it’s also possible that your son was overlooked by accident. Perhaps his invitation was lost.
    We belong to the “guests = age of child” group, but I really wish I had not set up the expectation of a party every year. I suppose we do the parties because we just don’t have a big family to celebrate with like I did when I was little. We also have the parties at our house, without any grand entertainment or any huge expenditures.
    Of all the parties my daughter has attended, my favorites have been the backyard parties. Simple, fun, not showy–and they expect the kids to entertain themselves. Imagine! The limo ride to the movie theater, the afternoon at the spa…those parties are such an incredible waste of time and money. What the heck are we teaching these kids?

  11. My son, who is in half-day Kindergarten, is turning 5. We spoke with the principal who informed us that we may not distribute invitations to the class. Keep in mind we were inviting the whole class(21), with the idea that maybe 10 would show up. Is it so bad that children these days can’t even invite thier classmates at a public school to a party because the school would be held liable. This is the most ridiculous policy, unwritten policy I have ever heard. If anyone, anywhere has a similar situation, I would love to hear about it.

  12. I am going through this right now as we speak! My oldest is turning 7 and would like to invite his whole class (25 kids). But, we have a large circle of friends (outside of class) that he’d like to invite as well. I’m not quite sure what to do. Glad to have found your blog!

  13. Well, just this evening, I held my baby girl of 8 years old in my arms as she cried. She was not invited to her friends’, and she thought she was her friend, to her b-day party. 16 girls out of a class of 25. And we know the family. A limo ride to the movies. I never thought this would happen. Only because, whoever she makes friends with it always seem to work out. But, not this time. I feel so bad for her and don’t know what to do.

  14. Jennifer,
    It stinks that your daughter wasn’t invited to her friend’s party. Maybe the friend’s parents limited how many she could invite–with a limo ride to the movies, I’d hope they drew a line somewhere.
    Your little girl has been given the opportunity to learn to deal with being left out. It is painful to watch her learn this, I know, but don’t forget that it really is good for her to learn how to carry on gracefully even when her friend disappoints her. There are so many lessons learned from birthday parties–how to invite a small number discreetly, how to say “no thank you, I cannot attend,” how to generously invite a large number to a more modest party, how to entertain on a budget, how to thank a friend for a gift, how to be the birthday kid without being a little tyrant, and yes, how to survive being left out. It is fun to teach our kids some of those lessons, and it is painful to guide them the more difficult lessons. Good luck with this one.

  15. I am also glad I found this blog. I am frustrated. My son will be turning 6 and we wanted to invite his whole class so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. We were informed by his teacher that as per the public school policy either we would have to mail or hand them out ourselves outside of school gates. Now, because less then half of the kid’s addresses are listed in the directory, we are having to mail some and distribute some to whomever we will be able to find when we drop off our son. We wanted to not discriminate but because we will not be able to locate all of the kids, some of them will be left out and will not understand why.

  16. In response to the original poster’s bit about letting the kid ask, “how come I’m not invited to the party”… well… why does the stance have to be taken that the kid who is not getting invited is the one at fault. Did it occur to anyone that children are very clicque-y and will exclude other kids based on disabilities, dress, skin color, etc.
    So maybe the explanation to a kid who has a Ausperger’s or a girl who has a giant birthmark on her face is not so simple. “Well, you see honey, people are mean and narrow-minded and they don’t want you simply for something you can’t help.”
    When a kid is old enough to really pick his own friends, he can invite anyone he wants but when you’re still having play dates with mothers and kids that you, and not your child, is choosing, etiquette must rule. An invitation to all is what you have to do.
    And for those parents of children who single other kids out for snotty reasons, a lesson in humanity and empathy is in order instead of yet another toy for their birthday.

  17. My son who is fifteen years old now, has never had a birthday party in his life. He had been invited to many parties but attended only selected ones.
    This is only due to my wife’s dislike of parents of other children.
    Has anybody else got such experience?

  18. Hello everyone! 🙂 I loved reading all of your comments, and I thought all of the ideas were very good. I know that children can feel left out, and this began when our son was in pre-K. One mother chose to hand out invitations to the other parents picking up their children and exclude many by blatantly showing (by not handing invitations to them). It showed how parents can be as well.
    Our son is now in second grade. We had a birthday party for him when he turned six years old, and we invited everyone in his class. They were some that did not show up, but it was a fun time. I thought it was nice to make everyone feel included as he handed out the invites.
    He told me yesterday that another boy in his class invited many to a “Star Wars” party, and he was not invited. His best friend even taunted our son about how she received an invite. Our son told her to stop as she was hurting his feelings.
    Children can be cruel, as can adults, and being invited (or not) to an event, is the ultimate in this display. It can be a learing lesson as was mentioned. I felt angry, and wanted to say something to the mother, as I know her from Cub Scouts, but is it worth it. They say the best revenge is “living well”, and I will show my son this, and help him to be a better person by showing him to hold how to hold his head high, try to say, “oh, well, maybe next time.” He will feel hurt, but this too shall pass. We can learn from it. 🙂

  19. I’m about to tear my hair out. Our kindergartner wants to invite three classmates to a sleepover (partly because he’s seen his older sister do it several times now — he did it last year for the first time). We’re in a new school that has the “no invitations unless everyone of the same gender is invited” policy. Obviously, that’s not an option for us. They tell us to contact the parents directly, which we’d be happy to do — except for the fact that we have no contact info OR last names of our son’s friends, because privacy laws prohibit the school from providing that info. And at the kindergarten level, one cannot yet be assured of the reliability of information passed from 5-year-old to 5-year-old. I’m so torqued at what seems to be an awfully PC-directed policy that seems (I completely agree with a post above) to be directed more towards pathologically over-sensitive parents than towards students. I mean, the whole argument rests on several silly assumptions, such as 1) the school is actively responsible for preventing its students from having their feelings hurt (as opposed to educating them in such a manner as to prepare them to live in a world full of hurt feelings), 2) that not getting a printed invitation significantly compounds whatever hurt is experienced by not being invited (which the non-invitees will know about regardless of whether thy receive a printed invitation), and — more seriously — 3) that the school actually has authority to prevent such free expression, so long as it does not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of the classroom. The Supreme Court has ruled that students are allowed to distribute religious literature on school grounds — but my kindergartner can’t give out a birthday invitation?
    Someone please wake me up…

  20. I know this isn’t directly related to school parties, but how about neighborhood parties? I have a question maybe someone can answer for me. We have some friends in our neighborhood, and we always invite each other to our children’s birthdays. Kind of a tradition. This past weekend, they held a party for their newest child, and didn’t invite us. My son noticed the balloons on the mailbox and asked why we weren’t invited. Hurt feelings, yes. But also for me. This is a friend of mine, and as far as I know, we’re still on good terms. If our invitation is lost in the mail, then me not saying anything to her looks like I blew the party off, but if I do say something, it’s going to be seen as what….ungraceful? petty? It bothered my son a lot, but bothers me more and I don’t know what to do. Help!

  21. “but some kids are going to be invited less than others by the very nature of social dynamics. Sure, we could shield them, but maybe it’d be better to let them ask “Mom, how come I don’t get invited to parties?” and for them to begin learning that being a bully on the playground just isn’t conducive to being popular, or being a tattletale, or … well, y’know what I mean”
    No actually, I don’t know what you mean. I find this comment quite offensive – it is just as likely that the child not invited is socially naive, less dependent on cliques or perhaps being bullied in subtle or not so subtle ways!
    I’m a fan of having birthday parties with small numbers (2-6) or with everyone – leaving one or two children out is exclusion and exclusion is bullying.

  22. I read every post this afternoon, after finally saying something to the mother of a child who told her not to invite my child after coming to his party. Is my child a bully? No. He is still kind and open and loving. Still, after two years attending THE preschool internationally renown for its community…a coop..I still value this school and what it has offered my son and I truly love the owner and will forever be grateful Sadly, my son is bullied, ignored and rejected. yes, he was developmentally not on track with his peers to start. His muscles were weak, talking, tryicyling, playing was difficult. He has worked very hard and is coming into his own but the cruelness is already in these children and in the parents. I have spent two years kabitzing with them and they are warm and friendly to me but outside of two friends, bday and bday, invitations and discussion right in front of us..my son is the one left out. For those who think a parent is petty, try it. I also have a typical child who has countless invitations .WE LIVE an attached, child centered life but it is a parent’s job to facilitate sensitivity.
    To those that say reciprocity is not important or that adults are petty, walk in the shoes of a parent whose child is left out and listen to the heart ache. Entertain your neighbors and lets them eat your food and drink and never invite you for a cup of coffee. They say what goes around comes around .How hard is it to have cake and ice cream in your garage or at a park..do we need to teach entitlement to our children. These children are growing up in a country in debt, the dollar is rock bottom, foreclosure mania, a recession no one wants to admit to, and we are teaching them to satisfy whims and materialism over people. We wonder why our country is disliked. It is beyond politics. It is a coma we are living in. We are asleep wanting to have, to be something and we have forgone kindness, etiquette, gratitude and common sense.

  23. My 4 year old son has just learned that he was not invited to a classmate’s birthday party. I have no idea why my son wasn’t invited to the classmate’s party – but that’s not really the point is it? He is sad. He is dissapointed and since he is only 4, he is looking to me to teach him how to get through this.
    His own birthday party is in a month and our plan have always been to invite everyone in the class to his party so that there are no hurt feelings. So, the question is, do we invite the child that didn’t invite him?
    In order to answer this question, I reach back to my own childhood for the answer. The summer before my 9th grade, I decided to have a small party with the kids that I had been hanging around with all summer long. I did not invite Laura. It wasn’t intentional to not invite her – I just had not seen her over the summer and it just didn’t cross my mind to invite her. There were tons of kids I didn’t invite to this impromptu party.
    Apparently, Laura learned of the party and so did her mother. Her mother devised a plan to hold a huge party once school started in the fall. The theme of the party was “Let’s get revenge on Jennifer and hold a party and invite the entire 9th grade except her!”
    As you can imagine, I was crushed. I learned how mean spirited and manipulative people could be all in the name of revenge. I also learned that I didn’t want to be this type of mother when I grew up.
    I’m 44 years old now and still think about how pathetic Laura’s mom was and how as a parent today, I wouldn’t want to teach my child to hold onto petty injustices. I want him to learn to move past dissapointment and to move on to the goodness in life.
    So, back to my son. Do I invite the child who didn’t invite my son to her party? Absolutely I do! I am teaching my child to treat others as he would want to be treated.

  24. my daughter is in Kindergarten and was recently not invited to a classmates birthday party. this was someone she has talked about all year and considers her friend. she kept on saying for days how she wasn’t invited and she didn’t know why. the girl handed out invitations right infront of her. i didn’t know what to tell her. the girls that were invited kind of rubbed it in her face for days. wow, kids can be cruel.
    anyways, finally she has received her first invite of the year and she is excited. i am supposed to RSVP by email. this may sound silly, but how should i ask what gift I can buy and also is it proper to ask if the parents can stay?

  25. I have not had the funds to invite classmates/friends to my daughter’s b-day parties. I usually just have something with our family. My niece and nephew are close to her age, so we invite them of course. Sometimes the family’s schedules conflict, so I did something new this year. I took just the kids skating, and then when we got home we had pizza and cake with grandma and grandpa. This was more affordable and fit everyone’s schedule much better. What does anyone think of this idea?

  26. I had asked a teacher just earlier today for help inviting 4 of my 8 year old daughters close friends to a surprise birthday party. She gave me a hard time about it, and pretty much declined saying that the school frowns on that as there will be hurt feelings, and either all kids or just the girls should be invited. I completely understand this, but considering that a few of the girls in her class often bully my daugther, and this teacher knows it, that would “not” even be a consideration, so it stuns me she would even recommend it. I am not sure what to do now or how to track down these girls addresses.

  27. Today, my son told me that he was not invited to a birthday party that at least most of the class was invited to. He is 9 years old and said that he was hurt a little. He says that the kids don’t like him because he is annoying to them. However, when I question the teachers, they do not see this. I work at the school and when I see him with his class, he seems liked. I assume this will pass, but it hurts (him and me). I explained to him that this happens and I don’t want it ruining his week or the rest of the school year. I also explained that it was not very nice for the boy to be talking about it at school and that we don’t need friends like that. We then talked about the situation happening to everyone, even me when I was a child. I don’t know what else to do? If anything?

  28. I agree with those who said to forego the party for little one’s. I think it’s ridiculous for anyone to expect EVERYONE to be invited to EVERYONE’S Bday party. I mean C’mon, it’s expensive, not to mention a HUGE stress! Let’s get realistic people. Have the cupcakes with the class, then invite a few friends and family over later on at home. Save the BIG parties for the Sweet 16 or something more necessary! =)

  29. Well, just today my son had a party for his ninth birthday. A swimming party. We had invited all 16 kids from his class as well as two other boys who live near us that aren’t in his class so a total of 18 kids. I had 2 people say RSVP yes right away and another no due to a family vacation. Then two days ago another 2 called me to say they were coming. So…5 people from 18 invites bothered to tell me anything. Well, the party came around tonight and ONE little boy from his class showed up, the two not in his class showed up and 3 little girls. SIX people from 18 (one of the ones who said yes then didn’t come.) This is an every year thing and what gripes me is that we attend most parties he is invited to. I think if they are gracious enough to include him I can be gracious enough to take him. But that doesn’t seem to be the thoughts on everyone else’s part. It is hard for him, he has noticed it and questioned it – why did everyone come to x,y and z’s parties but hardly anyone came to mine? And what the heck do you say to THAT?

  30. I am so glad I found this blog! Here is my situation… In planning my daughters 7th b-day party I heard a rumor another mom who has a daughter in my daughters 1st grade class was thinking about the same day for her daughter. Both our girls are born in July and kids scatter when summer comes so we are sneeking in our parties the Saturday school ends in June. I politely called her to see if it my source was correct and if so I would pick another dated The mom was equally polite and told me she had just put in a deposit at the party place. I told her no problem and that I would move my date to the following day (Sunday).This mom invited all the Girls in the class and I later learned she assumed I did the same. Invitations went thru the mail and We invited three Girls and two Boys from the class. We also invited two neighbors, totaling 7 (my daughters age) My daughter made the list, she came up with the seven guests for turning seven plan and was clear on who she wanted. The other mom’s daughter was not one of the three. Birthday talk is not allowed at school due to the hurt feeling thing but Murphys law happened and feeling are hurt by this one girl. Her mom, once polite, confronted me at school with how upset her daughter is over this and has been crying. I appoligized and began to cry myself explaining it was both unfortnate and unintentional her daughter is hurt. That I never intended to invite the whole class and my daughter wanted something small. I asked her if it was too late to invite her daughter and make ammends (it is about the kids feelings right?) She said yes it is too late and uninvited my daughter to her daughter’s party in not so many words. I was left stunned.Have I committed social suicide. I am not the first mom to not invite the whole class, my daughter has not been on the inviting end many a party and handles it with grace.Both parties are a week away. My daughter had a good cry when I told her she could not go to the other girls party. Did I screw up or is she over reacting? I plan to write a note explaining in light of our conversation it might be better my daughter not attend her daughters party and would she please accept our appologigies for the hurt feeling. Should I even do that? Looking for feed back!

  31. Here is my situation… In planning my daughters 7th b-day party I heard a rumor another mom who has a daughter in my daughters 1st grade class was thinking about the same day for her daughter. Both our girls are born in July and kids scatter when summer comes so we are sneeking in our parties the Saturday school ends in June. I politely called her to see if it my source was correct and if so I would pick another dated The mom was equally polite and told me she had just put in a deposit at the party place. I told her no problem and that I would move my date to the following day (Sunday).This mom invited all the Girls in the class and I later learned she assumed I did the same. Invitations went thru the mail and We invited three Girls and two Boys from the class. We also invited two neighbors, totaling 7 (my daughters age) My daughter made the list, she came up with the seven guests for turning seven plan and was clear on who she wanted. The other mom’s daughter was not one of the three. Birthday talk is not allowed at school due to the hurt feeling thing but Murphys law happened and feeling are hurt by this one girl. Her mom, once polite, confronted me at school with how upset her daughter is over this and has been crying. I appoligized and began to cry myself I tried to resolve it by she was too angry. I explained that I never intended to invite the whole class and my daughter wanted something small. (it is about the kids feelings right?) She then, uninvited my daughter to her daughter’s party in not so many words. I was left stunned.Have I committed social suicide. I am not the first mom to not invite the whole class, my daughter has not been on the inviting end many a party and handles it with grace.Both parties are a week away. My daughter had a good cry when I told her she could not go to the other girls party. Did I screw up or is she over reacting? I plan to write a note explaining in light of our conversation it might be better my daughter not attend her daughters party and would she please accept our appologigies for the hurt feeling. Should I even do that? Looking for feed back!

  32. Dear Donna,
    From what you have relayed in your blog, I believe that the other girls mother reacted reasonably. Why would you bother to contact the mother to arrange party dates and then not invite her child? Seems very odd. It would be natural for the mother to tell her daughter about your call and probably conveyed to the little girl that your daughter’s birthday party was the day after hers. I’m sure the little girl was excited and was anticipating an invitation. If you didn’t want to invite the little girl, then there really should have been no call to the mother to discuss overlapping party dates. Also, you mentioned that your daughter has not been on the inviting end of many parties. Is this because not very many children were invited to her parties? My experience is that you get back what you give in terms of party invitations. I recommend a heartfelt “live voice” apology to the mother and to the little girl and hopefully this is a good lesson learned for all.

  33. Dear Jennifer,
    Donna here. Thanks for your honest reply, I am not a bad person and I really wanted to make things right. The good news is the following day the other mom and I were at, what else, a B-day party together. She approached me with a smile and we worked it all out. She re- invited my daughter but I respectfully declined and will use that day as a life lesson in friendship ( do onto others)
    just for the record…
    I did apologize strait away but she was too angry to except it.
    When I called her to check her party date I had not yet made a guest list with my daughter and was unaware it would only include 5 of the 23. I was also unaware she was planning to invite the whole class.
    My statment: My daughter has not been on the inviting end of many a party, is due to many factors. Not every parent cares to or can afford to invite the entire class. Some are just boy invites, some are just girl invites and some are just a few classmates.
    Alot was learned here by Parents and children, communication is key. Thanks Jen, you did give me different perspective on things.

  34. My son just told me that he wasnt invited to an end of school party and the rest of the class was. Now I dont know if every single kid really was invited, but he said they all were handed invites by the kid, so there is something to be said about not handing out invites in class where the univited can feel hurt. I know sometimes that the invites can be distributed discreetly by the teacher, that would probably work out better. His report card hailed him but did add that he needed more self confidence, so stuff like not being invited sure doesnt help. I was hurt for my child, who is a very sweet kid, but I feel better after reading most of the comments here, at least I know we’re not alone! : )

  35. One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is how to “mourn the loss” and feel authentic emotions, and be able to truly admit when our feelings are hurt instead of acting out in attempts to get revenge on the people who hurt us. Another very important lesson is to be able to admit when we have made a mistake and hurt someone else’s feelings.
    @Donna, since you asked for feedback – yes, you screwed up big time. You displayed poor judgment and inferior social skills when you chose to proactively reach out to coordinate dates with the mother of a child you never intended to invite. Of course she was going to be hurt! I’m surprised that you couldn’t have anticipated such an obvious probable outcome, but I guess it goes to show that not everyone is reading from the same proverbial etiquette book.
    In your follow-up comment I detected a defensive tone from you (“I am not a bad person,” & “for the record…”) – which seems at odds with your request for honest feedback. Let’s put our egos to the side for a moment and consider your child. Within your own home, Donna, I hope you’ll choose to take responsibility for your actions and explain to your daughter the real reason why this situation arose: “I made a mistake when I called her mom about the party dates, because it lead her to believe her daughter was going to be invited. I think the lesson is we shouldn’t do things like make unsolicited phone calls or hand out invitations in front of others to advertise the parties we’re hosting, especially in the presence of the people we don’t plan to invite, because they get their feelings hurt, and might think we are purposely trying to exclude them.”
    You also say that in your view, things seem to be back to normal with the other mom. Please don’t be so naive as to assume that this mom has forgiven and forgotten your transgression. She may just be at a point in the grief process where she has learned to control the expression of her negative emotions in front of you. I’d keep her close, and make sure her kid is always on your guest list. Or better yet, stop having non-family birthday parties!

  36. I’m so glad I found this blog, lots of helpful hints. We are grandparents to a midly autistic 4 year old turning 5. He attends a special summer school program. There have been two parties at school this summer, one with cupcakes, and one with a cake and ice cream. He brought a hat home from one (very excited about the hat!), and a goodie bag from the other. We asked if we could do something at school for him, and were told as long as it was store made it was ok, I hate to bother the teachers/aides with tons of questions.
    We’ve bought hats, plates, napkins, and stuff for goodie bags at the dollar store, and we intend to get cupcakes. Total cost will be around $50.00 for 24 (16 kids, 8 adults). Two questions: should I send invites or a notice to school? It happens to fall the day before summmer school ends, and I’m worried if I order 24 cupcakes, and half the class decides to take those few last days off…
    Second question: Should we have him help us with the goodie bags or do we do that ourselves so it’s a surprise for everyone including him?
    As grandparents alot of this is new to us, as policies and times have certainly changed. Any suggestions appreciated.

  37. Hi Caroline,
    I think that parties at school are a great idea – no hurt feelings.
    I would send a brief note to the teacher so that the school knows to plan for this and you can ask if they know if very many kids will be out so tht you can plan accordingly.
    My 5 year old really loves to put together the goodie bags – it even helps him with his counting.

  38. Thanks, I can’t send invites (school rule), but they did give me a count of 10 boys, 6 girls, so I’ll goodie bag accordingly, with perhaps blue ribbons and pink ribbons.

  39. My son is going to have his 6th birthday party next week. I sent the invitations by mail and included an RSVP date and my home phone and e-mail address as a source to respond to.
    With the party a week away and not one response to the invitation, I plan on calling the parents of the 6 boys from my son’s class to see if they are able to attend or not.
    The party is on a Friday after school. I even put on the invitations that I will plan on picking up the boys from school on the day of the party…to make it more convenient for busy families.
    My son helped to plan this party and I know he will be heartbroken if no one is able to come.
    Any imput on how I can fix this situation? Any suggestions to break the news to him gently in a way he’ll understand?

  40. Hi Erica,
    I hope your little man’s party went well and all of his little friends showed up. My son is 6 and he’s been having parties since daycare (age 4). My experience is that parents don’t RSVP until the last minute, seems as though many don’t respect the “respond by dates”. Which then leads to panic by us mom’s and dad’s. In your case it could have been b/c the party was close to the holidays, perhaps people we’re preoccupied or still cleaning up from the holiday mess.
    I’m sure the party was a huge success. Happy New Year.
    Great tip regarding the # of kids to invite in accordance to your child’s age, I wish I would have thought of that last year before inviting 20 five year olds..LOL
    Angela

  41. I have 8 year old triplets (2 boys, 1 girl) who are all in the same class (small rural school). On Monday one of my sons brought home a birthday invitation to a boys party who is very popular in the class. My other son did not receive an invitation. Not only were the invitations handed out at school, but, on the day of the party all of the boys are taking the bus home with this particular boy. In speaking to my sons it seems that 4 of the 12 boys in the class were not invited.
    My dilemma is whether to let the son who was invited go or not. He is so excited and really wants to go. I know the one who was not invited has been having a hard time fitting in at school. He has a real temper, and doesn’t put up with a lot of crap from anyone. As a result, he’s not very well liked by his peers. His one comment was “I have invited Jake to every one of my birthday partiesâ€?. I have always invited all of the boys in the class to our parties rather than leave anyone out.
    So, do I keep J. from going, and risk him being resentful of his brother, or do I use this as a life lesson to N. that if you’re not nice to people, you won’t be invited. In defense of the boy having the party, if he and N. don’t get along, then he shouldn’t have to invite someone to his party that he doesn’t like. I would have thought however, that his mother would have handled this with a little more tact.Any thoughts? This is not an issue for my daughter, she is fully aware that there are boy parties and girl parties.

  42. Thank you for responding. You were right, I received all 6 RSVP’s on the date I had written down as “Respond by…”. I think that was the date that parents had in their heads. I did end up calling 2 families who did not respond. Both mothers apologized and said it slipped their minds with the holidays but intended to call.
    I was worried for nothing. My son actually had 8 boys come to his birthday party, they all had a great time. Now that I have my feet wet, I’ll not to get worked up so quickly next year.
    Thank you for easing my mind though. Take Care!

  43. Karen,
    Wow. I feel for you an your situation. I do feel it was extremely insensitive of the boy’s mother or father to invite one sibling but not the other.
    It isn’t anything I would do. I also feel that leaving only 4 boys out of the party was
    un-called for. Inviting the remaining four would not have hurt anything and spared a lot of feelings.
    If it were me, I would let my son go to the party. As unfair as it is, the world is full of invitations and times we are all left out. It’s a life lesson. Your son that was invited may feel some resentment towards his brother if he is told he has to miss the party because his brother wasn’t invited. To think on the positive side, this may be the realization to your other son that he needs to work on his friendship skills or similar circumstances may occur again.
    I’m sure as a mother it breaks your heart though. Best of luck with this. I know as a mother of 3, I’ll be having to deal with this issue in the future as well.

  44. I have just had the unfortunate luck of having to help my 10 yr old daughter deal with not being invited to a slumber party at her supposed best friend’s house! Not only did this girl not invite her- she made sure to plop the invitation down on the desk of the girl right next to my daughter & proceeded to discuss the plans of the party with this girl while my daughter sat & listened. What is really confusing about this is this girl’s mother is supposedly a friend of mine who I talk with fairly regularly. I advised my daughter to keep a distance from this girl & to not discuss her feelings (about not being invited) with anyone in class. My daughter & I are really confused. There was plenty of time for this friend to give Rachel an invitation but she did not. Sadly, Rachel heard another girl in the class ask this supposed friend if she too could come to the slumber party (this girl wasn’t invited either & was also a supposed close “friend.”) To me this whole thing was downright tacky, ignorant & rude. I explained to my daughter that it isn’t her fault that any of this happened & to keep a distance from this girl & if she does ask why my daugher is distant then tell her the truth tactfully. Sometimes you learn the hard way who your true friends are. Oh, this all happened at a Christian private school.

  45. Wow… Some of these discussions make me understand why Jehovah’s Witnesses consider birthday celebrations as “pagan” and an excessive focus on the individual…
    My children are all grown … they are wonderful & caring human beings who grew up in a time when birthdays were not inaugurations! The parents who invited “the whole class” were the exception not the rule…and were considered “those parents.” My reaction to this is almost visceral.

  46. My daughter is turning 6 and we planned a girl-theme party (for girls only). We invited all the girls in the class except two. We did not invite those two girls because they were having their birthday parties in the week immediately preceding my daughter’s birthday and they did not invite my daughter (but appear to have invited almost all the other girls in the class).
    The girls all talk about the parties at school, so my daughter was aware she was not invited and I was there when one of the mothers brought cupcakes for the class and even the mother was very insensitive and talked about the party that my daughter was not invited to.
    Another child (boy) subsequently sent invitations for his party for the same date as my daughter’s(the mother did not know about ours because it was all-girl) and the boy invited the entire class. My daughter’s birthday is in the morning and the boy’s is in the afternoon, so there’s no real conflict there. (In fact I called the mom to let her know, and offered to provide transportation from our party to her son’s to make sure the kids can make both.)
    Here’s the issue: I felt comfortable excluding the girls who had not invited my daughter to their parties (I knew they’d figure they were not invited but would not be offended since they did not invite my daughter, so obviously they do not consider my daughter a friend). But now, it will be obvious at the boy’s party (which we are also planning to attend) that some of the girls are coming from another party (it’s a dress-up party).
    I want to do the right thing, but I want my daughter to be treated right and stand up for herself too. Her friendship is just as valuable as theirs, her attendance just as precious. So for now, I still have not included the two girls. Out party is 10 days away, so I still could add them, but it’s awkward, and I don’t really think we have to (i.e., they/their moms will know why they were not invited). Any thoughts?

  47. My child wasn’t invited to a birthday party today. The girl was turning 11, my 10 year old was the only child that regularly plays with the birthday girl at the pool who wasn’t inclued. There had been no disaggrements or altercations prior to the party. These girls play together daily.
    To make matters worse they made a big hoopla over lunch and left my two girls alone at the pool while the other children “partied under the pavilion.” We belong to a small swim club and are regulars to the pool. There was a great chance we would be at the pool. The mother of the birthday girl asked me if my daughter was okay, I said she was fine. If I told her you broke her heart I would have cried.
    Not only did we think the children were friends we thought we were freinds with the parents too.
    Heartbroken in Kentucky

  48. It’s so hard not to get emotional when your child comes home from school in tears because her “friend”, whom we’ve had over for play dates, did not invite her to her birthday party. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but when my daughter’s birthday comes in the next few months, you can bet we will be inviting the “friend”. I told my daughter that she has to be the better person, and to still treat others as she wishes to be treated. I was initially upset at the parents, not really understanding (since we also have a friendship) why our daughter was excluded, but this only harbours ill feelings and is actually counterproductive. I hope I am a good example to my child, and hope that someday she will be stronger for learning this painful lesson.

  49. This all sounds all too familiar. My 6 yr old son came home today upset because one of his regular playmates at school handed out his b-day invites and did not invite my son. I was quite surprised because they have played together at recess just about every day for the last year. My son was especially hurt because another one of their friends, who sits beside my son in class, was invited and showed his invite to my son at lunch today. When my little boy asked his ‘friend’ why he wasn’t invited (he had told my son last week that he was going to be invited), he said that it was because they have a cat and my son is allergic to cats! My little guy was very hurt:( I can’t help but think that this is the doing of the mom for some reason, especially since the kid told my son he would be inviting him. My son is a very sweet and kind boy, but also has ADHD, and sometimes I think parents unfairly assume that he will be hard to handle or misbehave because of the ADHD label. To the contrary, although he is a bit impulsive sometimes, he is a great kid who behaves very well and rarely gets into trouble.
    My son’s birthday party is coming up in 3 weeks, and I will stick to my mom’s old motto. Kill em’ with kindness. You can bet that boy WILL indeed be invited to our party. We will set the example and be the better people in this situation.

  50. My little boy has his 7th birthday party coming up soon. As with most, the policy at his school is you can’t pass out invitations in class unless you invite everyone. This actually was fine with me because he has 18 children in his class and I know from past experience that usually only about half of those invited show up. The problem I have is that my little boy wants to invite everyone in class except for 2 children that he says are not his friends. I told him we couldn’t possibly leave 2 people out (besides the fact that the school won’t allow it)and I tried to explain how terrible they would feel about being left out, etc. but he is so upset that he has to invite these 2 children that he told me he doesn’t want to have the party now. He really won’t tell me why he doesn’t like these 2 children other than to say they aren’t his friends. I certainly don’t want to ruin his birthday and cancel his party but as a parent, I just can’t let him exclude anyone like this when I know how wrong and hurtful it is. In addition, I have to admit I am very upset with my son for not seeing how wrong this is. I know he is only six and social skills are still emerging but I wasn’t expecting this from him. Anyone have any advice? I wanted this to be fun for him but it is turning into a huge mess.

  51. There is a family with 3 children in our court. Our little boy and their oldest boy are same age, 5. From last year the two boys started to play a lot even though the parents have only talked a couple of times. They invited all the young kids in the court today to their 3 years old and left out my little boy. My little boy didn’t know they were having a party at their garage and went to show the boy his halloween costume. Their 5 years boy told my son that he was not invited. His parents didn’t do anything to explain or amend. I don’t know what I am going to do next when I see them. Talk or no talk? What to talk? They never let their kids come out to other people’s house play. My next door neighbor told me that she was hurt by them not talking to her. Another neighbor invited my little boy to an ice cream shop later today due to what happened. I am really grateful that there are some kind neighbors out there in our neighborhood.

  52. My daughter has only been at her school for a few weeks. ALL of the girls in her homeroom were invited to a birthday party except her. She is heartbroken and didn’t want to go to school today because she knew they would be talking about the party.
    ANY parent that would allow that is cruel and heartless. Invite everyone or don’t invite anyone.

  53. I am so glad that I found this site! I hope that someone can provide me with some insight…it sounds like we have all been through something similar.
    My son has two classmates who are cousins, and this year the cousins are going to have a “joint” birthday party. The father of one of the birthday boys has made a point of asking me several times if we are going to attend the party, and I have told him that yes, we would like to go (or, my son would). We did not receive a printed invitation, as they were not going to send any out. Today, the OTHER birthday boy handed out invitations, and my son did not receive one. I was surprised a bit by this, since I am friends with the parents of this boy (although I will admit that for some reason, the mother has seemed to be avoiding me lately…I have NO idea why) and we have always invited them to my son’s parties. This is my dilemma…we have a verbal invite from one set of parents, although they have not gotten in touch to confirm the date/time, and no invitation from the other set of parents. To complicate things further, my son was told by the boy who had given him the verbal invite that his dad had provided the “numbers” to the party place, and that the count didn’t include my son. So, what does that mean? He’s not invited by one boy, and is he “uninvited” by the other? My son is 9, gets along great with other kids as far as I know, and he is genuinely confused and hurt by this. I’m a bit confused too…I don’t want to say anything to the parents, but I don’t know if I should send my son based on the verbal invitation of one parent. Any thoughts?

  54. I have an 11 year old boy that was not invited to a birthday party. This is a Christian school with only about 40 kids from K-12. He & another boy were the only two out of a group of 6 boys that are from 6th-8th grade that weren’t invited. The other boys talk about the party then tell each other to be quiet when my son is near. I feel sorry for him, but mostly I am irritated by the other boys’ parents. His father is the youth pastor at the church. In a way I could care less because this other boy generally rubs everyone the wrong way – he’s obnoxious & self-centered. Not a good example. My son doesn’t need to be influenced by this “apple” or the tree from which he came.

  55. We are planning a birthday party for our 6 year old son, and will be sending out invitations to all of his 25 kindergarten classmates, plus 5 additional friends. My question: are we supposed to also send invites to his 2 kindergarten teachers? Thanks for your thoughts.

  56. Jennifer- April, 2008
    Thanks for posting your memory of the “Revenge” birthday party. It gave me a lot to think about. Today, I’m looking out my window to see a neighbor’s daughter’s birthday “tea party”. This is about the fifth year in a row that my daughters have not been invited to this child’s birthday. It’s a shame, she is the same age as my oldest, but for what ever reason doesn’t like my daughter.
    It wouldn’t bother me so much except that each year, at this time, I’ve had to explain to my girls (who’se noses are pressed up against our window looking across the street) why they probably were not invited and how it doesn’t reflect badly on them…limited numbers, friends from school, costs, etc. All the reasons I get but don’t “get” at the same time.
    It could be very easy to be spiteful and I’d be lying if I said I’d never had thoughts of having a huge Princess/Pony birthday for my children, but every year I continue to invite these two children to our parties–and every year they come–because I know that I’d not want them looking across the street and feeling left out.
    But I think I’m finally going to let it go. Not out of revenge, but because this was the first year my girls didn’t get upset. They have their own friends, who like them. I think they are understanding that not everyone in life is going to be their best friend.
    So while I will continue to expect my children to be polite and “friendly” with their neighbor, I don’t really feel the need to invite her anymore. I can’t make her like my children and if she truly has no interest in my children why would she invite them to her party? It’s all silly. My children have moved on…I think I need to as well. (:

  57. I totally know how you feel, Nancy. We have neighbors that are the same way. They’ll come to our b-day parties, but not feel the need to reciprocate, which I think is just good manners.
    I feel very lucky to have found this blog, because I really needed some advice about my own son’s heartbreak. He was not invited to one of his best friend’s birthday parties. Why? I don’t know. The kid is really popular and has A LOT of friends (from school, soccer, church), so maybe my son didn’t make the cut.
    Another thing that bothers me is that I work full-time and A LOT of these mom’s are stay at home moms that have the birthday parties after school – when my son is in after school daycare. So, maybe that’s why he wasn’t invited…because he’s in daycare. But, wouldn’t the mom (who I know well and speak to frequently) explain that to me…or give my kid an invitation just in case I decided to come home early from work to help my kid go to the party? I mean, there’s ways to work it out. But, maybe it’s too much work.
    Whatever the case, my son is sad, but most of this stuff tends to roll off him. I think I am more upset than he is! I suppose all these feelings of inadequacy from my own days of school come into play.
    It’s one of my biggest challenges with parenthood: dealing with other parents. That’ s a ridiculous statement, I know, because there are so many other issues with parenting that are so much more important (like health, education, happy kids, etc). Who cares how I feel, right? As long as my kids are happy. Yes, true, but I really do struggle with the parental politics. They are far more worse than work politics (at least for me), because I am dealing with bored housewives with nothing better to do than to ensure their kids attend every social event and join every sport so they are the most popular!!!
    I really just need more experience dealing with this stuff and put it into perspective in life. Funny things to be telling my 41 year old self, but tis true…

  58. I can empathize with the mothers whose boys and girls are not invited to parties of children whom our kids consider as friends. Plain and simple, it is just another form of exclusion. However, as I have pointed out to my child, many of these kids will amount to little or nothing later in life just like many of their parents. My child is kind, an excellent student and even a fine athlete. When I have seen the so-called “popular” boys and many of the girs, I am shocked at how they act and look. In most cities, towns, communities and schools, they would hardly be popular. You see, we unfortunately live in Westchester County. Some very good schools but some very gross, low-class, barely educated affected people. One boy who was bullied and excluded from pretty much everything whom I knew when I was growing up ended up becoming a very successful surgeon. Good luck to the nice mothers and the nice kids. After all, birthday parties after age six or so are stupid in themselves. Having an intimate family get together or taking your child out with one of his or her good friends is in itself a fun time. How often are parties just a solicitation of gifts. Get it fat Jordan? Your parents are so confident yet your “father” can’t get anyone from here to Florida to hire him and your mother is vulgar looking. Get it Mateo you ugly shrimp with the parents who fight like animals? Get it Mack whose parents are so rich yet he can’t make it in any school because he is so smug and nasty. His mother is weighed down by her not only her weight but also her Jimmy Choo’s.

  59. I am so glad to find everyones posts and have been trying hard not to cry as I read your stories. The reson is because my six year old son’s heart is about to be broken when he discovers he has not been invited to his good friends birthday party. The child has told him that he is coming and has talked about the party at school but no invite from the parents has been forthcoming. Infact when the child was talking about it at school his Mother looked very uncomfortable.
    I am dreading having to take my son in my arms and come up with an explanation without crying too.
    I don’t know why he hasn’t been invited – they play together every day at school and we did have the child to my son’s party a little over a week ago. I even made sure that all the party food was dairy and egg free (even the cake) so that my son’s friend did not feel left out or different in any way.
    I just can’t understand, I would have thought that my son would have made the cut. If he hasn’t been nice to his friend I haven’t heard anything about it from anyone. I just don’t know what to say, except to acknowledge his hurt and hope that another invitation comes his way soon.

  60. “However, as I have pointed out to my child, many of these kids will amount to little or nothing later in life just like many of their parents.”
    I have to say, I was kind of shocked to read that post above… I would never think to tell my child that another child will amount to nothing in life – even if they didn’t invite him to a birthday party. It’s a very narrow-minded attitude that I don’t want my son to grow up with.
    That said, my son’s class is small – only 10 children, so we will invite everyone. We did this last year – there were 8 kids then – and ended up having about 25 people because parents and siblings stayed. It wasn’t such a big deal then, because it was a backyard party, and the reptile guy who did a show didn’t mind the extra pairs of eyes.
    But this year, for my son’s sixth birthday, we are having it as a museum where we are limited as to how many people we can invite… and we are charged for those who exceed that amount. So, my dilemma is, how do I tactfully say, parents don’t need to stay. It’s a small, close knit school, so most of the parents know each other, which is why I think they stay, but I don’t want to get stuck paying a few hundred dollars extra.

  61. Angie- my daughter attended a party at a museum which was a lot of fun. In the invitation, the parent said that the invite was for one child and one parent, but that space allowed for additional family members, and the cost for adult/child admission. I think that you could say the same thing in the invitation- that space allows for parents or siblings to stay, and the cost for admission is… Another idea is to ask, “in lieu of gifts, the admission fee is…”

  62. Birthdays are a nightmare. I can understand that a very small party is just for a few friends, but not inviting a few children from a whole class is insensitive and rude on the parents part. My 4 year old is one of the few left out of two parties this weekend, one of which is a girl she plays with and who we invited to our party last year. My child has never been found to be a bully although she can be quiet at times. ALl this rubbish about learning to be excluded – early childhood experience, including parties should be about inclusion and sharing, not about parental cliques.

  63. I JUST FOUND OUT THAT MY 12 1/2 YR. OLD SON WAS THE ONLY BOY IN HIS 7TH GRADE CLASS NOT INVITED TO A HOLLOWEEN PARTY. The Boys have talked about the party at school, but have been careful not to tell my son directly. NOW HIS FRIENDS HAVE REFUSED TO INCLUDE HIM IN ANY PLAY STATION GAMES. IT IS SO HARD TO SEE HIM SAD AND LEFT OUT. I know I can not get involed but what are some comforting words that I can say to him? Any logical advice out there?

  64. Patty, why can’t you get involved? I would suggest quite strongly that you call up the teacher and ask for a parent meeting or for some time during the next regularly scheduled class meeting to address the issue. Social inclusion is a *big deal* and I certainly wouldn’t just sit on the sidelines and try to figure out how to not have my boy feel miserable when he’s being ostracized. Good luck!

  65. Hi my 12 year old daughter has been invited to a birthday disco and karaoke but she doesn’t want to go as all the cool kids are going and she feels embarrased and I think a bit out of her league. Should I just follow her lead or encourage her to go as she have a great time and make some new connections with other girls thast she may not have done at school. Any ideas or thoughts greatfully received.

  66. My son (in JK) wasn’t invited to one of the kids parties in his class. I’m not sure how many he’s been excluded from because he’s not been invited to any and I don’t know how many there have been.
    It hurts me – although he seems to be oblivious. I found out about this one by accident. As an only child I think he finds it hard to make friends – although he’s been in day care since almost birth. His teacher describes him as a quiet and pleasant boy who doesn’t interact very much with the other kids.
    I don’t know what to do but I want to help him now, before the pain of being left out strikes home for him…any suggestions?

  67. I am an elementary school teacher and it DOES bother other students when invitation are handed out in class and only SOME students are invited. (All the boys or girls are okay because the students know it is not something personal.) I am also a parent and know how it is sometimes impossible and too expensive to invite everyone. As my children are getting older the parties are including less and less children and I feel that invitation should be mailed or handed out discretely. Children should also be instructed not to talk about their party in class or with student not invited so they won’t cause hurt feelings.
    On a personal note my soon to be 8 year old just found out he was not invited to good friend’s birthday party and he was very upset. My son is in a carpool with this child and sees him all the time in school. The birthday child also told my son that he could come to his party so my son was excited. When we didn’t get an invitation in the mail I explained that the party might be small this year my son was okay with reason until he found out that MANY boys were invited. The birthday party included over 24 boys from school. I have to admit I am annoyed with the mother. The parents are ultimately responsible for the guest list NOT the child.

  68. …I’m all for kids learning life’s little lessons…How ’bout teaching them about compassion and discretion? I also find it a bit narrow-minded to assume a kid doesn’t get invited to a party because they’re a bully…and agree with the other poster’s stating that kids often pick superficial reasons to exclude classmates – AS DO ADULTS! They learn from US, you know…
    If having a party, I will invite everyone in the class plus my son’s outside friends. In my community, you can send 20 invites to cover the class and be lucky to have 6 show up. If I only wanted to invite certain people, than I wouldn’t be handing out the invitations at school. I totally understand and respect the school’s and teacher’s stance on this issue. If you only want a few kids at your party – fine. Be discrete. Instead of advertising it – flaunting it – all over a public classroom, pick up the phonebook and let your fingers do the walking! From a “grown-ups” standpoint, If a company or business we worked for had a Christmas party, and invitations were peppered all over the office and we did not get one, how would we feel??? Probably rejected, uneasy, down, bewildered, disappointed, sad…Probably the same as our kid! Yeah, fine…chalk it up as a life lesson…But, isn’t there a better lesson to be taught here?! The parent who feels it’s okay to pass out invites in a classroom and leave one or two kids out is the one who’s lacking…What kind of a person would think that would be okay??? Is that how you want your kid to treat others when they grow up? I want my kid to care about how his actions effect others. I want him to put himself in their shoes and have an understanding of what they may feel and go through. COMPASSION is dead nowadays – that, to me is the real problem.

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