It’s my party….or is it?

I recently read a blog post regarding a seven year old girl who was the only girl in the class not invited to a birthday party, according to the mother. Now, the little girl was upset, the mother didn’t like her being upset, so she rang the mother of the birthday girl. What a surprise that the little girl was given a party invitation the very next day, which was accepted and the little girl went to the party.

I was appalled. To me, there are so many lessons here and none of them positive.

• The little girl learnt that if she makes enough fuss, her mother will rush in and ‘fix’ everything.

• The mother discovered that even at this stage of life, she can bully another mother into doing what she wants.

• The birthday girl learnt that you must bow to pressure and be fake just so people don’t get upset.

• All the other little girls learnt not to get on the wrong side of this family or there will be consequences.

In my opinion, there was a big life lesson to be learnt here by the little girl (and her mother it seems). Here is the hard truth, life is not fair and people won’t always do what you want them to.

I have no idea whether the little girl in question is a nice person or whether she is difficult, the blog post didn’t say, written as it was by the mother of said little girl. Even if she is the sweetest, most innocent girl in the world, it makes no difference to me. Her mother had a great opportunity to show her daughter what a strong woman looks like, instead she showed her how to manipulate – or get your mother to manipulate – the situation so you get what you want.

In the real world, life is tough, and full of injustices. How will our children learn to cope with this aspect of life if we don’t teach them? Why are we so surprised there is dishonesty, back-stabbing and gossip in our society when our children are being taught that bowing to social pressure trumps being honest?

If I have a party, I invite the people whose company I enjoy, who enjoy mine and who I can have a great time with. I generally don’t invite those I don’t enjoy being with!

Do I feel sad for the little girl who was left out? Of course. But I feel more sad at how it was handled. Is it unfair to not include just one girl? Yes, absolutely. But this does beg the question of why was she left out in the first place.

So. Am I being harsh given that I have never had this happen to one of my children? Should we, and subsequently our children, invite people to our party whose company we don’t enjoy? What would you have done in this mothers shoes?

16 thoughts on “It’s my party….or is it?

  1. Whoa. Tricky topic but I agree with you, Susannah. We have to build resilience and sometimes that means taking the hard road. That woman was brave to call the other Mum – I could never do that, would never. I’ve been guilty of being a helicopter mother at times but now in with the wisdom of hindsight I know it is better not to overprotect! Let them feel the pain sometimes – it makes them stronger even if it does break your heart.

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    • Yes, I’m all for helping them when they need it but we are doing them a disservice if, as parents, we don’t prepare them for the real world. And a helicopter mum? Here’s what the mother in question said, and I quote “I’m not a Helicopter Mummy. I’m a goddamn Stealth Bomber Mummy meets Special Prosecutor Mummy.” Mmmmm, that’s really healthy!! Tough love, I say 🙂 I’m interested that you said she was brave to ring the other mum…I think it was rude and pushy! LOL

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  2. I agree with you, too, Susannah. And I feel this is one of the big problems with parents today. They’d prefer to manipulate situations to suit them (same goes for the way some parents treat teachers, coaches, and so on), iInstead of teaching the child that they are not the center of the universe, that life sometimes is not fair. Same goes for when a person grows up – say they love someone but that someone doesn’t love them back. So then stalking is the option? The mom could have decided to let it go, teach the child about life lessons, and then the mom and child could have had their own family party on that day!

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    • I’m with you, Susannah! This happened to my daughter a couple of years ago, and I asked her how she felt about the girl giving the party. As it turns out, they didn’t really like each other; the pain was not being included along with all of the other girls. I told her that sometimes happens, and after some tears, we decided to go out and have a fantastic day in Manhattan instead. Since then, there have been several other times when my daughter hasn’t been included in something or other, and she’s responded by making plans with kids who are actually her friends or by asking to do something with our family. I totally go for the “life isn’t fair sometimes, and this is one instance where it’s not” school of thought.

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      • Oh, you sound like a wonderful mum! I hope I would handle it just like you if it did happen to one of my children. You taught your daughter such a valuable lesson and the proof is in the pudding – just look at how she has handled things since. Bravo to you 🙂

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    • Yes, I would have planned something special to do, instead the mother drew so much attention to the child’s moment of rejection that the little girl will never forget it – for all the wrong reasons!

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  3. You said it: life isn’t fair. As a parent, the last place I would want my child is at a party she was not invited to. If the child behaves like the mother, no wonder she wasn’t invited. I take it back: life IS fair. We get out of it what we put into it in most cases.

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    • A little girl of seven may not be like her mother at seven, but enough of these experiences ensures she will be like her at 27, 37 and beyond! And I agree, I would not want my child there if she wasn’t invited for the right reasons. And, I tend to agree, most things come back to bite us ie if we are mean, we are treated mean etc.

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  4. Sometimes, extending an invitation is done out of kindness. The most obnoxious people are usually the ones that have been the most rejected and abused. We get to share classrooms, families and workplaces with people whose company we don’t always enjoy, but we don’t un-invite them to school, family functions and work because of it. They are valuable to God.
    Not every circumstance calls for it, but to be the only child uninvited? Isn’t rejection a form of bullying?
    Did the uninvited little girl’s mother do the right thing? I might agree with you about that one. Hopefully the birthday girl’s mother took that opportunity to do a little searching and used it as a teachable moment about how not to be cruel to others.

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    • In this case, though, it seemed more that the invitation was extended out of guilt, and only after the mother made a fuss. In comments on the blog, the mother admitted that the birthday girl and her daughter have had their differences and do not always get along. Who knows what the little girl’s behaviour was like at school?
      And I agree, each and every one of us is valuable to God and rudeness is not an option but when we spend every day at school/work dealing with people who are difficult or even are bullies themselves, do we really need to invite them to our home for what should be a happy, carefree time? Although, having said that, if it was just one child who would be left out out of the whole class, the decision wouldn’t be made lightly and I would have to feel it was very well justified to not invite them. Lots of discussion with my child would ensue!

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  5. It’s tough to see your children suffer, and I’m sure the omission was a real blow to this seven year old. It happened. That could not be changed. The only variable on the table was how to respond. 

    That’s a life lesson. 

    We can’t choose what happens to us, only how we react.

    That teachable moment was lost. You rightly point out what the child got out of it and what she missed. 

    Bad that it happened. Bad the pain was wasted. 

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    • I like how you pointed out that the pain was wasted. I’m a big believer in putting pain to good use and always allowing it to teach us. It is such a shame that the opportunity was lost.

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  6. I’m sure the mother had good intentions when going over to the home to get an invitation… but yeah, i would not want to go to a party that i was not invited to… lame!

    I think the best thing is to ask the child how it makes them feel. You might be surprised at how the child feels versus how the parent feels.

    That’s a hard one! Because you don’t want to coddle the child and make them feel like its the end of the world and that this is a really big deal, but you don’t want to ignore it either… 😦 Being a parent would be hard! I really dont know how I would handle this. But, then again, this is why I’m afraid of having kids. I would probably screw them up.

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    • Being a parent is really hard and this is definitely one of the curly situations we hope never happens to us! But….I think we all think we will screw them up and in some ways, we all do 🙂 but in other ways, most of us manage to raise well rounded decent human beings, despite our shortcomings. Just as I’m sure you would if you decided to have kids 🙂

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  7. Being the only child not invited (though I’d be curious to know how she knows her daughter was the only one–this seems unlikely) is painful, but knowing you’re at a party only because your mother made them invite you? Horrible.

    I’ve had similar conversations with my son already. Not everyone will like you. That’s okay. Sometimes your feelings get hurt. You learn and move on. If someone doesn’t want to invite you, why would you want to hang out with them? No one is obligated to invite you anywhere, nor should you be obligated to do the same. The best thing to do is to have fun your own way.

    I can’t imagine the resentment this mother has planted in the other girls. From what I know, she took a hurtful situation and made it poisonous. It was a foolish if well-intended thing to do.

    Of course, for one of my son’s parties, he wanted to invite everyone in his class except for one boy. I said that wasn’t okay. If was inviting the class–he had to invite the entire class. Otherwise, he could invite the number of my choosing (ten), no more, and would have to choose of all the kids in his class, which ten and we’d contact their parents. And my son was all but-don’t-like-so-and-so-no-one-does and I said it was cruel, it was a simple of act of kindness to invite him, and there’d be enough kids at the party with enough to do (a bowling party!) that he would barely need to interact with the boy anyway. So my son agreed.

    Unfortunately, the boy in question…well, his parents didn’t RSVP, brought him to the party an hour and thirty minutes late (a 2 hour party), and didn’t bring a gift. We didn’t care he didn’t bring a gift, except apparently his parents didn’t tell him that because when this child asked my son where’s-the-gift-I-gave-you and my son had to say there wasn’t one, the boy cried like there was no tomorrow for the last 15 minutes of the party. Now for the three years since my son has had an unwavering dislike of this boy and we’ve never invited him to anything again.

    Sad really.

    Playground politics…not for the meek.

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    • I think she asked all the other mothers in the ‘friendship group’ and thats how she discovered her daughter was the only one left out.
      I agree, excluding just one child is not okay. But having said that, when my boy was in Grade 1, he didn’t invite one boy out of the whole class. Why did I agree to that? Because this boy was a bully who frequently punched my son and other boys in the playground. I didn’t really want him at the party only to terrorise the other children. Still not sure if it was the right thing to do, but my son is now a well adjusted, friendly, inclusive 21 year old, so I figure it didn’t have any lasting damaging effect (not sure about the bully though!).
      Throughout school life, parties, well, frankly, friendships in general, are a minefield. Which is why I object so much to how this mother handled it. This is something that child will have to face again, and now, she doesn’t have the tools to deal with it.
      Like you said, not for the faint-hearted!

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