October 03, 2010,
C.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN on October 02, 2010
My Son Wasn't Invited to a Birthday Party
I feel really sad that my son wasn't invited to a birthday party that one of his preschool classmates is having. I know this is only the beginning of a lifetime of feeling hurt for my children and wanting to protect them from anything that isn't perfect. So, how do I make my children strong enough to handle life's minor disappointments? He doesn't know about it yet (I assume that kids in his class will be talking about it on Monday). I found out about it because another mom called to see if we could drive her little boy to the bowling party. Do you have any ideas about what I can tell him if he asks about the birthday party? He is almost 4 1/2 years old.
I think the mom didn't invite everyone in the class in order to save money (which I can understand), but I can't help but feel sad that my little guy didn't make the cut.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for the advice. You're probably right that no one will even bring it up on Monday. It just so happened that my husband was planning to take our kids to a museum and even rode the train today, so it wasn't as if he didn't have a thing to do. I certainly wasn't planning on bringing it up. I guess I was just surprised because I hang out with this mom (and a few others) every Wednesday with our younger children as our older ones are at school. I get along with her very well and serve on the Board with her. Obviously, it is I who is taking this thing more personally than I need to. Our sons have a playdate arranged this week, but it is their first one-on-one playdate together.
To the mom who is disturbed that I used the phrase, "make the cut" I wasn't being funny, but I was using the phrase in a literary sense, not a literal sense. It was just a colloquialism. I wrote this question because I genuinely felt sorry for my son. That's it. No need to go psychoanalyzing. I love him to tears and just wanted advice on how to prevent this from becoming an issue if he notices it.
M.B. answers from St. Louis on October 02, 2010
Im sorry, but that mom is a jerk for leaving someone out. If she couldnt invite them all, she shouldnt have invited any. Arrrg! Mean people drive me crazy!
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M.G. answers from New York on October 02, 2010
Tkae him out to lunch/dinner/Chuck-e-cheese style play place. Make it worth his while and when he asks - tell him its his own private party.
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W.. answers from Chicago on October 02, 2010
I have 2 thoughts -
1. How were the invites distributed? This starts the onslaught of information that doesn't actually get home with kids. did she pass out invites at school? Could yours be crumpled on the floor of your sons cubby along with the notice about whatever that you didn't see either? We weren't invited to a party when my daughter was in 1st grade - lo and behold we HAD been invited, but no invite.... So you might want to check with his teacher.
2. Instead of thinking about this as your son 'not making the cut' reframe your mindset - this is about teaching your son that he (and others) have to make choices. just like when you go to the store he can't have EVERY toy, well when you have a party you can't invite EVERY kid and THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM. If YOU introduce this as he should be heartbroken then he will be heartbroken. If you are very matter of fact - yeah, jimmy had a party but not everyone could be on the list. No big deal. Then you are setting your son up to not take things personally - which is VERY important for later in his life.
I disagree with taking him out somewhere special. Don't set the stage for you having to 'make up' for anyone who 'does him wrong' - you'll pay that price forever. Start planning now for what you will do when he asks a girl to prom and she turns him down..... instead - this is a training opportunity for you to begin dialogue with your son about people in life making choices - and it has NOTHING to do with how they feel about your son. Make sure THAT is the message he receives.
Acknowledge that it's ok for him to feel however he feels, but that that is just how it is.
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J.M. answers from Boston on October 02, 2010
I doubt that kids will be talking about it, honestly. Even at that age, "yesterday" might as well have been a lifetime ago.
Personally I just wouldn't say anything about it at all. If he mentions that kids were talking about it on Monday, I would just tell him that not everyone gets invited to every party - it doesn't mean that he and the other little boy aren't friends. I would point out that he doesn't invite person X, Y, or Z over to play, and that different people have different close friends. If he's still upset, just empathize without making a big deal of it.
Remember, this is probably more hurtful to you because of how much you love your son than it is to him. Maybe he doesn't even really like that little boy, so he wouldn't have wanted to go anyway.
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A.D. answers from Minneapolis on October 02, 2010
When my youngest was in preschool, one particularly bossy girl told her "you're not invited to my birthday party" I was very proud when my 3 year old piped right up and said, "that's OK, no one gets to go to EVERY party" That is exactly what we always talked about with our kids (my youngest must have picked this up early from hearing me talking to my older daughter). We always say, "you can't invite everyone to your party, and you will not get invited to every party either" No one does, that's how it goes. No one owes anyone else an invitation to anything, sometimes you're invited, sometimes you're not. Not everyone chooses to have big parties anyway.
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S.L. answers from New York on October 02, 2010
I think its ridiculous to invite a ton of kids to a preschoolers party. Maybe this Mom went with the ever popular you can invite as many kids as you are old- that would only be 4 or 5 kids he could invite. I didn't invite every one in my sons class, I just asked him who he wanted and he named a few, I'm guessing a month earlier or a month later he might have named a different few. Since he was going to go to school in a different town for kindergarten and wouldnt be seeing all his preschool friends the following year, I choose to invite the one child who would go to his new school and the one child that attends the same church because these would be the only kids he would continue to see on a regular basis. So it could have been the Mom's choice for reasons you dont know, or a distracted preschooler who just named the kids he'd played with on that particular day.
No reason to be upset unless he invited every child in the class except yours (which would probably indicate a lost invitation)
This will happen over and over again, he'll be fine unless you make it a big deal
4 moms found this helpful
T.F. answers from San Francisco on October 02, 2010
I wouldn't necessarily bring it up to him but when he does you might do what I did with my daughter. We talked about how we are fotunate that we have parties in our backyard so can invite a lot of people but we still couldn't invite EVERYONE in school, All The Teachers, how about everyone in the neighborhood or town? Would all these people fit? She was young enough that she enjyoed the silliness and understood. I went on to explain that they may have an even smaller place to have a party and can't invite everyone they would if they could. Still dissapointing but a fact of life.
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P.B. answers from Spartanburg on October 02, 2010
if you make a big deal out of it, your son will too. avoid mentioning the party and reminding it to him and on that day do something special with him. at his age children don't take these things as bas as adults do, unless their caregivers give them the impression that they should..i would save my concerns for later.
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D.K. answers from Sioux City on October 03, 2010
We never concentrate on what others have and we don't have, wether its an invitation to a birthday party or a toy. We always concentrate on what we do have and being happy for what others have. There is no reason why we can't be excited for other people and be happy for them. There is absolutely no good to come from feeling bad for something that we don't have or get to do. When these things come up in conversations I just begin asking questions about how things went and what was enjoyed and then I show how happy I am for them. My children just follow along for the most part. Every once in awhile one of them will say that they really would want or what ever and I agree that what ever it was, was a great idea and we may have to try that.
Your little guy is only 4 so it will be a bigger deal for you than it will be for him. Don't project what you feel on to him. I may even bring it up to the birthday boy so that I can show my child how to handle it. I would say, "I hear you had a birthday! How exciting!" I would go on to guide my child in how to be excited and happy for the other child.
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B. answers from Minneapolis on October 02, 2010
Don't bring it up to your son. He may be completely oblivious to the party, because kids his age really don't talk about parties at school. I anticipated this same thing last year as I heard about a party that my daughter wasn't invited to, but she never even knew it happened. Cheer your son up if he does find out and feels bad, but even that sadness will likely be short lived. He can understand that not everyone can afford a party with everyone in the class and it doesn't mean the classmate having the party doesn't like him. There will be a lot of other parties that he will be invited to attend, and after buying all the gifts, you'll wish he wasn't invited to so many.
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