Should We "Force" Our 10 Year Old Daughter to Go to Birthday Parties?

Updated on April 29, 2018
L.H. asks from Walnut Creek, CA
17 answers

My daughter doesn't like to go to birthday parties. I am fine with that but my husband thinks we should force her to go. He thinks it will stunt her emotional growth and maybe hurt her friendships if we allow her to skip her friends' parties. She has friends and enjoys one on one playdates but parties aren't her thing. She has been to birthday parties before and I've seen how uncomfortable they make her.

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answers from Tampa on

I would definitely not force it.
Some people do not like big crowds. That's fine. I would always suggest that she think about it, but never make her. She may grow out of it, she might not..
As long as she does socialize with kids, I'd let it be. Forcing the issue will make it worse.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I didn't particularly like birthday parties when I was a kid. I'm quiet and didn't like the loud competitive environment...who sits by who...etc.
I did go to quite a few parties (liked eating cake and ice cream!) but it wasn't my favorite thing to do.
In the big scheme of things, I don't think it's going to make a bit of difference if she goes or not. I think a bigger problem is not being invited when you want to go.

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answers from Washington DC on

start forcing your husband to attend social functions that he doesn't enjoy and encourage him to examine how great it is for his emotional growth.

then start filling your own family parties with people who don't enjoy social interaction with large groups and see how much fun everyone has.

go to bat for your daughter. your husband needs to accept his little girl for who she is.

not everyone loves big parties.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

No, you shouldn't force her to go to any party she isn't comfortable going to, it should always be her choice. This may be a phase that passes. I would not give this unnecessary attention, or act disappointed for her when she decides not to go to a party. Some girls like to have huge parties, and while they sound like fun, the reality is that they can be very stressful. It won't be long before her peers will stop having traditional birthday parties, and they will just get together more informally in groups, some large, some small. Her true friends will understand. I think your husband is wrong. She's going to grow emotionally when she feels supported in making her own decisions about what social functions to attend or not

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answers from Boston on

No, don't force her at all.

If she has friends one-on-one, if she goes to school just fine and isn't afraid of talking to teachers, if she goes out in public in other ways and isn't terrified of others (the store clerk, the pediatrician, the restaurant server), then she's fine. She doesn't like noise, free-for-alls with bounce houses, screaming on trampolines, frou-frou manicure events, and big gift grabs? More power to her!

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answers from Portland on

I think that's fine.

Our kids all have different personalities and enjoy different social aspects - just like my husband and I both do. My husband (big time introvert) has to be dragged to parties but will gladly get together with a couple we're close to for very casual evening.

Kids are same. One of my kids never enjoyed sleepover parties. He'd ask to not go to those. He's an introvert and it would cause him anxiety. We ended up coming up with a solution (because he wanted to go when he was a bit older) by picking him up around 10 pm. However, he asked us for this compromise. We never forced it. When he was little, we just skipped them.

Another one of my kids skipped the odd get-together with certain friend mixes. He liked all the kids individually, but he didn't like certain friend dynamics. Some group dynamics can be a bit stressful for kids as tweens.

I would trust her judgement and just support her.

If she wanted to go but had mild anxiety, and that was standing in her way, then I would suggest empowering her and providing her with techniques for coping - but from what you've written this doesn't sound like it.

I think your husband should back off. It won't affect her friendships whatsoever. Kids have to miss parties all the time and it makes no difference to their friendships. Trust me.

That also sends a message to your child that they have to conform which isn't very healthy - as in go against what feels right to you. Not great for ten. I get he's coming from a concerned place, but it's likely a phase. Kids change over time with what they are comfortable with.

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answers from San Francisco on

No. Remind your husband that parties are supposed to be fun and are totally optional.
She will probably grow out of this and if not, that's fine too.

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answers from New York on

would i force it NOPE would i encourage her to think about it definitely. i would encourage her to try to go to one but i wouldn't force it at all

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answers from Norfolk on

Seems to me that she's already experienced them and decided that they are something she doesn't care to experience again.
Why force her?
What does attending birthday parties do for anyone s emotional growth?
Nothing that I can figure out.
How does Dad like being repeatedly forced to do anything he doesn't like to do?

I think Dad needs to take a step back and learn to appreciate your daughter for who she is and right now - she is someone who doesn't like parties.
In a few years she might want to try again - or not.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

Not everyone likes parties. Parties are not a necessity of life. Let her RSVP "No thanks."

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answers from Seattle on

NO way! Don't force your kid to do something she doesn't want to.
Find out why...maybe there's something going on at the parties that she isn't comfortable with (bullying, vulgarity, etc.). Maybe social situations just make her feel uncomfortable.
I hate going to parties. Too many people, too loud, too much small talk. I would rather go out with one or two friends. Sounds like your daughter feels the same way. Nothing wrong with that!

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answers from Milwaukee on

I feel that your 10 year old daughter should be "encouraged" to attend all of her friend's birthday parties. If it is just an acquaintance, I would feel differently. We attend birthday parties not for ourselves, but to celebrate the one having a birthday. What would be worse, would be for her friends to stop inviting her, because she always declines. How might that make her feel in the next year or two? I too prefer small gatherings rather than parties, but sometimes one needs to attend events because its the right thing to do, and 10 years old, isn't too early to learn that. And, just curious...has your daughter had a birthday party of her own?

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answers from Miami on

Or maybe it will stunt her emotional growth and hurt her friendships if she DOES go and acts like she is super uncomfortable...

There are things that we expect our children to do, but maybe this isn't one of them unless it's a family gathering that happens to also be a birthday. Let her mature some and then revisit the issue.

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answers from Washington DC on

I wouldn't force her. So, she's not a crowd person, big deal (tell your husband.) If it's a friend she is really close to, maybe they can do something together just the two of them. How old is she?

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answers from Santa Barbara on

She is 10, so I am guessing she has been forced to go to parties over the years. In my experience my kids went to a lot more parties under age 6 per year than during the elementary years. The party invites have gone from a couple a week (my kids went to a very large preschool and we have family with kids) to a couple a month for my 11 year old boy.

Also, the young parties had a lot of kids and the older parties (age 8 and over) vary from the whole class to the about 5 good friends.

Would she be will to go to a small party of a close friend if there are only 4 guests?

I will be devil's advocate and say your husband is not completely wrong. It is important to show your friend you care about them and make an effort to celebrate them. But I also respect the fact that your daughter feels uncomfortable, and it does not sound like she is being the type "since it's not about me, I'm not going."

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answers from Houston on

Hello, first I would like to ask you a question, did she enjoy going to parties before? Or has she never liked it. May be she is feeling social anxiety, which I can totally relate to. My son is the same but if I didn’t encourage him to go , he would have no social interactions at all, so I do encourage him a lot. I started noticing that right before we had to leave for the party, he complained of feeling sick, or say or do something to get himself in trouble so may be we would stay home. He would be upset or crying. I know he is very sensitive and figured that he was anxious about interacting with other kids. I would just say” Come on, let’s go, it’s going to be a lot of fun, if at any time you feel you want to leave, I promise you we will leave”. So far he never has asked me to leave and he’s always glad he went. In the other hand my 11 year old daughter doesn’t want to go anywhere but that’s because she wants to be in her bedroom, using her drawing tablet, eating popcorn. We have to force her, otherwise she would get no excercise ,fresh air and quality face to face interactions, which I think are important. So if this is just a phase and your daughter does go to other activities and has a few friends, I don’t see the harm in letting her stay home. I also think it would be a good idea to talk to her and see if there are no other issues that are keeping her from wanting to go.

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answers from New York on

I think your guide should be whether she wants/expects her friends to attend her own birthday parties. If "parties aren't her thing" even when they are about her, then no need to force her.

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