Author Topic: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to  (Read 7415 times)

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Pippen

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S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« on: October 12, 2012, 06:54:46 PM »
The thread on inviting all the children in the class had me thinking about the flipside of the issue where a child is made to attend something they really don't want to just to 'be polite.'

Now this is an extreme example but 25 years later I still feel like I can recall every painful second of this awful experience. I went to boarding school so we didn't have birthday parties as such to attend. During the school holidays your friends would be scattered all over the country. If you had some that lived nearby you might do something but it was pretty much a non event. "That girl" in our year was extremely social awkward and actually pretty unpleasant to be around. She had a number of personal habits that were pretty unappealing and while she wasn't shunned or bullied she was not someone you would choose to spend time with. Being around her was very difficult and draining.

Anyway she decided she wanted to invite the entire year group (50 girls)  to a birthday event in her home town for a week. Yes. A whole week. Not only did she hand out invites at school her Mother also sent them to the parents at home. Naturally everyone including myself declined as they had no desire to spend a week in this girls home. I however was forced to go by my Mother who considered it rude not to. Now she knew what this girl was like and what I would be in for and thought I was being unkind in not wanting to attend. Her reasoning being "How would you feel if you invited a lot of people to your birthday and everyone declined?" She felt sorry for this girl when I had told her the story and that no one was going and I was offered up as some kind of sacrificial lamb.

It was horrendous. A week in the home of someone you do not like trying to be a polite guest. There was nothing to do. Nothing. Her parents were very strange and I was desperately unhappy. It was a good 7 hours by bus from my home and there was no hope of escape.

Not so much an etiquette issue, but would you or have you ever made your children participate in an event or activity they really want no involvement in just to be polite or to spare someones feelings?


NyaChan

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 07:13:20 PM »
In your case, I think your mom's opinion that it is horrible to have a party that no one will go to is true but misplaced in that situation.  Asking a bunch of kids who are spread out around the country, and already don't get to stay at home year round due to school to give up a week of their break with their families to celebrate your birthday is unreasonable and SS.  I suspect that she did this in an attempt to make friends with this grand celebration. 

My parents force me to go to all sorts of parties and events whether I'm at home or not - they claim that I would upset the hosts if I didn't come when they know I'm home, and if I'm at school, they say I'll upset the hosts for not making the effort to come.  If the event is close to school, they say that since they've already told the host that I am in that town, it would hurt their feelings if I didn't go.  Nevermind if I already have something to do or don't know the host.  Nevermind that my parents host things all the time when people's kids who are my age don't come and they don't get upset or hurt about it  ::)

Iris

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 07:36:53 PM »
How awful! I DO make sure my kids understand that there are social obligations and that sometimes it is kind to make a small sacrifice for the comfort of others. Your mother went WAY over the top here though, imo. I personally wouldn't spend a week with an unpleasant person just so they didn't feel bad so I don't think it reasonable to expect my child to either.

I think sometimes adults romanticise the 'kid with no friends' and forget that sometimes they have no friends simply because they're just not very nice.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

CaffeineKatie

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 07:47:11 PM »
I can see forcing children to attend a brief event (2 hours or less) and be polite to everyone whether they really want to do it or not, since it is actually a useful skill to develop.  HOWEVER, a week??? That's beyond unreasonable. 

gramma dishes

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 07:52:03 PM »
 :o  Maybe I shouldn't even admit this, but even if the whole class of girls was planning to attend, I would never never never send my child seven hours away to a home I'd never seen with parents I'd never met for even one day, much less a whole week.  To me that would be scary. 

Pippen

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 08:09:29 PM »
I can see forcing children to attend a brief event (2 hours or less) and be polite to everyone whether they really want to do it or not, since it is actually a useful skill to develop.  HOWEVER, a week??? That's beyond unreasonable.

I know. I don't know how they ever thought a week would ever work. How many 13 year old girls can you have in your house for a week? Also the town they lived in was some tiny backwater with absolutely nothing to do so it held no appeal whatsoever even if she had been the most popular girl in school, but as I said they were a strange family.

As an aside, many years later (I think I must have been about 27) she tracked me down at work via mutual acquaintances through her sister and basically stood in our showroom pretty much demanding she be allowed to come and stay with me at my flat as she was in a bad relationship and had all sorts of other problems. I was in no position to help her and she got really angry saying her family had 'taken me in' for a week. It was hugely embarrassing as my boss had to ask her to leave as she created a real scene.

Gramma Dishes: Her dad made me very uncomfortable. Nothing you could put your finger on but just not a nice man.

Asharah

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 09:39:00 PM »
As an aside, many years later (I think I must have been about 27) she tracked me down at work via mutual acquaintances through her sister and basically stood in our showroom pretty much demanding she be allowed to come and stay with me at my flat as she was in a bad relationship and had all sorts of other problems. I was in no position to help her and she got really angry saying her family had 'taken me in' for a week. It was hugely embarrassing as my boss had to ask her to leave as she created a real scene.
I would have forgiven you if you had told her you were forced to go and was miserable the whole time.
Asharah

Danika

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 10:05:51 PM »
:o  Maybe I shouldn't even admit this, but even if the whole class of girls was planning to attend, I would never never never send my child seven hours away to a home I'd never seen with parents I'd never met for even one day, much less a whole week.  To me that would be scary.

Poddity POD POD!!!

CaffeineKatie

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 10:09:30 PM »
WOW that update was a jaw-dropper!

Pippen

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 10:14:05 PM »
As an aside, many years later (I think I must have been about 27) she tracked me down at work via mutual acquaintances through her sister and basically stood in our showroom pretty much demanding she be allowed to come and stay with me at my flat as she was in a bad relationship and had all sorts of other problems. I was in no position to help her and she got really angry saying her family had 'taken me in' for a week. It was hugely embarrassing as my boss had to ask her to leave as she created a real scene.
I would have forgiven you if you had told her you were forced to go and was miserable the whole time.

Despite her challenging behaviors everyone at school always tried to be as nice to her as they could. She had a number of issues which weren't her fault and we all saw that but she would fire up at any perceived slight and she could actually be fairly physically aggressive and she had no notion of boundaries at all. To her it would be the most normal thing in the world to rock up to someone she had not seen in 10 years workplace and demand they help her. I was mortified when she walked in the door thinking 'Oh good grief. What is this about?" I was very firm saying she certainly could not come and stay with me and I owed her nothing before she flipped out. In her mind because I was the only one at her birthday years ago she thought we were good friends and was just working an angle.

Pippen

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 10:33:10 PM »
:o  Maybe I shouldn't even admit this, but even if the whole class of girls was planning to attend, I would never never never send my child seven hours away to a home I'd never seen with parents I'd never met for even one day, much less a whole week.  To me that would be scary.

Poddity POD POD!!!

Then I won't tell you the story of how my ex BF's parents gave him to a childless couple they had just met in a campground so they could go around the Greek islands for a couple of weeks. He was 3 at the time. It was the 70's.

gramma dishes

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 10:34:07 PM »

...    I was very firm saying she certainly could not come and stay with me and I owed her nothing ...

Good for you!  For that you get an Etiquette Hell Shiny Spine Award!   ;D

Danika

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 10:36:28 PM »
:o  Maybe I shouldn't even admit this, but even if the whole class of girls was planning to attend, I would never never never send my child seven hours away to a home I'd never seen with parents I'd never met for even one day, much less a whole week.  To me that would be scary.

Poddity POD POD!!!

Then I won't tell you the story of how my ex BF's parents gave him to a childless couple they had just met in a campground so they could go around the Greek islands for a couple of weeks. He was 3 at the time. It was the 70's.
:o

gramma dishes

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 10:37:12 PM »

...  Then I won't tell you the story of how my ex BF's parents gave him to a childless couple they had just met in a campground so they could go around the Greek islands for a couple of weeks. He was 3 at the time. It was the 70's.   ...

Oh My Deity!!  Good grief!  How horrifying.  I'm amazed they got him back!  (They did get him back, didn't they?)

Iris

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Re: S/O Making children attend parties they don't want to go to
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 10:40:29 PM »

...  Then I won't tell you the story of how my ex BF's parents gave him to a childless couple they had just met in a campground so they could go around the Greek islands for a couple of weeks. He was 3 at the time. It was the 70's.   ...

Oh My Deity!!  Good grief!  How horrifying.  I'm amazed they got him back!  (They did get him back, didn't they?)

I was 3 in the '70s and my mother would have died a thousand deaths before she entrusted her children to a random stranger. Definitely not a '70s thing.

I don't know it they *deserved* him back.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.