Last year, for my son's 6th birthday, we invited his entire class (approximately 28 kids) to his party. We had just moved to the area and my son was new to the school. Approximately 17 kids actually came. I hired a local zoo that does children's birthday parties to do a package that includes bringing reptiles (my son is HUGE in to animals) and tarantulas, etc. and doing a presentation that educates children on the various species and gives them each a chance to hold/touch them if they wish. It cost me approximately $300 including tip.
The guy from the zoo comes and is setting up in our family room and all the children sit around the room. For the first 10 minutes of the presentation, they all sit and pay attention fairly well. Then, gradually, one by one, the kids start losing interest until there is only my son (who is very interested), DD, DD's friend, DH, myself and about 4 of his classmates remaining.
In the meantime, all the other kids are running around, yelling, screaming, playing, climbing over furniture, etc. I asked them nicely to please settle down and be quiet and that lasts for about 30 seconds. Then they take off upstairs and continue running around, squealing, etc. and I send my DH upstairs to ask them to settle down again when I hear them banging on my piano.
Then they all make their way back downstairs and continue. Finally, I stand up and walk over to the group of them and with my voice raised I say "guys, hey guys! You need to settle down and be quiet. This is DS's birthday party and he's really interested in hearing what the zoo presenter has to say and we can't hear them over your shouting. You all need to sit down right now and be quiet."
Of course this doesn't really work and the mayhem continued. When the presentation finally finished we went back upstairs. Before dinner and cake, my son had gone missing and I found him in his room, cleaning it up (as his classmates were running around playing downstairs) as the kids had taken out pretty much every toy he owns to play with them and scattered them all over. After dinner and cake, the kids were back in the basement running around and my son was sitting at the table with his older sister and her friend, preferring their company to that of his classmates! Obviously, we learned a great lesson that day and we (including my son) vowed, never again.
The mother of one of my son's classmates was there to witness all of this including my "yelling" at the kids (she was there because she said her daughter is shy and wouldn't stay without her). We knew each other before hand as her DH works with my DH. Her daughter was one of the ones who was listening nicely to the presentation. However, she and her daughter left not too long after the zoo presentation was over (before dinner and cake). I can't remember if she gave me a reason or not. Anyway, I saw her again recently at a party and I complimented her appearance and she pretty much gave me the cold shoulder (she just glanced back at me and kept walking with no reply). The last time I saw her was at my son's party so naturally, I'm wondering if she is thinking I'm a horrible person and even worse, worried if she told all the other mothers that I was horrible to their children...?!
1. Was I wrong to raise my voice at these kids who were guests in our home? I didn't think I was over the line at the time (nor did my DH) but was raising my voice to them the wrong thing to do? I'm just not sure how else I would have been expected to handle the situation...