Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Parents at kids' birthday parties?

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This blew my mind a little bit:

I have never thought of supervising the kids that I invited to a birthday party as "babysitting."  I figure that supervision comes with the party, and if I need help, then I need to rope in some volunteers from my friends/family,in advance.  All of my experience with birthday parties, both as a kid and as a parent, involve parents dropping their kids off and then coming back to pick them up, never staying for the party.  In fact, I would think I was a little out of line to stay at a party that didn't include me on the invitation.

The author's point would only make sense to me if, for example, she and some other parents made plans to take all their kids bowling, then all the other parents said, "Okay, bye!"  But here she invited a lot of kids and expected their parents to stay to supervise the party she planned for her child.  And on top of it all, she told parents who asked that they were free to drop off their kids, then got mad and wrote about how rude they were for doing what she'd given them express permission to do.  That last part is pretty clearly inappropriate, but what about the rest of it?  Is it standard to expect parents to stay at a birthday party?

As a side note, it makes me a little sad that the author and the commenters seem so quick to jump to "Rude!" when someone doesn't conform to their unspoken expectations, instead of giving other parents the benefit of the doubt.  If someone stayed at one of my kids' parties, I would be surprised, but I hope that I'd assume they were trying to be helpful, instead of immediately deciding they were helicoptering and purposefully being in my way.

Until around second grade I always stayed at parties, but I never expected other parents to stay at the parties we hosted. I'd say it was evenly split between parents that stayed and parents that didn't and I wouldn't expect parents to stay because in my mind a birthday party is an invitation to a couple hours of free babysitting.

This party was for 7 year olds in a public place.  I totally understand what the author was saying and I agree with her.  She was put on the spot, so she felt she had to say yes when they asked her if they could drop off.  But I have to say that I, as a parent, would NEVER drop off my 7 year old in a public place.  I just wouldn't, and if I were that woman, I'd feel exactly the same as she did:  that those parents were looking for free babysitting, because let's face it, that's how they acted.

They didn't even stick around long enough to make sure the kids were going to be adequately supervised!  That's just insane, IMO, and irresponsible.

My DD is 4 and was to 8 birthday parties for her preschool friends in the month of February.  Almost all of the invitations stated, "Feel free to drop your child off and pick her up after the party, if you are comfortable."  For the record, almost all also stated, "no gifts please."

Maybe this is a cultural thing, but I have never had or been to a childs birthday party where the parents just left their children. It wasn't until I started reading here on Ehell that I heard about parties without parents sticking around.

The fact that the parents asked the LW about leaving tells me that its probably not the norm to just leave their children at birthday parties. I think they were rude.


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