Author Topic: Parents at kids' birthday parties?  (Read 5835 times)

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stormwatch

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Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« on: March 06, 2013, 11:19:01 AM »
This blew my mind a little bit:  http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/152024/my_kids_birthday_party_isnt

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.

Judah

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 11:28:39 AM »
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.
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Shoo

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 11:32:38 AM »
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.

TurtleDove

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 11:40:17 AM »
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."

SiotehCat

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 11:42:47 AM »
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.

Zilla

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 11:46:32 AM »


I myself stay and help, even at middle school parties. (I offer, they accept)  But when I throw a party, I don't expect parents to offer to stay or help and always plan with a few friends to help and I think the author should have done that.  Or at the very least note on the invitation that to please stay and help supervise their own kid. (I have seen this on many invitations)  It's overly harsh to think it's a way to get free babysitting.

stormwatch

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 11:53:28 AM »
This is all really interesting. I guess it's a good reminder, for me at least, that people's perspectives are often different.  When my oldest son turned four, he had a party at our house (his first birthday party), for four of his friends, and all of the parents dropped off their kids, made sure I had phone numbers, and left. And that is absolutely what I expected them to do. He's a teenager now, and every party either kid has had or has been to has been drop-off.  I think a couple of invites have noted that parents are "welcome" to stay, but I never interpreted that to mean, "Please do because we could use the help."  I would never expect someone to ask if they can leave, but I probably would expect them to ask if they could stay.  Honestly, it's never even occurred to me that some people have exactly the opposite perspective!

I feel like I've learned something!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 11:56:39 AM by stormwatch »

MariaE

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 11:58:07 AM »
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.

On the other hand, I've never had or been to a child's birthday party where the parents hung around. It wasn't until I started reading here on Ehell that I heard about parties with parents sticking around.
 
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Yvaine

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 12:04:04 PM »
Trying to remember my own childhood correctly--I think that parents usually left if it was someone's house (likely because space and food were limited), and they usually stayed if it was at the roller rink or Chuck E's or something (probably because there was space for them and they could buy themselves food). I do have a memory of my mom tagging along and bringing all of us uninvited kids to some party my younger sister was invited to. It was at someone's house, it was small, no one else brought their parents, and it was terribly awkward.

Betelnut

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 12:07:40 PM »
Trying to remember my own childhood correctly--I think that parents usually left if it was someone's house (likely because space and food were limited), and they usually stayed if it was at the roller rink or Chuck E's or something (probably because there was space for them and they could buy themselves food). I do have a memory of my mom tagging along and bringing all of us uninvited kids to some party my younger sister was invited to. It was at someone's house, it was small, no one else brought their parents, and it was terribly awkward.

This is my take on it for my 6--about to turn 7--year-old.  Public places are too chaotic to expect a person to supervise 10-15 kids, so I stick around.  A party at a house is more informal and easier to supervise.  I drop and leave in those cases (when my daughter hit 1st grade).
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MrsJWine

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 01:00:04 PM »
I don't remember what age this started, but I do know we went to skate parties without parents (except for the host) all the time. It started sometime around 4th grade, maybe earlier. Before that, I don't remember ever being to a party at someone's house where parents stuck around. Among my friends now, with preschool age kids, it would be weird to drop them off and go, but in a few years I expect that will start to change.

If you want parents to stay, at this age, you need to say so explicitly. Age seven seems like kind of a grey area. I can see some people thinking that's too young to leave their kids, and other people thinking that's what expected.


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Sharnita

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 02:01:04 PM »
I think that if you want parents at the party you inlcude them in the actual invitation. And if you are affronted by people leaving their kids with you, a parent they don't really know, you don't invite the kids of people you don't know. Finally, you don't get huffy about them expecting you to take care of 13 guests, you chose that number, not them. In fact, I am unclear how they would know you had 3 guests or 13 coming.

that_one_girl

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 06:13:45 PM »
My mother always stayed with me at parties, however all the parties I went to as a child were for the children of my mother's friends.

dietcokeofevil

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 08:46:40 PM »
For my daughter's 4th birthday we had several parents drop their kids off.  I was pretty surprised at the time, since most of the people were from her daycare and she'd only been at that daycare for a couple of months at that time.  One of the Dad's also dropped his daughter off and on the way out the door told us that she only speaks German, but she should be able to understand us.  That scared me.   

Bethczar

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Re: Parents at kids' birthday parties?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 09:01:04 PM »
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.

On the other hand, I've never had or been to a child's birthday party where the parents hung around. It wasn't until I started reading here on Ehell that I heard about parties with parents sticking around.
Me either. Unless it's a family party, I've never heard of parents staying.