Author Topic: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)  (Read 4873 times)

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weeblewobble

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BG: DD had a "shift in friendships" earlier this summer. About two months ago, she broke off from a group of girls she had been playing with (including Kayla of the "One Upper" thread) because she came to realize that 1) Kayla and one of the other girls, Jenna, were not very nice to her,  and 2) that it wasn't worth spending time with girls who weren't nice to her, just because there were girls in the group who were nice to her.  Kayla was pulling her usual one-upping rude tricks and Jenna took it to a new level with some serious exclusionary tactics.  DD finally decided she was done and started playing with Jane, Mary and Anne, some nicer girls down the street who had also been rejected by Kayla and Jenna. And she's still playing with the nice girl next door. (Nancy)   

Jenna and Kayla responded VERY BADLY to DD "escaping" from the group and there was a big confrontation where the girls yelled at DD.   DD stood her ground, but it definitely showed her that she'd been right to break away.  She hasn't played with Jenna or Kayla more than a month.

END BG

DD's birthday party is coming up in a few weeks. She's inviting Nancy, Jane, Mary, and Anne, plus some girls from school.  I have told her she's free to invite who she wants, and its OK not to invite Jenna and Kayla, but that she and the other girls shouldn't talk about the party in front of Jenna and Kayla.

The other day, Jenna came up to DD while she was playing at Jane's and asked if she could come to DD's birthday party. (Not sure how she heard about it, but it wasn't from DD.) DD said, "No, I'm sorry. I've invited everybody my mom gave me permission to invite."  Then when DD went to Nancy's house to deliver Nancy's invitation, Kayla's older brother was there, playing with Nancy's older brother.  DD tried to be discreet about it, but Nancy was excited and told her mom, "This is the invitation to DD's birthday!"

Kayla's older brother said, "Hey, aren't you going to invite Kayla? Her feelings are hurt."

DD said, "No, I'm sorry. I've invited everybody my mom gave me permission to invite."

Now, I am 90 percent sure we are handling this correctly. It's unfortunate that Jenna heard about the party through the grapevine and that Kayla's brother was present when DD delivered the invitation, but DD did her best to be discreet and not talk about the party in front of uninvited people. I totally support her right not to invite people who treat her badly her to her party.  It's not meant to be punitive, but maybe they'll learn that friendships are based on treating people well.

At the same time, I do feel bad about hurting the girls' feelings, even if they aren't very nice to DD.  I don't like making kids feel bad.

So my questions are

1) Are we handling this correctly?

2) I'm sure this will come up again as we get closer to the party.  Is there a better response for DD to give besides, "No, I'm sorry. I've invited everybody my mom gave me permission to invite."

3) So far, none of the parents have contacted me, but is there an appropriate response if they do?

PS I have warned DD that this could result in retaliation and will most likely result in DD not being invited to Jenna and Kayla's birthday parties.  She's willing to risk it.

camlan

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 04:49:56 PM »
Quote
1) Are we handling this correctly?

2) I'm sure this will come up again as we get closer to the party.  Is there a better response for DD to give besides, "No, I'm sorry. I've invited everybody my mom gave me permission to invite."

3) So far, none of the parents have contacted me, but is there an appropriate response if they do?

PS I have warned DD that this could result in retaliation and will most likely result in DD not being invited to Jenna and Kayla's birthday parties.  She's willing to risk it.

1. IMO, yes. You are being as discreet as possible. The mean girls are going to hear about the party, either beforehand or afterwards. There's not much you can do about that.

2. I think you have given DD a good response. Nothing wrong with sticking to that one response. (But I would so love for DD to tell the mean girls, "I'm only inviting people who play fair.")

3. If the parents contact you, I'd go with something like, "Well, I've noticed DD and Kayla haven't been getting along well the past few months. I thought a cooling off period would be good."  No need to mention Jenna getting a permanent cooling off period. And if the parents are aware of the big shouting match, I'd use that--"Since they had such a big disagreement with DD last month, it just seemed best." OR you could go the route of, "This year, I let DD chose which friends she wanted to invite."

4. Does your DD even want to go to their parties?
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


weeblewobble

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 04:53:13 PM »
Re: #4  No, not really. But it's easy for her say that now, but then get miffed in a few months when she sees other girls attending their parties.  You know?

johelenc1

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 05:05:24 PM »
I think you and daughter are doing a great job.  The consequences of being mean or that no one wants to play you.  It's a good time for the mean girls to learn that lesson.

Whatever you do - don't cave.  If your daughter gets invited to their parties - I don't think she should go.  Keep the break clean and your daughter will be happier.

ps - I love your daughter's response.  There are some times when it's a parent's job to be the scape goat.  This is a perfect example of that!  If your daughter tried to explain she wasn't inviting them because she no longer liked them, it would just open up the drama.  However, if the parents call, I do think that would be a good time to tell the truth.  Let the parents know the girls had a falling out because they were mean to her and she would rather not be friends with them any more.  Let the parents deal with any hurt feelings their kids have.

TootsNYC

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 06:00:44 PM »
I think that *you* could say, "The girls are as close of friends as they were, and our space is limited" to the other parents if they bring it up. I wouldn't say the "not getting along/I imposed a cooling-off period" thing. it just skews things the wrong way. It also might imply that you've decided there is bad behavior. And that's not really what's going on.

The truth is that the friendships are shifting, and that this is a good and natural thing. Your DD and the other girls aren't as close as they once were.

CakeEater

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 06:31:46 PM »
At a young age, kids don't really pick up on friendships cooling. Sometimes the reason you don't see your friend much for a while might be that their family is really busy, or you just lose track of time and don't realise that you haven't played together for a while.

If this is the first real indication these girls have really felt that the friendship is cooling, they probably don't connect their previous behaviour with this as a consequence.

I think you're doing it just fine.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2013, 06:35:43 PM »
How old are these girls?  If they are over 8, I don't see anything wrong with DD saying that Kayla and Jenna haven't treated her very well lately and she doesn't want to invite them to her birthday party for that reason.

While it is nice to blame it on Mom, I think it kind of a lie because it was DD who didn't want to invite these girls.  And I don't blame her in the slightest.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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weeblewobble

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2013, 06:37:00 PM »
They are 7-9.

doodlemor

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2013, 06:55:37 PM »
Poddity, poddity, pod to letting you be the scapegoat.  Kids sometimes need an "out" when dealing with overwhelming/annoying peers. 

When our kids were teens they knew that we would come to their rescue if they didn't want to do something, or a plan seemed "off."   I remember once our daughter came to us with some totally bizarre/dubious invitation, which we knew that even she thought was outrageous.  We told her that she couldn't go to what ever it was, and she said "OK" without an argument.  She then went to the phone, called her friend back, and said "Those @#!#$%^& won't let me go," in a very exasperated voice.

kckgirl

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2013, 07:55:01 PM »
My kids used me as their scapegoat when they didn't want to do something but also didn't want to say  so to their friends. I think there is nothing wrong with using that approach. One time my daughter was standing behind her friend doing the asking and was shaking her head "no." I said no.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2013, 08:03:13 PM »
My mother flat-out told me when I was about 9 or so that if ever I was uncomfortable and wanted a way to decline some invitation/activity in a way that would be a "closer," I could absolutely lie through my teeth and tell them that she forbid it / had required me to be home by whatever time / anything.

"Just tell me as soon as  you can so I can keep the lie going," she said.

I gave my kids the same instructions.

I also hope that I'm giving them confidence (and scripts) so that eventually they can decline on their own. Because at age 19, "My mother says I can't" is kind of old (though I did say they were forbidden from getting into a car with someone who's had a couple of drinks, or more--and I said, "you can tell them, 'I promised my mother I'd never ride with someone who's had a few drinks,' and if you need to, you call me from wherever you are, even if it's the middle of the night, if you need help getting home from there.")

Daydream

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2013, 08:19:51 PM »
While I understand the instinct to put the "blame" on you, I think it would be best to put it where it really lies: on the girls who aren't invited.  They were mean to your daughter and she doesn't want them at her party.  There's nothing wrong with telling them (or their parents) the truth if they are rude enough to press for invitations.  Perhaps it will help them learn how to treat people, or maybe not.

If they were polite enough to not ask, they wouldn't learn the real reason.

Even if it were your "fault" because you'd limited the number of guests, the reason they weren't invited instead of those who were would still be the same. 

And, of course, your daughter shouldn't care if they don't invite her to their parties.  Why should she want to attend their parties and give gifts to people who aren't nice to her? 

Even if she were invited, I would explain to her that it's okay to decline and that sometimes people invite people they don't really like just to get more presents or to seem "popular," etc.  It's admirable that your daughter is *not* doing that and that, at such a young age, she respects herself enough to know that she doesn't have to be uncomfortable at her own party by inviting rude and/or mean people.

Disclaimer:  Aside from an Evil Relative who was in her 30s when I was born, I never had to deal with any mean girls/women until I went to college.  So, I don't have firsthand experience with mean children as a child.  This is just my opinion now as an adult. 

I've been told Evil Relative has been that way since she was a small child, so I just wonder how much better my early childhood through early 20s might have been if someone had set her straight when she was young, or at least before I was born.  (I stopped associating with her in my 20s)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 08:25:41 PM by Daydream »

weeblewobble

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2013, 08:21:44 PM »
Kind of curious about the Evil Relative stories now....

Jones

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2013, 09:13:02 PM »
My mother flat-out told me when I was about 9 or so that if ever I was uncomfortable and wanted a way to decline some invitation/activity in a way that would be a "closer," I could absolutely lie through my teeth and tell them that she forbid it / had required me to be home by whatever time / anything.

"Just tell me as soon as  you can so I can keep the lie going," she said.

I gave my kids the same instructions.

I also hope that I'm giving them confidence (and scripts) so that eventually they can decline on their own. Because at age 19, "My mother says I can't" is kind of old (though I did say they were forbidden from getting into a car with someone who's had a couple of drinks, or more--and I said, "you can tell them, 'I promised my mother I'd never ride with someone who's had a few drinks,' and if you need to, you call me from wherever you are, even if it's the middle of the night, if you need help getting home from there.")

Eh, at the age of 27 I used my mom as an excuse to get out of a party that sounded very alcohol based and loosely confined (haven't we outgrown that yet?). Said that I was having dinner with my parents that night. Let my mom know and she was happy to oblige.

Granted, if I did this regularly she'd probably be sick of it, but I live an hour away from my parents and they take all the grandkid time they can get.

TootsNYC

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Re: Children's Birthday Parties and Neighborhood Politics. (Sigh)
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2013, 09:17:38 PM »
While I understand the instinct to put the "blame" on you, I think it would be best to put it where it really lies: on the girls who aren't invited.  They were mean to your daughter and she doesn't want them at her party.  There's nothing wrong with telling them (or their parents) the truth if they are rude enough to press for invitations.  Perhaps it will help them learn how to treat people, or maybe not.


I think this is absolutely a way to create more drama.
Who wants that?