General Etiquette > general

Complicated invite to a pool party

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I'm hoping y'all can help with a dilemma I don't think Emily Post had to address.

BG:  we have a pretty social neighborhood.  One couple in our circle split up a few years ago.  We liked them both, there was no blame given and we all stayed neutral.  Husband stayed in the neighborhood.  About a year after the divorce he met another friend of ours who was single (definitely no overlap).  And they've been together for more than a year now.  Both have kids.  Her kids are wonderfully well-behaved and the eldest is friends with many of the kids in our neighborhood, and particularly good friends with my friend's son. 

His eldest is a little older than the other kids in our circle and we don't see him much.  Well not socially.  We do see him running the neighborhood with two other trouble makers.  They've instigated all kinds of trouble, are rude and disrespectful.  And not one of them has a parent willing to parent.

Dilemma:  My friend is having a large pool party this summer and is not sure how to handle the invitation.  She wants to invite the woman and her kids as she's done for years.  And she also knows her son would want his friend to be there, and definitely wouldn't want to have him be put in an awkward position of not being able to mention the pool party if they weren't invited.

However, she does not want to invite his eldest son due to his behavior and not trusting him in their home.   So she's torn on how to handle this.

Does she just not invite any of them?  Does she invite her and her kids (and exclude part of the social unit)?  Does she invite the couple and her two kids?  There is no option of inviting his kids.

FWIW, we had a party this weekend with kids here and DH and I had a discussion similar.  However, we don't have kids at home and we opted to put them on the "adult party" list and to leave them off the family party guest list. 

If this is a family party, then I think she needs to invite the whole family or none of them.

When you say that the trouble makers have no one willing to parent, are you including the husband in that?  Because if your friend thinks that the parents aren't going to handle the kids and can't trust them in her home, then she needs not invite them...any of them.  Being that she clearly doesn't want to do that, I suggest she speak to her friend and tell her the concerns about the older boy.   For me, I would think that if he wasn't with his other friends and I trusted his Dad to supervise him, then it might not be a problem anyway.  If he's older than the other kids in the neighborhood and his friends aren't invited, would he even want to attend?

If I am reading the dilemma correctly, the eldest son of the previously divorced husband is not desired at your friend's party. Is he singularly older than all the kids? Maybe an age limit would help?

My (sort-of) BFF had a girl's party for the girls in our house of worship. She put an age limit on it that effectively made sure my DD and another one close in age were the only girls excluded from the party. Even the younger girls got to go because they had to come with their mothers - who were also invited. My BFF invited me as well, just not my DD. It stung but them's the breaks. We never discussed it but I could tell my BFF realized that it stung me and we did get past it.

If they are "together" and especially if they're all living together, I don't think it's polite to invite only the woman and her minor kids, and not the man and his minor kids. So I think it's all or nothing, for a large general gathering.

However, the host's child can certainly invite his friend over for a smaller, specific playdate at another time, and the host can certainly try to get together with the woman as her friend one-on-one.

If the host and the woman are close friends, it might be worth discussing the issue of the oldest boy, separate from the party invitation. But if they're not close I probably wouldn't say anything, and would just try not to have him in my home.

I don't think there is any way to invite a couple and all of their kids but one, the fact that it is the child of one half and the step-child of the other just makes it more awkward.  Perhaps if there had been a specific incident involving one of your friend's kids, you could use that as a reason, but it would still be awkward. I think the options are, not invite them, invite the entire family, invite parents only, or have her son invite his friend only (assuming her son is not friends with the step-child).  I don't think inviting one child who is friends with her son is a problem by itself, but once you start adding the parents and her other children, then it's pretty much a family invitation.


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