I am not sure which category this story fits into, but it was too bizarre not to share. Recently my daughter turned 8 and after much deliberation we decided to have a swimming party at the local wave pool. The party package was 1 party leader for 10 kids plus the cost of food. My daughter decided who she wanted to invite, and we settled on 9 invitations and sent them out. The first breech of etiquette in this story is on my daughter’s part.
The Friday before her Saturday birthday, I tallied up my RSVP’s which totaled 7 + my daughter, and I went and got goody bag stuff for the 7 girls and 1 boy. I like to put out awesome goody bags and therefore spent a fair bit of money including fabric gift bags that were actual loot bags for the upcoming Halloween holiday and I did have a few leftovers which I thought I could just let my daughter have as treats in the future. When I picked my daughter up at school that afternoon, she asked me if one more little girl could come…we will call her Sofia, I said that would not be a problem as long as my daughter understood she (being my daughter) might not get a complete goody bag as I had planned on a total of 8 kids not 9. She agreed and I called Sofia’s mom and explained that the party would start at 11 with swimming till 12 and then an hour for cake and presents (this is important later). My daughter also mentioned that another attendee, who we will call Katie had wanted to invite a few of her friends to come (same grade and school but not my daughter’s friends in particular). I said no and explained that I doubted anyone would be able to come on short notice like that and it wouldn’t be fair, plus we had almost reached our limit of the 10 kids. My daughter got quiet and then changed gears into excited for her party the next morning.
After dinner that night around 6 I got the first of 4 phone calls from parents of children I had not invited RSVP’ing to my daughter’s party the next morning. After the first call I spoke with my daughter and discovered that Katie had made invitations for several of her friends on plain paper, by copying a invitation from someone who couldn’t come. Each RSVP drove me into a higher state of panic than the one before, I kept counting and recounting and checking my numbers and after the last RSVP at 8pm I figure I am at 12 kids plus the wonderful birthday girl. So I am over the limit for the party leader to kids ratio and I will need another party leader and I do not have enough goody bags for everyone.
You might be asking yourself why I did not explain to these parents that their children were not invited and couldn’t come. Well, my daughter is on the shy side and would like to be friends with these girls and if the girls were excited about coming I didn’t want a refusal to affect my child’s school year and at this age they seem to be way more cliquey then we were. I did, you will be happy to know, on the last call of the night from Kate’s best friend’s mother laugh nervously when she explained that due to the time crunch they would just be giving my daughter a gift card. That was fine as apparently Katie and my daughter had made up counterfeit invitations, she seemed quite shocked and almost immediately after I got a call from Katie’s mother apologizing for the issue and I explained that Katie might have been the ring leader but my daughter did not stop it so they were both to blame.
At this point I frantically call the local wave pool and request to see if I could have an additional party leader, which they told me they would do their best but it was almost 9 pm the night before and they could not guarantee anything but would call me back either way. I live in an extremely residential area and do not drive but we do have a drug store so I figure I can head there in the morning to pick up additional goody bag items and I will just hope for the best as far as the party leader goes. My daughter is in tears as she can tell I am obviously very stressed and I explain to her the part that I spent $200.00 on was now going to cost at least $150.00 more as I want her to understand that what she did was unacceptable. My daughter being the sweetheart she is most of the time, offers to pay for half as that is all the money she had saved up for her ipod she wanted. I accepted as she needed a consequence for her actions. But I did have to ask myself…..as a parent would you RSVP 12 hours before a party when you have received a handwritten invitation penned by an 8 year old on a blank piece of paper?
Now the second and much more egregious breach of etiquette in my mind. The party started and low and behold, I had the extra party leader, I had 12 goody bags and everyone is showing up except the previously mentioned Sofia! The party leaders are fantastic and my stress level slowly sinking into a normal range. The party goes well the kids have lots of fun swimming and we are going to start the pizza and presents portion, presents are opened and ohhed and ahhed over appropriately. Pizza is being consumed and it is approximately 11:30 and there is 30 mins in the party left, and I hear a knock on the door to the outside (fire exit). It is Sofia and her father. I open the door and usher them in and get Sofia seated and offer her pizza and a drink to which she refuses and she looks quite upset. Approximately 15 mins later her father is back at the fire door and picks her up, I hand her a goody bag and thank her for coming, my daughter thanks her and gives her a hug and she is off. There is now 15 mins left in the party (important fact). At this point I am thinking maybe she doesn’t swim and that why she missed the swimming portion but who shows up for 15 mins, doesn’t eat, drink or make merry and just sits at a party for 15 mins looking upset? But I shake it off and we wrap up the party and as I am passing out gift bags, I discover I am one short (my etiquette breach). I promise the intended recipient one Monday morning and everyone was happy.
Upon my arrival home, I discovered a voicemail that had been left while we were in transit. It was a young girl yelling at me about how rude I am to invite her sister to a party and then being getting ready to leave when she arrived. She berated me for at least 5 minutes on how horrible a person I am and how rude and etc. I noticed it came from Sofia’s house. I called back and the same person answered, I identified myself as so and so’s mother and asked to speak with her parents, she advised me I can’t. I explained that I would be speaking to her parents even if it was through a letter sent home from the school as I had received a disturbing voicemail that was neither accurate or appropriate for a child to leave on an adult’s phone. She proceeded to deny knowing of the voicemail in question and I explained that I wanted to talk to her mother about the fact there must have been some miscommunication as the party had started at 10 as I had told them and the swimming ended at 11 but her sister had arrived at 1130 and stayed for a scant 15 minutes prior to leaving before the party even ended, and if that was somehow my fault, I was sorry but in my eyes, behaving in such a fashion arriving late and leaving early without an explanation was rude. She told me that it wasn’t her and it didn’t matter if I told her mom as she wouldn’t care but since she wasn’t home I couldn’t talk to her. I said fine I would send a letter home with the school and offer to let her mother listen to the voicemail to see if we could determine the source and I hung up. She called me back yelling a few mins later saying, “Please do not call my mother and I didn’t know they were late coming.” I told her I had to speak with her mother as it was not appropriate for a teenager to speak to an adult that way, much less an adult she had never met and a parent of her sister’s classmate.
I finally spoke with her mom, who was very apologetic.
And that was our mixed bag of etiquette breaches that made up my daughter’s 8th birthday. 0127-11
I don’t know if you realize this, OP, but at the beginning of your story, you said you told Sofia’s mom that, “… the party would start at 11 with swimming till 12 and then an hour for cake and presents (this is important later).” But later in the story you said to Sofia’s teenaged sister that, “…he party had started at 10 as I had told them and the swimming ended at 11.” If you cannot communicate the accurate details within the relatively short time frame of writing a story, the possibility exists that you actually did make a huge communication error to Sofia’s mom.
Arguing about bad manners with a teenager was probably not particularly wise either. Next time just end the conversation and attempt to call the parents at a later time.
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On rereading, I noticed that all the children who recieved “real” invitations as well as all the children who recieved “copied” invitations arrived on time. The only child who was late was the one that was verbally invited by OP’s daughter and where the vital party information was relayed verbally to Sophia’s mother by the OP. This points to the fact that the OP did indeed give the incorrect information and therefore owes Sophia, and her family, a huge abject apology. Though, after the OP’s attitude, if I were Sophia’s mom, I’m not sure I would accept OP’s apology.
If I had pulled a stunt like the OP’s daughter did, you can bet your butt my party would have been cancelled. My parent’s would not have stood for that. It would have been a very long time before I had another “friend party” too.
A previous poster wrote: “Instead you complained about the cost of her party to the birthday girl? Way to suck the joy out of it.”
I agree completely! Yes, kids should appreciate the time and effort their parents put into a party, and they need to experience the consequences of their actions when they do something wrong. But the OP allowed her daughter’s action to stand and instead complained, “You’re costing me $150 extra.” In the 8-year-old mind, you may as well have added “…you little brat!” to the end of the sentence, even if you explained it to her as nicely as possible. (At least, that’s how I would have felt at that age.) It’s a very confusing message: “I’ll accommodate what you want because I love you, but I want you to know I resent it.”
Teaching consequences helps kids appreciate things and not develop a sense of entitlement. But telling them exactly how much they cost you just makes them feel guilty and burdensome.
(I will add this to soften the above: it all happened last-minute, and the OP was understandably very stressed. It’s easy for me now to assert that her actions weren’t the best, but who knows if I would have done the “best” thing in the moment?)
After reading the other posts, I’ve changed my mind. The OP should have nipped those phony invites in the bud. Since OP decided to let everyone come, then she (OP) is responsible for the cost. When her DD told OP about Katie’s invites, OP said no. She should have stuck to her guns, and the consequences to her DD should have been age appropriate.
I think this whole thing starts with Mom stressing out over a simple thing like a child’s birthday party. The goodie bags sound like the “swag” hollywood stars get from parties. Rather than making her birthday a joyful occasion, it turned into a big ole mess. Your child is watching how you handle things, and I’m afraid the example here was not too good, even considering that the child screwed up, as they will. Oh, yeah–arguing with the teenager was…ill-advised.
I agree with the poster who stated that there aren’t enough details to indicate that Daughter was involved in either the creation or delivery of the fake invitations.
Mom should have said no to the extra guests, regardless of her hopes that her daughter would gain popularity with these girls she wasn’t going to invite in the first place.
A little obsessive with the goodie bag thing.
This may not bother anyone else, but it bothers me:
“I explained that I would be speaking to her parents even if it was through a letter sent home from the school”
I don’t know where these children go to school, but on my campus, we’d never facilitate this sort of communication from one parent to another. Seems a little presumptuous.
I agree with you–I don’t imagine it’d be very easy to wrangle so many excited kids at a theme park (and, I’m pretty sure that this wave pool was more than *just* a wave pool, there must have been slides, mini golf, etc., which means more places for the kids to get lost or whatever). Anyway, I’m just remembering something. Has anyone else read a children’s book series/seen the cartoon called “Franklin?” It’s about a young anthropomorphized turtle named Franklin, who’s very sweet, friendly, and well-intentioned, but doesn’t always think things through (sound familiar?) One story in particular was about EXACTLY this scenario–Franklin wanted a birthday party at “Tamarack Point” (pseudonym for “Cedar Point,” I’d imagine), and he wanted to invite ALL his friends–ten friends in total. He told his parents, and they explained that they couldn’t afford to pay for ten park admissions, ten meals, etc. So, in the end, they had a party at home, set up their own water slide (hose, tarp, good to go), raced toy boats, barbecued hot dogs, had birthday cake, etc., and a good time was had by all.
Um Okay? Where to begin. There is so much to work with here it is astounding.
1) Goodie Bags?!?!?!? What, were the kids at the party to present Oscars? When did giving gifts to kids for showing up to a free party with free food and free events become so important?
2) Your line “Now the second and much more egregious breach of etiquette in my mind…” when you explain about Sofia is so wrong. The first breach was much much more egregious. When you found out what your daughter did and the other parents started calling the response should of been “I’m sorry, but I just heard about what my daughter and some of her friends might have done. Unfortunately, I can only accommodate the original invitees. I am truly, truly sorry and I will make sure my daughter apologizes to your child at school on Monday. ” Repeat as necessary.
Oh but you couldn’t possibly do that, I mean just think about what the popular kids would do to your shy daughter. I’m sorry, but your daughter is not as shy as you think she is if she can do this, even with prodding from glorious Katie. Doing this would’ve been a much better lesson for your daughter than jacking her money to help defray costs because YOU don’t have a backbone. Yeah your daughter would’ve been upset, and embarrassed but it would’ve taught her what she did was wrong and it would’ve imparted a valuable lesson.
Personally if it were my child, I would’ve told them that because of their actions their party was cancelled and that we would just go out to dinner on that day or have cake at home. I then would’ve had them sit there while I called all the other parents and said that we have had to cancel the party due to some made up reason. But then again maybe my son is right when he says I’m a bad daddy if I won’t let him have ice cream and ketchup for dinner.
There is so much more here, but I really don’t want to sit here all day. Bottom line OP you screwed up, your daughter didn’t help matters, but you let too much slide and are at fault too.
P.S., As for taking the iPod stash, there are ways of teaching the child a lesson, without ACTUALLY denying her her iPod forever. For example, the OP could have taken the money to put towards the party, and then purchased her daughter an iPod after all. It could have been for her birthday (after the party hubbub had died down), or maybe for the next gift-giving occasion, or maybe around the time it would have taken the daughter to save up for one herself. That way, she still learns that she screwed up, but the consequences aren’t devastating. After all, correct me if I’m wrong, but for an eight-year-old, seventy-five dollars is probably several weeks or months’ worth of “income,” isn’t it? Kids that age can’t get jobs, they aren’t old enough to babysit, and there’s only so much money to be earned by walking dogs/raking leaves/whatever.
Something similar happened to my BFF,S, back in 4th grade. Her dad had just gotten fired so money was tight. S,me, and 2 other girls ,H and K, were going for pizza and a movie. S hadn’t confided her money struggles with anyone but me. H was giving S a hard time and demanding that she invite R as well. S and R were ok friends but not super close. If the money struggles hadn’t been going on S would have invited R. Anyways H was mad because S wasn’t having a huge B-day bash like everyone else. So H took matters into her own hands and bought invatations that had the pizza parlor and cinema we were going to. So in the end 14(one of which was H’s sister) extra girls show up. S’s mom had to call and explain what happened to 14 parents. Most moms understand and come pick their daughters up. H’s mom however was arguing with S’s mom on the phone saying how she already made plans and couldn’t pick up her daughter for 3 hours. First off S,H,K, and I were all 9 or 10. H’s sister was 4. So S’s mom ended up having to hang out with a fussy 4 yr old while we saw a movie. H and her mom could not understand why S’s mom wouldn’t pay for her younger daughter as well…even after S’s mom explained that it would be a financial strain.
Wow. I am sorry OP but the severe etiquette breach has to do with your daughter and you. I find the issue about Sofia almost irrelevant as I cannot believe you allowed an 8 yr old with made up invitations to basically “win.” You should have told the parents what had happened. I am pretty sure they would have been more than understanding and happy not to have to buy a gift plus they would understand that when you have a party at places other than the house there normally is a limit imposed on the number of guests. Then you should have informed your daughter of what the issue was here. To allow her to basically “get away” with giving paper invitations is not a good lesson for her later in life.
I also don’t feel it right that you mentioned the parents accepting the invitations because I have known some kids who like to make their invitations and their parents are fine with that, so all people received the handmade invitation and RSVP’d to that.
As for the goody bags, I feel that kids just assume there will be them at a party when really the party should be enough. But that is irrelevant. In this day and age since so many people do not RSVP anymore it is always better to have more than less. Just in case something happens (as it obviously did).
Now for yelling at the teenager? You should have left that up to the parents. It would have been more appropriate to call the house and ask to speak to the parents and if they weren’t there then call back. She was probably just really upset about what had happened to her little sister.
As for some posters saying you shouldn’t have taken the money? I don’t have a problem with that as it can be used for a lesson when you make a child pay for something. If a child breaks a lamp in a store, the child should work to pay it off. It is the way lessons are learned. But again, in this instance the extra children never should have been allowed to come. I’m actually with Danielle, I would have totally called the entire party off due to the behavior.
Tori that is HORRIBLE! The lack of etiquette of some people is just ridiculous! And how on earth did that mom not realize a 4 yr old would not be invited to that party, nor should they! Some people should not have kids! I almost cannot blame H because she probably learned her manners from her mother but I would have probably not paid for a ticket for her either. 🙂
**I don’t know where these children go to school, but on my campus, we’d never facilitate this sort of communication from one parent to another. Seems a little presumptuous.**
Yep, you make a valid point. As a teacher in a middle school, I can tell you that in our school parents have a right to call each other or go visit each other, however, we absolutely will NOT facilitate it.
I’m not sure how the OP hoped to get this home with the kid (empty threat really) , but no school administrator in her right mind would give out an address, contact number, or even agree to function as the facilitator of the transaction. At the end of the day, that’s one of those truly empty and pointless threats.
It seems apparent to me that birthday girl did not have a good understanding of the etiquette for inviting people to a party. I guess she knew she could only invite ten people, but it seems like she didn’t understand what a breach it would be to extend the invites. Maybe there was some peer pressure from Katie. However, sometimes kids (and adults) don’t learn until they have the experience.
I feel so sorry for this poor little girl. Yes, she did the wrong thing, but as others have pointed out, it was the OP who decided to allow the extra kids to come to the party. Who knows if the daughter even wanted these kids to come? For all we know, Katie and the others might have bullied her into it. For a shy eight year old whose classmates are cliquey, it would be hard to stand up to a group of bossy bullies. (Heck, I had a hard time telling a guest at my last party that she couldn’t bring along a friend who nobody at the party had ever met – and I’m 21!) And on top of being pushed into inviting these girls to her party, she has to sacrifice her entire savings, all because her mother wants to have the most popular daughter and the most impressive goodie bags. What is the lesson here – always go along with what the other kids want you to do so you can be popular and make momma proud (even if it costs you your savings)? I shudder to think what will happen when someone tries to get her to use drugs or have sex.
In defence of Sofia, I would like to say that I have been in two similar situations quite recently, one when I was 19 and the other when I was 20. Both times I had arranged to get a lift to a party with one person, and a lift home with another. Both times, the people giving me lifts there were extremely late (and in neither case had there been an emergency – these people were simply inconsiderate and did not stick to the original plan), so that I had less than an hour before I was picked up. The second time, I was so anxious after having waited so long, worrying that I would not be there in time for my ride home, when I was already very stressed because of another situation, I ended up crying. By the time I had composed myself and gone inside I probably had fifteen minutes (during which I, like Sophia, was visibly upset) before I had to leave. To reiterate: this happened when I was twenty. I can’t imagine how I would have coped in this situation if I were only eight years old. For that matter, I can’t imagine what the OP expected Sophia to do – hitchhike? – or how she expected the poor kid to act when she got to a party that was almost finished.
P.S. I don’t think being known as “the kid whose mom who verbally abuses children over the phone” would do anything to help a child’s popularity.
“I said no and explained that I doubted anyone would be able to come on short notice like that and it wouldn’t be fair, plus we had almost reached our limit of the 10 kids.”
Okay, you told your daughter that you “doubted anyone would be able to come on short notice,” as a main reason for not allowing extra invites? You should have told her that you reached the limit and can’t change plans at this point.
Wow, I agree with the above, taking your 8-y/o’s savings; imagine her spending hours counting up her pennies in her piggly bank, then having it taken away cos, it sounds like, a pushy, more popular girl pressured her into doing soemthing she knew was wrong. Harsh much? Surely that happens to everyone at some point, getting talking into doing something bad by the popular kid; and if mom is SO obsessed with the popularity thing surely she would be ok with that?! Thats gonna be remembered forever you know! “That time mom took away all my ipod money”. And you mention she was so upset by the mix-up that she was in tears. Nice. Mild psychological scarring for child, but mom got her goody bag money back…
Teenager also v v rude, no way should kids be allowed to call up and harrass other adults! Don’t care how protective she is of her little sister, thats just rude. But are you really gonna get anywhere arguing with the brat? Imagine when she finally speaks to Sophia’s/bratty teens mom; “I had this rude call from your daughter, but its alright I’ve already explained to her exactly how she, and your whole family, are at fault here”…thats gonna go down well! 🙂
I’m weighing in a bit late, but I had to take some time to think this over. Here are a few of my issues with this:
1) Extra guest: The OP had room for one more person, so when her DD told her that she’d invited someone else, she had two options: either say “Ok, we do have room for one more person, so it will be okay, however in future, you are not permitted to invite anyone else that we haven’t already agreed on. Doing so will result in the cancellation of your party.”
2) Fake invitations: “DD, we already discussed this. We don’t have room for more than 10 people at this party. You disregarded my instructions, so unfortunately, we will have to cancel your party.” DD will be upset, but OP will explain again why, and then offer an alternative – perhaps a slumber party with two or three friends only.
3) Goodie bags: expensive fabric bags for children? Please. Kids don’t care about the bag itself, only what’s inside. I bet each and every one of those expensive fabric bags ended up in the garbage can. Plastic would have been just fine.
4) Charging DD for the extra party handler and goodie bags: That’s insane. The decision was the OP’s, as the parent, to allow the extra people to come. Why fine the DD for it?
5) Buying popularity: popularity doesn’t always mean having status. I was much happier being the unpopular nerd than one of the giggly, hair-headed girls who were labeled as “easy” just because she was popular. No thanks. I’m proud to be a geek. I also wanted to point out that the popular cliques also always have the lowest member, who is usually a doormat and will do anything for the rest of them. I have a feeling that person would have been the DD in this post.
6) Arguing with a teenager that wasn’t yours: Major fail on this part. Correct way to deal with this? “I will not be lectured to by a teenager. I will allow your parents to hear the voicemail later and we can deal with it then.”
7) Wrong times given: It would have been appropriate for you to call her parents and find out why she was upset, or speak directly to her father when he dropped Sophia off. If you had indeed given the wrong time to her family, an apology is in order. Perhaps a suggestion of a play date, that included swimming or a movie as well as lunch at a reasonably-priced restaurant of their choosing, would be lovely.
Also, I agree with the other people who said that those girls probably weren’t coming to this party because of the DD. They most likely just wanted to swim. I’m afraid your DD will be terribly disappointed when she realizes she’s not “in” with this clique and that she was used.
Sorry. My point #1 wasn’t complete. I was going to say the second option would have been to simply say no to the extra guest.
YES!! We loved Franklin and I remember that story. OT, but did you ever read Morris the Moose? He was great. There was another book, “A Lesson for Francis” about a little girl raccoon who was being used by her friend. A great book for kids.
I love the Frances books! I have great memories of my mom reading them to me when I was little. There is, of course, “A Birthday for Frances” about being the one who feels left-out during birthday celebrations. They are badgers, altho it’s sometimes hard to tell from the drawings.
What your daughter did was not a breach of etiquette. A breach of etiquette would be not sending a thank you note for a gift she received. No, what your daughter did was just plain wrong. She forged an invitation for her own social benefit, which is lying. And how did you handle it? By teaching her that if she throws money at the problem then it’s all better. You may want to rethink that strategy since in the long run she’s more likely to be shaped by your actions than those of her peers.
I think that you and your daughter owe Sofia and her parents an apology. First of all, the child did nothing wrong and was obviously upset at the party. Had you talked either to her or to her father you might have found out whether or not they were given the incorrect time for the festivities. For the sake of argument, let’s say that’s what actually happened as it was difficult for you to get the times correct even after having written out all of the painstaking details of your story. The situation would have been easily resolved had you been a gracious hostess and attempted to make your daughter’s guest feel welcome by finding out why she was uncomfortable.
The creation of the extra invitations may have been the fault of your daughter and the other little girl, but the proper thing to do would have been to explain the folly to the parents of the additional children and let them know that it wasn’t a malicious act, merely a misunderstanding. It was more of a breach of etiquette on your part to expect those parents to get a gift the night before and rearrange their schedules to suit your needs. Then, to top everything else off, you threaten a teenage girl who is obviously trying to stand up for her little sister? Have you no shame?
The next time you have an opportunity to teach your daughter a life lesson I hope that you will consider the fact that you (or she) may actually be wrong and adjust your responses accordingly. In the meantime, however, call Sofia’s parents, acknowledge that there may have been a misunderstanding about the time of the party, and apologize for being a twit. That’s about the only way you’ll be able to save face with this one.
Just my 2 cents – first of all I think the mom had to accept the so-called “phony” invitations. Here’s why –this is the little girl’s birthday. She wanted her friends there, gosh darn it. An 8 year old probably isn’t sitting around trying to concoct some horrible thing to subject her parens to, she just wanted her friends there. And yes, I would RSVP a hand-made-by-a-child invitation in a second! It doesn’t have to be a store bought invite before I’ll accept it!
Mom should have done some preliminary things with the 8 year old “Dear, we can only invite 9, that’s it, that’s all I can pay for” Do 8 year olds really get the concept of $200?? I would not have at 8. Then if 8 year old still gave out more invites, mom could have simply cancelled the original party and held a back yard gathering or something. But it all turned out ok, she got the extra leader, paid the extra money, everything was okay except for the kid who shows up late.
You get a call from a teen, who in the world spends time talking to an irate teen and then ranting about it on an etiquette site? Seriously? Are we all still in high school? Mom has some ‘popularity/self esteem” issues here talking about the 8 year old needing to be liked, and cliquey grous, and then fussing with a teenager on the phone.
I am fighting the urge to get defensive, though I do think several of you have very good points and have really helped me see where I was wrong in this, but I am amazed by those that didn’t read the details of the story or just skimmed it and missed some vital things prior to attacking me.
I guess I could have been more clear in my post, I may have mistyped in this submission, but I certainly did not miscommunicate the time or details of the party and in fact had repeated it twice. And I think by the fact that her father dropped her off without a word and arrived without a word 15 mins later to pick her up and the fact I mentioned the child was upset upon arrival, if she thought she was arriving on time, would she not have been happy and had a swimsuit in hand and ready to swim?
As mentioned she showed up looking quite upset.
I guess you are all quite right it was all my fault. I could have said no, or cancelled the party entirely, but at the age of 8 this is only her second “real” birthday party, she has never been confident enough to have one prior to last year, I am learning, I am not a seasoned pro as I am sure some of you are, but I didn’t cancel the party and your right I should not have spoken to my daughter regarding the financial ramifications of her actions, Just like when she wastes food or ruins perfectly good items, money is nothing and she should certainly not learn of its value.
I also think “taking her ipod fund away forever” is a little harsh, I did not “Charge her” or “Take her money away”, she accepted responsibilty for her actions and offered the money…… and I accepted as part of the lesson, But I guess you missed that part of the story as well, if your child wrecked or damaged something , charged up your credit card or cell phone plan and offered to pay you for it, I supposed you would all say no, cause that would be harsh, and you certainly wouldn’t tell them they had to pay for it…………….
And my last comment is as far as the goodie bags go, as mentioned they were halloween loot bags, purchased at the dollar store for 0.50 each, but I enjoy making the contents amazing as its part of the fun of birthday parties, I guess I could fill it up with lots of cheap junk and candy, but I really don’t want to give them stuff to rot their teeth and junk they will just thow out the minute they leave the room.
And FYI communication from a parent via the school is perfectly legal and appropriate, now if I had asked for their address to mail the letter, they would not have given it to me.
Chocobo ~ I disagree with your comment about money not being something that you (general you) should bring up to your kids. I think that kids need to be taught about finances and how much things cost, and 8 years old is definitely old enough to learn these things. I remember being around that age and learning how to write checks and balance a checking account in school. I think this mom is being responsible in teaching her daughter to save money, but I personally would not have taken the child’s $75, especially the day before her birthday, but this is her mother and I do not criticize another person’s parenting if I can help it. I agree that the child should have learned consequences, but I also agree with the others here that perhaps having her tell the other girls that they couldn’t come after all would have been preferable.
I don’t think that the OP is that much of a brat here. For one thing, we don’t KNOW for sure that she told Sofia’s mother the wrong time. Just because she made a typo in an email, doesn’t mean she made that same mistake verbally. A lot of commenters here are assuming that she told her the wrong time.
Why did Sofia’s father drop her off for only 15 minutes? I would have assumed that the dad was being a jerk to her and only letting her see her friend for 15 minutes and that was why she was upset. I would have been surprised by the voicemail as well. Would I have called the teenager and argued? No, I would have asked for the parent and called back if said parent wasn’t available.
I don’t think the OP is being a bad person by wanting to give out nice goody bags. If she has the money to spend and wants to spend it, none of us should be throwing stones. If she were spending her kids’ lunch money to do it, then that would be wrong.
I agree that taking the money from the kid was a bit harsh, though I think that it’s a more fair consequence than canceling the child’s birthday party because they created a few extra invitations (to my mind, this seems a lot harsher). Had it been my child, I would have explained to them why the extra people couldn’t come, and had them call the other girls and tell them what happened.
Mother of the Birthday Girl, I think it’s fairly evident that you neither want nor can accept advice that disagrees with you. You submitted a story to an etiquette website. Now you’re angry that the vast majority of its readers point out your breaches of etiquette and faux pas?
You were wrong. You were wrong in pretty much every way in this story, and now you’re underlining and adding to it by becoming defensive and snarky in the comments. I repeat: You were in the wrong.
As has been suggested by many, it’s quite possible that Sofia and her father showed up to the party, were told that it was just ending, and this is why she wasn’t “happy and [with] a swimsuit in hand and ready to swim.” It would also explain why she didn’t stay long–her father likely simply said “go in and say hello, and I’ll come get you in a few minutes.”
You are clearly missing the point of what most people said about not complaining to your daughter about the money. YOU chose to allow an expensive birthday party. By accepting the RSVPs, YOU chose to allow the extra guests, because you wanted your daughter to be in with the “in” crowd. (And for the record, a painfully shy eight-year-old doesn’t have nine other friends to invite. I was a painfully shy eight-year-old, which meant that I had my best friend (mom’s best friend’s daughter), and one school friend, and could barely speak to anyone else.) At that point, you can’t turn around and complain to your daughter about how much money this is costing you, because you allowed it every step of the way. Imagine this scenario: You’re checking out in the candy store, buying your daughter a bag of candy. You see that she’s added extra candy without asking you. You then continue the purchase, and only tell her it was too expensive when you’ve left the store. You then take her money for it. Was that the right way to do thing? No, and it’s exactly how you handled things in this situation.
“I am fighting the urge to get defensive,”
Nup, your post was pretty defensive. “I am amazed by those that didn’t read the details of the story or just skimmed it and missed some vital things prior to attacking me.” well, i’m sorry, were there finer points there we missed that would justify you not speaking up to tell the other parents about your inability to fund/host over 10 kids and that their invitations were forged? Did you or did you not let yourself enter into an arguement with a teen? Those seemed to be the main points you were critisised for, but you’re still defensive about it in your post (So what if it’s her second birthday party, she’ll have more! She’d still have a party if you didn’t allow the extra clique to come!)
“may have mistyped in this submission”
There is no “may have” you either mistyped or in real life told the wrong time.
Charging her money for if she ran up the phone bill or credit card is completely different to this case. At 8 she probably can’t do either of those things, by the time she can she’d have a better idea of how expensive life is. If you wanted to host her extra friends, do it without complaining! what good did it do you? Did she instantly phone all her extra friends and tell them not to come and fess up about the forgeries? If you don’t want to host them then don’t, phone and explain and make your daughter apologise.
Her offering of her pocket money wasn’t as much owning up and understanding fully what she just did and trying to correct it (that would involve coming clean to the other parents/kids and apologising profusely to them) She used her 8 year old logic and saw the problem here was money, and it was logical to fix it by giving you hers.
Teaching children the value of money is good, stressing at and to them about it is unnecessary. People always blur the difference.
“My daughter is in tears as she can tell I am obviously very stressed and I explain to her the part that I spent $200.00 on was now going to cost at least $150.00 more as I want her to understand that what she did was unacceptable.” Also your priorities are still skewed, she hears “what you did cost more money!” instead of “Forging invitations/letting someone forge an invitation and not standing up to katie is wrong. Inviting someone mum hasn’t approved of is wrong.” In scenario 2 you could have taught your daughter integrity and honesty, instead you choose to defend your stance on taking her money – I’m sure we all appreciate your sarcasm, very mature.
Hrm all in all I wouldn’t have commented twice had I not read the “trying not to be defensive” line followed by paragraphs of defensiveness. What did you expect from us, that we’d all applaud your fine words used to argue with a teen, but also applaud your lack of spine in dealing with the misunderstanding? Better luck next year, kids are resiliant. Who knows, she (your daughter) might patch things up with sophia without needing parental interference, find friends that don’t manipulate her and be a happy kid regardless of popularity.
This sounds like some stuff that went down during my grade school years. This girl who decided to invite everybody to her b-day party execpt me (bc “no one else would come”) turned it into a full blown war with words spared on the phone, at school, and spilled into the next grade up (loong story).
Time jump into 7th grade. Same girl invites me to her b-day hotel party and gives me an invite that looks very ragged (leftover, outta trash looking). My mother took one look at this and refused to let me go on the suspicon this was a terrible prank in the works. If I were the mother of one of the girls who got the homemade invite I would have called with the parents to confirm this was a true invite. OP would have nipped this in the bud then and explained to DD that this was not going to be tolerated and had her call the other girls who recived these (with parents on the phone and tipped off beforehand by mom) to tell them what REALLY happened.
The OP was too worried about very minor details (DD being popular with the other girls) and making her DD feel like a finanical burden by actually TAKING MONEY FROM AN 8 YEAR OLD in order to pay for the party. If I was DD and offered my piggy bank to my mom after this stunt she probably would thank me for the offer but allow me to keep it and have me do extra chores to pay the difference instead.
Now onto Sofia….it seems to me that Sofia is the girl who no one likes but got invited out of pity. By the way she behaved she knew it and perhaps the parents made her go to “get her out of her shell” like some absentminded ones will do. There really isnt much the OP could have done except make her feel welcome which it sounds like she did.
As for the teen sister who cussed the OP on the phone….I can see where she came from but still I would have left the dissing to my mom if we felt like it was warranted.
This story is why I hate little girls birthday parties! They turn into some full blown drama and A-list event used by girls to exclude others. If my DD had one or 2 BFF’s I would have taken them and the birthday girl to a movie or someplace extra special rather than cause myself and possibly others extra headache and money for something that most kids will not remember once they hit the milestone ages and demand even more elaborate parties.
Okay, I’m still confused about why the OP’s daughter is at fault for Katie’s invites. Because she knew? Because she didn’t tell Katie, “No?” I also don’t understand why Katie gets off scott free in this. Since OP’s DD paid for half the extra guests, perhaps Katie should be responsible for the other half. Then there should be no visits with Katie for a long time. She seems sneaky.
I was four years old when I tried to add a friend from pre-school to my birthday party the day before and was told that was inappropriate and unfair. If I had pulled that at 8, I would have lost the party. I think what the OP’s daughter did was sneaky and disrespectful.
And arguing with a teenager drags you down to her level. The OP should have called back at a more appropriate time.
“I certainly did not miscommunicate the time or details of the party and in fact had repeated it twice. …would she not have been happy and had a swimsuit in hand and ready to swim? As mentioned she showed up looking quite upset.”
You miscommunicated it in the story; how can you be sure? This still doesn’t excuse your assumption that Sofia was rude (rather than powerless/delayed/other) nor your repeating of that assumption to her (rude) teenaged sister. The fact Sofia was upset suggests she wasn’t late out of rudeness. I don’t understand why you assumed otherwise and you sound more annoyed than concerned, although she’s a little girl in your care at this point.
“Just like when she wastes food or ruins perfectly good items, money is nothing and she should certainly not learn of its value.”
I don’t know if you’re trying to be sarcastic here. The point is that there are better ways of teaching a child responsibility.
” if your child wrecked or damaged something , charged up your credit card or cell phone plan and offered to pay you for it, I supposed you would all say no, cause that would be harsh, and you certainly wouldn’t tell them they had to pay for it…………….”
No, I wouldn’t tell them to pay for it. That’s not the way I would punish them at all. I would say no and make them do chores, as others here have suggested, and just as my parents did to me. Several posters have made very clear that the punishing wasn’t the issue, it was the method you chose. Please don’t pretend to misunderstand them.
“And FYI communication from a parent via the school is perfectly legal and appropriate, now if I had asked for their address to mail the letter, they would not have given it to me.”
Legal, maybe. Appropriate, I totally disagree. Using the school as a conduit for your private issues with other parents strikes me as massively *inappropriate*. And personally I wouldn’t invite a child to a party without finding out where they lived and their parents’ mobile number, at the least. What would you have done if Sofia’s father hadn’t turned up again if you don’t know where she lives? Also, since handing out invitations at school is frowned upon because it inevitably leaves people out, how else to get them there?
I think the goody bags are nice and sound fun (if expensive) and I would also have phoned Katie’s mother and told her what had happened too – I agree Katie should also learn some responsibility. But I still think the worst issue in all of this is your callous assumption that an 8 year old girl was rude in being late (she didn’t drive herself there!) and your repeating this in an argument with her sister, whatever that sister did. You owe Sofia’s mother an apology for both of these. In her place I wouldn’t let you have my daughter again.
Dannysgirl–I think people are finding fault (repeatedly, at great length, which is why I’m not surprised that the OP is getting defensive) with the OP not because Katie and the DD issued the new invites, but because OP made a conscious decision to honor those invites and incur the extra expense when she really didn’t have to, and then chose to take her DD’s money to teach her a lesson that didn’t have to be taught in this way.
Big POD to that. Katie is bad news and possibly will be in the future, maybe worse.
Thanks OP for the clarification. FTR, from reading the letter, I was pretty sure Sophia and her family had been given the correct time.
“And my last comment is as far as the goodie bags go, as mentioned they were halloween loot bags, purchased at the dollar store for 0.50 each, but I enjoy making the contents amazing as its part of the fun of birthday parties, I guess I could fill it up with lots of cheap junk and candy, but I really don’t want to give them stuff to rot their teeth and junk they will just throw out the minute they leave the room.”
This cracks me up. You’ve already given them pizza, pop, and cake, and you don’t want to give them stuff to rot their teeth? Too late. And “junk”? What’s junk to adults is a fun toy to an 8-year-old. They don’t look at price tags like we do. Give two first-graders a finger puppet each and they will have a blast playing with them together. My kids’ goody bags’ ENTIRE contents always came from a dollar store and no one ever complained. It really isn’t that big of a deal.
If commenters on here are “seasoned pros”, which I imagine most of them are, then there must be a lot of good advice in their comments for you to use in the future… you’re welcome 😉
MotBG, if your child had broken a window or knocked over an expensive vase during horseplay, then there would be a clear and irrevocable financial loss there. That is a time where a financial lesson is in order. But YOU chose to have “awesome” goody bags (which is a trend I hope dies a harsh death very soon) and YOU chose not to explain to the RSVPing parents what happened. Your daughter created the situation, but YOU were the one who accepted it.
Your daughter clearly felt guilty over her screw up, and it showed maturity to offer the money, but you should’ve said no. You turned her birthday (and her friendships) into a nickel-and-dime affair and you took what could’ve been a learning experience over peer pressure and made it all about what a burden she was instead. You took away something she’d probably been saving up for for six months or more because she simply didn’t understand.
Next year, have the party at home. Instead of goody bags, do crafts that people can take home with them, and get one of those chests full of party favors (for a fraction of the cost). Have some cool music and good food, a tasty cake, and you can invite all the friends she wants. It’ll be a lot cheaper, with the money you save you can rent a bouncy house or get your daughter that iPod, and your daughter can have more friends to invite so that she can be as popular as YOU want her to be.
I don’t understand all the Goody Bag hate. That’s my favorite part of throwing a party!
Here’s my reasoning, stick with me for a bit…
I want my kids to learn that birthday parties are not all about them getting presents. To me, it’s a way to teach my kids that they have guests and their guests are important. So we pick out toys and coloring books, etc, that have to do with the “theme” of the party and stick that in a bag with the guest’s name on it. It’s just a fun way to say “Thanks for coming to my party!” much the same that favors at a wedding are a little “Thank you” also.
My 7 year old just had a swimming party at a local indoor pool. I spent about the same amount of money as the Original Poster did and we had 6 guests, plus 3 parents and my daughter’s 2 siblings. The “Goody Bags” were actually pink buckets from a party supply store, filled with coloring book/fun pad/pencil/crayons/lip gloss etc. I had a blast picking everything out and my daughter was *very* excited to give these to her friends. (We even had little tiny rubber ducks in them. An extra rubber duck made its way to my desk and I’m looking at it right now. It’s so cute!)
I had the money to spend, I wanted to spend it on my daughter’s party guests so that’s what we did. If that’s not something you value, that’s great! Everyone should spend their money on the things that are important to them… I chose to spend mine on Goody Bags for my seven year old’s birthday party.
@JS: I don’t want to start an argument, but I fail to see where OP’s DD is at all responsible for the invites. The story reads that Katie, and only Katie, forged and issued the invites. Without clarification, this sounds like DD is at fault simply for having knowledge and not stopping it. She did the responsible thing by telling OP. It was then up to OP to stop those children for coming. IMHO, DD offered to pay for a mess she didn’t make. If this was me, and my son’s friend forged invites, I would not honor them. They were not issued by me or by my son. OP must feel her DD is responsible in some way, otherwise she wouldn’t have honored those phony invites. If Katie had been 100% in the wrong, it might have made the decision to “uninvite” those children easier. I’m just confused at a mother who would honor invites not issued by any member of her family to begin with.
@Ticia, those sound like adorable goodie bags. I don’t think most people have a problem with the concept of goodie bags, even expensive ones, but that the OP chose to make expensive goodie bags and then complained about the cost and passed the cost on to her 8-year-old.
@Calliope, most of the people commenting did have to do with the OP’s goody bags. There were a few, though, that I disagreed with *in general*. Just wanted to get my opinion on why “Goody Bags” are not necessarily a bad thing.
“As for the goody bags, I feel that kids just assume there will be them at a party when really the party should be enough.”
“But YOU chose to have “awesome” goody bags (which is a trend I hope dies a harsh death very soon)”
“I’m against goody bags since the entertainment and food at a party seems to be all they need and all a host should have to provide. ”
“Goody bags are another invention of people with too much time and money on their hands.”
@Dannysgirl–hey, no argument here. I agree with you that OP didn’t have to honor the fake invitations, and chose to do so. But I do note that the OP said “apparently Katie and my daughter had made up counterfeit invitations.” So it sounds like DD had a hand in it.
Calliope said, “I don’t think most people have a problem with the concept of goodie bags, even expensive ones, but that the OP chose to make expensive goodie bags and then complained about the cost and passed the cost on to her 8-year-old.”
I agree that she chose to do the goodie bags. I also agree with other posters that she chose to let the extra invitees attend. I disagree that she shouldn’t have discussed the extra cost with her 8 year old. I think it’s perfectly fine to let the girl know that her actions (or, as the case may be, lack of actions, i.e. not telling Katie to stuff it) were causing her mother to spend additional money on her party. The mom had chosen to make these expensive goodie bags, and the daughter caused her to have to make more bags that she didn’t intend to make. That was inconvenient for her. So, it IS rude of the daughter to incur that additional expense for her mother. Whether the goodie bags were expensive or not is irrelevant – the daughter caused her mother to have to spend more money.
However, I assert again that I don’t necessarily agree with the mom taking the daughter’s money. I would support of a conversation regarding the cost of things, and be done with it.
@JS: Thank you for clarifying your post. I must have missed that part of the OP.
Am I mistaken in believing that at least *some* of the additional cost incurred was due to having to line up another party leader, because there was a certain participant to leader ratio?
***And FYI communication from a parent via the school is perfectly legal and appropriate, now if I had asked for their address to mail the letter, they would not have given it to me***
Careful with this OP. Unless you are a school employee, you really DON’T know what is legal or appropriate when it comes to parent to parent communication via school age children. I’m just sayin’.
With kids that age, the question of “who was responsible” isn’t that black and white. I’m picturing something like this:
KATIE: Oh, cool, a party at the wave pool. Sure, DD, I’ll be there, but can I also invite Jennifer, Jessica, Jayden, Sarah, and Samantha?
DD: I’m sorry, Katie, my mom said I could only have nine guests, and I have that many already, including Sofia.
KATIE: Well, if YOU don’t let me invite MY friends, then I’ll tell YOUR friends not to come, and your whole party will be RUINED, and NOBODY will want to be your friend anymore, EVER!!!
DD: Well, okay.
See how this works? The Mean Girls thing starts early–that’s why the OP’s daughter might not be entirely to blame.
While I agree with a lot of the commenters regarding the OPs own transgressions, I think it’s a little rude that some commenters are telling her what sort of party she should have had or that she shouldn’t have had goodie bags. The OP can have whatever sort of party she likes; hosting a party at a swimming pool isn’t a faux pas, nor is handing out goodie bags.
@Ticia: THOSE kinds of goody bags sound adorable! I don’t find the concept of goody bags inappropriate, but it doesn’t sound like the OP had her daughter help fill them, either–and I think that would have been more fun and gone with what *you* like about them, too–than just the OP filling them out.
I say there’s nothing wrong with allowing the extra guests to come, but I don’t see the point of guilt-tripping your daughter about it when you agreed to it. Especially not with the finances thing. She’s 8. She doesn’t and will not understand. If you put it in more concrete terms, then maybe. Like “now we have to get more food and now we have to get another person to help, hon, because there are too many people–but since you invited them and wanted them over, and it’s your birthday, we will still have the party.” Or something like that.
And I agree with others: yelling at a teenager is NOT the way to go. You don’t know why Sofia was upset. And you don’t know if you told them the correct time. You don’t…not when you mistyped it in here, it is still possible that you misspoke. And regardless, it’s inappropriate to yell at a child [yes, a teenager is still technically a child].
I can’t help but wonder if confusion about transportation might have possibly been part of the problem. If someone invited my child to a party that would be held at a wave pool and if I were not notified of the exact specific procedure I might erroneously ASSUME that the birthday guests were to assemble at the hostess’s home and would be transported to and from the pool.
OR, if it was clear that the parents were supposed to bring their own children to the pool, I might assume the “rest” of the party (the gift opening and cake part) would ALSO be held at the pool in one of the party rooms there.
So the father may have simply been confused as to not only the correct time the party was to begin, but WHERE he was supposed to take his daughter in the first place.
There is one thing that galls me in all of these comments – the way most people are so quick to lay the blame on Katie and let OP’s daughter off scott-free. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. OP’s daughter needs to be accountable for allowing the extra invitations to be issued (although I struggle to believe that it was all Katie). Children are notorious for downplaying their hand in situations where they know they’ve done the wrong thing and they’re going to get in trouble – especially when the other party isn’t there to correct any misconceptions. How on earth do you expect her to have the ability to hold her ground when the peer pressure gets more intense as the teenage years roll around when she doesn’t have to be accountable for her decisions?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with cool party bags. I love to give them – for me it’s one of the most fun parts of planning the party. I do go overboard but I am a very giving person and I love for the kids to leave with something special too but I never complain of the cost nor do I expect anyone else to do the same at parties they are throwing.
Personally, I would not have taken the daughter’s money but I understand why the OP did even if it is not the way I would deal with it. I think not allowing the extra invites to stand would have been a better consequence, but if I chose to allow them, then I personally would wear the cost.
The thing I would have a problem with is telling a teen that her younger sister was rude. You hang up if she won’t put you onto the parent and call back later and keep calling back until you get the parent.