Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Birthday Party Boundaries

I've heard of a school at which the parents have been told that when having a birthday party, they must invite every child of that gender in the class.  The rationale is that this way no one will be excluded and no child's feelings will be hurt.

I understand the thinking behind this rule, but I think it's going too far.

We can't keep our children in bubbles.  Their feelings will get hurt; people will exclude them.  They need to learn to cope.  Coping skills are extremely important, and children will never develop them if they are constantly protected from every life experience.

If it is a case in which one child is consistently excluded from every party, this problem is another issue altogether that should involve the entire class as well as school staff to address.  Forcing the parents to invite every child will not effectively address one individual being excluded in my opinion.

In addition, imagine having to invite thirteen boys to your home and then entertain them.  It would be chaos!  Do you think the person who instigated this rule has ever been forced to do that?  I'm all for birthday parties and I love to celebrate. I want my children to feel they've had a great party with their friends, and I put time and effort into their parties.

But having a huge party like that makes it much more stressful and less fun - it makes it a kid demolition derby instead of a celebration.

Once I had a large birthday party for my child, and even though it was not in my home, it was so chaotic that the only two words I had time to hiss into my husband's ear that night were, "Never! Again!"

And birthday parties can get so expensive!  You can have them hosted elsewhere but you pay through the nose to do it.  And that often doesn't include cake and loot bags.  Imagine how much you are paying for thirteen loot bags, let alone any entertainment.  Plus, it's emotionally expensive.  All you moms out there - you know what I mean.

I just had a birthday party for my five year old son, and I followed the amount of children per age rule.  I had five boys.  It was great!  I wasn't stressed out; I wasn't chasing boys around the house; I wasn't yelling.  It was all very civilized and I had time to eat and drink.  That's the way it should be.

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