You Are Cruel If You Invite All But One Child From Your Kid’s Class To Their Birthday Party

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I know kids can’t be raised to think that life is always fair and of course, they will be left out of something at some point and their hearts will break. It is inevitable. I have already seen it happen to my kids and it’s painful to witness, but it is a fact of life. That said, I think there are limits and at some point, leaving a child out is just plain cruel. Birthday parties can be a sensitive subject and in my opinion, you should either invite all the boys, all the girls or the entire class. A mother writing in to Dear Prudence affirms my feelings on this. Be warned-this is pretty sad stuff.

From Dear Prudence:

Dear Prudence,
I have a 7-year-old daughter, “C,” with Asperger syndrome. Recently, a girl in my daughter’s first-grade class, “M,” had a birthday party. Every girl in the class was invited except for my daughter. C was extremely hurt and confused, because she considers M her friend. At C’s party last November, we invited every girl in her class, and all of them attended, even M. What is wrong with this girl and her parents? I am tempted to e-mail the parents to let them know how cruel and unfeeling their actions were to my daughter. C had to listen to all of the girls talking about the party, both in anticipation of it and then afterward. Being left out has made her even more of a misfit with her peers. The mother bear in me just wants to roar. Should I contact the parents to let them know the pain their actions have caused, not to mention their poor manners at not reciprocating an invitation?

This makes my heart hurt for both the mom and the little girl. Of course I don’t think that every kid should invite their entire class for their birthday parties, but if you have a party for your child and let them invite all but ONE child of their gender in the class, I think you are mean. Unless that one child bullies your child or they don’t get along to a point where the child left out won’t mind not being invited, you have an obligation to invite them all (of the same gender). In this case, it is particularly cruel considering this little girl has Asperger’s and probably already realizes she is different from her peers in some ways. Dear Prudence agreed with me and this part of her answer really resonated:

The mother bear in me would like to swat these parents myself. But your daughter is going to be classmates with this girl for a long time, and as angry as you are, the purpose of the conversation you have with her parents should be to maximize the chances of your daughter being included in future events, not to put them on the defensive. Forget pointing out to them their rudeness at not reciprocating the invitation—not every child gets invited to every birthday party. But in this case, your child was the only girl excluded, and that’s not acceptable.

That is the problem-you can’t invite all but ONE. It really is not acceptable. If you let your child have a sleepover with a few kids or bring a handful of friends to the movies, that’s one thing. But to invite all but one girl in the class? I can’t imagine being so mean. Prudence also suggests speaking with her daughter’s principal and teacher to let them know that her child has been left out in such an obvious and cruel way and I think that’s a great idea. Even if children continue to leave her daughter out, at least the teacher and principal can be aware of the situation and help her deal with it. Or even speak to the birthday child’s parents about how upset it makes this little girl to be the only one not invited.

We haven’t done a “friend” party yet, but when we do, I plan to have my kids invite the whole class, all of their own gender or just a few friends for a sleepover. Even if my child requested to leave out one classmate in particular, I would never allow it exactly for reasons like this. I wouldn’t want to encourage my child to leave someone out in such a blatant way. It’s just too mean.

(Image: Ruth Black/Shutterstock)