I recently went to a birthday party of friend's child; our children have been the best of friends since they met at the school gate waiting for their older siblings to come out, and have been more or less inseparable ever since. As such I was roped in to transport some of the little darlings to said party venue.
It was all going rather well, one might even say splendidly (if you were so inclined). The children were kitted out and being supervised by a very bright and bubbly young lady with the energy only someone not yet a parent could possibly have, and the adults were drinking tea from a cup, and get this, a saucer! Sadly the cup and saucer was where it ended, no cream tea was forthcoming, but the children were entertained, which is the next best thing.
An hour of bouncing later and the children were finally being sat down to have their tea, and this is where it all started to go a little pear shaped. You see, not everyone in the class had been invited. I know, scandalous.Who would have thought that it was compulsory to invite the entire class in Key Stage 2? Well, fair to say, I wasn't aware of this party protocol so when parents of 'uninvited' children started having a bit of a, what shall we call it...grumble on social media, it was, to say the least a little surprising.
Some time has now passed and to be fair the kids were probably over it by the following day. Not so the parents. Social media posts are still full of the 'Birthday Fiasco', but why and is it helpful to the children?
Now, not one to ignore both sides, I can see that, and indeed know from first hand experience just how hurt, as parents we can be for our children when they appear to have been left out from a party or other event. We hurt, because we can see our child hurting and as a parent that is the most horrid thing to behold, but how we then choose to handle, both their emotions and our emotions is key to what our child learns and how they will develop. You see, if we as parents have a tantrum about it, our child will see that and will learn that this is how we deal with social exclusion. But, what if as parents we acknowledge they're upset, but give them another option, maybe there is a film they want to see, or maybe they've been asking to watch that DVD for the 1000th time, maybe another child is also not going to the party and would like to come to tea. This shows them that by doing something else we can move on from it and that party really isn't the most important thing in the World. Remember too, that generally children tend to live right here, right now and they will most likely have forgotten about it by the following day. That's why us, getting over it quickly too is absolutely crucial, because carrying it on will have a negative impact on our children.
So no, I will not be inviting the entire class to my child's birthday celebration. I also do not expect for her to be invited to every other child's party. I want my child to learn that she doesn't have a God given right to attend each and every party or event that happens. I want her to learn to be resilient and independent because in a couple of year's time, she will be at secondary school and believe me, that's a whole other ball game.