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Adults at a childrens birthday party

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I have a friend, he is a single father. We have been friends for awhile but we do not really get together that often. He has 2 young children, my husband and I do not have any children. This friend invites us to every birthday party every year for his kids. We went to a few, made the trip to Toys Are Us for a gift, etc.. We sat there and watched the kids and Barney and made small talk with people we do not know. We are so busy and time on the weekends is so precious to us. We also have a drive to get to this persons house. I have declined many of these invitations and have even said, "Well you know, we do not have kids..." Am I terrible? I don't think parents should invite adults to childrens parties, especially in our case.

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  1. We invite a lot of our adult friend's to our children's birthday parties, but generally have them in the evening and serve dinner as well as cocktails.(We also have another children's party for classmates, friends, etc) We have only adults and family members at this party, and after the cake and presents, the children either play outside or in the playroom and the adults can converse freely. I do not think you are under any obligation to go the party, and if any of our friends without children declined I would think nothing of it. In the future, I would send a gift but not attend, especially if there are no mutual friends at the party besides the single father and the party is almost exclusively for children. Hope this helps.

    1. Maybe your friend considers you a close friend and believes if he does not invite you to the childrens parties......you will feel slighted or offended.

      You may have unknowingly created your own dilemma by attending these parties in the past and by giving the kids a generous gift. I really feel your pain. The way I see it, the decision is yours to accept or decline in the future....with or without continuing to give a gift to the children. This reminds me of the times when my son was young and got invited to everything. There comes a point when you just have to say no. I would further add a similar situation when I would get invited to peoples weddings, who I did not consider close friends and I even found it odd that I was invited. After too many invites I care to remember, a mutual friend of all these couples informed me I was being invited because they knew I would give a generous gift, based on my history in the eyes of past couples weddings. After knowing that, it became very easy for me to decline the future invitations and send a $100 gift instead. I felt it was the best solution for me personally so I did not have to attend any more of these future invites.

      You could simply take the easy way out and say you have commitments for other plans. For a small child, I would think a cash gift to the child's education savings would be acceptable in lieu of attending. The amount of the gift should be what you feel you are comfortable with based on the relationship you have with this friend or the child.

      FWIW, I have one friend who always invites me to his chidrens Birthday event ever June, which he combines for his two daughters, one 11 and the other 2 years of age. He sets up a big bash for the local neighborhood kids around his block, his neighbors, families and cousins, friends and business associates. He rents one of those air inflated jumping/ball crawls for the kids, clowns, face painters and etc. The food is catered by is own restaurant which is always excessive and elaborate........Myself, I could never refuse this one invite and I always give a $100 cash gift for the kids......I used to give US Savings bonds for kid gifts, but I no longer do so.

      For this party, I usually stay an hour, enjoy a few cocktails and food.....then tell my friend I have to leave to make my tee time.

      1. Scarlet, your party sound fine because it sounds like it is geared towards adults and children. As for my friendship with him, I have not hid the fact that I am not keen on being invited. I was nice about it but.. And not that I am cheap but, we do not exchange birthday presents, X-mas, just bacause he invites me am I expected to send a gift? He also holds a birthday party each year for himself. I have been invited but was not able to attend.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alica

          JMO but given your description, sounds like they are inviting you only because they know you will give the kid(s) a gift. Nip it in the bud. The kids aren't your relatives and you aren't obligated to get them anything.

          1. re: Alica

            I don't think you are under an obligation to send a present if that is the case. The people I invite to the party (with children or not) are all close enough friends to exchange b-day, Christmas, etc., but in your case, it seems a bit different. I would simply say no, and not send a gift.

          2. I'd never invite adults to my daughter's birthday party. I have a hard enough time telling people NOT to come as it is. I really don't get this whole thing, but it certainly does seem to be something more and more people are doing. I'd just say "No, thank you." a few times and eventually he'll stop asking.

            1. Are there plenty of other adults there or are you the only ones? Those people you make small talk with who you do not know but who are friends of your friend and go to the same party every year could end up being your friends too...or do you simply not want to be friends with anyone who has kids?

              2 Replies
              1. re: babette feasts

                I guess if I felt like that my margins would be pretty small. I have no problem with people who have children. It is more, people who always invite me to their childs birthday party which is geared towards children, Barney, cake, games, etc..

                1. re: Alica

                  Understandable, but it sounded like there were plenty of other adults there and instead of making friends you found it a burden to have to make small talk. I don't want to be friends with all of my friends' friends, but at least a few good friendships have grown out of seeing people at the same parties. You might find you have more in common than just the mutual friend and actually start looking forward to seeing these people at his parties.

              2. Who else is invited? If it's just parents with kids roughly the same age as your friend's children, I can see not wanting to attend. However, many people use children's parties as a chance to get together with their adult friends whom they haven't seen for a while. I imagine it's especially hard for a single parent with two children to get out that much to do adult things, so I'm not really sure he's just doing it for the gift as many have suggested.

                5 Replies
                1. re: queencru

                  have to agree with you queencru. As a parent, believe me, more *stuff* for the kid is rarely a high priority.

                  1. re: queencru

                    I can see your point, but we went to a few of these parties and things were so hectic there that we barely got to speak to my friend so i do not consider that quality time. I actually have come right out and said to him a few times, "I would rather get together one on one so we can actually spend some time together." He keeps inviting me. The parties are very much geared towards the kids and their activities.

                    1. re: Alica

                      Perhaps just sending a card (no gift) next time would do the trick? You want to let your friend know you haven't forgotten,or missed his invitation, but you do need to squelch this before it becomes an issue in your friendship ("I wonder why Alicia didn't come this year, she came 5 other times?").

                      You are being treated as if you were a Godparent or a guardian in the event of a tragedy but as you haven't mentioned those circumstances, I gather you are not in that category...I'd nip this in the bud, before it gets totally out-of-hand.

                      1. re: LJS

                        The scary thing is he has invited me to about 10 of these parties. I went to a few in the very begining, I have said no to alot and I have tried to be pretty open about it. He just does not seem to want to accept how I feel. Now I am just saying, "Oh no, I can't come."

                        1. re: Alica

                          it seems to me he likes you and invites you. no ulterior motive. say yes or no as you wish, but don't demonize him for inviting to share his precious moments with you.

                  2. FWIW, I've heard people who don't have children complain about being excluded from parties just because they don't have kids so it's hard to judge. Since he's a friend, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's just being nice and including his friends, with no ulterior motive (otherwise,why continue the friendship with someone like that?). I don't think there's an obligation to go or to send a gift. I think it is odd that he gives himself a birthday party every year, though--I don't know any adults who do that.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: chowser

                      I tend to agree with you. Most of my friends who have small children don't have the luxury of one-on-one time. If we go out, it's to do something child friendly or for a group event. When I only get to see a friend once or twice a year, I'm not going to be picky about what type of audience I get if I value the friendship enough. I just feel like the OP has a rather anti-child attitude. I don't have children myself but still make an effort to get along with my friend's children because I know I'm more likely to see them if I'm flexible enough to do kid-friendly activities.

                      1. re: queencru

                        "I just feel like the OP has a rather anti-child attitude. "

                        The OP gave her reasons about not wanting to attend the party, none of which were because she doesn't like kids. They have little free time, which is important to them, the drive is far and they're not particularly close to the father. How does that translate to anti-kid?

                        OP, I totally hear where you're coming from. It's different when you go to a niece/nephew's party, as they're family. If there are no familial ties, I'd feel no obligation to join the "festivities" of someone you're not especially close to. I don't think you're anti-child at all; I just think you (like myself- I also have no kids) have better things to do on your limited time off. Driving some distance to the birthday party of the semi-friend's kid doesn't rank high on my list of important things to do, either.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          Hey, I even have a kid and still don't want to spend my limited free time at a children's birthday party. And I would *never* think of asking other adults to do so. I just don't get it.

                        2. re: queencru

                          I completely disagree with you here. As a mother of 5, I would not ask anyone to a kid-centric party, unless they had young children or were the child's godparents. The OP never stated that she disliked children, simply that she preferred to spend her limited discretionary time off doing things with other adults and not watching little ones play pin the tail on the donkey. This friend (from what I understand) is a very casual friend, as they do not exchange birthday or Christmas gifts, so there should be no obligation to attend the party.

                      2. I think he is just continuing to invite you out of habit, and probably he feels it would be rude to exclude you. Just decline, you don't even need to say you don't have kids, obvioulsy he would know that. No need to be offended about receiving an invitation, if you don't want to go just don't. And no need to send a gift if you are not attending.

                        1. I have to agree with you based on a recent experience. When you have kids..at least in my case..your perspective on children and their foibles (within reason, of course) changes. We were invited to a neighbors boys birthday party (both him and my son are 2 years old), which was fine. But it was small house, and there was this young childless couple there (no children) and my son was playing around the house (another child party pet peeve, waiting forever for gifts and cake to get started..kids patience is only so long). They kept loking at him and making whispering commments about him pointing at the TV, talking exidedly..just being a boy cooped up in a tiny house. They were saying stuff about about they couldn't have kid near their Tv or in their house because they valued their "stuff" too much.
                          I was wondering why they were there, because I wanted to get them and their snide comments out of there.

                          1. In your case, perhaps that's correct, but I disagree with your blanket statement that adults shouldn't be invited to children's parties--or perhaps I should say it really depends on whether it's a "children's party", a "party to celebrate a child's special occasion" or a combination thereof. I am childless but get invited to any number of birthday parties for my friends' children--the children play/have fun/do their activities and the adults watch and chat and snack and sip some wine or soda and enjoy each other. As long as you aren't the only adults there other than the host, I don't see the problem. Furthermore, parties, whether for children or adults, very frequently involve spending time with people you don't know.

                            You sound as though you are being put out by this man's invitations. In fact, you don't sound as though you consider him much of a friend--if you and your husband with your lack of children find your weekend time so precious with how very busy you are, perhaps you could find it in yourself to think how busy your "friend", raising two young children by himself while trying to still make time to see people he cares about, even those who apparently don't relate to him at all anymore, must be.

                            If you don't want to go, say no. If you only want to see this man at non-child-centric events, you may be waiting for a while. He is under no obligation to stop inviting you to occasions where he would enjoy your presence; it is your obligation to say no to events that you do not wish to attend. You say he also invites you to his birthday party; if you want to see him, next time say yes to that and no to the kid's party. If you think he has the economic means to afford a babysitter, call him up yourself, tell him warmly that you and your husband think he deserves an adult's night out and ask if he can rustle up some childcare and meet you for dinner.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: planetjess

                              If the party is a child's party only-(including mostly young children and their parents) then I would not invite anyone without children. We do host two parties-one for the friends, and one for our friends and family. We invite everyone close to us to this party including those with or without children and have cocktails and a catered dinner, so that while the "birthday boy" still enjoys himself with presents and cake etc., adults have an atmosphere for relaxing with a cocktail and enjoying themselves rather than standing around watching a clown create blow up animals. I agree that I would try to invite this gentleman out for an evening of dinner or cocktails so that you can enjoy his company outside of a child's party.

                              1. re: ScarlettNola

                                Everything you said made perfect sence. Your parties sound fun!!! We are certainly trying to get together with him on a more personal level. I do not socialize with him often but we are still friends. He is very nice we are just very different.

                            2. Even if you have all the free time in the world, your time (and your money) is your own.

                              I'm single, I have no kids. Chowser stated that people complain when not being invited to this stuff just because they don't have kids etc. I can somewhat relate to this, but probably the complaint is also often that when people move on into families, they only want to ever do family orientated stuff, and it becomes frustrating for those left on the "outside". Its the same when singles become couples and some outings become "couples only".

                              I also think people get a little amnesia after they have kids, and forget what it's like to be single in a room full of parents and children. Even if the children are well behaved (and that can be subjective), some people (I'm not saying all ) only want to talk about what their kids are doing, about their pregnancies etc etc.

                              As a single person, you can also get broke pretty quick in these situations. Everyone else has kids but you. You are constantly buying raffle tickets, chocolate bars, birthday gifts, baptismal gifts, baby showers, gifts for all sorts.

                              I like Disney movies and can be a big kid sometimes, but I have no desire to hang out with Barney or get covered in silly string with people I barely know.

                              I see nothing wrong with what the OP chose to do. Going to a birthday party is not meant to be a completely selfless act, you're also supposed to have at least a little fun there. This is not fun for the OP.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: im_nomad

                                I'm the parent of a 3 year old, and I totally agree with you.

                                1. re: im_nomad

                                  I agree that there's no obligation to go (and no obligation to buy tickets, etc. either or need to feel bad if you don't want to). As to the people I've heard complain, it's often that there was a group of friends all of whom eventually go on to have children but one. That one is left out when it comes to birthday invitations for their children when everyone else is invited. Personally, if this were the case for me w/ a friend, I'd invite him/her but tell the person I'd totally understand if it weren't his/her thing. LOL, and yeah, it's not just single people who get tired of talk all the time about children/pregnancies, etc. I can't wait to get out of conversations like that, either.

                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                    I really agree with you, and I have a child. But at $15/hour babysitting in my area, we just can't afford to do things without our child. We miss our friends without kids just as much as they miss us! (Though we still try to find ways of doing things!)

                                    As for the OP, I can't understand why she is so suspicious. Since when did an invitation become an evil plot to denude her of her money and time? If she doesn't want to go, just say no, graciously, and let it go. Whether or not it is appropriate to invite the adult is irrelevant, in some families/cultures it is done, in others it is not. No need for her to demonize the host for being gracious.

                                  2. I might get flamed for this, but here goes: I do feel that parties for kids and parties for adults are two very different things. It is entirely appropriate to invite other parents to bring their kids to your child's party. It is sometimes appropriate for those parents to drop the kids off and go do their own thing (if agreed upon with the host beforehand). What I feel is very inappropriate is people turning what is a child's party into something more adult.

                                    Here is my example: We have no children and were invited to a kid's bday party. We are close with the parents and went with a gift for the child. There were games and cake and all the things you'd expect. There was also a full bar. The parents were all drinking and having a good time, but not paying a ton of attention to the kids. We weren't either, since they aren't our children. Well lo and behold, a child fell and broke her arm. The dad had had a few drinks and didn't feel like he should drive to the hospital, so we waited for the ambulance. it took much longer than if someone had just driven the kid there.

                                    So I think if it is a kid's party, adults should act like parents and be there specifically for the kids. If it is an adult party with a full bar, kids shouldn't be there at all.

                                    44 Replies
                                    1. re: mojoeater

                                      I think the issue with the situation that you describe is that the children were not adequately supervised. I disagree that this is necessarily the case just because a party happens to be for both adults and children. The implication of your post is that if you serve alcohol at a party and allow for adult interaction, the children will be neglected. I entirely disagree--the failure here was that no specific provision appears to have been made for watching the children. At any children's party, there are usually a couple of adults keeping an eye on things. The same should be true at a party where there also happen to be other adults mingling--at all times, a few designated adults should be monitoring what's going on, but that doesn't mean that the presence of the other adults there, or the fact that they were drinking, broke that kid's arm. Parents don't watch their children every second at home either. Accidents happen.

                                      1. re: planetjess

                                        The issue isn't that the child hurt herself. That can happen anywhere. The issue was that her parent couldn't drive her to the hospital due to his adult beverages. If you are responsible for a child, maybe have one glass of wine and no more. Stay sober for christ's sake!

                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                          I think we all agree that parents need to be responsible, but I don't think there's anything wrong with having a family-oriented party. I remember them fondly from when I was a child, and I am pretty sure most of those parties had both adult and children's activities as well as alcoholic beverages. I think this idea that children should be fully supervised 24/7 is fairly new. I am not that old and remember running around freely in the neighborhood when I was 6-7. As long as the kids aren't totally tiny, they should be able to play a game or amuse themselves fairly well without having to have every parent watching them like a hawk.

                                          1. re: mojoeater

                                            Again, I disagree. I'm not saying there wasn't something wrong at this party. There should have been a couple of sober enough adults dedicated to keeping an eye on the kids. If you are telling me that every single adult at that party was too wasted to drive the kid to the hospital, then that's a problem that has much more to do with the crowd at that party than the mere availability of alcoholic beverages. How was this man planning to drive his kid home? How were any of them going to drive their children home? Was this a gathering of sociopaths planning to drive drunk en masse with children? Or were there adults present who could have driven the child to the hospital, but the father, probably sobering up very quickly at the sight of his hurt child and distressed that he wasn't in shape to do it himself, demanded an ambulance?

                                            It is possible to drink responsibly around children. It is possible to have a party where alcohol is available and people drink responsibly around children. I wouldn't, however, throw such a party for a bunch of drunks. The key is that you have adults present who don't drink or drink very little who watch the kids. Children's birthday parties generally do not require a 1:1 supervision ratio. As mentioned above, I attend a lot of my friend's kids' birthday parties (though I'm childless myself). I drink a beer, I drink some wine. The parents not on kid-watching duty drink some beer, some wine. We all watch the cute kids play. There are designated kid watchers. We chat, we have a nice time. There is nothing wrong with this, and furthermore, I don't find myself in the OP's position of resenting being invited to these parties and never seeing my friends. They have kids. I love my friends. That is now part of who they are, so I adapt to that, and they throw the kinds of kids' parties where their adult friends can still have a good time, and it works out well for all involved.

                                            1. re: mojoeater

                                              You're talking about something totally different than what's being talked about here.
                                              There's no reason not to have drinks or adult food at a child's birthday party. I've done it several times and what you're describing has NEVER happened.
                                              Perhaps there's something going on with this 'adult parent' that you're not aware of?
                                              Having liquor at a child's birthday party doesn't mean the parents have to get plastered or even indulge.
                                              It's just there for people who know how to handle a drink, who enjoy refreshment and who know what their priorities are.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                I attended many children's birthday parties over the last 25 years, and booze was served at none of them.

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  Every time I have attended a children's party where booze is served to the adults there are always a few who get to lose with their tongue. Now, if I do go I make sure to have plans to leave early because my children do not need to be exposed to this irresponsible behavior. It also doesn't take more than a few seconds for a child's life to be put in danger by a predator which is why it is necessary to watch your children. I would never serve alcohol when we are celebrating my own children's birthdays. There are more then a few people who have untrustworthy friends and family members, even if they don't know it. It is best to be safe than sorry.

                                              2. re: mojoeater

                                                If my child broke her arm, I wouldn't drive her even if I'd had one glass of wine in the last hour or hour and a half. And I might have one glass of wine, expecting that I'd be there for another hour before I left. But the combination of even slightly-affected mental processes, worry and trying to keep the child calm would not feel safe enough to me.

                                                In addition, there's no need to rush full-speed to the ER for a broken arm unless it was a compound fracture. When my daughter broke her elbow, it was a couple of hours before we realized that was the problem and took her to urgent care. They wrapped it in a splint and told us to go have a cast put on in three days. No concerns about the delay. For a compound fracture I'd be even less inclined to drive if I'd had anything to drink in the last couple hours.

                                                If it's not serious enough to call an ambulance, give the child some ibuprofen, and call a taxi. Problem solved.

                                            2. re: mojoeater

                                              Thank you mojo.

                                              What a bunch of irresponsible adults. Not one of them could drive the poor kid to the hospital? Could only imagine how the EMTs felt when they got there?Hello...how were they all getting home? Oh yeah, got it...nobody could catch them when they got home.

                                              Jfood totally agrees that when you are hosting a children's party serving alcohol is way out of place. Almost like the children are baby sitting themselves and then, yes accidents do happen. But how you handle the post-accident timeline is the difference between responsible and irresponsible.

                                              When you have children, your space get very limited. It's part of being a responsible parent.

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                I have to disagree with you both here. When we serve alcohol at a gathering(birthday or not) where children are included, most people who have children there will drink a glass of wine or a few cocktails, and no one is completely annihilated and unable to drive or function. This was obviously a serious error in judgement on the gentleman's party who was unable to drive. When you have children your time is so limited and if you are able to enjoy your children, friends children, and friends and family, I see no problem with combining alcohol with birthday parties. We try to be responsible-if we have a pool party and children are there, we hire a lifeguard and I will not drink. If others do, it is generally a beer or glass of wine. But backyard BBQ's and get togethers with adults and children are staples in our circle, so there is generally alcohol there. I think it is important for my children to know that we can do activities together where they have time to enjoy their friends and I, mine. The children are most certainly not "babysitting themselves". In warmer months they can swim or jump in the bouncy house, and other times of year they can play in the playroom or watch a movie. We usually pay a few neighborhood teens to organize outdoor games and to keep an extra eye out just to be cautious when we host a large gathering. I do agree that when you are having a party exclusively for children with schoolmates, playmates, and perhaps their parents, there is no reason to serve alcohol. Like I have said, we host two bday parties per child-one for friends, and one for family and our extended group of friends. Alcohol is served at the "adult party". I see no problem with anything like this provided it is in moderation.

                                                1. re: ScarlettNola

                                                  "most people who have children there will drink a glass of wine or a few cocktails, and no one is completely annihilated and unable to drive or function."

                                                  The incident mojo describes doesn't say the father was unable to drive or function, or even drunk, it says he felt he SHOULDN'T drive, and rightfully so. I don't know what the laws are in your neck of the woods, but a "few cocktails" (which is the same as mojo's eg gave) means that you should not be getting behind the wheel of a car, no matter if you feel you're able to function or not . You are impaired. Impaired doesn't have to mean that you are falling over drunk. Many people around here will not drive even if they've had ONE glass of wine, and even more so if they are driving a child.

                                                  That said, they could have taken a taxi to the hospital. No reason why that couldn't have happened. After all, what happens when parents decide to go out and celebrate on their own, come home and later in the night the kid gets sick ?

                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                    It seems other people took this the same way I did. Mojo does also state that adults should act like parents and that adult/children's parties should never interlink with each other. Who is to say that having a drink at a party makes an irresponsible parent? I wasnt specifically referring to the parent at that party although it seems mojo dissaproved of what occured as well, and thought this parent was irresponsible. It was more of a general statement that while we do serve alcohol, no one is ever intoxicated. 2 cocktails over a 4-5 hour period served with food and interspersed with water, probably should not impair a 200 lb 6 foot man. I certainly never advocate drinking and driving especially where children are involved, whether in my neck of the woods or not.

                                                  2. re: ScarlettNola

                                                    Yup, your examples are a different data set SN.

                                                    This was a children's party though, "with a full bar". Why is there alcohol at all at a children's party? and as the events trranspired it was totally, totally totally inappropriate, and crosses well into the irresponsible category. And then no one could take the poor child to the Emergency Room. And they needed to use limited resources of the community because of their irresponsibility. EMTs are not taxis. They are trained professionals who are called for emergencies, not this. Hopefully the EMT send the parent a HUGE bill for their services.

                                                    Family BBQ in the backyard over hours are different than a child's birthday party where the adults get trashed enough not to drive an injured child to the hospital.

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      So you're saying at a Bar Mitzvah, with all ages of children present, there should not be a full bar?

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        Look at what the BM is celebrating? Likewise see the last sentence in jfood's previous post. He is not saying alcohol can not served in the proper venue, but jfood is reading the example above as a 5-year old, not a 13 year old party.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          The last time I drank alcohol at a child's birthday party, the child was turning two. The six toddlers and five other children of assorted ages were extremely well supervised.

                                                          I think, as with most things, this is a facts and circumstances analysis. I don't think anybody would argue that children, particularly younger children, should not be supervised by alert, capable, un-inebriated older persons. However, there is more than one way to arrange this, and it doesn't preclude also arranging for simultaneous adult activities and beverages, so long as the latter does not impinge on the former.

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            I understand what you're saying.
                                                            There is celebration involved in the birthday party and the Bar Mitzvah.
                                                            My point is that alcohol, no matter what the venue, is appropriate as long as responsible, intelligent and priority driven minds prevail.
                                                            There's no reason a parent of a 5 year old, and friends and family, can't have a drink in celebration of the event as long as the alcohol isn't used to turn the whole thing into a drunken mess.

                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                              In the situation described above, the problem is not with the alcohol but with the parents. Nothing wrong with responsible adults enjoying a glass of wine at a child's party.

                                                              1. re: Cachetes

                                                                jfood and the three of you will agree to diagree. he does not believe that you need a glass of wine to celebrate a 2-year old or 5-year old party.

                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  Fair enough. Mileages indubitably will vary. I will say that I don't *need* alcohol to enjoy anything, as I am not an alcoholic. I do, however, enjoy many things I do not need. Occasionally alcohol is among them. Also birthday cake. :)

                                                                  1. re: planetjess

                                                                    Okeedokee, rewritten...

                                                                    jfood and the three of you will agree to diagree. he does not believe that the host should serve or the guest should request a glass of wine to celebrate a 2-year old or 5-year old party.

                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                      Thanks for the re-write, though I think we were all perfectly clear on where you stand on our conduct. I shall endeavor not to drown my sorrow at your disapprobation in alcohol, within 500 feet of a vulnerable child or otherwise.

                                                                      1. re: planetjess

                                                                        no extrapolation please. jfood disapproves of having liquor at a party designed for small children. it's their party. The broad brush of your last clause is not a diapprobated position.

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          I'm not really sure where to attach this so I'll do it here where I'm relatively sure I won't get in trouble. Do you think that the "culture" element is a big part of this.? In a culture where one's whole life is their children, then all celebrations are probably going to include children and adults and, as a consequence, alcohol is going to be served. In other cultures, where children may be the most important part of one's life but not their whole life, there will be adult-only parties with more wiggle room. And a child's party will be conducted very differently and it's easy to see that booze is unnecessary and inappropriate at a 3 y.o.'s birthday party that's conducted in the middle of the day for a couple of hours with cake and ice cream. (I base this on the assumption that booze isn't appropriate for every single social event.) Just a thought or two.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Jfood agrees. Cultural tendencies always trump these, what some would characterize as puritanical, ideas.

                                                                            Believe it or not jfood also believes that raising the drinking age to 21 is the single biggest cause of binge drinking in teens, binge drinking at college and binge drinking in the 20s. Jfood thinks that the mysteriousness of alcohol causes this age group to throw the pendulum the other way when presented with the opportunity. teach moderation in the teens is important in all respects, why carve out alcohol.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              Despite what people say on this board, the binge drinking I saw among my European friends when they were in their early 20s makes American drinking seem paltry in comparison. I think we like to have this idea that because the drinking age is what it is, that's what causes binge drinking. However, in many countries that either don't enforce the higher drinking age or have a lower one, going to the pub and drinking to excess after work is fairly common.

                                                                              1. re: queencru

                                                                                European? Or British? Because so help me, the British drink in ways that have my jaw drop. (My outlook would be more continental.) Their binge drinking is notorious everywhere in Europe-- not always popular as far as tourists go.

                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                  I think the latest survey put British pretty high up on the list of tourists, but that's outside of the scope of this topic. That said, I've met binge drinkers from a variety of cultures, so it gets old quickly when people act like we're the only country with a problem.

                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                              "I'm not really sure where to attach this so I'll do it here where I'm relatively sure I won't get in trouble".

                                                                              I'm relatively sure you don't understand and most people wouldn't unless they're either involved in the culture or have friends who understand what's going on. You certainly wouldn't 'get in trouble' for not understanding...
                                                                              With the wine and alcohol consumed on every single holiday and occasion, including birthday parties beginning when the child is born, there's never any emphasis or question as to the necessity or the appropriateness of it...it just is, with major celebration.

                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                I have no idea why you think I don't understand. This is not a difficult concept. Some cultures include children in ALL social engagements; some don't. If you like booze and you include children in all social engagements, then you will likely have booze when there are children (including very smal ones) present. So do YOU understand that you've just said that liquor is going to be part of every major celebration? As much as I love my cocktails, I gotta say that goes beyond the pale for me.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  It's obvious from your response you don't understand what I've been talking about in regard to culture, traditions and customs.
                                                                                  A clear misunderstanding will, in the long run, misrepresent what the person's position is.
                                                                                  I'd say, let it go.

                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                    What IS it that I don't understand? You have liquor at all celebrations; I don't. You do it because it's part of your culture. I don't because it isn't. In my "culture," it would not be appropriate and in yours, it is. Did I describe this in in its simplest form?

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      You're right.
                                                                                      You understand completely and I wasn't looking for it.
                                                                                      Great food, great liquor, great music...
                                                                                      Lots of it.

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        what is your culture, if i might ask?

                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                          WASCSB: white, anglo saxon, Catholic/Southern Baptist, English, Scottish and certainly some other puritanical blood. So drinking in the morning - except in the closet - is highly frowned upon and would likely prompt someone to suggest those pesky meetings :)

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            Hence the usefulness of walk-in closets.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              Dang, I KNEW I needed one of those! Next house.

                                                                      2. re: jfood

                                                                        A party for a 2-5 year old will start and end before happy hour, so I agree about 86ing the wine.
                                                                        But a Xanax may come in handy...:)

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          There was a thread awhile back about a "theme" for a 1 y.o. (I believe that was the age) and they wanted to do childhood favorite foods. It soon became obvious that the child's birthday was simply an excuse to have an adult party. I think parties FOR small children should be held just before or after the midday nap, last a couple of hours and the adults should be family members and EXTREMELY close friends. And the adults eat and drink the same things the kids do. Otherwise it's a "grownup" party with all different rules.

                                                                          I also second those who say when you choose to be a parent, you understand that your life has completely changed for a whole lot of years. You will NOT drink too much when the children are on the premises --- you are the designated parent. Parenting 101.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            "too much" being the operative phease

                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                              "Too much' of anything, from a parent, isn't good for a child.
                                                                              Lives change, for parents, when a child is born.
                                                                              There are those, however, who wouldn't do well at some of the parties I've attended, and been host to, where cultural traditions are what makes the party wonderful. The children were/are our lives.
                                                                              I can't think of one party where anyone drank to access and put any child in jeopardy.

                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                            need is a poor guide for behavior - as anyone on a site devoted to the varieties of food well knows.

                                                                        2. re: jfood

                                                                          In my culture it's all the same.
                                                                          Our children....to be celebrated, by friends and family and acquaintances, whenever and whatever.

                                                              2. You don't say how the invitations are issued, but I'm guessing it might be electronically, say by e-mail. And once someone has an e-mail list set up, it's easier just to keep using it than go in and edit it. You may be getting the invitations more by default rather than by specific intent.

                                                                In any case, as several others have said, feel free to decline the invitations. If you want to continue the friendship, suggest another time to get together (with or without his kids).

                                                                Also, some people love birthday parties so much that they are mystified that other people don't. I know several people who routinely organize birthday parties for themselves. I'm not crazy about it myself, but a lot of other people really enjoy them. I do appreciate the fact that they're being proactive about enjoying their birthday rather than moping in a corner, waiting for someone else to take pity on them.

                                                                1. When our kids were young (about 4 and under) we invited close friends and family including some who didn't have kids. As the kids got older, had their own friends we started having birthday parties where the guests were the birthday boy/girl's classmates or friends from the neighbourhood. I think I'd consider it an honor your friend feels you two are akin to family and put up with an hour or two of Barney and smile.

                                                                  1. Alica asks two things. The first question is quite reasonable: Is she 'terrible' for declining invitations to a child's birthday party? The answer is fairly simple: No. These are invitations, not demands, and she's also made it clear under what circumstances she'd prefer to see her friend..

                                                                    The second question seems more troubling, and leads us nowhere useful. In fact, it's less of a question than a statement "I don't think parents should invite adults to children's parties". This seems more troubling. Agreement with this premise is not needed to justify the first question. In addition, as the thread has demonstrated, there are so many variants that a set rule on this matter seems ridiculous. There are some cases in which it seems fine.

                                                                    What is dismaying, I confess, are the number of accusations that parents invite Alica only for the gifts. Wow. That is so ungenerous, especially as there is no evidence of this. There are other things to say, I'm sure, but really, all I can think is "Wow" and "How unkind and unfair".

                                                                    For those wondering, no I don't have children, and in fact, I spend a good amount of time taking the piss out of parents, especially those self-involved ones who have lost sight of anything but themselves. (Loads of fun to be had here: http://stfuparents.tumblr.com/) But this doesn't seem a good case for it.

                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                                      I think your first point bears (sp?) repeating. As I like to say, its an invitation, not an obligation.

                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                        I agree there is no evidence of the whole gift thing, but I would like someone to report back on any situation where they've shown up without a gift and how that panned out. Thankfully this is not an issue that i've ever encountered more than once (I don't have kids) but I found myself confused as how to respond to a friend recently when they commented on how another friend of theirs had not acknowledged her child's birthday with a gift, I believe they even somehow fell out over it (the offender was also childless I think). I can't remember all the circumstances (i.e. if they gave gifts to everyone else at a party but the child or whatever it was), but there it was. I recall thinking, wow, I must be missing something here. This is someone who otherwise is a very wonderful person . I can't remember what I said.

                                                                        So, it does happen.....

                                                                        RE: the whole gifts thing, I am always reminded of the SATC episode "A Woman's Right to Shoes". Some day I am going to throw myself a shower, to recoup some of the money spent over the years on everyone else's kids, weddings, etc, lol. (I kid)

                                                                        BTW that site is hilarious.

                                                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                                                          Now I'm starting to think that I'm just very lucky in my friends--they could care less if I show up with presents (as there are stereotypically kid-spoiling grandparents about, they are not so much interested in more stuff). They have never given me reason to think that there is any motive more ulterior in their invitations than the fact that they desire my company. I would probably not remain friends with such grasping, greedy individuals.

                                                                          1. re: planetjess

                                                                            So, the question begs.....now that you know your friends are not grasping, greedy individuals......why not show up with a gift for the kid or home in the future.

                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                              I'm a little confused as to where you got the idea that I do not bring presents. I never indicated any such thing--only that my friends would not care a whit if I did not. Then again, I don't view every present I give as my friends somehow robbing me of my money, either.

                                                                              1. re: planetjess

                                                                                planetjess, I thought the same thing, which was why the above incident threw me back so much. I never would have expected this out of that person's mouth, there is zero indicating they are anywhere near grasping or greedy. I always thought my friends didn't care either, but I gave that example of an unfortunate eye-opener. Sometimes you just don't know.

                                                                                I don't view it as robbing me of money either, if anything, i'm guilty of over-gifting galore, and giving gifts to people I never recieve one from , so that's got nothing to do with it for me. But every once in a while, even the most selfless of person has a fleeting thought.

                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                  I definitely should have been clearer--I didn't mean to imply that I took from your post that you resent present giving--it was more a reflection that it seems as though there is a cycle of greed and resentment in some of these posts--people who do things to get things, and then people who give things because they're expected to rather than because they want to. It just seems to get very ugly to me--present giving should be a cycle of generosity and love met with gratitude and pleasure. It gets messed up when it's something different.

                                                                                2. re: planetjess


                                                                                  You comments of ***they could care less if I show up with presents**** desire my company(I surmised...presumably, only your company)**** suggested to me you did not.

                                                                                  I wasn't making a judgment, only an observation followed by a question. Many feel it is inappropriate to show up to an invited function without bearing a gift. I don't see where you actually say you d or do not bring any gift for any specific invitation you attend.

                                                                                  to me......Normally, when someone says someone could care less if I brought presents, suggests to me presents were not given.....normally when presents are received, the person appreciates the gift/generosity.....they do not care less. If you had said something along the lines of....my friends appreciate when I show up with gifts, but could care less if I did not....I would have understood better and I would not have been confused and or mistaken.

                                                                                  I apologize for any misunderstandings. ;)

                                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                                    No worries... I'm in my thirties and don't expect my mom to keep buying things for me either, and yet the boxes of clothes and vitamins still arrive. DH and I have way too much "stuff", yet when we moved into our new home a friend who is a textiles designer still brought over fabrics that she thought we might like to incorporate as we put the place together. We were very appreciative of the gift, and very appreciative that nobody else brought a gift, if that makes sense.

                                                                                    Knowing that the last birthday party was coming up, I mentioned to the hostess that I was planning on buying a dress for the birthday girl from another friend who designs toddler clothes--her immediate response was "oh no! you don't have to do that!" I did it anyway because I love her daughter. She hasn't stopped telling me since how much her daughter loves the dress and brings me pictures with her in it. It's a nice feeling.

                                                                                    1. re: planetjess

                                                                                      I can appreciate the house gifting for sure. I rarely presume to know what someone else will want to put up in their house, even when I know them very very well. When people give large household items (like framed pictures, decorative items, crafty things), you either feel obligated to put it out, or suck up the guilt from not having done so. I don't want my house to look like a jumble sale :(

                                                                                      I always feel a little sad though when people designate things like x-mas "gift free" but only for the adults (meaning only kids get gifts). Holidays are for everyone, and everyone likes surprises and gifts. I typically spend more on my siblings than I do on my neices and nephews (or I think I do), because I know that the kids are already getting so much stuff. I don't understand in families that adopt this type of stance, what happens with the single folk .

                                                                            2. re: im_nomad

                                                                              Personally it drives me nuts when my friends buy gifts for my daughter. She has WAY too much stuff already (something we've begged relatives help us stop), and it just means finding yet another space in the house, writing another thank you card (not that I mind writing them - I just really think this is all so silly). We've been known to hide gifts for some other time.

                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                Regifting? Say it ain't so!

                                                                                You know, you can request on the invitation " Please, No Gifts".

                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                  Oh gosh no, not for regifting, but to give to her on some other occassion (say she's been especially good and deserves a treat) instead of this HUGE haul of stuff all at once.

                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                      S'ok, totally! But I like the idea below of gifting the stuff to goodwill or something like it.

                                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                  All of my kids have WAY too many toys, so once the kids are old enough, we have let parents know on the invitation...NO Presents, but also that we would be re-gifting to a women's shelter or other charity. My kids learn a great lesson, and other people feel good about giving. As for me, I will generally buy a savings bond or contribute to a college fund.

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    how about books as gifts for children; usually inexpensive, easy to accomodate; easy to regift if duplicate

                                                                                    1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                      She's a big reader, and we have gazillion books. We try to use the library as much as possible so as not to take up more space. But ... gifts are good. I just wish people would believe us when we ask that they not give gifts.

                                                                              2. I have a similar dilemma, only it involves family, so that's a whole other obligation. My husband's two sisters have 6 kids between them (ages 1-16). He comes from a family that would throw a party for the opening of an envelope, just to give you an idea of what we're dealing with. And even if they're okay with him not going to each and every single party/event in their children's lives, they've made it clear that they expect gifts EVERY TIME--regardless of whether or not he goes.

                                                                                I can't tell your how frustrated I get sometimes. These kids have all the materials goods in the world, and then some (for Christmas, the 9-year-old got a 45-inch screen TV for his bedroom--HELLO!).

                                                                                So what would you do? I've learned to accept it. So has my husband. After all, it's family.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                  If you can't get out of it, as it's family? Books. Books, books and more books. Think of what really enriched you as a kid at various ages, and send it for the appropriate birthday. Books on mythology, science, history, theatre--even if you aren't thrilled about having to send the gift, maybe you'll feel better knowing that you're sending something that attempts to enrich any kid's world, even those who don't need a thing.

                                                                                  1. re: planetjess

                                                                                    That's a great idea, except I forgot to mention that his sisters usually tell him what to get for their children. Admittedly, my husband should take some blame for this b/c he asks his sisters what their kids would like. Usually, it's video games or even jewelery. The one sister w/4 boys throw parties for each boy's birthday every year. I asked my husband how long will this go on--he said probably until they go away to college. He wasn't kidding.

                                                                                    I don't have issues with the sisters having parties for every single event (though I find that a bit much, it's their kids). It's the "there must be gifts" attitude that irks me. But we've throw in the towel. We plan on moving out of the U.S. so we always joke that that's when we'll be free--we think!

                                                                                  2. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                    At last count, there are 16 nieces and nephews if mine. Personally, I hate to shop...and I never have any idea what to purchase for girls in general....boys not so much of a problem. But it is my experience, one of my Sister-In-Laws will wonder why a penny more was spent more on a gift for someone elses kid, rather than hers.....so my approach was to give a set monetary amount gift for birthday and Christmas presents.....rather than have to feel or deal with her wrath.

                                                                                    1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                      Are you saying it's just birthday presents, or is it presents for every baseball game and piano recital ?

                                                                                    2. I would pay a hefty sum not to be condemned to 3 hours with screaming meemies barfing up cake and ice cream, with green eleven's dangling from their nostrils and drool from their chinny-chin-chins. Remember the anti-drug campaign? Just Say No. And you certainly don't owe a gift. Go play golf. Bogey's would be more fun. JMO.

                                                                                      28 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                        and i'd happily pay a hefty not to have someone who doesn't understand that children are actual human beings, with thoughts and feelings and value, around me when i'm celebrating milestones in my child's life.

                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                          Oh, don't be so humorless. Th OP clearly lacks the bonding with the subject children that you of course have with your own.

                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                            humourless is rarely a term applied to me. but kids are more than just vessels to produce vomit snot and noise.

                                                                                            as i said above, don;t go if you don;t want to, but lets not assign ridiculous motives to the party thrower other than wanting to share something important to them with someone they obvious care about

                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                            And I'd happily pay a hefty sum to not have to share this amazingly (to me and my husband) special occassion with people who, no matter how close they are to us, cannot really understand just what it means. I guess it is all a matter of perspective.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              The OP indicated they are NOT close. A simple truth is that not everyone will form an instant emotional lifetime bond with your children, cats, or dogs, that is as intense as yours. Sure, there a few cute minutes we would all enjoy. But there's a lot of down time. Re-read the OP -they state the groundhog day birthday bashes are a predictable yawner. Why not keep it intimate with people who really care? You don't have to fill up the Rose Bowl with acquaintances to pronounce your child's birthday party a success. I'll await the next dagger...:)

                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                I agree.
                                                                                                The OP makes the argument, "I don't think parents should invite adults to childrens parties, especially in our case". It's a ridiculous statement because there are many adults; family members, friends, colleagues, etc. who enjoy the celebration.
                                                                                                It seems the OP is having trouble saying 'no' and needs to make the argument in order to justify her position.
                                                                                                Just say 'no thanks we have other plans', send a nice birthday card in the mail and be done with it instead of creating unwarranted drama.

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  I'm just saying that, for me, I'd really rather it just be me, my child and my husband. Inevitably relatives invite themselves, but I sure as heck wouldnt' be the one to do so.

                                                                                                  And weirdly enough, people who we aren't that close to send gifts. I am very appreciative (while at the same time really wishing we didn't have more stuff to deal with) but really just do not get it. One friend insists on sending Svarski (sp?) crystals each year, and I can't help but think "what on *earth* is a 3 year old going to get from this? I know she means well, but I hate that she is spending her well earned money on this.

                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                    I think the word you're looking for is swarovski :)

                                                                                                  2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                    and by the way, if you reread my posts, you'll see that I totally agree with you. I'm all for this NOT being a major event.

                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                      I may be jaded or exaggerating the circumstances because of a segment I watched, I think on 60 Minutes, about parents spending untold thousands and making a huge social suaree for the birthdays of children with 25 word vocabularies. I can certainly understand inviting the parents of other children attending the party who can enjoy watching their child mingling and happily playing with others, (and saving a second round trip in the car), but inviting a childless couple who don't have a horse in that race seems awkward.

                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                          It completely depends upon the people involved. In my case, we are not talking about blow-out soirees--these are courtyard barbecues with craft tables ($20 worth of puffy paint and glitter and washable markers) and grandparents, cousins and college friends, birthday cake and homemade food galore.

                                                                                                          The OP seems to have grown distant from her friend, as though she and her husband have somehow "lost" him to the strange world of child-rearing. She seems to want to interact with whatever part of him is not "about" his children--I don't judge that. It's her choice, it's how she feels. But it is possible for childless people to continue to relate to and care about their friends as a whole even after they have children. My friends' children are part of them, just as their families and interests have always been part of them, and therefore I celebrate those children and their life's milestones. It's not awkward in the least for me to spend time in a happy buzzing crowd of 15 kids and 20 adults enjoying the sunshine and puffy paint and companionship (and, for some of us, a beer). This is definitely not what every child's birthday party is like, and is not everyone's cup of tea. But it works for us very well, with the added bonus that I don't feel like I've lost my friends just because they've had a baby, and they haven't lost me.

                                                                                                          1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                            Of course. But there are other occassions besides b-day parties when everyone can feel equally important (you *and* the kid - as much as that is possible).

                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                              There are a lot of assumptions in there about the birthday kid being made to feel somehow less important, or the day being made to feel less special for them, just because the party isn't structured as you would choose to structure yours. These are happy, well-adjusted children who, shockingly, don't make adults want to run in the other direction, and spend their birthdays being feted by other happy, well-supervised children and adults gratified to be in each others', and the children's, company. Their parents don't make their guests feel like the hotline to Toys'R'Us. Their "village" is expansive and inclusive. I'm sure your parties are lovely and that your kids have a great time. Just possibly, others' practices are different from, but no less valid, than yours, and end up at the same place. It doesn't sound as though your parties would be appropriate for me to attend, so I wouldn't. It also sounds like you have never been invited to a party like the one I'm talking about, or you wouldn't be implying that these children were deprived of their due, as you would have seen otherwise for yourself. It helps, perhaps, that I don't attend parties (children's birthday parties or any other party) to feel "important".

                                                                                                              1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                                I also think that when we are talking a 1-4 year old birthday party, the child is probably not going to think about the birthday in quite the same way as a kid who is grade school age. The kids probably aren't going a whole lot of close friends at that age either, so I think it's perfectly fine to have say 3-4 kids and a group of adults that doesn't just consist of the parents. That's not to say the children don't get to open presents or have a cake, but I don't see it as a big deal.

                                                                                                                There are also many milestone parties (bar mitzvah, quinceanera) that are based around a child's birthday but are a celebration for family and friends alike. Some cultures celebrate children's milestones with family and friends, while others cater more to other children. Each practice is equally valid.

                                                                                                                1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                                  Actually, I'm more wanting the time for being alone with my kid on her birthdays (and she's still pretty young - 3) not because of making her a star so much as wanting to remember with my husband a very special day in our lives. We've done little cupcake parties with a friend or two some other time in the week to celebrate more with her friends.

                                                                                                                  But, like the OP, before we had a kid we were sometimes invited to children's birthday parties, and it all seemed sort of pointless. The adults can't really spend time talking to their adult friends, and the kids (understandably) wanted to spend time with the people their own age. I just never much saw the point.

                                                                                                              2. re: planetjess

                                                                                                                I used to socialize with this friend much more when we were young and single. Now our lives are very different, even aside from the fact that he has children. If I am going to see him I'd rather see him outside of one of these parties because I see him so seldom and I have told him this many times, so I have to keep telling him the same thing over and over.
                                                                                                                . I have many friends that have children, I love their children and have relationships with them. I have my friends over with their kids, do things with them and their kids, but these people are more in my life than this particular friend. I guess my main problem is he keeps inviting me, ignoring how I feel and I don't see anything wrong with how I feel.

                                                                                                                1. re: Alica

                                                                                                                  I just don't see how his behavior is offensive. I am allergic to alcohol and all my friends know this. However, they continue to invite me to events specifically focused on drinking to excess. Life is too short to take offense, so I just decline the invite or attend a dinner portion if that's before the excess drinking.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Alica

                                                                                                                    I guess my main problem is he keeps inviting me, ignoring how I feel and I don't see anything wrong with how I feel.
                                                                                                                    Why then did you decide to post this topic on this site? Seems to me you were looking for validation and not very sure of your position at all.

                                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                      I posted because i wanted to hear other peoples thoughts. I have enjoyed reading the different comments. It was great to hear from people like me and parents alike. I always try to do the right thing and sometimes you just need to bounce it off of someone else. Thank you so much to everyone who has responded!!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Alica

                                                                                                                      I don't see anything wrong with how you feel--they're your feelings. I also don't think there's anything wrong with him inviting you to these occasions when you can just say, politely but firmly, no thank you. I guess there are just pieces of information missing for me here. Have you talked to him in a straightforward but gentle way about this, explaining that, because you don't get to see him very often, you'd prefer to spend what time you do get with him in an adult-only setting where you aren't trying to steal precious moments of "catch-up" time from him when he has a number of guests to entertain and the focus is, rightfully, on his children?

                                                                                                                      Just mentioning "well you know, we don't have kids..." doesn't really take care of this if he doesn't necessarily think of his children's birthday parties as events for children and their parents only--a number of us have posted about hosting or attending children's birthday parties where the child-free are welcome and have a good time (and celebrate and interact with the birthday kid). Others have posted differing views--if nothing else, I think it's clear that there are views across the spectrum of what these parties can or should entail, and none of them is more "appropriate" than the others (within the boundaries of appropriate supervision of the children present), in my opinion. I think part of the problem is you have extrapolated your own distaste for these events into a blanket statement as to whether the behavior of others who do attend and enjoy these events is "inappropriate". This is about you and how you feel and your friendship with this man, not about the world at large and whether parents of children you do not know in communities you do not know should be including other adults you do not know in events that aren't really yours to judge.

                                                                                                                      If you have made your friend aware that you 're not planning on accepting future invitations to his children's birthday parties and he keeps peppering you with invitations, I guess I would understand the resentment a bit more, though then his insistence on renewing the invitations is either bizarre or his approach to etiquette and I might encourage you to give him the benefit of the doubt and just keep saying no.

                                                                                                                      You also mentioned being unexcited about attending his own birthday party as well, though, and that's where it starts to seem more like this is less about the focus of the event and more about whether you feel strongly enough about maintaining this friendship to make time for him on his terms as well as your own. It's unclear what his financial and other resources are, so it's hard to weigh in one way or the other regarding the feasibility of his getting a babysitter to be able to spend an evening with you (after all, if you're not very in each other's lives any more, he may fairly feel as though he can't prioritize spending a rare child-free night with casual friends as opposed to, say, on a date or with close friends).

                                                                                                                      In any case, I'd advise you to cut both him and yourselves a break. I am not taking from your posts that you're a child-hating ice queen. It sounds like you're at that awkward stage of your friendship where you're not quite sure whether there is much point in continuing, especially if it only continues in the context of events that are no fun for you at all, but are having difficulty with the concept of thinking of this man as someone you used to be friends with when your lives were in different places. He may be in the same position, hence the continuing invitations to group events but less effort on his end to spend quality time with you. Nobody has to be the bad guy here.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Alica

                                                                                                                        I would like to know what invitations you are issuing to him, that take into account his circumstances? I am just speculating, but as the single parent of two kids, if his finances or time are at all tight, he might not appreciate invites to adults-only affairs (in fact, may resent them as much as you seem to resent these birthday party invites). When you say you'd rather see him on other terms, do you make specific suggestions that are in the near future and considerate of his situation? If you are not comfortable hosting his kids, have you offered to bring dinner or other contribution to his place?
                                                                                                                        My perspective... my daughter's birthday party is the only party we throw all year, and we serve good food and drink. So I don't want to leave anyone out. I am not offended by people who do not attend. It is most certainly NOT about the gifts, she gets plenty.

                                                                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                          I have invited him over for dinner, he feels it is too far of a drive to come to my house (1/2 hr), we have tried to go out to dinner with him where he wants to go because he will not go anywhere else but he often has to cancel. I have met him in the mall with his children. I have gone to his house, yes, taken the drive, to help him with decorating. I have stopped by, I even watched his kids one day. I am not that horrible. At times he is a bit difficult, even before he had kids.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Alica

                                                                                                                            Trust me, you do not sound horrible. You sound like you'd like to be the best friend you can to the guy, but the circumstances are difficult. Not your fault (again, said as the mother of a small child). When you have a kid, you have to give certain stuff up. Thats just the way it goes. Not YOUR fault.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              Thank you, and your daugter is beautiful!

                                                                                                                          2. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                            Also, I have never invited him to a dinner party with my friends because I do not think he'd feel comfortable. Whenever I entertain I think about who I am inviting and I always make sure the people I invite will flow. He does not have his children full time.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Alica

                                                                                                                              Okay I have a different definition of single parent then. But you have done your best and he does sound difficult. I wouldn't get offended by the repeated invites to the birthday parties, but I might get offended by some of the other stuff! If he can't meet you halfway sometimes (literally....) there's not much you can do.

                                                                                                          2. We will be having my son's first bday party in September. We'll invite family, friends, and neighbors but put no gifts on the invite. Between the two grandparents, he'll be spoiled enough. Plus, he has no clue what a birthday is. We'll just use it as an excuse to have a cookout and serve lots of beer/wine. When he's older, the parties will become more for him and we won't invite all the adults.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: rizzo0904

                                                                                                              Your post brings back memories and I hope you enjoy the day and your son's first.

                                                                                                            2. If I were in your position, and I hasten to say I have never been since at my house children's parties were for children even though parents had to accompany their toddlers, I would simply send a note of regret: Thank you for your kind invitation but I am unable to attend your party on the (Date)......

                                                                                                              1. My Mom was just saying to me that she wished more of her friends with kids would have included her more in the family activities, ie: b-day parties and sports. Everyone is different. Also, my hubby is from Hawaii and this is how their family does things as well. Every family member, distant and close, and friend is involved in celebrations.

                                                                                                                1. As a Mom planning a birthday party for our almost two year old twins, I say DECLINE!!! I wouldn't be offended in the LEAST bit if people declined. I declined most children's birthday parties until I've had my own for the same reasons. I've even declined since then b/c of the drive. If people get upset, it's their problem not yours. Just rsvp! You don't need a reason. In fact, I send out email addresses as the way for people to rsvp so they won't feel bad saying no! It's expensive and I just went to a house yesterday and her fridge was covered in birthay party invites. Pick those you're the closest to and go! We are only inviting little tots that our two play with and family.

                                                                                                                  1. Got a call from a friend once, she had told her little boy to make a list of who he wanted at his party and she was warning me "I have to tell you you're on his list!" but she did not expect me to go, she just thought it was funny. But I went and had an interesting afternoon of bad pizza, cake and sitting on a tiny plastic chair with all the 8 year olds while a man did a presentation on reptiles (the little guys favourite thing). Thankfully I am small enough to fit in a kiddie chair and didn't embarass myself by breaking it.

                                                                                                                    It made his day, I had to laugh at all his little pals freaking out when I rode up and parked my bike on the sidewalk, and the man hosting the party was laughing at me for most of his talk.

                                                                                                                    This is a kid with behavioural problems that I am close to so it was something I wanted to do. Usually I wouldn't go to just any kids party. I do think if the invite comes from the kid it is quite an honor to be considered a friend, and you know it's not the parents fishing for a gift.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: crazee

                                                                                                                      If there were a "like" button on chowhound I would use it for this post :)

                                                                                                                      But I do have to say in general, today's kids are pretty spoiled for stuff. Toys are cheap and grandparents tend to have more money and fewer kids to spend it on. Many of my friends and I actually ask each other to downscale the gifts as much as possible because our kids have plenty and the birthday gifts can be overwhelming. We have big parties but it's definitely not for the gifts!

                                                                                                                      1. re: crazee

                                                                                                                        Great post! If I were in the same position I would also feel honored and would definately go. My case was different, the kids do not really know who I am. Jules is right, Chowhound needs a 'like' button!

                                                                                                                        1. re: crazee

                                                                                                                          Oh yes! If the KID wants you there for their party, that's a great honour and not something to turn down lightly...

                                                                                                                        2. My assumption is that you are not super close with this friend, in which case I would agree with you. I would not feel the need to drive very far for a kid's birthday party of a friend whom I hardly see in the first place. However, if this is a very good friend of yours, that is a very different case and I would ask yourself why you wouldn't want to be there for your friend. Keep in mind that's what your invitation is about; do you think the kid really cares if you're there or not? (Unless you are very close to the child?) You're there for your friend. I have a very good friend with a kid (I may be trying but not successful yet:} ). I have gone out of my way to go out with them and their kid as well as to birthday parties. Do I love kid birthday parties? I'd rather shoot my eyes out with a bb gun! But I don't even think not to go- as these are people who have been there for me and are real friends. Now an acquaintance's kid? I'll send a gift without any guilt. I'll be honest. If you were a good friend of mine who never came to my kid's b-day parties, you'd probably not be a good friend for much longer. If we weren't good friends, I wouldn't expect you to come and there would be no need to apologize.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                            I understand how you would think that. Just to explain further, I have gone to some of this friends parties for his children. I have babysat for this friend in a pinch. He lives about 1/2 hr away, which really is not much. Whenever I get together with this friend I have to either go to his house or near his house. When I say to him, "Why don't you come here, there are some nice places in this area." He says, "I"m not driving that far." or he says "I'm too busy to drive that far." So when you look at it, it has really been me that has always gone out of my way for him.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Alica

                                                                                                                              That doesn't sound like a very good friend, in which case I stand by what I said earlier- you have nothing to fee guilty about.

                                                                                                                          2. Two kids, two birthday parties a year, right? If I can't make time for that, he can't be that important in my life, hence I wouldn't feel bad declining. If he's a good friend though, I would gladly go. It's two afternoons/evenings a year. Not that big of a sacrifice.