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Jul 21, 2009 08:42 AM

Adults at a childrens birthday party

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 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.