Kindergarten Social Drama

Did you know that every decision that you make as a parent effects your kids in someway or another?

Think about that for a minute. Everything thing you do as a parent is shaping your kids for the future. If you really think about it that fact, don’t you just want to freak out?

This is how I sometimes react, “Holy sh*t what the hell am I doing being a parent?” Its enough to make me want to crawl in my bed and hide under the covers.

I believe that this little panic attack that I am having began when Jeff and I thought that it would be a good idea to give Hayden a birthday party with some friends from school.

All we wanted to do was let Hayden invite a couple friends from school over to our house to carve some pumpkins and eat some cake. But this idea, simple as it sounds, became very complicated very quickly.

The more I talked with other parents the more confused and unsure about this whole idea I became.

Apparently, you just can’t invite a couple kindergartners to your house. No, you have to invite the whole class. If you don’t, parents will hunt you down and question you as to why you think your son is better than their son because he didn’t get and invited to the party. And in order to get these kids to be able to come over to your house to play with your son, you have to be best buddies with the kid’s parents or you will be considered creepy and a possible child molester. Not to mention that since it is early in the school year, the little friends that Hayden makes changes almost every day he goes to school and are mostly girls.

Now we all know that birthday parties are the social event of kindergarten. I mean, if you are someone’s friend you get to go and if you are not someone’s friend you don’t get to go. Someone can get to you to like them by dangling their birthday party invite in front of you. And if you make them mad, they will pull that invite right away.

If I don’t get this whole birthday party thing right then Hayden will be a social outcast for the rest of his school career. My actions right now are shaping his social status and that is a very powerful think to hold in my hands.

I just don’t remember things being this complicated when I was a kid. I just went to school handed out invitations to my friends and they came over. Sometimes, I don’t think that my parents even knew.

They just provided us with pizza and a clown and a good time was had by all. I am pretty sure there was no background checks or blood tests for viruses involved for hosting kids are our house.

Maybe I am just a simple, naive parent but why can’t we just have a couple kids over for a birthday party?

I have no idea who these kids are. This is just some random stock photo I found online.

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  1. Sara Broers says:

    I hear ya on this one. I have never been a fan of inviting every kid to everything, just like I don’t feel children need to receive an award for every little thing they participate in. My 19 year old was in 2nd Grade when this started…..The joys of parenting~ glad the party worked out. We focused on family parties through the years, but maybe that’s because I had boys and not girls. I never had one of these invite the whole class parties. This generation of kids is and has a difficult time adjusting to the adult world. I have a 19, almost 20 year old, that is just figuring it out.
    Sara Broers´s last blog post ..Not sure what to think do you

  2. So true! This is my daughters first year in school. Preschool for that matter, and I already now what you mean! I heard a good rule from another mom before. Let them invite as many friends as their age. So if they are turning 6, only invite 6 of their friends/school mates.
    Hanan´s last blog post ..10 months breastfeeding! BabyBond Review &amp Giveaway!

  3. We invited all of the kids in my daughter’s preschool, Junior and Senior Kindergarten classes to avoid the hurt feelings of the kids who would be left out. You don’t have to do that but I’d say that invitations shouldn’t go to school if they aren’t going to everyone in the class until your kid is old enough to be discreet. I’m hoping that my daughter develops this skill soon, since there are 20 kids in her class this year 😉 I think it might be less of an issue if you were inviting only boys or only girls and then the kids and parents wouldn’t take offense. Good luck with the party.
    Barbara (@ottmomgo)´s last blog post ..Missing her daddy

  4. I’ve got to agree – it just didn’t seem this hard when we were in school. I’ve found that sometimes the parents are just a nightmare to deal with. The toughest thing about kids this age is to be able to hand out invitations without hurting anyone’s feelings if you’re not inviting the entire class.
    Tina @ Peacock Halloween Costume´s last blog post ..Kids Peacock Costume

  5. Yes, why does it always have to be so complicated?

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.
    cat@juggling act´s last blog post ..Captured by Cat

  6. Our school policy is that if you don’t invite the whole class then, don’t pass out the invitations at school. Use snail- or e-mail:-)

  7. They won’t all come. Of course you won’t know that until the day of because NO ONE will RSVP. Ugh. We have Kindergarten, after school/daycare (she’s been with those kids the longest) and dance. I will not be sending invites to dance and with after school care I will let her pick who she wants to give them too. I don’t care what anyone else says about it. For Kindergarten I have to send them to the whole class. BUT I’m giving her a very girly dress up/make up party so I’m pretty sure none of the boys will come.
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Sidebar

  8. One down, one to go for this house. The 8-year-old finally embraced the family event this year. The one night at Great Wolf lodge cost us more than a party, but none of the parental politics and RSVP frustrations – priceless.

    I wish we lived closer. I’d send my Youngest over for a carving party. You’re a trained medical professional for Pete’s sake. Better hands than mine.
    ash´s last blog post ..I don’t give good phone

  9. At Maggie’s last daycare the DAYCARE rule was if you bring invitations to school, then you MUST invite every kid. Otherwise, just send the invitations to the kid’s home — which of course, we don’t know because hello, we ALL work. And of course, they also had a policy that wouldn’t allow them to give our the home addresses of the other kids (eye roll). So, last year, we dutifully gave every kid in her room an invitation to her birthday party. Only 3 from her class came. So, just because you invite everyone doesn’t mean they’ll all show up.

    This year, we lucked out. We changed daycares, so she didn’t want a party. Just wanted to play with 2 of her friends from our church group. MUCH easier!
    Wendy´s last blog post ..Day 122

  10. I am soooo with you on this! Parents who get their panties in a bunch over whether or not their kid was invited drive me insane. This is just one of life lessons kids need to learn. You’re not going to be invited to every party!
    Emily´s last blog post ..Tiger Cubs and Camping

    • Emily, until it’s your child that is not invited. Trust me, you wont feel the same when your five year old is looking at you with big teary puppy dog eyes and asking you why they didn’t get invited but the other kids in his class did. Trust me, that will drive you more insane than parents who get their panties in a bunch. Unless, you are heartless that is…..

      • Sorry Sandy. I have to disagree. I have been on that side. My child has experienced being not invited to a party. I did feel very bad explaining this to my son and of course it was upsetting to see him upset. No one likes their child to have their feelings hurt. (And, for the record, I most definitely don’t consider myself heartless). However, part of our job as parents is to prepare children for all kinds of social situations and sadly, my child isn’t going to be invited to all the parties, he’s not going to get every job he applies for, etc. Disappointment is part of life and I think ultimately not preparing your child for it is doing him a disservice. So, while it may not be a situation I would wish him to be in, I can choose how I respond to it and I choose to use it as a teaching moment and not dwell on the negative.
        Emily´s last blog post ..Tomorrow and Snow

  11. Connie @ Young and Relentless says:

    There is so much concern about hurting kids self esteem that you can’t do for just a few kids anymore. EVERYONE has to be the same and get the same.

    I think I’m going to home school.
    Connie @ Young and Relentless´s last blog post ..Don Draper Doesnt Change Diapers!

  12. I think it is weird that parents get so worked up over weather or not their kid was invited to so and so’s party, if they are not friends why should they have to invite them?

    I am SOOO glad my son’s bday is in July no worries of school:) Although Abby will be starting next year and her bday will be during the school year but I do not plan on inviting the entire class
    Joy´s last blog post ..And just like that it is all over

  13. Birthday parties are for YOUR family’s benefit. I know it’s hard, but try to do it how you want to do it. Let other parents be the ones to throw the giant parties.

  14. OMG, we just went through this and I totally know what you mean. One simple party can either make or break you child’s social ranking in his class. Actually, I was amazed that 3 of the parents who dropped their kids off at our house for C & B’s party this past weekend actually LEFT….they have NO clue about me or Tim. I was stunned. They left their kids in our care for a whole 3 hours without any hesitation. Doesn’t that just seem wierd to you?

    Hopefully this whole party thing will get easier as we go….if not, both of us are very lucky that with our 4 kids, we only have to throw 2 parties a year.
    Helene´s last blog post ..Whoever coined the phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” obviously never made a guitar cake…

    • Actually, I am not surprised by the whole drop the kids off thing because we did that with Hayden for the one party he was invited too last year. But I did call the mom and talk to her first so I sorta ‘knew’ her.

      I don’t know if it was right or wrong but the party was over nap time for the triplets and I was working so Jeff was going it alone and Hayden really wanted to go. It all worked but the friends mom was a little shocked I asked.

  15. Oh man, it goes back to preschool! My daughter was invited to Mason’s party – (which we couldn’t have attended because of a family function, but) she didn’t want to go, because Mason was not her friend. Landon was her friend. thankyouverymuch. Oh-KAY.

    This is why we’ve not given out invitations at school. Too complicated!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Mental Meanderings

  16. Things have definitely changed since we were growing up. At my daughter’s preschool, they also have a rule that if you invite one, you invite the whole class. Nevertheless, the cattiness that ensues when they get mad at each other and pout, “I’m not inviting you to my birthday party!”… even when clearly they will be… drives me crazy. It sometimes makes me want to bah-humbug birthday parties altogether.
    Booyah’s Momma´s last blog post ..Confessions of a former sports widow

    • Amen! Hayden is constantly saying, “I don’t like you. You can’t come to my party.” and so on. It drives me crazy.

      I just want to say, No Birthday for You!

  17. I think I’ll take the other side of this argument…. I’m in a disagreeable mood today.

    I’ve always invited every child in the class to every party each one of my 4 kids has had up to the age of approx. 6-8 (depends on the order of the child, oldest went to 8, third had his last party at 6). Poor #4 had her very first birthday party when she turned 5. We were very much partied out.

    My daughter is in a Kindee class with 13 other girls. Girls at the age of 5 already hold invites over eachother’s head. And then talk about the party for days afterwards at school. My daughter was upset when she was not invited to a party over the summer.

    I don’t think every kid should get a trophy, and I don’t protect her from all ego bumps and bruises. I do remember how it feels and have empathy. I do not wish to cause that pain to another child. We had her party in August. We invited all 17 children. We got a turn out of about 50%. We were prepared to pay for all 17 to make bears at Build-a-Bear if they all came.

    I am not friends with any of my children’s friends parents. I am also not a child molester, and never thought anyone might think that of me. Thanks for giving me something else to worry about! 😉
    Elisabeth´s last blog post ..Angels

    • See, I actually agree with you. I want Hayden to just have his friends over and not have to include everyone because let’s face it, he is not going to be friends with everyone for is whole life. We have to teach our kids to deal with rejection because it happens.

      This was a great comment. Thanks. :)

  18. pretty sure the whole “friends with their parents” thing is going to be the death of me and any sort of social life my kid has with school buddies. I have no filter, not to mention, barely any time to get together w/ the friends I already have and actually like.

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    MommaKiss´s last blog post ..a MommaKiss memory-If Only

  19. OH so not ready for this one. I have tried organizing an outing to the park with the preschoolers in my daughter’s class. You know, just head to the park for 30 minutes after we pick the kids up from school. There are only 6 other kids so how hard could this be. We all agreed on the date and then when that day came only ONE mom showed up! Does that say something about my daughter or me? They all gave good excuses, but seriously! The one mom and I had a great time so oh well. But if this is any indication of the kind of success I will have with birthday parties later on I AM SCREWED!
    abbie´s last blog post ..Day 95- force yourself to go outside

  20. Oh great….the kids can’t just invite their real friends they have to invite the entire class?! Crazy.
    Natalie´s last blog post ..Pursey Galores Un-Adventurous Weekend

  21. “Did you know that every decision that you make as a parent effects your kids in someway or another?”


    Now I’m completely and totally freaked out. And yes, it is so very true. And I’m just… la-la-la… I can’t hear you…

    Anyway, the birthday party drama… I wrote an entire post about this just last week. Two moms outside my son’s classroom were talking about me and the fact that I actually stayed at a birthday party that was in a very PUBLIC setting. My son is 5. Please tell me me staying was not weird?


    • I don’t think that staying is weird at all. I have stayed at parties before and I have left at others. I just depends on the party, location and age of the kids.

      And for goodness sakes, it is YOUR kid. You can do what you want.

  22. I remember going through this last year when my son was in Kinder. We did invite everyone in his class but not because he’d be a social outcast or parents would get angry. I just didn’t want any the kids to be left out :(

  23. And the answer to your question is a resounding No. And that sucks. We’re already feeling it in my kid’s 3 year old class.
    Susan @ Sassafrassery´s last blog post ..Youre a ho- Hi-Ho

  24. you using a stock photo adds to the charm, jen. :)

    i am dreading this next year. i think i will try to keep it to our friends (and no classmates) for as long as possible.
    liz´s last blog post ..Daily Kate-isms- 10410

    • That is actually what we decided to do this year. All this party stuff got to be too much for me so I decided to keep it to family and friends.

      If he want to have a big school friend party someday, he can but only when he asks and not because he is suppose too.

  25. You know me. I say screw it and only invite the kids I like with parents whom I also like.

    The really cool thing is that I like almost all the kids and parents in Owen’s teenly little Deaf bubble.

    Talk to me in a couple years when it is Bea’s turn. I’ll have a much different answer I’m sure.
    tulpen´s last blog post ..Ladies- Hang On To Your Ovaries

  26. I contact the parents of the kids that are invited. I don’t send the invites to school. Only because it can end up with hurt feelings when certain kids are getting the invites and others are not. I don’t think it’s necessary to invite the whole class (we never do) and any parent that actually says something to you because their child wasn’t invited to the birthday party – well that parent needs to get a grip and find something else to be worried about. Sounds to me like the PARENTS are the issue. Not the children!
    Michelle @ Mommy Loves Stilettos´s last blog post ..A Sparkle PartyIn Your Pants Adult Giveaway!

  27. hmmm… seems like overkill to me to have to invite EVERYONE! I understand why some people feel like they have to do it, but come on! You can’t be friends with everyone right?
    Good luck with that – I don’t know what I would/will do!

  28. Just went thru this with my 4 year old. FOUR! She had a joint party with some of her classmates that had the same b-day and I’m pretty sure we pissed a few of the moms off. Oh, and can we talk about goody bags for just a second? Bane of my existence! Putting them together is a pain in the arse and also getting them is a pain b/c those little crappy toys end up deep in the crevasses of my car and in every nook and cranny in my house. And the kids NEVER play with them!
    Mama Mary´s last blog post ..oh yes- we’re here- the dream team is here–part 1

  29. Goodness gracious this is enough to make me homeschool! Sometimes I think my life is so hard as a mommy to a (teething and cranky about it) seven month old, then I think it’s only going to get harder!
    Have you thought about just sending cupcakes on your kid’s birthday to school? (Homemade, organic, dairy, egg and nut free of course)

    • Well actually all backed good have to be store bought with the ingredients listed on the package because of kids with allergies.

      You may not think so but 7 months, that is an easy age. :)

  30. So, let me know what you learn from this stumbling event…..My twins are having their 6th birthday next month and I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to do with them in TWO seperate Kindergarten classes. Do I invite 2 whole classes!! I don’t know any of the other parents, much less their brats…ahem….kids! So I thought I’d invite them all and just see who cares to be friends. This could so backfire on me!
    Jennifer @ The Mommy Mambo´s last blog post ..Executing a Diet Properly

    • I actually said to hell with the whole school party and its just going to be family. It was too complicated.

      Hayden can have a school party when he is older like 3rd grade, then I figure he can actually tell me who he wants there and who he doesn’t because right now, he doesn’t even know many of the kids.

  31. I knew I liked you….let’s hang. :) We just experienced this last week. One of the kids in Angry Kid’s Kinder class had his 6th birthday party. His mom invited the entire class to a bounce place for a party at 3:30pm on a Wednesday afternoon. Luckily, my husband was off on vacation and took him to the party. I was at work, thankfully.

    My husband said that the kid’s ran around like crazy people and the mom’s sat around and gossiped. He was not impressed.

    I DO NOT want to invite the entire class. I’m not really impressed with anyone his class actually. Hopefully, I can have my way and invite the people I want to invite, since my kid’s bday is in May.

    My best friend actually experience party drama on the playground with her daughter. This little girl threatened my friend’s kid with “I’m not going to invite you to my party”, and poor little Stella came home in tears about it.
    Julie {Angry Julie Monday}´s last blog post ..Mickey’s Halloween Party

  32. Last year a parent started a trend in Sadie’s preschool class- she invited the whole class to a 3rd birthday party. 3RD!!!!!!! I was totally annoyed because then all the parents started inviting everyone to EACH and every kids bday. We attended none- I don’t even like buying presents for the kids I know- I wasn’t about to buy presents for kids that I DON’T KNOW. Why can’t it be more simple??? I just invited my close friends over who have kids for Sadie’s 3rd bday and ya know what we did? The kids ran around like crazy and us adults drank margaritas. Too-shay.
    Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation´s last blog post ..The BEST Monday in the History of Mondays!

  33. Seriously!

    I gave 3 invitations to Jack’s teacher and asked that she stick them in the kid’s backpacks. We didn’t hear a peep about it.

    The stress, I tell ya’.

  34. Well, first, I have to say that I don’t think clowns make for fun birthday parties … but that may just be me.

    And our school says you can’t distribute invitations at school if you don’t invite everyone so the teachers don’t have to deal with hurt feelings. I didn’t think of PARENTS getting involved. Jeesh.

    We just had our Little One’s party and just invited 5 kids and either mailed the invites or delivered them in person. No one accused of anything. Good luck!
    Jenners´s last blog post ..Up On The Roof

  35. I really don’t know why it can’t be that simple. I’ll have to learn from you when it’s my son’s birthday in December.
    Shell´s last blog post ..Mamas- Cut Yourself Some Slack

  36. oh boy! I’m not ready for all of that! I actually had thought about letting the kids invite 1 or 2 friends from preschool for a lil birthday fun next month but thoughts like this make me think we’ll just stick to family as usual for now!
    Barbara Manatee´s last blog post ..Say What!!

  37. I know that as parents we are supposed to teach our children to include others and not to leave others out. BUT I think that applies more so to the playground and gym class not so much in the birthday category.

    I don’t know about you but as a parent I don’t want my kid to get invited to every single party. For one it teaches her how to deal. For two it saves me a ton of freaking money.
    Catherine @ Evolving Mommy´s last blog post ..Sweet Potato Bread

  38. Who knew that birthday parties could be such a social mine field! Sheesh!
    Honey Mommy´s last blog post ..Costume Conundrum

  39. So true! The birthday parties in our area are usually held at expensive places and a bazillion kids are invited. My husband is constantly lamenting the loss of birthday parties where the kids run around and eat cupcakes.
    Mrs.Mayhem´s last blog post ..Caught!

  40. I couldn’t agree more.

    Last year when Baby Girl was in kindergarten, she was invited to a party. The Birthday was twin boys, her new best friends. I dropped her off at the party and found out she was the only child from school they invited (they did invite neighborhood friends). That whole next week, I had other parents asking me questions. God forbid the twins didn’t want their kids at their party.
    Oka´s last blog post ..Really surprised this hasnt happened sooner with my kids

  41. I am not looking forward to when my daughter starts kindergarten. For so many reasons, but this is one of them. It’s easy for me to say this, but: Eh, screw it. It’s a life lesson that really should be learned early on–you win some, you lose some. Some people will be birthday-party-eligible friends, some not.

    Again, easy for me to say. In the meantime, good luck to you with party planning.

  42. At our school, the rule is that if you are going to hand out invitations at school, you have to have one for everyone in the class. Which, that is why I always call the parents directly of the children that my kid wants to invite.

    I refuse to invite everyone and for goodness sakes – it’s a birthday party. Shouldn’t the birthday kid get to have a good time? If I were you I would quit worrying about the situation so much. Find out which kids he really wants to invite and call the parents. You guys are in Kindergarten, so you will have to reach out to get to know one another.

    These parents who are inviting everyone apparently are using the birthday party to put their child on display – I’m sure this isn’t the first situation. It’s a big show – look at my kid….isn’t she special? WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER ALL THESE SCREAMING KINDERGARTENERS.

    Sara R-The Millennial Housewife´s last blog post ..Flirty Girl Aprons

  43. Yeah, I don’t get it. Why do we have to invite all the kids? At what age is it suddenly okay to teach kids about not everyone getting invited to every. single. thing? Kindergarten? First grade? It’s all so strange.
    Rachael´s last blog post ..My Awkward Family Photo – For Mrs Chicken

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