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When-Your-Child-Doesn-t-Get-Invited-To-The-Party

When Your Child Doesn't Get Invited To The Party

I’m generally a chilled out person (don’t fact check with my husband, family or friends… they’re all crazy and infuriating) but now and again my naturally red-headed temperament can bubble to the surface.

Such an event happened last week when I picked up my 8 year old son from school and he was sobbing and inconsolable. The reason: he had been passed up on a birthday invite handout. This was extra painful as he had invited the guy who bypassed him to his own party only days previously. I found myself in unchartered territory… my kid was hurt badly and I couldn’t fix it. I had spent the last 8 years telling him how handsome, clever and amazing he was and one child had made him question his worth. I was scared; was this a preview of the imminent teenage years?

I went through the five stages of grief;

  1. Denial; You must have got it wrong? Did you have a falling out? I rang some parents to fact check and his story was corroborated.
  2. Anger; I confronted the kid in question and passive aggressively told him to look at my broken-hearted little boy and think about his actions. In the car on the way home I actually said to my son and my friend's daughter “screw him and his party!” The tears were still slipping down my boy’s face and he kept asking me “why?” and I wanted to pull the car over and kick a wall. I tried to imagine David Coleman was with us willing me to say the right thing but ended up wanting to
  3. kick him too with his judging calmness.
  4. Bargaining; I tried to placate Conall by telling him he was extremely lucky to be going to the party of the century, my 40th the following week. He asked hopefully if I’d have a bouncy castle… “no”, I said “but there’ll be retro music and finger food.”
  5. Depression came quickly and when I got home I gestured at my husband frantically to come into the kitchen. Anger resurfaced when he was slow on the uptake, followed closely again by depression as I sobbed into his shoulder and relayed the invite story through my snots and tears. In typical male fashion he shrugged it off as “kids will be kids” and refused to listen to my tales of bruised psyches and a future that could include self-medicating ( I had just watched the Kurt Cobain documentary on Netflix) and marriage to a narcissist.
  6. Then came Acceptance. This was after I had spoken with the teacher and principal and an invite was magically produced. My son was beaming and said that the boy had had a cancellation. I bit back comments on self-worth and asses being wiped with said invite and I hugged him and said it had probably all been a misunderstanding and I was delighted for him.

I am aware how trivial this incident may seem to some of you but a birthday party rejection seems to be a milestone. Your child, if all is well otherwise should have enjoyed a relatively happy-go-lucky existence up to this point; protected by sweet junior teachers and a loving family (I won’t comment on sibling beatings as that’s normalcy in my house). This can be the first major chip in their confidence and can cause them to question their self-worth; hell, if I was the only one not invited to a party among my friends, I’d feel pretty shit.

It is a real test of your parenting skills and the momma bear inside you wants to maim whoever has hurt her cub, but you have to be cool, touch base with your inner politician and like that fabled duck, appear to be gliding gracefully through the water while paddling furiously underneath.

About the Author

Mother of 3 young boys, blogging about poo, post-baby vags and other beautiful aspects of parenting and domestic slavery.

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