Invitation etiquette often comes into question from weddings to baby showers. When it comes to parties and other special events, it seems like the human race just has a hard time figuring it out — maybe especially in the case of kid’s birthday parties.
Are siblings always invited even if they weren’t on the original guest list? What about if they’ve tagged along on playdates in the past? And what about parents? Do they tag along for extra help and supervision, or do they drop the kids and run?
One parent turned to Reddit to ask others for help about what to do when another parent keeps assuming that all of their children are invited to their daughter’s birthday party.
In the /Parenting subreddit, a parent asked other users for advice about a sticky situation between his daughter and their neighbor’s daughter. They explain that their daughter gets along great with one of the neighbor girls and not so much with the younger sibling.
When his daughter’s birthday rolls around, they specifically write on the invitation for only one of the girls to attend. However — for two years in a row — the girls’ parents bring along both.
The original poster (OP) starts with some background information about his daughter’s relationship with the neighbor girls.
“My daughter has this friend Gracie who has a younger sister, let’s call her Brooke, that is two years younger. My daughter does not really hit it off with Brooke, she’s a little odd and blunt, honestly just a pest. My daughter just doesn’t care for her. Brooke sometimes tags along with the girls when they run around the neighborhood, but really it’s mostly the older two girls playing just with the two of them,” they explain.
The OP goes on to explain that their daughter was very upset when Brooke showed up to her birthday party, uninvited, and the OP allowed her to attend despite her daughter’s feelings about the young girl. The OP explains that they were put in an awkward spot due to the girls’ dad assuming that both kids could come.
“The dad asks ‘Brooke was invited too, right?’ And I was honest and said ‘she wasn’t, but she’s welcome to tag along since she’s here.’ And she did. My daughter was very upset about it,” they wrote.
So, is this just a kind of clueless dad who was just instructed to drop the girls off at the party and hadn’t really considered that the invite was for just one of his daughters? Or is this something a bit more complex?
Brooke ended up being a bit over the top at the party, “taking over conversations, doing things she wasn’t supposed to, and just kind of saying awkward things.”
Needless to say, their OP’s daughter was not happy and reiterated to her parent that she did not want Brooke to come to her parties ever again.
Another real gut punch to this whole debacle: Brooke had her own birthday party a week prior and their daughter was not invited.
Now, it’s time for his daughter’s next birthday party, and both of the girls show up again.
“Fast forward to this year, time for another birthday party. My daughter invited Gracie again, mailing an invite addressed to only her. I also saw the mother around and mentioned Gracie was invited and hope she can make it,” they explained.
“The party comes and the mother drops both girls off again, both of them caring the gift together. Brooke immediately takes her jacket off which confirms she is also coming to this birthday party. The mother even makes a joke that Brooke’s birthday party is tomorrow at the same location. I passively aggressively mentioned my daughter wasn’t invited but it didn’t seem to phase her. She leaves and again, my daughter is pissed.”
Reddit users sided with the OP, commiserating with their own stories of clueless parents while advising that, in the future, to be very, very direct about a “no siblings” policy.
One user suggested, “I’d just write ‘no siblings please’ on their invitation. And if they try to drop her off, say, ‘I’m sorry, but we’re not including siblings this year.’”
Others pointed out that maybe the OP could do a better job of being direct and advocating for their daughter who vehemently asked her parents not to have someone there she did not get along with.
“You need to tell the parents that Brooke is not invited. You told them last year that Brooke was welcome to stay, so they probably assumed this year that she would also be welcome to stay,” another user wrote.
“because you were passive aggressive about what you wanted rather than straightforward. I know it can be scary to be seen as rude, but your daughter should be more important than worrying about what these parents think of you.”
Another Reddit commenter offered up a petty clap back. “I’d drop my daughter off at Brookes party the next day. The parents know she’s not invited and they don’t care. They’d rather be awkward with you than deal with their difficult child,” they wrote.
Another mom of twins even chimed in, saying she never assumes both of her children are invited to a party if only one name is on the invitation. “I have twins who are the same age with most of the same friends and I still don’t assume. I ask if the twin is also invited. My kids are eventually going to have to learn that they aren’t automatically both invited,” she wrote.
“This family is taking advantage of your kindness. Put your foot down next time … it’s their kid and their f—k up, they can contend with having given their younger kid the wrong idea. Write it on the invitation. ‘No siblings, please.’ And when the kid shows up, absolutely refuse to have her there. People like this will only learn if they’re forced to not be rude a—holes.””
It seems that there are a few areas in this situation where improvements are needed, and to no one’s surprise, it all lands in the hands of the parents. The OP needs to toughen up, get a little uncomfortable, and be direct and honest when it comes to her daughter’s wishes. That alone could end the issue right there.
Secondly, it wouldn’t hurt for Brooke and Gracie’s mom and dad to take a look in the mirror and realize that they are taking advantage of this family and not having any sort of social awareness to read the room. Their younger daughter’s name was not on the invitation so it’s safe to say that she is not invited. Simple as that. If there’s any doubt, ask before you’re on their doorstep.