Parent Panel: When your child isn’t invited

Is it ever OK to ask another parent why they didn’t invite your child to their child’s birthday party?

We posed that question to the 23 members of our Parent Panel, and here’s what they said.What would you do? Comment below!

See more from the Parent Panel and meet the parents!

I would never dream of it. Kids’ relationships change from week to week (they’re kids!). Additional economics and dynamics affect party invites. I have no business in someone else’s pockets or head!

Rani Morrison, Oak Park

No. It can awkward for you and the other parent. Birthday parties can get so expensive and parents are trying to cut costs in anyway they can. There will always be another party to go to!

Jackie Sergeant, Richton Park

Friendships at such a young age are constantly evolving. Therefore, if my child wasn’t invited to a party, I would take the opportunity to teach my child how to roll with the punches. It will feel bad, but in the big scheme of things, will it really throw my child’s life off course? No. I wouldn’t even address the mother of the birthday child. Instead, I would focus on teaching my child how to handle their feelings, and make them realize it will probably be different year-to-year with friends.

Kerry Quirin, Downers Grove

Not unless it’s an obvious eyebrow-raiser, like being the sole uninvited child from the entire first-grade class.

Jiye Lee, Chicago

I go with “treat others as you wish to be treated; would I like it if I was approached?” I also think of the economic times and if the party only had five kids I wouldn’t feel bad, but if the entire class was there and my child was not invited, I would seriously debate about confronting the evil person that left my child out.

Rebecca Moulfarha, La Grange Park

Really? Has it come to this? Are we, and by extension our children, now entitled to the celebrations of every classmate, neighbor, relative and teammate? Sometimes we don’t make it past the velvet ropes. Let. It. Go.

Brian Reilly, Elmwood Park

Sure, if it’s imperative to you knowing why/why not, inquire in a friendly tone/timely manner and prepare, as the response might not be what you want to hear. Personally, another b-day party is always around the corner, no inquires here.

Monique Zipperich, Palatine

No, I don’t think it is right. Not every child could be invited to everything. I think it’s a good lesson for kids to learn early on and parents should put their energy towards something more important than whether or not their child was invited to another party.

Tracie Guzolek, Chicago

If you suspect that there’s been an actual error (such as becoming lost in the mail while all of the kids in class are talking about it), then yes. Otherwise, nope!

Trish Muro, Chicago

I suppose it depends on the relationship you have with that family. There are numerous reasons as to why someone may omit your child from a birthday party. The family could have financial limitations, space limitations or could have just plain forgot to include your child. If you do ask “why,” be prepared to accept the reason without judgment. Party on!

Ryan Salzwedel, Chicago

Don’t ask. Use this as a teachable, albeit possibly painful, moment to teach your child about being gracious when you are not included and the value being inclusive whenever possible. Support your child and their feelings and let your family have a “party” of their own!

Aileen Robinson, Chicago

Unless my child is upset about a close friend’s party, I won’t sweat it. These gatherings can be very complex and expensive things. Invite the birthday friend out for a special outing with your child instead. It might even be more enjoyable!

Heather Earnhart, Chicago

Only if your son/daughter often plays with that child or would be considered a friend. If you are not close with the parents of the birthday child, that might have something to do with it.

Jeff Mezydlo, Chicago

It’s OK to ask if you have good intentions and are non-confrontational, but the decision of who to invite is ultimately that of the birthday child and their parents. On the bright side, it’s one less party to shop for and chauffeur your child to!

Rebecca Pobloske, Itasca

It’s never right because it’s immature and ridiculous for a parent to question another parent’s choice of invitees. Kids need to learn to get through their disappointments in a healthy way. I would feel sorry for the child whose parents thought questioning a party invite was the right thing to do.

Anne Rezabek, Elgin

I would not ask. The child’s family may have financial constraints, family traditions or other reasons to limit the invitations issued. If my child wants to give the child a birthday gift, we would deliver it privately.

Kate Atkins-Trimnell, Homewood

I personally don’t think it’s appropriate to ask any parent why their child didn’t get invited to his classmate birthday party. The other parents may have their own personal reasons, be it financial or personal, and I’d rather not know.

Chely Carrillo, Chicago

If I felt close enough to the parent, for example if we did favors for each other with watching the kids, then I would ask casually in conversation, trying to eliminate any feelings of awkwardness. Otherwise, I wouldn’t solely ask this question, and if I didn’t know the parent very well then I absolutely wouldn’t ask!

Mona Shah, Glenview

No! It would only embarrass you and the other parent if you ask about it. There may be a budget issue or guest cut off – or maybe your child doesn’t get along with their child. Keep your thoughts to yourself and move on.

Cherish Walsh, Streamwood

Being excluded from a birthday party can be very hurtful and no parent likes to see her child hurt. I would console my child, discuss the situation and try to take away the sting. But I probably would not confront the parent. I might, however, talk to a good friend whose child had been invited to get some insight.

Lolita Cusic, Chicago

As a non-confrontational person, I wouldn’t ask. I would ask the teacher or a mutual friend the circumstances or if there’s a problem between the children (or adults) that you’re not aware of. Try to give the benefit of the doubt.

Lisa Cheruff, Skokie

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