April 2, 2018 at 11:48 am #80536
No idea where I should have posted this but why not start here. My son (Will be age 10) is diagnosed ADHD and sees a therapist to help him learn the signs of when he is getting upset. His impulse control lacks, but overall he is a good kid who just struggles with some things. So we have never thrown him an actual friend invite birthday party before. He has never been asked by other kids to go to their house and hang out. My son has been bullied in the past and was at the beginning of the year as well. Granted he can lose his temper, but it is never at another person, just himself. He has a few friends that he speaks of, so we decided to pull the string and do this birthday this Saturday since those friends showed interest and asked him what he wanted for his bday. Problem is the one child who RSVP’ed backed out. The others aren’t really committing anymore when asked. My wife and I have reached out to the parents, but no responses. I am struggling with the thought that no one is going to show up and feel like we just made the biggest mistake of our lives pulling the string on this bday party thing. My tough guy outer shell is broken and I am heartbroken for him at this moment and my anxiety is sky high. If this has happened to any of you, please give me some advice. I know I shouldn’t prepare for the worst, but I just need advice on how to help him cope if this happens. P.S. Sorry if the paragraph didn’t flow very well, I have a million things running through my mind about this.
April 2, 2018 at 11:54 am #80538Aurora122Participant
This is a tough one. Last year I had to reach out to past classmates to get a handful of kids to our son’s party. We’re doing one this year, but I reached out to people from outside his class in advance.
Are you open to posting on an ADHD board to find other kids in your area, who likely don’t get many invites and might want to come?
I hope your son has a great birthday regardless.
April 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm #80543
Honestly I never really dabbled in forums until just recently, so I am not aware of any in my area. I will have to look further into this. I guess the ADHD was never really on my mind until the bday thing because, well my son is my son and he has a lot of quirks I got used to and didn’t pay any mind to it. But now, I can see how it affects his relationships with the lack of interest for his bday.
April 2, 2018 at 12:38 pm #80553Penny WilliamsKeymaster
This is sadly common for kids with ADHD. When my son was little we would be required to invite the whole class but not one of them ever showed up. Fortunately, he had one friend outside of school (with awkwardness of his own) I could depend on to show up, as well as 1 cousin. It went that way for several years.
Once he hit middle school, we started having him invite one friend to the local arcade/go-cart track to celebrate his birthday. We couldn’t afford to invite a group of kids to do that, and inviting only one meant he could choose someone he knew would want to go there, and I could work with that child’s parent to schedule it on a day that worked for them. This worked much, much better!
Invite family, or friends’ kids, or any kids you can think of to make sure someone is there for the party.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
April 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm #80555
Thanks for the advice. I told my wife before I posted that we should have his baseball team as a Plan B. They get along with him and he is able to hyperfocus for baseball so they really don’t even know he has ADHD.
April 2, 2018 at 10:34 pm #80645samandjillclarkParticipant
My son, 12, has aspergers which is kind of like the “opposite” of ADHD, but has the same effect socially (my husband is the one with ADD).
What we do each year is bring cupcakes and capri-sun to the classroom on his birthday so everyone can celebrate, then, plan a party and invite ALL the kids from the class (with RSVP). Often if you invite the whole class there is at least one or two other children who never get invited to anything and are happy to be included. (I once gave an extra cupcake to a child who was sitting in front of the counselors office. He said “no one has ever given me a birthday cupcake before” I almost cried).
If no-one can make it, or only one or two, (it has happened to us more than once) we opt for a movie and pizza or something else kind of special that we know our son would enjoy.
When it’s obvious no one is going to make it, just say, “wow, it’s a bummer, but everyone has really important stuff they already have planned for this weekend and cant make it to your party, what would you like to do instead?
You may end up at REI climbing a wall, or bungee jumping, or at lego-land, but it will be okay. Your son will have fun, have done something exciting, and he will know he is loved by his family.
That will be enough.
April 16, 2018 at 12:19 pm #81808tstrong1Participant
I always had sleepover parties with just one or two boys I could count on to come or want to come. I didn’t do the “invite a class” parties because it was just always too hit or miss. The boys have much more fun and its more controllable when you hand select one or two.. and plan something really fun.. like paintball.. or wallclimbing.. or glo-putt golf.. so they are not just home and “bored”. I also made sure to have food that wasnt too sugary.. pizza– lemonade instead of pop/soda… (except for the cake or cupcakes!) Ice cream is a better bet than cake.. if they can have dairy.
April 16, 2018 at 12:28 pm #81810jacquelyn.s.frederickParticipant
I am so sorry to hear about this! However, this is quite common. I have heard of a lot of parents going through this experience with whole class parties, and with all kinds of kids. People are terrible about RSVPing, even for kids’ birthday parties, or cancel at the last second. Next time, just invite kids that you know will come. Or just take your son to an amusement park, golf zone, or arcade with a relative or just the family/parents. I think often parents make what is required a lot more than they actually do to have fun and enjoy their birthdays.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by jacquelyn.s.frederick.
April 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm #81811burge.leslieParticipant
Do either of your kids play online games Xbox one or PlayStation 4? My son(11) has had a hard time making friends since we moved. He has been diagnosed with ADD. I let him blow off some steam playing fortnite. It’s so fun for them to play with someone and Xbox is like a virtual friend. Message me your kids gamer tags and they’ll have an instant online friend.
April 16, 2018 at 10:58 pm #81943cmeasomParticipant
My son is going to be 11 in June. He is an only child diagnosed with ADHD, and he enjoys playing with other kids on Xbox. His Xbox gamertag is
Let me know if your son might be interested in connecting with him and I’ll message you his gamertag. Is a headset needed?
April 17, 2018 at 2:54 am #81956jacquelyn.s.frederickParticipant
Cynthia and Leslie, my son would fit right in with your boys. How do we message?
April 16, 2018 at 1:09 pm #81816Julia ChristelleParticipant
I have adopted twins who have ADHD as one of their symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). So besides ADHD, they are intellectually delayed and receive some special education services. I haven’t checked for ADHD parent discussion sites on Facebook, but I belong to a few discussion groups for parents of kids, teens and young adults who have an FASD. The most helpful parent forums for me on Facebook are my state’s chapter of NCAC (National Council on Adopted/Adoptable Children) and NOFAS (National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). Since these are state-wide groups, I’ve been able to meet some parents whose kids have many of the same issues that mine do. So we often invite one another’s similar-aged kids to our kids’ birthday parties. We keep them small to avoid having things get too wild and we do invite a classmate or two – often those who are in SpEd reading or math with one or both of my girls. When money permits, I’ll have their party at the local skating rink, the YMCA (includes swimming and climbing wall) or a hotel with a pool (winter birthday). When we do a hotel party, it’s small and each girl gets to pick one friend who will stay over. We might invite a couple of others from school, but only kids whose parents I know fairly well spend the night.
I don’t know if there are such discussion groups for ADHD that are state or region-specific. But if there are any or if there is an organization that holds parents’ meetings, those can be placed to meet other parents who “get it.” Their kids are more likely be accepting of your kids. And it’s also great for parents to have some resources, to get advice, to be able to socialize with others who are on a similar journey and won’t judge if one of our kids gets out of hand. And we serve as a volunteer birthday party or graduation party squad. Usually, a couple or few parents can bring their kids to a party and the birthday boy or girl can have fun with kids who won’t judge them.
April 16, 2018 at 1:20 pm #81821AnneHWParticipant
I don’t have kids, but this one broke my heart. I’m so sorry. To be perfectly honest, I think the whole birthday party thing is more for the parents than the kids. They can get really elaborate and even competitive, and who needs that. When I was growing up, it wasn’t a big deal, and I only remember one little girl having a birthday party. At least, that’s the only one I remember being invited to! (Oh wait, there was another one. So maybe two.)
I LOVE the idea of inviting his baseball team. And, there’s a lot of great advice here, including having one favorite friend over and doing something exciting. He and a buddy can have a fantastic day that you’d otherwise be spending on a lot of kids he’s not close to.
I even like the thought about the kids being so busy, etc., and you and your wife keeping a game face. My guess is you are probably more upset than your son, and at that age, he should still be fairly easy to redirect.
I hope you’ll post again, and let us know how it goes. Life sucks a lot of the time when you’re a kid, but he’ll be fine. We all go through awkward stages, and some kids seem to have a leg up when it comes to socializing, popularity, etc. That sure wasn’t me, and the only birthday party I ever had was with my family. It was wonderful!
April 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm #81847Drbattle1221Participant
My son also has ADD. I take the party to his class with cupcakes, juice and goody bags. This year he turned 8 and wanted a sleepover. He invited 8 boys and 4 showed. He was very happy. As an educator and parent, sometimes we must keep it simple. I would suggest maybe taking cupcakes to his class or during his lunchtime.
April 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm #81849rdchohanParticipant
This happened to me last year.
Even if you don’t have an ADHD son, always invite more people that you need.
I only had two RSVPs at my son’s party a couple of days before his birthday and lots of nos.
I started messaging on neighborhood sites, guilting neighbors to bring their kids to the party. I got about 3 RSVPs. When I got to the Chuckie Cheese, I asked adults at the restaurant if they would be interested in letting their kids join in the fun. I offered to buy their food and give them tokens.
So, I think we had five kids total. Next year, I’m planning to do a special day somewhere, so that he can invite a couple of friends
April 16, 2018 at 4:33 pm #81877lolkaParticipant
What form of contact did you provide as RSVP? My husband gave once a landline number. People were trying to text it (unsuccessfully).
April 16, 2018 at 4:40 pm #81878cpeckenpaughParticipant
Part of me is glad that we’re not to only ones dealing with that situation. Invites to party is the worse thing, especially for kids with ADHD. Just before our son was diagnosed, we had invited his class for a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Aside from his 2 close friends, cousins, and friends, no one RSVPed. My heart broke but at that young age, I don’t think he noticed or cared. As he got older, he had close friends that we would invite and they would come, but still it’s always hard to get parents to RSVP.
My in-laws thought “well, parents talk and they don’t send their kids to a party because the kid is problematic”. I’m thinking, it’s a kids party! How would they feel if no one attended their child’s party! I always think, have the courtesy to RSVP whether it be a yes or a no. Don’t leave parents hanging.
My son is at a different school now and has friends that he hangs out with so we thought “let’s do a party!” We only do one every other year, so why not. Now, the kids he invited for similar to him and some who were neuro-typical. We actually got RSVPs but only a couple. Some did show up without, but that was fine because I was prepared either way. My son had a blast and that was all that really mattered. We were happy for him and we met the sweetest parents. I think it was more stressful on me because I’m trying to plan the party and have no idea how many to expect, but the party-planner in me planned for everyone either way.
I’ve had this discussion with other parents and we’re just shocked at how many people don’t RSVP. Some times it’s cultural and the kids will verbally tell my son that they are coming, so I try to take that with a grain of salt.
I hope this helps everyone a little bit and to know that you’re not the only one!
April 16, 2018 at 4:43 pm #81882MissMeghanAnnParticipant
I’m so sorry.
We went through the same thing last year. My son (8) has ADHD and socializing is hard for him. We had 1 RSVP. And only 1 kid from class showed up. It broke my heart.
Fingers crossed this doesn’t happen to you.
But instead of letting other’s stress you or your kiddo out, remember it isn’t about who comes. It’s about having fun and celebrating. It was much harder on me than my son, so I took his advice and took a breath and jumped in the bounce house with him.
April 16, 2018 at 5:02 pm #81889KrystalrileyyParticipant
The best way to handle this is to gain a core group of friends through, church, sports or a support group and make sure to make to develope some friendships with parents around your kiddos age, if they develope a friendship with you guys they are more likely to support your kiddo on there special day…if no one shows up to his birthday see if his teacher would be willing to let you bring cupcakes or treats for his special day so everyone can be included by default then everyone gets to celebrate him so he feels special….remember even if no one shows at the end of the day it’s not about everyone else be sure to take him to eat and go somewhere fun, get him something special and remind him that his birthday is about him and no one else and that even if no one shows its ok, kids are tough, build this little guy strong so he may flourish no matter where he is planted♡♡♡♡♡♡♡
April 16, 2018 at 5:07 pm #81891primrose1410Participant
first of all,let me give you a hug……
With my high-functioning autistic adhd DD, I have run into similar problems as well.
So one thing I used to do was to invite our family friends and relatives we are close with,yet keep it interesting for my dd with her choice of cake and decor themes etc.
It worked for us a for many years until she grew out of it.
now for certain kids ,having that much crowd maybe overwhelming or it might turn out to be expensive for parents.
just come up with some unique way to celeberate birthdays esp with a focus on what your child likes to do.
she now has one friend ,who also has adhd, and they like to go to nail salon and get a pedi together and have some tea party in the backyard later…it just works for her.
Now ,with my dd, I would have to mentally prep her if something like this were to happen to her,otherwise it would be a huge tantrum throwing fest .
If your son likes going somewhere like fun rides at a park etc,that would be another option.I hope you find a solution that works out well for all of you.
April 16, 2018 at 5:18 pm #81898gwendy123Participant
I really like your idea about inviting his baseball team. Invite the kids who he has fun with and who like him, don’t worry about the others. Sounds like reinforcing the baseball connection makes a lot of sense. Maybe you can organize a sandlot game!
April 16, 2018 at 5:23 pm #81902ssantulhaoParticipant
My son turned 10 on February and he invited 7 friends for his birthday party. On that Sunday we arrived at the playground where his birthday party would be celebrated and nobody was there. I felt so furious, sad, impotent, I just wanted to cry. My son told me he didn’t want to stay there, he wanted to go home. His eyes were all tears,he was sad and ashamed. I’ll never forget his face. I encouraged him saying that they were late and they would come. I baked a big cake and for the 1st time it was perfect. I took a lot of food and drinks. And there we were, me and him waiting. All the other kids had friends and he had none.
After half an hour came one friend. He was very happy and they played all afternoon.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by ssantulhao.
April 16, 2018 at 5:31 pm #email@example.comParticipant
My heart goes out to you, your wife, and son. The date of your post tells me that his birthday party has passed. I hope it went well. It’s hard to know what is right in this situation. As a 30 yr. teacher (and mom of grown children) I can tell you I’ve seen many birthday party “challenges”. One thing I’ve learned is that kids usually know what they would like to happen and who they might like to spend time with on any special occasion. Most families try to include the whole class, just to be “fair” but kids party radars always seem to know who the b-day child really wants to have come and even without the ADD-ADHD socializing element, hurt feelings often abound. My hope for your family is that your guy finds one or two good friends that he can bond with and that they become part of his support system. Most of us are lucky if we have even one true friend in our life-no matter our age! I love that you had the idea about your baseball team being invited but I’d add this suggestion that would help deflate the stress of “party” and “who’s going to be there”. I’d ask the coach or team mom (I remember the days!) if you could bring a special birthday treat to celebrate your sons b-day with the team after game. This would work even if the birthday has passed-you could still do this, it could be a belated event, bring cupcakes (so much easier than cake and not as serious) or send them for ice cream from the snack shack, and the right drinks. Buy a few balloons but don’t go crazy just enough to make it a party-keep it short and sweet! Have the team coach or team mom start the Happy Birthday song. After they eat, let your son pass out small baseball-theme favors (packs of b-ball cards, sunflower seeds, bubblegum, or small candies) at the end. If you make up a small “card” to put in the bag it could say something like “Thanks for celebrating my birthday-Go “Dodgers”(team name). Keep it simple and I think your son might enjoy making others feel special on his day.
April 16, 2018 at 5:54 pm #81919felidstarParticipant
Aw man. I was going to go all Pollyanna on you, until I read that you’ve really tried to contact everyone/reach out, with no luck. That does sound like time for a back-up plan, like making a special day just for him :/ (Good thing you’re not me–with my impulse issues I’d feel bad enough, I’d take him to the Lego store and let him buy it out XD). I hope at least one or two friends end up coming through in the end, or that you do have it with the softball team–that sounds like a great day in itself! And I really do recommend reaching out and making friends for your son in ADHD/ASD circles–in my experience, the parents understand the struggle, and the kids are happy to make new friends.
We did a smallish-Chuckie Cheese party last year (6th birthday) that was a big success, so I made sure I had a venue this year which could host more kids–the local pool and one of their party rooms for after. I invited his entire class, as well as 6 other kids who had been friends last year or were friends outside of school. Well… we were in the final week, and only had 1 RSVP for 20 slots!! Two of his best friends couldn’t make it due to other plans, and a few others dropped out because they can’t swim (legitimate, even though there was a party after for the non-swimmers), but I was seriously worried. Fortunately, a few days before we started getting more RSVPs, and ended up with 10 kids. They all had a blast. But I think we’re going to pull it back again for next year, since we’re moving past the age where the kids are all willing to show up, no matter what, and are getting a lot more picky about who they consider a friend. A few of the kids we will ALWAYS invite…well, they also have troubles with getting invited, or having people show up.
One of the other boys in my son’s grade though… we were the only ones who RSVP’d and showed up to his birthday party last year. He’s so much like my son that they actually hate each other (they’re ‘arch-enemies’), but they play together fairly well if us parents are there. Unfortunately BECAUSE they’re arch-enemies, my son didn’t want to invite him to his own b-day this year, and I still feel bad about that. The kid has a hard time, with divorced parents and mean older brothers, and his impulses and falling back to violence when stressed get in the way of making friends. Where my son has made some friends outside of school, the other boy seems pretty isolated, in school and out of it :/ Thanks for the reminder to arrange another play-date with him, so that he knows he’s not all alone 🙂
- This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by felidstar.
April 16, 2018 at 6:27 pm #819234himvdlParticipant
Hello, my sorrow in this instance is with you. My child who is 7 has experienced this herself. It is painful as a parent when other parents single them out as “bad”. We now celebrate by going to a place she chooses and making it all about her with those close to her who accept her for her. She responds well to these events and when a meltdown happens, those there understand. Keep up the good work, you are doing a great job!
April 16, 2018 at 6:32 pm #81924jewelduckParticipant
Been there. Done that. Kills us parents. Bums out the kids too. But they don’t usually dwell on it too much unless we do. One year I planned a “party” after my sons baseball away game. Everyone was there (captive audience). I talked with the coaches ahead of time and made sure it was kosher… had pizza (for the team and ALL of their family) and cake and sang happy birthday (did the balloons and some water guns too – it was a HOT day). The team (helped by team mom) chipped in for a gift card as a team…and we really hyped it. “WOW – you can get whatever you want with that”. (within parental reason of course). Best birthday ever for him. Also, really make the family parties special with cousins, neighbors, etc. Can be younger or older kids or adults. As long as there are a bunch of people singing and eating cake – it’s all good!!!
April 16, 2018 at 6:32 pm #81925jewanda9Participant
As a mother who went thru the friendship delima,I became the mom who became the driver for all the weekend events(until high school)..Since most parents would love not to be on pickup standby,it allowed me to get to know the kids my son was around.It allowed him the ability to build friendships and invite kids over to the house for video games and pizza which allowed him to build his first set of friends ( less than 5 around age 11). Some the kids came and went because they were unable to deal with an ADHD kid but the ones who stayed ended up being really good friends to my son so much so that he told them he was ADHD….so I say start small and build up to the party next year….
April 16, 2018 at 7:32 pm #81929bkitchin1Participant
I’m a teacher with add – see both sides. Even if your son is only angry at himself – it is still very scary to others – when someone is out of control, it can be frightening esp if teacher can’t control child. So don’t underplay it – if someone at your work went off – you wouldn’t likely get close either.
To get friends – be a friend. Find someone on baseball team to come over – I’m sure some parents could use a break and let you have their kid for a hour or two. If not…then take an honest look at your child – perhaps needs more help than just a therapist? Social skills?
Your child’s teacher should be able to give you some insights.
good luck and good job for getting him in sports (that’s why Michael Phelps got into swimming). It’s important for add kids or anyone with spec needs to have something they are good at!
April 16, 2018 at 8:36 pm #81935carriejofergusonParticipant
It breaks my heart to hear all the posts of children who get hurt due to no shows at their birthdays. I have a feeling I am about to witness it myself with my grandson. Birthdays to this point has been only with family, friends and their kids but not school. I did hear a few parents say, “I hope you don’t have bowdee in your class next year.” I cried. My grandson has not been diagnosed but as a CSW I feel he has Social Communication Disorder, as well as his mom.
I would invite the base ball team and only people you know will be there. This will prevent broken hearts. I do remember though, the bigger deal I make about things the bigger he does… like someone said, if no one comes make it super special for him and do whatever he wants. Poor love, kindness, laughter all over him from the people who love him most.
April 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm #81937deliaschanginggearsParticipant
My daughter is 20 now buy grade 2 I stopped having birthday parties I started taking her on a girls-only trip to the hot springs her and I 2 days to this day she does not remember the first birthday parties all she remembers is how I made her feel by spending 2 days with her and enjoying our time together for her birthday I’m glad I did that the first few birthday parties were too overwhelming for her I wanted her to be happy as she was not accepted in the mainstream population or even by the school if there’s any way to do something along those lines I think that means more to a child then having them overwhelmed not knowing how to handle their emotions I hope in some way my story helps you.
April 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm #81938jcurryParticipant
I hope the party worked out…. you perhaps still could..or next year could have a party after a baseball game that includes his teammates. Cake, pizza at the ballpark, or hotdogs from the concession stand and bring a cake. You could do invites to all the team saying “Celebrate ____’s birthday after we play the Cardinals!” That way everyone is already there, knows about it, and doesn’t even have to rsvp. It’s a ready-made party. Happy Birthday to your son!
April 16, 2018 at 11:14 pm #81944bootParticipant
Our Western society discriminates against the “other” who is different, celebrates individual economy and is otherwise self centered. A party is a time where individuals ironically come together as a group. What purpose does this serve in such a society. It is a time to show others our success. Our world is a reflection of business, and western parties are nothing more than domestic marketing. It explains many parents selling the event often competing with each other using obscene amounts of money and personal investment.
Then there are those parents who have learned to find value in real relationships. This is often forged by the difficult journey of managing children or themselves who are not neuro-typical and fall outside of this globalised neoliberal social structure. The real question is, do you want to join the superficial mainstream or stay the “other” who values real people. If it is the latter, then one way forward is to join together with like minded people and be a community of change. In other words, do as has been proposed and find groups of people who value relationships. They are likely to be long term friends and party with them. Don’t look to schools and sports clubs that are often sources of competition, a place to ready and reward children in the climb to the top like there parents.
April 16, 2018 at 11:37 pm #81947iam2crazyParticipant
So sorry your son is being treated this way. My parents rented a pool. so I could have a party. Lots of girls were invited. They didn’t bother to give their excuses as to why they wouldn’t be there. Only one male friend came. I’m Jewish. Because I didn’t really grow up with those snots, I wasn’t accepted. They didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I didn’t know I had ADD until I was in my 40’s. Children and even some adults are cruel are selfish. They are quick to judge. I believe in karma.
April 17, 2018 at 1:58 am #81954masterfixalotParticipant
I learned my lesson two years ago. We’ve had problems with invites for small groups, but what happened two years ago about made me snap. Lil’ history… Daddy ADHD, two daughters and son ADHD, poor Mom is the only sane one. I build for fun, and being a Techie, I designed and build a theater for my backyard. My oldest “Pie” (nickname), wanted Outdoor Theater for her Birthday watching Strange Magic. (For the fellow Techies, it’s a 10 by 14 screen… So wide screen movies ROCK, LOL!) We made up large stiff paper movie tickets for her to hand out. She had 19 students in her class, I figured even half showing up would be a great time for the kids, since no movie places close. Built stepped theater seat rows for the lawn chairs, bought soft drinks and snacks and popcorn, and waited for others to arrive……… My neighbors two nieces came and we started the show when it started getting dark. Half way through the movie, one niece wanted to leave, so both left….. My daughter and I talked and laughed our way through the rest of the movie and then watched another……. Alone. I know and understand that it’s a great thing to be close to ones Dad, and love to do things with him, but girls need to hang with girls sometimes that aren’t her sister….. That was one of the few times in my life I damn near went postal… LOL!
April 17, 2018 at 2:07 am #81955gilliesParticipant
My boys are twins and only one has ADD so we never really had to face this issue, HOWEVER, here are some ways that we had successful birthday parties before.
1. Get together with a family friend with a similar birthday and hold a joint party. In our case it was a very elaborate science theme and we asked parents to make gifts to charity because it was too much to buy 3 presents (we bought presents for our own kids).
2. Sell the *party* as an awesome party that just happens to be a birthday party. For my kids’ 9th birthday we had an elaborate medieval theme with 6 games and gold/silver coins, eat dinner with your hands, monty python movie, hunt for holy grail (treasure hunt). Make sure everybody knows that the party is going to be so much fun you would never want to miss it! I actually spent most of thanksgiving preparing for that party.
3. If the party idea doesn’t work out just say, “I guess we waited too long to invite people and everyone is busy” then take your kid somewhere. When our kids were 6 we took them to San Francisco ( science museum – exploratorium ) THEN we drove them to tahoe for skiing (again, thanksgiving week).
4. If all else fails have a family party but make it a production with a treasure hunt and hats and maybe a movie-night and/or sleepover with everyone in sleeping bags and pajamas in the living room (or backyard tent if it’s summer) – just do the whole 9 yards and possibly invite other adults or play games to fill up the place and make sure to have lots of fun! That’s the main thing, if it’s fun and your kid feels loved it won’t matter who came and who did not come!
Best wishes and good luck!
– Don Gillies
April 17, 2018 at 3:53 am #81957PierreParticipant
My name is Peter. I’m 43 years old. I was diagnosed last year with ADD. Feel like I’m 25. This brought me back to my earliest memory. It was a revelation to hear these stories and realised there was a reason why I feel like I did. I’d write more but this site is not mobile friendly. I’ll try again on a computer. Thanks for posting.
April 17, 2018 at 9:10 am #81967kboltzParticipant
Honestly, it isn’t just your son’s ADHD on this one. And it isn’t the other parent’s kids, either. It’s the other parents. I’m a volunteer, old homeschool mom, and kid’s advocate who has been working with children for many years – hence, I’m around them constantly and have been for many years. Also, my husband has ADHD, my daughter (20) has ADHD, and my son (8) has ADHD.
Kids forgive and forget quickly. (The only exception to this is that if your son has been a severely and repeatedly nasty bully to them, which in most cases, is just not accurate.) If you ask a group of kids, even if they’ve been wronged by your child in the past, “Hey you want to go to so-and-so’s birthday party?” You will get an overwhelming “YES!” Even if they’re “iffy” about your son, they’d still want to come because birthday parties are FUN for them. There’s candy and cake and games and they’re so excited to go!!! And they’re flattered that the got asked to go!
…Their parents? Not so much. First of all, they may not know anyone. That puts all the pressure of them having to come away from their phones, and actually have a face-to-face conversation with a total stranger – not fun for them. Second, overall, this generation of parents are very self-absorbed, and lazy, even to the expense of their kids. (The reason I say that, being almost 50 myself, I’ve seen several decades of parenting styles and since the 70’s parenting behaviors have changed so much.) If THEY don’t feel like going – putting out the effort to get dressed, get their kids dressed, driving over to someone’s house, then refer back to “First Point,” AND they have to do this on their time off from work?? – they won’t take their kids, regardless of how much their own child is begging to go to a birthday party. Third, if their child did happen to get in a confrontation with your ADHD child in the past, THEY refuse to forgive and forget. I’ve seen this behavior from both religious and non-religious alike. So if this WAS a deal where one or two times your child had an ADHD moment and said or did something they wish they wouldn’t have, parents remember. They don’t want to put out time, effort, and money (for a present) to a child who dares to insult their own little baby – NOW they care with their selective outrage how their child feels.
You can’t win with this one. But there are families out there that have been through this, and unfortunately, it’s a common experience. If you have family members with kids, or friends with kids, try to get them to go. Birthday parties aren’t what they used to be when I was a kid. At a minimum, parents may make an effort if their child is a kindergartener – but do not expect it!
I’ve personally handled it this way: BRING THE PARTY TO THE KIDS DIRECTLY. If they have their friends at school, talk to the school and bring in candy, activities, and cupcakes. If their friends are through an after school activity, bring it there. DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF DEALING WITH THE PARENTS – YOU WON’T GET THE RESULTS YOUR CHILD IS LOOKING FOR!
- This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by kboltz.
April 17, 2018 at 9:39 am #81982PEEKSHEParticipant
To take away the stress for you and the disappointment for your child – what I do for my child with ADHD’s birthday parties is have guests on the list that are a guaranteed show. This includes cousins and my own friend’s kids. They may not be all the same age, but it gives a good turnout for your child to feel special on their big day! Also, I provide alot of structured or planned-out activities where I know how my child will react. That way there are limited chances for behavior episodes! Also important – I review with my child how they are expected to act around others – respectful, take turns, etc. Then, the most important thing is the fun! If there are fun activities (that don’t involve things your child is not good at – like sitting around socializing…) then the kids will have a good time and associate the experience with your child. My goal is – while the other kids do notice that my child is annoying or behaves weirdly or different; they also do notice their creative side as well and that they know how to have a fun time! Fun is VERY important to kids! I also like to add a little tidbit once things are going successfully about how it is nice that we are all not the same because that would be boring!
April 17, 2018 at 10:10 am #81987CalibizaroParticipant
Oh man… I know how your little guy feels. I think I was only invited to maybe two birthday parties as a young kid, and one of them was a whole class kind of thing. I knew, too, that most (if not all) Valentines that I received were really from their parents. Like your son, I was awkward and not very well accepted. I moved a lot as well, which made things even more difficult.
I remember being pretty upset that other kids didn’t invite me to things… hell… not even play dates. So my mom did her best to make my birthdays special in other ways. They became family-only and I got to choose what kind of cake to have and what to have for dinner, AND rent a new movie. It was pretty darn fantastic.
If you can’t get his baseball team to come, or have the party at one of their practices, you could just say, “Hey buddy! We decided to do something even more special! We are going to go to such-and-such place as a special birthday treat!” I totally ate that up as a kid and my siblings loved it too because they basically got a treat as well.
As you can see, there are still some happy options. I probably wouldn’t tell her son until he’s old enough to not be crushed about why your original plans went through. I remember being pretty heartbroken in third or fourth grade because I couldn’t understand why most of my class wouldn’t speak to me. I was “odd”, and there simply wasn’t much to be done about my classmates until they grew up enough themselves to realize that “odd” could actually be pretty fun. Once I got into high school with a big enough pool of students (I lived in rural Vermont… my Union high school still barely had 100 in my grade despite having several towns to feed it), I found other “oddballs” just as harmlessly goofy as me and it was best buddies at first sight. I relate this more for your benefit than for your son’s, because I remember how sad and powerless my mother looked when I cried and asked why I didn’t have any friends. Even though my mom couldn’t “fix” what was wrong at school, she helped me find joy elsewhere and encouraged my interest in music, reading, and art. (I was hopeless in sports… the ground and me face loved to meet… often…)
Growing up with ADHD is pretty rough, but your son has one advantage that I didn’t… you both know WHY he is the way that he is. I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-30’s, and so I quite literally always thought I was just “other” and strange until my diagnosis finally made aspects of my life make sense for the first time. Keep at those mindfulness strategies… he’s at the perfect age for them!
Good luck and I wish your wonderful son a very very happy birthday!
April 17, 2018 at 10:30 am #81991tjoyweir01Participant
So many kind and encouraging responses on this forum. So refreshing to read internet posts that are thoughtful and compassionate.
I hope your son’s bday is a happy day for your family. He will look to mom and dad on how to respond. This will be an opportunity to instill the ‘glass half full’ mind set.
April 20, 2018 at 10:49 am #82397FocusToolsCoParticipant
We deal with this every year and my son just turned 15. We actually budget for “B-Day” expense. We live in South Florida and take him to Universal or Disney and if lucky we bring 1 friend.
If you have someplace close to you, I would recommend that because I can’t think of any better solution.
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