The Dreaded Birthday Party

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    • #39926
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user Pump2Duncan in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.

      So last year’s birthday party was horrible!  It was my son’s first real birthday party where he got to invite anyone he wanted.  It was a rule in his classroom that if you invite one person, you have to invite everyone.  So he did.  He excitedly handed out invitations to every person in class, happy to invite them all.  A few of the kids actually handed him back his invitation saying flat out they wouldn’t go and NONE of them showed up to his birthday party.

      He was devastated.  We had a local animal sanctuary bring his favorite animals to his party — and he didn’t even want to participate in that because none of his “friends” showed up.

      He has brothers and sisters, and their friends come to their birthday parties.  They have friends sleep over and have sleep overs at friend’s homes, but not my little ADHDer.

      Anyone else in this situation?  If so, how do you handle it?  He wants to have another birthday party and try again — I’m worried no one will show up again.  Why put him through that again?

    • #40220
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user bahr98 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      OMG! That just breaks my heart to pieces! I’m so sorry for him and for you. I’m all teary reading this. This is one of my biggest fears.

      My ADHD son is in 5th grade and I have found that as kids get older, they also get a lot more mean. So the last couple of years, we have only invited 1 friend. Luckily, my son 1 good friend (who is high functioning autistic) so they are both kind of in the same boat. I know this one friend will always show up, so I avoid the situation by contacting the parent first to make sure he can come.

      I don’t know if this helps you, but if your son has 1 or 2 buddies, you could contact their parents first and deliver invitations to the parents or have them mailed to their house to avoid the school rules. I do also know that big groups are a little overwhelming for my son, so the smaller group is much better for him. He gets much less frustrated.

      Big hugs to you both. You not alone.

    • #40225
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user Pdxlaura in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      So sorry for you and your son. So difficult as a parent, we want the best for our kids.

      Start by treating the cause, not the symptom. Also, try not to set him up for failure.

      This means digging deeper to help him be the best he can be. Therapies, meds, counseling, teacher support, etc. Keep at it to help him.

      Good luck!

    • #40229
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user cmullen17 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      My son’s birthday is in the summer, so luckily, we’ve only had family birthday parties. I have allowed him to do something with one friend each year. We’ve gone to the movies and lunch, bowling, and the zoo. But I have managed to avoid the kid birthday party issue with him.

    • #40240
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user eemmss in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      We offer to spend the money we would have on a birthday party to buy our child a bigger birthday present. It feels a little not right. However if sure avoids stress on all of us.

    • #40241
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user momodoodle in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I’d protect him from having it happen again. I have never had this happen to my daughter, but I have had kids come to the party and then never play with her again. Like, almost every year! I actually had one girl “break up” with my daughter as I drove her home from the birthday party itself! Thankfully, my kid didn’t notice.

      As a result, I have asked my child to have small parties – 2 or 3 girls. It has been much better. She’s in 7th grade and has really good friends now.

      I would also address the school staff and say that you simply won’t abide by the rule given what happened last year and that you are inviting (name and name) to your son’s birthday event and that’s it (in the event they are in his class).

    • #40242
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      We had the same issue when my son was in elementary school. A few years he only had one friend show up, who wasn’t even in his class but had some issues of his own, and we knew the family and both boys’ sisters were friends.

      I always asked for RSVPs in advance, so I could prepare for the likelihood that only the one friend would be there. But, I ensured that someone would be there.

      Those were just parties at the park. I realized over time inviting just a few kids to do something every kid wants to do (like go to the “arcade”) meant they would show up.

      You say he’s involved in sports and groups outside of school. I’d try inviting some of those kids this year and not bother with the kids at school.

      The friend thing does get easier too. Finally, last year in 7th grade, my son made some real friends (2 other boys). This year they are a pretty tight group. They do sleepovers and those boys were the ones who came for his birthday. So, for this year’s b-day, we invited those two boys for a sleepover full of gaming, then, on his birthday, we took him to the arcade with a neighbor who he’s friends with but who isn’t part of his group of gaming buddies from school. That worked great, and didn’t cost too much.

      A few weeks ago, my son told me that he was so happy to finally have “real friends.” He said, “It’s so nice to have real friends. You know, people who actually want to spend time with you. N comes up to me in the halls and says hello before I even realize he’s near me. It feels really good.” Made me so happy for him, and broke my heart for all the years he didn’t have that.

    • #40251
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user K44 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Birthday parties really are such a stressful event for our kids, but maybe even more for us.

      My son – now 8th grade – had birthday parties (or small events) until 6th grade, and I don’t think he has been invited to one himself since about 2nd grade. And as much as that steams his parents, it doesn’t really seem to bother him at all. For his 12th, he took 3 boys in the grade golfing. And I wouldn’t put any of those boys on top of a list of kids he plays with, but it didn’t matter to him because he loved it. For his 13th, we said “no party” but told him he could take a kid or two bowling. Well, he asked a few, they all said no. So at lunch table – the day before we had planned it – he asked everyone at the table if they wanted to go bowling with him the next day. He came home and said they all said yes! He was thrilled, we were stunned, but we made it happen quickly and he had a wonderful time.

      So perhaps it’s just the celebration itself that he enjoys, as it is recognition to him of his value. I keep getting told that my son will make better friends later, as he matures. In 8th, at a new smaller school, it is happening. One new friend, C, is literally the best thing that happened to ME in 2016!

      I agree with your idea to go against the rather ridiculous school mandate – they’re probably doing it to avoid discussions in school and hurt feelings, but they should not be trying to enforce what goes on outside of school. No handing out invitations in school though, for sure.

      Good luck, as you are doing something wonderful for your child!

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