Siblings and uninvited classmates at 8yo's birthday venue

My son chose an expensive place to have his birthday party at this year (though really fun and cool) and we agreed if he limits the invite list since we are paying per person.  He agreed and is inviting 6 boys -- some are friends from school, others from after school activities, one is family friend, and all are close friends of his.  His younger sibling is attending too but she is the only younger child there.  I sent out invite by email stating specifically no siblings and that only the invited kid is covered.  It is a drop off party, though parents can stay and do not have to pay as long as they don't play/participate in the activity.  I have gotten some emails from other parents asking if their other kid (invited child's siblings) can come too since it is so cool and he loves this place.  One mom whose kid is not invited told me that she heard from another parent (their sons are friends) that my kid invited the other mom's son  to this party and her kid likes this place and would love to join.  This seems completely rude and inappropriate to me, or am I wrong?  My kid only invited 6 friends and is not discussing this in school, so i don't see why I should extend the party to kids who are only casual friends of my son and who he did not pick to attend the party as one of the 6.  I told the mom with the friend that my son was limited to 6 attendees only and her son was not on the list, and told the moms with the sibling that even though the sibling is welcome and can share in the pizza/cake (we will have plenty), we are only covering the cost for the invited kids. Is including sibling and whole classes the norm now?  I would not mind the questions but I specifically stated no siblings and am pretty annoyed that I am getting these emails/requests making me the bad guy in this.  My son is 8 years old in case it matters. 

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I think you are handling it perfectly, both the mom who asked if her non-invited kid could come (that's pretty nervy) and the mom who asked about the sibling (a more typical question).   Part of the problem may be that age 8 is sort of a transition period where people are moving away from the "invite the entire class" party to more select gatherings.   Your son's party might be the first that isn't a "whole class" party.   FYI, you'll continue to have to deal with the sibling issue for years.  Including the uninvited sibling who is dropped off without notice.  Some people seem to feel their kids are inseparable, literally.   

I would have been tempted to tell the mom of the non-invited kid that I would put him on the wait list, and he could come if someone else couldn't make it. 

You are the host, and are footing the bill, so I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I can't believe how rude these other people are. We only invited the whole class for birthday parties age 3, 4, 5, and 8. The rest have been really small, like 3 kids, and after age 10 my daughter decided not to have birthday parties with friends at all, but rather get-togethers with friends who had birthdays within a few weeks of each other, with everyone sharing the costs.

Hey there! 

As a classroom teacher I can confirm that chances are you are hosting one of the first parties that isn't a whole class party. You are holding firm on your policy which is the right move. I can understand other parents wanting to send their kids or bring their kids along. Is there a way for you to respond with something like "If you are comfortable paying a $20 fee for any additional children, then we are happy to host. We are at our budget max however so we cannot commit to paying the entrance fee for any additional children." might be a way to appease the other parents. They must be able to understand your budget restrictions even if they want their kids to participate. 

You and your son have every right to make these decisions about his birthday party, and I don't think there's any question that it's rude for someone to try to get their kid invited to your son's party (especially since it sounds like it was less about celebrating your son's birthday and more about wanting to go to this venue).  Your response to that mom was appropriate.  As for people asking to bring siblings, in my experience people just don't read (or read what they want to) so although irritating, I'm less surprised about that.  Can you just tell them they can bring the sibling if they pay for them, or is it a limited number of people that can participate in this particular activity?  Either way, don't feel guilty.  While there is definitely a trend toward inviting the whole class at this age, it's not a rule and I think applies more in situations where it's a party in the park, not something expensive.  My middle school daughter just went on a ski weekend for a friend's birthday and there's no question that an outing like that has to be limited in number (of course, the kids involved knew not to talk to other friends about it so as not to make any feel bad or left out).

This is ridiculous.  We never invite the whole class, and frankly, including siblings is at your discretion.  Just because you allow a close friend to bring a sibling, doesn't mean you need to cover each child's sibling.  I understand that the sibling issue can be tricky, but this shouldn't be an issue given that this is a drop off party and the parent can do something else with the siblings.  I wouldn't expand the guest list. 

What is wrong with these people??? They are being very very rude! I can't imagine asking if my kid could go to a party to which he isn't invited, especially if it is somewhere expensive. Well, no, really I couldn't imagine doing it even if it were in a park. Holy moly. Asking about the sibling isn't quite as bad though still kind of rude if it is an expensive activity.

I think you are doing the right thing saying there is a limited guest list and there isn't space for other children. If you say you're only covering the cost of invited kids, does that mean you're okay with younger siblings there if their parents pay? I would take it that way. You are being kind and gracious about the younger siblings I think.

You've done nothing wrong. Those other parents are being rude. You get to decide what your budget is for a birthday party and anyone who challenges that has boundary problems. I can't imagine inviting my child to a party they weren't invited to. At the very least I would offer to cover the additional cost, and would also throw in a "if it's not possible, I totally understand." 

I’m so glad to be done with the elementary school aged birthday parties. The good news is that you are most definitely not the bad guy here. The bad news is that you have at least two more years of dealing with inconsiderate parents.

I had a parent insist I change the cake because their child is allergic to chocolate, a parent who said I would need to drive to their house to pick their kid up because they didn’t have time to drop off, a parent who three years in a row used me as a babysitter by picking up an hour after the party had ended, a parent who became indignant when I didn’t have extra party favors for two siblings who weren’t invited to the party. 

I feel your pain momma. 

To me, getting irritated is pointless. Parents often don’t read closely. Just call or email the parents who’ve asked about sibs and say you’re only doing a small group, no sibs this year. Agree that it’s cool and suggest they do it for their kids party one day. End of convo.

Hi - stick to your guns. It's a small party and these other parents need to respect that. You are under NO obligation to invite everyone. And certainly NOT their siblings. I would reiterate your position - that this is a small party and sibs are NOT included. Good luck. good grief! 

I think what happened was that the moms just didn't read thoroughly or thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. Apparently it would! 

How maddening that you are in this situation.  I am only a mom of a toddler so I know that this is in my future but you should not feel obligated to invite siblings or the entire class.  Who has the money to be throwing big parties for their kid each year? When I was growing up, my closest friends came over for a sleepover - dinner & cake.  I think that you are handling this properly - you are not the bad guy.

You are right. It’s completely rude and inappropriate for anyone to ask  you for an invitation to your son’s party. I have to ask though, where is this awesome party venue?? Needing ideas for upcoming birthday:) 

I see both sides of the issue on this one. I personally would never try to foist my child onto someone who hadn't invited her to a party, I think the woman trying to get her son invited was out of line & I think your response to her was fair as was your response to sibs being included.

On the other hand, I have an 8 year old, special needs daughter who has trouble connecting with her peers. My daughter was adopted through foster care and has to work very hard at creating and sustaining friendships with children her age. She has cried bitter tears over not being invited to school mates birthday parties, outings & playdates. It has effected her sense of self and her self esteem.

Our policy for birthday parties & we've had a few big celebrations, is if we are going to invite a few classmates, then we are going to invite them all. I would never want someone else's child to feel the pain of rejection that my daughter has felt. My job as a parent is to make sure try to guide my daughter to be inclusive, to be understanding, compassionate & kind. I feel that only including certain kids, which ends up being the exclusion of certain kids, is not the example I want to set for her.

To be clear I am not judging your choice. Perhaps your son is very well liked and does not have any problems making friends, so maybe you never thought about what it might be like to know about a party & not be invited.

I don't know what the answer may be as I know finances are always a consideration, but given what my daughter has been through we make sure to always be inclusive.
I hope your sons party is a great success.