…Or possibly the uninvitable. I was reading Dear Abby about whether or not to invite a school bully (second letter in the column and don’t forget to read the comments at the bottom of the page), and that letter got me thinking, not as a party planner but as a parent.
Last year, I planned a party for my two kids (their birthdays are three days apart with my husband’s right in the middle), and I found myself worrying about what would happen if a certain neighborhood boy showed up uninvited. This particular little boy had a habit of showing up unannounced at our house and other houses in the neighborhood. Once, he had come to our house only to be told by me that he could not play at our house that day because I had a meeting. I left for the meeting and came home only to be told by the babysitter that he had invited himself over to our house after I left. I was flabbergasted to say the least. My son did not enjoy playing with this boy, and I felt that all he wanted to do was come to my house to play our video games. I did not want to be rude, but I did not want him playing at my house anymore since he bullied my son and said things that my kids are not allowed to say even after being told by me not to say such things in my home. I tried talking to his mom, but she seemed too busy to take notice. After talking to other parents in the neighborhood and finding out that he had been known to cause trouble and had been banned from other houses as well, I made the decision to follow suit. I felt awful about doing it, but he would not obey my rules, and his parents did not seem to care. I never came right out and said he could not come over, but I made sure we were always “too busy” any time he came.
So the day of the party came, and I was nervous. As it turned out, he did not stop by our house that day. I was relieved. I did not think about this much until I read the Dear Abby column the other day as well as the comments. In a situation like that, do you invite someone who is known to be a bully and a disruption to your house for a party out of sense of duty? If not, how do you explain that to that child or his/her parents if the subject comes up?
I am not offering advice either way. In my instance of turning a problematic child away from my house just to play, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I thought, well maybe I should be help him. On the other hand, I did not want my kids to pick up bad habits or to be bullied.
It is a sticky situation and one that requires a lot of thought and usually results in a lot of “what ifs.” If you have any suggestions on handle these kinds of situations, I am all ears.