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    Old 09-17-2008, 09:51 AM   #1
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    RSVP for birthday party

    I wonder if somebody can let me know your experience with giving birthday parties for your children and the rsvp for the party.
    My son is turning 8 and I have invited his whole grade, 2 classes, about 40 children. I mailed the invitation to each child's home and asked the parents to rsvp by a certain date. I sent the invitation about 3 weeks prior to the party. When the last day to rsvp had come and gone, only 6-7 people had responded out of 40. I felt horrible, but wanted to give people another chance to respond since it is possible that some people may simply have forgotten. I wrote an email to each person whom I hadn't heard from and reminded them of the upcoming party. I asked them to please let me know if they are coming and how many people they will be bringing (we invited both parents and siblings) so that we can plan how much food we need. After this email I got another about 10 rsvp's, half of them said no. More than half of the people never bothered to respond.
    I feel awful. I feel personally rejected, but the worst part is that my son is rejected since it is his party. He keeps asking me every day now if so and so is coming and yesterday he said that he realizes that kids don't want to come to his party. I have no idea how to interpret this. My son seems to be liked in school. When the school year ended in June, he brought home a booklet where kids wrote who is their friend and a lot of kids wrote his name.
    I see these parents in school and nobody is saying anything. I feel that by sending an invitation to their house and also writing them a reminder email, I've done enough. I don't want to beg people to come to our party.
    Is this the way it is now that people are this flakey or is this something that is against our family? I feel very depressed about this because rejection is hard to deal with for most people, especially of this magnitude.
    We always go to parties my kids are invited to, I even reschedule other things so that I can take them and it wouldn't occur to me not to rsvp at all.
    I wanted to be nice and not exclude any child, that's why I invited the whole grade, but now I regret it.
    A few girls apparently said to my son that they don't want to come to his party. Maybe this is an age thing. Maybe 8 year old girls say that to boys. I don't know, I can only guess. Both my husband and I feel terrible for our son. He shouldn't have to experience this kind of rejection at age 8 from his class mates' parents.
    I have written in my other posts that my son goes to a very expensive private school. A lot of the parents are wealthy, but a lot of them are middle class, struggling to put their kids through a good school. We are definitely not wealthy.
    My son's teacher last year adored him and so does his current teacher. They have both said that they are very happy to have him in his class. I have very good report with both teachers.
    I like a lot of the parents and have never had any confrontation with anybody. I know there is one mother who doesn't like my son and has apparently told her son not to play with my son, although the boys like each other.
    Am I being too sensitive?

    Last edited by negot; 09-17-2008 at 09:54 AM.

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    Old 09-17-2008, 11:45 AM   #2
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    Re: RSVP for birthday party

    Well, I can't say exactly what's going on in your situation but my experiences the last few years in planning parties for my children has been similar. One year only one child out of 15 invited showed up. They are good kids, popular with their friends and I am friendly with the parents. It seems that people either don't know what RSVP means or just don't want to take the time to do it. I've also found that people in general are terribly overscheduled (myself included) and squeezing in yet another birthday party can be difficult for many parents. Don't want to excuse poor manners, just possibly explain the behavior.

    Don't let it get to you. Sounds like you'll have around ten kids which actually is a great number for a party. Have fun and enjoy!

    Old 09-17-2008, 12:00 PM   #3
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    Re: RSVP for birthday party

    Originally Posted by negot View Post

    Am I being too sensitive?
    Hi Negot

    Do you know the story of the Greek Philosopher (I can't remember who) who invited the beggars from the streets to his banquet because his invitees refused to come? No, you don't have to go as far as that...

    Actually, I was trying to find the adequate words to say to you, but all I can think of is: I am sorry. Yet, this is not the end of the world, mind you.

    My wife and I have always given birthday parties for our kids and unfortunately we have been systematically let down by many of our guests. Some of them were close relatives. They didn't come to the party, they didn't even bother to call to justify their absence, before or after the event. As the years went by, our lists were getting shorter all the time of course.

    So, maybe it is not a question of your being too sensitive; it is rather a question of many people having poor manners these days, including the wealthy. In other words, of people being insensitive or ill-informed. Some may not even understand how important a rsvp is, let alone what a rsvp is all about.

    I am sorry for your son, but maybe fewer children at the party will make their interaction more amusing and even more intense. When you have to give soup to many people, it gets watery in the end, if you see what I mean. So, a more compact party can often be more successful. But I know it may be hard for a kid to understand this.

    Anyway, there is nothing you can do. I don't think you should take it personally, however. Concentrate on your few selected guests (self-selected, so to say) and offer them a few surprises, if possible and if your son agrees with it. Tell him that it is not about people rejecting him, it's rather about people not knowing what they are missing out.

    Old 09-17-2008, 03:28 PM   #4
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    Re: RSVP for birthday party

    To be totally honest, and this is going to sound terrible, I didnt think people really RSVP'd anymore, atleast not really to kids birthday parties. I guess for us we have an unwritten rule that if we come to your childs birthday party with a gift, you are going to come to ours. Its a give and take you know. The people who RSVP are the ones who arent in out system yet. Then to take care of food, we write on the invitation, "Come early for lunch before the party starts" and if more people show up then hot dogs on the grill we order a pizza. I really try and not take these things too personally. One year we had the party at the park and rented a jump house. Only about half the kids we invited showed up but a bunch of kids in the park wanted to play in the jump house, so we let them. 2 of those moms are my close friends now and we always go to each others kids birthdays.
    BTW I saw your other post about the mom. I think she sounds petty and ridiculous and if other people are going to let her determine what they do I think you most likely dont want them at the birthday party anyways. You are the bigger person sending out enough invites for everyone and I am sure you kid is going to have a blast either way. I know my kids have fun no matter what they do on their birthdays simply because its their birthdays. OK sorry to ramble.

    Old 09-17-2008, 10:32 PM   #5
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    Re: RSVP for birthday party

    Thank you for your encouraging words. The last few days have been an emotional ordeal for both me and my husband. I have had birthday parties for my kids since they were born and every year there are people who don't bother to rsvp nor come, but it has never been like this. My husband is starting to question if this is the right school for our kids. He says that if this is the way the parents are, maybe we shouldn't be there. It is true, a lot of the parents can't wait to let you know how much money they have and about their vacations in the Hamptons and their full time maids, etc. The problem is that I don't think that the lack of rsvp has anything to do with wealth. We had a similar situation last year when we had a party for my younger son. Those parents were not wealthy, they were middle class or working class. That time I excused it with the fact that I didn't know most of the parents, but this time there is no such excuse. I know all these people who haven't bothered to write me a simple email and let me know whether they are coming or not.
    I personally feel that having 10 kids at the party is good, but the problem is that my son expected to have 40 kids plus their siblings. I am having a hard time explaining to him that people are flakey and inconsiderate. I feel so disappointed in all these people and really have a hard time understanding why it is so hard to write an email and say that you can't come. It is so rude to disregard somebody's invitation that was mailed to their house.
    I guess my biggest issue here is a fear that this is directed towards my son and that he is being rejected by the parents. He reads the paper and then he questions sensitive issues, like religion, etc. He also reads movie reviews and talks about it in school. Some parents seem to want to protect their children from this kind of discussion. Two years ago a mother from my son's former school called me and was very upset that my son had told her son that there is no Santa Claus. She was furious. These are the kind of topics that make me feel slightly paranoid. I am thinking that parents are boycotting his party because of something he said.
    Actually, I just found out today that he read an article about a certain situation in a different part of the world. He discussed this in school leading a parent who is from this particular part of the world to get offended. But, what am I supposed to do? I don't want to forbid him to read the news in the paper. There is also freedom of speech in this country. He just repeated what he had read in the Daily News paper.
    Anyway, this is the last big birthday party that I am giving. Next year he can pick a few friends whose parents I know and invite only them. For now, I can't wait for this party to be over. I also fear that some of the people who said that they'll come, won't show up, but I just have to wait and see.

    Old 09-19-2008, 06:45 AM   #6
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    Re: RSVP for birthday party

    This is exactly why I have been hesitant to throw a big birthday party for my daughter, who is 5. The big thing around here is to have a party outside the house, at a gymnastics place, at a pottery place or somewhere like that. But you have to fork over a bunch of money and I don't want to do that for just a couple of kids! Plus I don't have a lot of family where I live, so if kids from her school didn't come, there aren't a whole lot of people to fill the void. What has worked so far is just inviting one friend for her to do something special with. When she turned 5 I took her and a friend to the fair, then the little girl spent the night. She had presents and cake and they had a blast. Maybe I'll throw her a sweet 16 party, lol!

    I'm sorry your son had to go through this...this kind of stuff is always painful.

    Old 09-20-2008, 12:57 PM   #7
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    Re: RSVP for birthday party

    kyliesmama, it is the big thing here too. Fortunately, we are giving the party in a park, so at least there is no fee per child. This has been so stressful for me, it is ridiculous. Throwing a party for your child should be fun, instead I have been under a tremendous amount of stress the last week because of it. I still can't understand how flakey middle aged people are. Most parents are 40+ and you would think they would have the courtesy to at least let you know whether they will be coming to the party or not. There are still quite a few people who never responded. I don't get what this is about.
    Now, I am starting to get cancelations on top of everything. Somebody who had said they are coming just emailed to say they can't make it.
    I would never consider putting myself or my kids through this kind of stress again. Next year I'll invite a few kids whose parents I know well.

    Old 10-26-2008, 01:55 AM   #8
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    Re: RSVP for birthday party

    I think you are making way more out of this than you should. Why is it so important to you that all these people show up? I think that your son may be picking up on your sensetivity to this issue and that may be what is making him upset.

    Maybe your husband is right and this school isn't for your son. I've also read some of your other posts and it seems like you are trying to hard and are more concerned with fitting in than with your sons education and, ultimately, that is what a school is for.

    I hope that you are able to find some happiness.

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