A couple of years ago, when Philomena and I were preparing her birthday party, she said “Mom, do I HAVE to invite x for my birthday party?”.
My short answer was YES -you have to!
She was a little worried, because she and x (a girl) had had a conflict in school. Not anything big, but a small incident where Philomena got really, really sad and now she didn’t feel like inviting that girl.
I can easily understand that it can be quite hard, especially for a child.
In Philomenas head it was quite overwhelming to invite someone, who had made her so sad and it made her nervous about the whole thought of having a birthdayparty. Of course it’s ok to feel like that and be nervous, but, to invite all the girls except one is simply NOT ok. No matter what their relation is like at the moment.
We talked a LOT about it all and I explained to her that I belive it’s bullying to exclude a child that way, which she kind of understood. Because she would also be really sad if she was the only one who wasn’t invited to another birthday party.
I have a rule, that if we make a birthday party for the girls from Philomens school class, we invite ALL the girls or NONE of them. There is no middle way!
Actually we often also invite the girls from the other class (there are two 1. grades, two 2. grade etc. classes at the school). But that is because the classes are so small, that we psycically have room for them all -even though we live in a small apartment.
Some might think that I’m a bit set in my ways on this matter, but during my own childhood & teenage years I tried a few times to be the one that was not invited. So I know the feelings of rejection and what it feels like to be left out and I would NEVER EVER do that to any child on purpose.
To allow that is in my opinion to allow and accept bullying. And adults should always be wise enough not to allow that.
Also it won’t improve the relation between the kids and it might leed to more conflicts. I talked with Philomena about all of this, so she understood why I wouldn’t allow her to invite everybody except x.
But Philomena was still not completely calmed down.
So we talked some more about the fact that the girl would be in our home during the birthday party. So I would keep an eye on all of them -and if something went wrong I would talk with both of them and if it went completely wrong I could call her parents. Then I could talk with them and they could pick her up.
I did NOT expect anything to happen at all, but the fact that we talked about it calmed Philomena down. She knew it was in our home under our (my) rules and that I would help & support her all the way.
So of course x was invited to the birthday party!
The time between handing out the invitations and having the actual birthday party was spend on a few more talks, whenever Philimena got nervous.
But the party went fine and they all had a great and fun time 😀