The politics of children’s birthday parties can be quite a contentious topic for parents.
But on Saturday, it was one dilemma in particular that started a fascinating conversation on parenting forum Mumsnet. And it’s a scenario many mums and dads will be familiar with.
The concerned mum essentially wanted to know whether ‘two-tier’ birthday parties, where a group of kids are invited to a party during the day, and only a select few are then invited to spend the night or stay for the rest of the event, are mean.
“I have never had any parties for my children where a proportion of the invitees are invited for a sleepover, and the rest go home,” she wrote. “My view has always been that these provoke bad feelings in the ones who have to go home, somehow thinking they are ‘second tier’ friends.”
“My poor [son], it seems, has been invited to one of these parties and will be coming home when others at the party are transported back for a sleepover.
“Your views on this? I understand that some parents want to do exactly what their children want, maybe can’t fit all children in their home for a sleepover, etc. but am I being unreasonable to expect parents to do the adult thing and treat all partygoers the same on the day, and perhaps have a sleepover at a different time?”
Immediately, parents started to weigh in, acknowledging that ‘two-tier’ birthday parties are very common. While some said it sounds like “hard work” and is a “crap” idea, others insisted that there are some circumstances where it’s perfectly justified.
Listen: People are now registering gifts for their kids’ birthday parties. Post continues after audio.
“I think it’s fine as long as the sleepover invitees are the minority,” wrote one mum. “My daughter has been to lots of parties where this has been the form, and quite often [no more than] 2 or 3 were asked to sleep over. It was not a problem.”
Another reiterated, “I wouldn’t give it a second thought! Couldn’t invite more than 2 to our house for a sleepover because of space. If it was EVERY child APART from your son that would be mean but if not I don’t see a problem.”