As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

About friends and who gets invited to very young children's birthday parties

BTPBTP Registered User regular
(I asked this in the D&D chat a while ago, but I'd like to hear more opinions if that's okay.)


I've got a question.

Those birthday parties you have when you're 4 and younger, before you went to school and made friends....

...Who was there?

Obviously mom and dad, grandmom and granddad, any aunts/uncles/cousins that could come as well.

But what about friends of the parents? Those friends that have been there with the parents through everything as they grew up.

Is this a strictly family thing, or do the parents also include their own friends during this time?

Perhaps another way to phrase this: When does NOT being with your friends for milestones happen?

(Aside: I won't be back to respond to posts in this thread for a couple of hours.)

Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection & DS High Scores Thread
I WILL NOT BE DOING 3DS FOR NWC THREAD. SOMEONE ELSE WILL HAVE TO TAKE OVER.
Spoiler contains Friend Codes. Won't you be my friend?
My Friend Codes!

More Friend Codes!
Mario Kart Wii: 3136-6982-0286 Tetris Party: 2364 1569 4310
Guitar Hero: Metallica: 1032 7229 7191
TATSUNOKO VS CAPCOM: 1935-2070-9123

Nintendo DS:
Worms: Open Warfare 2: 1418-7870-1606 Space Bust-a-Move: 017398 403043
Scribblenauts: 1290-7509-5558

Posts

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    First birthday especially is really a day for the parents. You're celebrating the child's first birthday, but the party is for the parents, and their friends are support.

    After that? Depends on the child. I would assume the child is getting socialization with other kids, and those kids become the focal point. But at least a few of the parents should come as well, if only to keep you sane.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    My parents did not waste time or money having birthday parties for me when I was that young. There are only two reasons people have birthday parties for children who are too young to remember it:
    1) They're rich twits who feel the need to blow money on pointless extravagances, or
    2) It's an excuse for people to get together and drink.

    The only reason someone would remember a party at that early of an age is if it went horribly wrong, like they almost drowned or someone caught on fire (with the story ending that you never forgot the smell of burning human hair and flesh and that's why you're scared of cooking with gas).

  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    The reasons for a kid's birthday party are going to vary with age, culture, and what the parents want to do. Starting out it's more a celebration for the parents and family/friends to get together and see the baby. As the child grows they're going to start making friends. Some as early as when they're crawling and others later. It's going to vary with everyone.

    What I'm saying is that there's really no one set answer.

  • KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    Mayabird wrote: »
    My parents did not waste time or money having birthday parties for me when I was that young. There are only two reasons people have birthday parties for children who are too young to remember it:
    1) They're rich twits who feel the need to blow money on pointless extravagances, or
    2) It's an excuse for people to get together and drink.

    The only reason someone would remember a party at that early of an age is if it went horribly wrong, like they almost drowned or someone caught on fire (with the story ending that you never forgot the smell of burning human hair and flesh and that's why you're scared of cooking with gas).

    Should people do nothing that their children enjoy until they're old enough to form permanent memories? Does nothing they do prior to the age of six, seven have any effect on their development?

    Sometimes people just love seeing their kids happy, and that can include seeing them blow out their candles on their cake when they're 4 years old.

    In this case, I wouldn't invite my friends unless they had similarly aged kids, probably.

  • BTPBTP Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    So would it be fair to say that, assuming you were one of the parents, it's more likely that you would include your close friends to celebrate the day than not?

    BTP on
    Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection & DS High Scores Thread
    I WILL NOT BE DOING 3DS FOR NWC THREAD. SOMEONE ELSE WILL HAVE TO TAKE OVER.
    Spoiler contains Friend Codes. Won't you be my friend?
    My Friend Codes!

    More Friend Codes!
    Mario Kart Wii: 3136-6982-0286 Tetris Party: 2364 1569 4310
    Guitar Hero: Metallica: 1032 7229 7191
    TATSUNOKO VS CAPCOM: 1935-2070-9123

    Nintendo DS:
    Worms: Open Warfare 2: 1418-7870-1606 Space Bust-a-Move: 017398 403043
    Scribblenauts: 1290-7509-5558
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Sure you can do enjoyable things, but arranging birthday parties is a giant hassle and headache and for a small child, they're not going to get anything positive out of it that they wouldn't get from just their regular everyday enjoyments, or some less elaborate situation - unless it's a regular day but also a slice of cake and a present or two they'll just end up overstimulated and tired and cry and scream by the end and won't appreciate the ritual that's going on. Unless the 'birthday party' is just an excuse to get together with people, there's no reason to waste time and energy elaborately put together the trappings of a party.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Karrmer wrote: »
    Mayabird wrote: »
    My parents did not waste time or money having birthday parties for me when I was that young. There are only two reasons people have birthday parties for children who are too young to remember it:
    1) They're rich twits who feel the need to blow money on pointless extravagances, or
    2) It's an excuse for people to get together and drink.

    The only reason someone would remember a party at that early of an age is if it went horribly wrong, like they almost drowned or someone caught on fire (with the story ending that you never forgot the smell of burning human hair and flesh and that's why you're scared of cooking with gas).

    Should people do nothing that their children enjoy until they're old enough to form permanent memories? Does nothing they do prior to the age of six, seven have any effect on their development?

    Sometimes people just love seeing their kids happy, and that can include seeing them blow out their candles on their cake when they're 4 years old.

    In this case, I wouldn't invite my friends unless they had similarly aged kids, probably.

    The point I would make is that different things are enjoyed by a younger child than are enjoyed by the parents. You, as a thinking adult, might enjoy a big party with a pinata or whatever, and a 10 year old would get something out of that, but a 4 year old would probably get more enjoyment out of a pillow fort and 1 close friend over.

    "If you divide the whole world into just enemies and friends, you'll end up destroying everything" --Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    I would also get more enjoyment out of a pillow fort.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    @Mayabird - Some kids can remember that far back. I remember stuff that happened when I was a baby, and a couple birthdays I should have been "too young" to remember.

    That being said, I had a couple friends I met at the park across the street when I was about that age. So my "birthday party" one year was playing with them, only there was cake and balloons, we got to jump on the furniture and I think they gave me a small present. Another year, my parents had my similarly-aged cousins visit for cake and stuff. But I didn't really like my cousins, so that wasn't as fun. When I was around four or five, we did a "gymnastics" themed birthday party where my cousins and some classmates went to the local rec center and we just all had a gymnastics lesson with an obstacle course for an hour, then cake and stuff in a room afterwards.

    When my brother was little, my mom did a scavenger hunt for him and his two best friends. Unfortunately, my brother had asked her to make it "cool" so she found a realistic looking Styrofoam skull and buried it in the sand-box as the penultimate riddle location. The boys thought it was real and ran away screaming. So I'd probably avoid doing that.

    If I was going to do a birthday party for a small kid now, I'd probably do one of the following:
    Pillow/blanket fort
    Day at a zoo or museum with friends
    Make a big thing of plaster of paris with toys hidden in it, let the kids break it to bits with a hammer (providing they're wearing goggles, of course)
    Let the kids roll in sand, play in mud, whatever they want that they're normally not allowed to do because of the mess.
    Give the kids cheap expired food and let them make "vomit soup" (basically mixing disgusting ingredients together to see what happens.)
    Dig out every cardboard box I own and help them build a cardboard fort/maze
    Buy 600 dixie bath cups (it's less than 15 bucks) and let the kids do whatever the heck they want with them

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    So here is the thing. There's no right answer but.. four is probably just old enough that they aren't going to get much enjoyment out of a bunch of adults standing around and chatting with each other. For a kid who is four, unless those adult friends have been in the KID'S life all along, or have kids themselves, I don't really think it's appropriate to invite my own friends to a party for a kid that age.

    My son is almost two and pretty sensitive. If we threw him a party he would have no idea what he was looking at but might end up very overwhelmed. We'll probably do what we did last year: take him to the park with a cupcake and let him have the whole thing, and then spend the day giving him our attention. We might take him to pick out a small toy that makes lots of noise. Those are the things he understands and enjoys best, and for us, that's all we really want out of the day. And maybe a 4-year-old won't care as long as everyone brings presents.

    I'm not really sure which side of the argument you're trying to win here, but it really depends on the kid, the friends, the activities, and the other guests.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Creagan wrote: »
    Let the kids roll in sand, play in mud, whatever they want that they're normally not allowed to do because of the mess.

    Confetti. Ohhhhhh how I would have loved a confetti party.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    ceres wrote: »
    Creagan wrote: »
    Let the kids roll in sand, play in mud, whatever they want that they're normally not allowed to do because of the mess.

    Confetti. Ohhhhhh how I would have loved a confetti party.

    I forgot about confetti! That would have been awesome!

    Or getting to paint something/each other. Or put stickers and band-aids all over something/each other! Or buy some ketchup and let them squirt each other outside! (My brother and a friend did that once, but they were fighting and it was inside the house.)

    Creagan on
  • lunchbox12682lunchbox12682 MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    I'll avoid the larger arguments and just lay out what we have done.
    Year 1: Grandma and grandpa only, as wife and I live on the other side of the US at the time. Note he's the first grandkid, so they made the 1K mile trip.
    Year 2: Immediate family and mom & dad friends plus whoever had kids at that point. Back at a more central US location.
    Year 3: Same as 2.
    Year 4: Party at the local Y. Invited class/friends from pre-school. Mostly cake and ice cream and the kids got to run around and have fun. No presents. The idea was mine and the kid's. Cost was maybe $300 for everything, but I think I'm overestimating.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Incidentally, is this for advice or curiosity? Because the former belongs here and the latter does not.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • BTPBTP Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Incidentally, is this for advice or curiosity? Because the former belongs here and the latter does not.

    Definitely advice. I have a feeling there's something going on among mutual friend(s) of a very dear friend of mine (where said mutual friends are logically "higher up" than me in this dear friend's life)

    I'm asking because I want to make sure I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection & DS High Scores Thread
    I WILL NOT BE DOING 3DS FOR NWC THREAD. SOMEONE ELSE WILL HAVE TO TAKE OVER.
    Spoiler contains Friend Codes. Won't you be my friend?
    My Friend Codes!

    More Friend Codes!
    Mario Kart Wii: 3136-6982-0286 Tetris Party: 2364 1569 4310
    Guitar Hero: Metallica: 1032 7229 7191
    TATSUNOKO VS CAPCOM: 1935-2070-9123

    Nintendo DS:
    Worms: Open Warfare 2: 1418-7870-1606 Space Bust-a-Move: 017398 403043
    Scribblenauts: 1290-7509-5558
  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Ill jot down some personal experience.

    My parents did throw birthday parties for me and my brothers when we were very young. They just made friends with a few other couples that either just had children (that were my age) or were soon going to have children. They used it as an excuse to get together with us toddlers and we would just have a good time, we would get presents and had cake. I grew up friends with my parents friends children, and I have known them all my life even to this day. They are very dear friends to me and I care very much about them.

    I don't have children of my own yet, but I can say that it was a positive experience for me to have people around me for my first and second birthdays, even if I didn't know the value of a friend at that time. Even though I cannot remember it now, I do have the video my father took of the event. My parents and their friends were focused on the children. While they did talk they did spend a lot of their time on the floor with us giving us attention.

    We became fast friends with the children of my parents friends and they would be at every birthday party until we got too old for birthday parties. They would help with the prep-work for the party the handling of me and my friends, I'm sure it helped my parents to have a few more adults around to make sure that we were safe, and probably let them enjoy the moment a bit more with the support of their friends. I can say that the group of friends they had over at my early on birthdays became more like family to me.

    Draygo on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    BTP wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    Incidentally, is this for advice or curiosity? Because the former belongs here and the latter does not.

    Definitely advice. I have a feeling there's something going on among mutual friend(s) of a very dear friend of mine (where said mutual friends are logically "higher up" than me in this dear friend's life)

    I'm asking because I want to make sure I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Okay. In that case, my advice to you is not to get involved. It's not really your business who a friend of a friend invites to their child's birthday party, and honestly not anyone's business but the parents'/child's. If someone in this equation (who is not you) is feeling hurt, then that person should talk to the people throwing the party and ask what went into the decision not to invite them, but the point is that you are not in the equation and inserting yourself in any way is probably a recipe for resentment.

    I personally think it's incredibly inappropriate to invite my friends to a party for a child that age unless they have children who are invited or they themselves are a very active part of my kid's life. If the story here is that someone is hurt because their friends didn't invite them to a party for a kid when they aren't friends with the kid, then that person probably has some growing up to do.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Mayabird wrote: »
    There are only two reasons people have birthday parties for children who are too young to remember it:
    1) They're rich twits who feel the need to blow money on pointless extravagances, or
    2) It's an excuse for people to get together and drink.

    You know what, this is pretty inappropriate and also incredibly assumptive. It's pretty far from wrong or even negatively telling to have a party for a small child. Don't make posts like this here; also namecalling of anyone doesn't contribute anything useful to your advice.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • BTPBTP Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    BTP wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    Incidentally, is this for advice or curiosity? Because the former belongs here and the latter does not.

    Definitely advice. I have a feeling there's something going on among mutual friend(s) of a very dear friend of mine (where said mutual friends are logically "higher up" than me in this dear friend's life)

    I'm asking because I want to make sure I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Okay. In that case, my advice to you is not to get involved. It's not really your business who a friend of a friend invites to their child's birthday party, and honestly not anyone's business but the parents'/child's. If someone in this equation (who is not you) is feeling hurt, then that person should talk to the people throwing the party and ask what went into the decision not to invite them, but the point is that you are not in the equation and inserting yourself in any way is probably a recipe for resentment.

    I personally think it's incredibly inappropriate to invite my friends to a party for a child that age unless they have children who are invited or they themselves are a very active part of my kid's life. If the story here is that someone is hurt because their friends didn't invite them to a party for a kid when they aren't friends with the kid, then that person probably has some growing up to do.

    RE First half of your post: I think there might be a slight misunderstanding. My very dear friend is the parent, not a friend of a friend.

    RE Second half of your post: Duly noted.

    Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection & DS High Scores Thread
    I WILL NOT BE DOING 3DS FOR NWC THREAD. SOMEONE ELSE WILL HAVE TO TAKE OVER.
    Spoiler contains Friend Codes. Won't you be my friend?
    My Friend Codes!

    More Friend Codes!
    Mario Kart Wii: 3136-6982-0286 Tetris Party: 2364 1569 4310
    Guitar Hero: Metallica: 1032 7229 7191
    TATSUNOKO VS CAPCOM: 1935-2070-9123

    Nintendo DS:
    Worms: Open Warfare 2: 1418-7870-1606 Space Bust-a-Move: 017398 403043
    Scribblenauts: 1290-7509-5558
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    BTP wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    BTP wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    Incidentally, is this for advice or curiosity? Because the former belongs here and the latter does not.

    Definitely advice. I have a feeling there's something going on among mutual friend(s) of a very dear friend of mine (where said mutual friends are logically "higher up" than me in this dear friend's life)

    I'm asking because I want to make sure I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Okay. In that case, my advice to you is not to get involved. It's not really your business who a friend of a friend invites to their child's birthday party, and honestly not anyone's business but the parents'/child's. If someone in this equation (who is not you) is feeling hurt, then that person should talk to the people throwing the party and ask what went into the decision not to invite them, but the point is that you are not in the equation and inserting yourself in any way is probably a recipe for resentment.

    I personally think it's incredibly inappropriate to invite my friends to a party for a child that age unless they have children who are invited or they themselves are a very active part of my kid's life. If the story here is that someone is hurt because their friends didn't invite them to a party for a kid when they aren't friends with the kid, then that person probably has some growing up to do.

    RE First half of your post: I think there might be a slight misunderstanding. My very dear friend is the parent, not a friend of a friend.

    RE Second half of your post: Duly noted.

    Okay then take what I said and reverse it. If the other person is family, well.. it can be hard for some people with family involved. But yeah, that's not something you want to be in the middle of.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    BTP wrote: »
    So would it be fair to say that, assuming you were one of the parents, it's more likely that you would include your close friends to celebrate the day than not?

    It probably depends on the friends. I wouldn't really care if a close friend threw a birthday party for their kid and didn't invite me unless I had a good bond with the kid.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Totally depends on parents and kid. Have been to a bunch of parties lately and they run the gamut from "party for parents" to "just get a bunch of kids together and have some cake" to "small gathering of family" etc.
    One of my friends kids specifically requested an "adult party" where he got to see all his parent's adult friends separate from his daycare friends. From my own limited parenting experience, you just roll with what your kid is looking for (within reason).
    If you're not invited or they're struggling, the question is "does our kid want them there or are they a direct relation (aunt/uncle, grandparents)?"

  • LibrarianLibrarian The face of liberal fascism Registered User regular
    If your friends have kids at the same age I would invite them.
    If your friends don't have any kids, they probably don't care about this. I know that I would make up an excuse before I moved my ass to the birthday of a 4 year old.

  • ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    From the perspective of someone who has been invited a friend's child's birthday party I will say this:

    If you're not close to the child or have kids who are friends with them, it's a little awkward. Being somewhere where there's only children and parents when you don't have any kids of your own is a strange thing.

    After that experience, it would not bother me one bit to not be invited.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    If I'm understanding the OP's request correctly:

    Tell your friend that they set the rules. That's pretty much it. If they want an adult party for adults, they can do that. If they want a party for the kids, they can do that. If they want a family-only no-friends party, they can have one. If they want a pure social gathering that is free from the obligation of trying to keep grandpa from being a racist jerk, they can have that party, too. If they want one giant clusterfuck with everyone showing up doing whatever they want, well that's gonna be a huge PITA but whatever floats their boat. The key for the party (any party, really) is that they make the expectations incredibly clear up front, and communicate them accordingly.

    Also, I get the feeling that this is about people expecting to be invited who aren't, or some such nonsense. People who expect themselves to be invited to certain things, and are the type who can't come out and say something and are instead passive-aggressive enough to make an issue out of it via other people are just not worth bothering with. I'm not offended at all if someone throws a party for their kid and they don't invite me. The last thing I want is to show up as the random dude without kids to a children's party, or some other similar awkward situation.

  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    I'd say rule of thumb is for the first birthday, invite everyone invited to the baby shower or equivalent.

    After that, inviting your parents / grandparents, siblings, and maybe your aunts / uncles (if you are close) is fine. Maybe even just getting together with immediate family for dinner. It doesn't have to be some two-three hour thing on a Saturday, just sitting down for an hour or two for cake and presents. If you've got friends who have kids around the same age, doing some sort of semi-informal thing is fun too, it's an excuse to get together and everyone likes cake.

    Once your kids start getting around 4-5 and have their own friends, adding a few of them and their parents into the mix is fine. You don't need to have a party every year, but the milestones (1, 5, 10) are pretty important.

    We've done 'real' birthday parties every year for our daughter (five) and they are pretty fun. Kids birthday parties are one of the only times we get to see all our friends together between work and being spread out over a couple counties, but if it starts feeling like an obligation or more trouble than it's worth you should go with your gut.

  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    Our daughter's first birthday was last month and we kept it pretty small. We invited friends who had kids around her age and then basically family/really really close friends. Admittedly the party was more 'for' us than 'for' her but it was fun none the less - and she got to do a little bit of playing around with some other kids. My only advice is try to keep it small - you want to keep the focus on the child's birthday - but it is still a great time to catch up with some friends.

Sign In or Register to comment.