My Son is so Sad - Advice??


@prettyrainbow, I'm especially interested in hearing your thoughts given your profession and lack of parent involvement.

This past Saturday I threw my 8 y o son a birthday party at the movies. It was his first birthday party with his friends. His birthday is January 1 and it's so difficult to arrange a party with friends. People are with their families during the holidays. I can't throw a party before Christmas because everyone is too busy. I can't plan one for his birthday because people spend NYD with their families or nursing a hangover. Having one in the weeks following the new year never works because everyone is tired from the holidays and tired of spending $$$.

My son has always had a party each year, but only with friends and family. This year I asked him to wait until the summer months so we can have more options and do things outside in warmer weather. We spent lots of time planning and organizing.

He decided he wanted a party at the movies. He selected the Angry Birds movie. Because of the high cost, I told him he could only invite his 4 best buds.

Here's the problem: we live in a big city and thing are just not the same as when I was younger (or even when my 20 y o daughter had bday parties). I have zero contact with his friends' parents. I know the kids well but never see their parents. I sent notes home with his four best friends before with my name and number to try to arrange a play date. Never got a response.

When we sent out the invitations, I included a note asking the parents to please RSVP as soon as possible because we only invited his 4 best friends - theatre parties are really expensive. I think I spent $100 on the party gift bags alone since there were only 4 invited.

Not one parent RSVP'd. I knew that was a bad sign but we still went. We waited and waited and no one showed up. I felt so terrible for my son. He was so upset.

We saw the movie as a family anyway and then went out to dinner. Next weekend we are going to make it up to him and take him to Chuck E Cheese for a day of fun.

What can I do to make things better next time? I can't force parents to respond. I don't ever see them at school - most of the kids are bussed or go to an after school program or walk home by themselves. Things just aren't the same anymore when you could get to know the parents of your kids' friends.

I don't know what to do.

Thoughts anyone? I feel so terrible for my son. I am having a hard time processing this. I made sure to tell him that I know his friends wanted to come but their parents' must have been busy and it was wrong for them not to reply. It didn't make him feel any better. Today at school his friends said they weren't able to go but they wanted to. He's still upset.

What do I do?
Jun 21, 2016 @ 02:14 am

16 Replies



I just re-read my first comment to you. I MEANT to say your opinion on lack of parent involvement with other parents these days and not YOUR lack of parent involvement!!! That was worded very badly, sorry!
Jun 21, 2016 @ 02:17 am


I feel so bad for your son! Maybe next time check with just a few of his closer friends and make sure the parents agree they are going to come. Otherwise just do something with the family and friends of the family...
Jun 21, 2016 @ 06:10 am


Thanks. Yeah, these are his 4 closest buds. He kept asking them if they were coming and they said "I think so". Even though I included a note in the invitations saying pls RSVP asap bc he was only inviting his 4 closest friends the parents didn't even try to contact me. They never pick up their kids from school so I have no way of talking to them. I gave the kids my number to give to their parents on another occasion to arrange a play date in the park and they didn't call me then either. I just have no idea what to do. I could have invited his whole class but I'm on disability right now and I couldn't afford 25 kids for a movie theatre party. I didn't have this issue with my daughter's friends.. I always knew the parents - they were more involved. Of course we lived in the suburbs then, but still...things seem to be really different now. I don't know any of the other parents and it's not for lack of trying on my part.
Jun 21, 2016 @ 07:04 am


That's so sad! I don't know that you could have done anything differently, this is totally on your son's friends' sucky parents.
The only thing I can think of to maybe change in the future is to get the kids' phone numbers from your son and call the parents directly.
Jun 21, 2016 @ 08:12 am


Oh noooo. I wish I had some advice for this, but I've experienced this at my own birthday party as an adult. Big hugs to your son :(
Jun 21, 2016 @ 08:27 am


Poor little guy, I have a son also and would hate for this to happen to him when he's older. I don't understand an adult who doesn't even call to say that they won't be there, they have kids and I'm sure they wouldn't like it if that happened to their child. Don't know if it would be possible for you to pick up the kids yourself next time? Than you wouldn't have to rely on the parents.
Jun 21, 2016 @ 08:55 am


It made me sad to read this for you and for your son.

When my boys were young, they were horrible at giving me notices, newsletters, and even invites to parties. More than once I got a call from the school asking what my son would be doing, as he was not going on a field trip that was happening...a trip I knew nothing about. Same thing with book fairs, etc... As I was a working mom, I picked them up at the after school program, so rarely saw their teachers directly. Maybe the other boys forgot to give their parents your note? It may very well be sitting at the bottom of their backpack, soaked in a broken juice box.

That being said, it is very rude for them not to have responded if they received the invite. RSVP means they should let you know either way...Like jcb75 said, maybe trying to get phone numbers and call the parents would work in the future? Does he have any of his friends phone numbers...or does he have a friend in the neighbourhood who you could include in your Chuck E Cheese outing?

Let your son know that there has been some kind of a communication error in the planning. He may feel like this is a reflection of how these boys feel about him. Speaking from personal experience, this is how self esteem can be messed up, and letting him know it was more of an adult error may soften the blow for him.

One last thought, do you have contact with his teacher? Maybe a quick call to make sure everything is okay socially at school would be an idea. Kids, even at such a young age, can be cruel, and have little cliques, and sadly parents are so busy they don't know until they get a call from the school.

And another last my boys got older their social life came more out of after school our case hockey and football...and then I did get to know the parents from practice, and games.

Let your son know that a lot of really cool chicks say Happy 1/2 year birthday!,
Jun 21, 2016 @ 09:25 am

No excuse

That is really bad for the children not to reply or even promise to come. Can't see the ages there but the parents should have at least responded. Maybe next time give directly to them? I grew up in a small town and everyone went to everyones parties, regardless of circumstances. I find that so sad. I hope your son enjoyed his day regardless..
Jun 21, 2016 @ 09:36 am

Thanks girls

You always have such good advice and sweet things to say! I will let Charlie know you said happy 1/2 birthday :)
I wish things were different at his school. It's the first school either of my kids went to that I didn't have opportunities to meet and get to know his friend's parents.
I was and am always the mum who had all the kids at my house. Their parents would often just drop them off or they would come after school and have weekend sleepovers. I would much rather have my kids home and know they're being cared for than to have them go to another kid's house where I don't know the parents. You never know if there's drugs or drinking or abuse or whatever. I'm so over protective, I know. It's just that I grew up in a terribly abusive environment and I need to know my children are safe.
I want to at least meet the parents. All the kids in his class know me and come hug me and say "hi Charlie's mum" cause they never remember my name lol. They're so sweet and his 4 good pals are sweet boys but I don't think their parents are really that involved in their lives. I try not to be judgmental in general - but I personally would not let my child walk home alone (like some Charlie's peers do) at age 8. Others may think I'm overprotective but I would rather be safe than sorry. Imo 8 is too young in our current world to be walking alone in a big city. Crossing 6 lanes of traffic at the intersection near the school is dangerous. And let's face it, we live in the downtown core and while it's all artsy and cultural with tons of stuff to do, it's also not the safest area in the city and technically it's an inner city school.
They have amazing programs and teachers and privileges that other schools don't have, because as an inner city school they get a lot of funding, which = excellent and free perks for the students. They have a totally free hot lunch program because sometimes that's the only meal some kids may get. It's not really as rough as it sounds - not like an inner city school in the states, for example. The perks they get are really amazing and they go on some awesome field trips. We both like the school, just the lack of parent to parent contact bothers me.
I might have him ask one friend to come to Chuck E Cheese with us an offer him a drive in case that's an issue. It really shouldn't be - there's plenty of public transportation in our city.
Thanks again for the advice and kind words. It's helpful :)
Jun 21, 2016 @ 01:26 pm

Just hoping you both have a great day!

Sounds like a plan, I think sometimes even just one friend is more than enough. I am happy you worked through this. It is not easy being a parent, that is for sure!
Jun 21, 2016 @ 01:39 pm

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