My son just realized that he was the only kid on his hockey team to not be invited to another player’s birthday party. These kids are seven years old, turning eight. My son is having a birthday party in two weeks and we invited everyone on the team. It was a big discussion in our family because he also wanted to invite his classmates.
My son goes to a small school with only 20 kids in his grade. There are 14 on his hockey team. That’s a lot of kids for a party, so I originally said no. But then a mom of a girl in the grade called to ask me if I would mind her planning a birthday party for her daughter on the same day, just for the girls. Since their class is pretty evenly split, and the activity she is planning is particularly nonathletic, and our party is very athletic, I thought it would be fine, knowing the group.
As a result, we invited the entire hockey team. And that invitation went out at least a week before this other child’s party happened. So even if not inviting my son was an oversight, the parents had at least a week to fix the situation.
My son is so hurt, and so confused. They are a tight team, and he thought he was friends with everyone. What should I do?
It may take strength, but I feel you should reach out to the other child’s mother. At worst, she’ll avoid you and you’ll never know the story. Not much better would be if she responded with something about your child and her child that you are unaware of. But at best, it may have been an ugly oversight, a genuine mistake, and then you two can talk it out. Hopefully, she will respond with remorse and a plausible explanation.
Either way, the biggest lesson for your child here is that no matter how other people treat you, you should always default to doing the “right thing.” In this case, still including that boy in his birthday celebration.
My mother-in-law is over the top involved in our family life. She’s generous and fun, and always available to pick-up or drop-off one of her grandchildren. But I almost feel as though I have to cross-reference my schedule with hers, lest she feel I’m not taking her into consideration.
It’s not that way at all. Our kids have lots of extracurricular activities during the week and on the weekends, but we have dinner with my parents and my in-laws, together, if possible, at least once a week. And my husband and I like to go out with friends once a week if possible.
My mother-in-law has plans six nights a week, often including us, or one of the kids. But if, for example, we get tickets to a concert, she gets so annoyed that we’ve “taken” a day from her. It’s ridiculous!
How do we explain that our schedule doesn’t revolve around her, though we’re happy to include her?
You don’t realize how lucky you are to have the support and love of your parents, and your husband’s parents. And the fact that your MIL spends so much time with your children is a gift – for everyone.
But you and your husband are absolutely allowed alone time, and nuclear family time, both without your mother-in-law. In order to keep the peace, I suggest a once-a-month calendar meeting with her (after you’ve spoken to your husband, of course). Together, look at dates and events for the month ahead.
This will appease her, and help you stay organized.
FEEDBACK Regarding the teacher who yells (Oct. 10):
Reader – “The teacher yells at the kids because she can. This provides her some relief for whatever more serious frustrations she may be experiencing in her life. She almost certainly doesn't yell at her teacher peer group or vice principal/principal.
“She may be the sole caregiver for a sick and demanding parent, be in a bad marital relationship, be heavily in debt.... any number of reasons, not related to her teaching work or the kids' behaviour.
“Suggesting that a parent get involved will just single this particular child out for more personal abuse, marking down, etc...”
Lisi – Her background reasons for being upset, so much so that she needs to yell, don’t actually matter. Yelling at students is unacceptable. If she needs to sort her life out, she should take a day off. But teachers are not allowed, in 2023, to take their aggressions out on their students. That’s abuse.