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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Calling All Moms For A Little Advice

Thank God for blogging. Anytime I start to second guess myself when it comes to my daughter, I have the best opinions and experience to draw on right here.

So here's my latest "Should I or Shouldn't I?" question.

My daughter has been going to pre-school since September. During that time, she has made plently of little friends and I have met several of the moms while we wait outside for class to end.

My daughter just turned four this month. Many of her little friends are also celebrating birthdays and inviting her to their parties. The first one was easy to attend. That mom made it clear that parents were more than welcome to stay to watch over and it was held in a recreation center. This felt comfortable to me, the other moms I knew would be there and it was being held in a place with lots of parking and room for everyone. This center only charges $25 so it is very affordable for anyone to book a party.

The question I have now is that my daughter has been invited to a "house" birthday party. I hardly know the mother and her little boy is new to the school. I had to ask the teacher who he was when I didn't recognize his name. When I asked my daughter about him, the first words out of her mouth were "I don't like Michael".

So I tracked down his mom next time I was waiting for class to end. I asked her about the birthday party and found out they have several pets (my daughter is not used to being around animals). Then when I asked if parents would be attending, she hesitated before saying that I could stay if I wanted to. I made some excuse about our cottage and that I would get back to her about whether or not my daughter would be attending. Personally, I think that hanging around to watch my daughter in a house where I hardly know the parents is just plain weird.

Two questions today:

"How old were your children when you felt comfortable dropping them off at a birthday party when you hardly knew the parents?"


"Would you tag along with your child and then hang around in a house where you didn't know the adults or care to?"

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Dual Mom said...

Deb - if she doesn't like the kid I wouldn't make her go. Having said that, she may want to go just because others in her class are talking about the party.

My kids are teenagers and I still hesitate to let them go visiting to places where I haven't met the parents on more than one occassion.

I don't think I started doing the drop off at a party thing until the kids were in school.

Melanie said...

I love your blog! I just came across it today from 'blog candy' by 'grandmayellowhair'.

I can definitely empathize with you. My son is 5, and I have not sent him solo to any parties yet. I just don't feel comfortable in this day and age unless i really, and I mean really know [and trust] the family.
One red flag would be that your daughter doesn't like this child. I would go with her instincts here if she feels that something is 'off'. If she was begging you to go, it would be different, but it sounds like she will thank you for not sending her. It might be scary for her, anyway, without her parents there and around a child she doesn't feel comfortable with.

Hoping that whatever you decide will leave you at peace. It's hard being a mommy!

~ ~

GunDiva said...

You're daughter's been clear when she said she didn't like the kid, make your excuses and don't worry about it. She shouldn't have to go if she doesn't even like the kid.

As far as when my kids were allowed to go to birthday parties unattended, I'd have to say it depended on the party. Certainly by 8 or 9 they could go alone if it was held in a public place (like the roller rink or a kids oriented party place), if it was at someone's house, I always hesitated to let them go alone. I was lucky that most of the parents were like me and would rather book outside the house and not have to worry about a bunch of heathens tearing through it.

Rheanna Bristol said...

Bottom line as mom. Go with your gut. If you feel uneasy, there is a reason for it. Its better to deal with missing it rather than any regrets you have of her going. It always sucks to say, 'I knew I shouldn't have done that..."
Maybe schedule an ice cream date with Mom at the same time as the party to distract her from it. She'll still have fun and you will be creating memories with her. Not only that, but it sounds like she is not all the excited to go anyway.
For all your worries, she will probably forget by Monday that she even missed it!!!

Good Luck! I hope I gave good advice.

Oh, and my kids oldest ones are 8 & 6 and I don't allow them anywhere where I don't know the family or the surroundings. Just too risky. It was okay when we were kids, but not now.

GunDiva said...

There's an award for you at my place.

Dee at Pedestrian Palate said...

This was always a case by case basis for me. Go with your gut.

Elizabeth said...

Like a lot of other comments said, she doesn't like the little boy, even if other's talk about the party, she doesn't seem to care if she went. Make you RSVP of no and leave it that.

Our kids were probably 8-10 when they went unaccompanied. But most the time the parties were within are circle of friends. I don't remember ever going to one where I didn't know the parents. Shut it wasn't until their junior/senior year of High School before they could to the movies unaccompanied. Even then we drove them and picked them up. My kids were not alllowed to drive till their senior year of high school. We were constantly badgered about being to strict.

All I can say is now, they appreciate all we did and we have a fireman and policeman, and our daughter runs the office for our business and works as a children's minister within the church.

Macey said...

I would say, like the others, go with your gut.
If you feel uncomfortable leaving her there and want to stick around even though you don't know the parents well, then do it.
If she doesn't really even want to go, than no harm no foul!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

If you're uncomfortable with this party, and she doesn't like the child, why not organise a special outing that just happens to 'clash' with the party? Something you'd both enjoy. Might get you off the hook....

Shamrocks and Shenanigans said...

Deb, my kids are not little anymore but when they were I would not make them go to a party of a child they didn't like. And you can not leave your child at a house that you are not completely comfortable with. You dont know this lady, she isn't one of your friends, you dont have a friend staying, so make an excuse and get your kids out of the situation. I am sure there are other things that are going on that day, honestly so you it isn't like you would be lying. lol
Make sure you tell your daughter that you have other plans and she wont be able to attend so she doesn't accidentally say something like "I dont like you so we aren't going" because you know how outta the mouth of babes are!
Hope this helps!
Shamrocks and Shenanigans

Anonymous said...

My daughters are turning four in two weeks and I have a party at our home. I invited the parents because (1) I'm not going to baby sit 10 four year olds for two hours and (2) I would not allow my daughters to go to a party solo at this age. They are too young and too many things can go wrong. I would really question the sanity of a parent that will have a party for four year olds without their parents. What if something happened to a kid at your home? No thank you!!

My one daughter is petrified of dogs and would have a heart attack if left alone with animals in a house surrounded by strangers. My other daughter will probably burn the house down if not supervised at ALL times! So there is no way I will leave them with strangers at this age.

Mama-Face said...

OH, this is an easy one for me.

She's too young. I would have a hard time letting my 9 year old attend a party when I didn't know the people-especially if he was not interested in going anyway. I've RSVP'd no plenty of times; no explanation necessary. No feelings hurt. I think birthday parties are a pain the butt and some people feel obligated to invite everyone.

IF she were to absolutely want to go, then, yes, I would hang around. You could always play with the kids. :)

Posh Totty said...

My little man is 8 in a few months and I still have not left him at a birthday party unattended.

If it was someone we hardly knew or at a place I was uncomfortable with, we would just not go, simple as that.

Saying that, I hold birthday parties in my home and we have a dog, but she is kept in her crate at all times while other children are here, she is a big softy and would not harm anyone, but I am never sure which children like dogs and which don't say always play it safe.

Also I encourage my sons friends parents to stay if that is possible for them as I prefer it if there are more adults here to help watch the kids.

RN Mama said...

I think this might be my first time commenting on your, HELLO:)

I have 2 daughteres who are 4 and 6. My 6 year old has been to several parties, but I didn't leave her "alone" at one until she was 5.

As far as tagging along...yes, I would tag along. I would and I have:) The most awkward tagalong was one where my daughter and I were the ONLY white people there! My husband has even went to parties, we sort of take turns:)

I also wouldn't feel bad about your daughter not attending this party if she doesn't like the boy. Sometimes the parents feel obligated to invite all the kids in the class, but in my experience only about half the kids end up coming.

I feel like I'm blabbing on and on, so sorry about that!

cheeky rose said...

I think everyone has covered it. I recall my son being asked several times by a school mate to tea (an English thing) and he refused because he did not like the boy, so I invited the boy round to tea because i felt embarrassed as the mother had approached me to ask on behalf of her son, my son was not impressed, he was 8.
The first time my son when out to a party he was 4, then I lived in the country and although we did not mix socially we knew the parent at nursery pretty well. However I did not say yes to every parents. If every they were invited over to a friend, I would call the parents and ask to meet them and they all were very understanding, I don’t know if this helps

Mixed Reflections said...

Good question. I think D-Man was 5 when we first did this...but it really depends on the circumstances. If there are lots of other kids there, and if we've actually met the parents (even if not really knowing them). Such a hard call. Hate it when it comes to making decisions about this...because it's so apparent that we can't protect our kids from every experience. But we have to guard them against really bad possibilities!

mommy_sammyk said...

I'm not a mom by any means, but I thought I could share something. I heard something (TV, radio, I don't know) today that hit a chord with me just now. Kids know what they like or don't like as soon as they look at something. I thought it was pretty cool because that's really how they do things.

As for me, I wasn't over solo at a friends house until I was 7 or 8. And my parents didn't start dropping me off at a random house until middle school.

Melinda said...

How old were your children when you felt comfortable dropping them off at a birthday party when you hardly knew the parents?"

She's 17's been a helluva year.


"Would you tag along with your child and then hang around in a house where you didn't know the adults or care to?"

This is a big clue that your daughter shouldn't go....When my daughter was 4 I ran into the same problem and when I was talking to the mom who I didn't really know I said 'so, you keep all your guns locked up right?' She hesitated!!! and then said 'I think so.'
Hmmm, ya unfortunately we can't attend the party...but I sent a gift anyway.

Debbiedoos said...

My thoughts Deb....for one you do not know them, they are new to the area, for two, your daughter is not fond of him....for three No I would not drop my four year old off at strangers house. It is really no harm in saying she just can't make it, it is not like she is going to even ever have a connection with this little boy, so don't sweat it, go with your gut, the fact you questioned the entire thing tells me your gut was flip floppin!~

Simply Suthern said...

Thats pretty simple to me. If my kids didnt like them they didnt go. If we didnt know them they either didnt go or we stayed. If the other mom didnt understand thats a red flag.

Buckeroomama said...

If she likes the kid and the only thing is that you don't know the parents, but you can stay and watch, then I'd go. BUT if she doesn't even like the kid and if you don't feel comfortable about leaving her there alone or even staying there with her, then, I'd say give it a pass. Don't sweat it. Do what you feel is right.

We've so far never let our children attend a party where at least one of us is present, too. But then, most parties here include the parents.

Jen said...

I'd say skip it. Around here it seems that most parties didn't become 'drop off' until 1st or 2nd grade. We've had parties in our backyard for preschool aged kids & the parents stayed, as I expected that they would. Since you don't know them I wouldn't worry about being 'busy' that day.

Helene said...

When in doubt, I always ask my kids if they want to go. Most often times, they do want to attend. Because of the age of my kids, I always stay at the parties, regardless of whether it's at a public place or someone's home. When my kids are older, that's a whole nother ball game. For right now, any parent who discourages me from staying, my children will NOT be attending those parties.

With that said, if your daughter says she doesn't like the boy and doesn't want to attend, you can always RSVP no. No harm, no foul. But if she changes her mind and wants to attend, I'd just let the mother know that you feel more comfortable staying. I usually just say, "Well, I know how much I'd appreciate the extra help if I had 20 5-yr olds running around so I'd be happy to help if you need it."

Trust me, no one turns down free help!

Bottom line - go with your gut!!

brainella said...

We always leave it up to our son to decide if he wants to go. And then we go with him -- we've been to homes and activity centers. He's too young to leave unattended at a party even with people I know well. That's me; go with how you feel. That's always the safest bet. :)

Tammy said...

I agree with other commentors...don't make her go if she doesn't like the kid! Most parents invite the whole class so that no one feels bad.

Emily is 9 and around 7 she didn't need me staying around anymore. Brad is 7 but still likes me around. It really depends on how well we know the family/child on whether we stay.

You don't have to go to every party! Believe me! You will go crazy if you do...let her go to her favorite friends and that's it. I hope this helped! It looks like you have had some great advice so far!

adrienzgirl said...

I wouldn't take her or send her to a party of a child she didn't like.

As for other parties that she may want to go to with similar circumstances? Tough one. I think my kids were older. Definitely at least in school. Most preschool aged parties include parents. Optional for parents to leave if they would like.

Bunnym said...

This is easy...been there, done that.
First of all, your daughter doesn't have to go to every party she's invited to, especially when she doesn't like the boy. Sometimes parents invite the whole class as to not shun someone. Secondly, It doesn't matter how you feel about not knowing the parent, if you can't stay with your child at someone's house that you don't know, tough tacos. She's your have a right to be where she is. And thirdly, I think it depends on your kid as far as leaving her at someone's house. Do you know the parents? Is your daughter responsible enough? Who else is going? so on and so on. I just depends on how you your instincts. Are you totally confused now?


Anonymous said...

You seem uncomfortable, so I wouldn't send her alone, esp. since you don't really know them. And since she doesn't like him, maybe you should let her decide if she wants to go. I never sent my kids alone to a part until they were in probably K or 1st grade and I scoped them out first.

Jennifer said...

Personally, I think it's a little wierd to have a preschooler party where the parents aren't invited to stay.

Sorry - but if 1) my daughter doesn't like the kid, 2) you don't know the parents very well, and 3) no other parents are invited - then my daughter's not going.

My girl's birthday parties are for parents and kids alike. It's basically the two times out of the year that we get to entertain - and by gosh, we're going to live it up and do it right!

Good luck making your decision, but I think deep down, you already have!

Susan said...

Too funny...I just blogged about my daughter's bday party at MY house!! haha...but she is a lot older! I am soooo over protective so I may not be a good one to ask but you did so I'm responding:) I think 4 years old is too young to be dropped off at basically a stranger's home...and it doesn't sound like your sweetie cares for this kid either (don't make her go if she doesn't want to)...if she does want to go I would go with her and stay and take a book! No one says you have to sit there and communicate with this other mom... she will probably be too busy with the kids anyway...

Good luck and let us know what you decided... :) have a great day!

Stephanie said...

I give you permission to skip this one:)
Seriously. Go ahead an make a polite excuse as to why you can't go. As a Mom you always have to follow that little nagging voice inside your head and since you had to ask the masses, I think yours is saying you are not comfortable leaving your baby at this party.
My girls are 11 and 8 and I still have them bow out of parties I am not comfortable with! I may be overprotective, but we only get one shot with our kids:)

Anonymous said...

Not experienced with this yet. Ryan is not social and never wants to go to parties or other peoples houses (unless it's family)
I agree with the others go with your gut feeling. And if she doesn't like this little boy, I wouldn't send her.

Shannon K. said...

Okay, first off...since she doesn't even like him, I would just not have her go at all.

But second, in answer to your quesiton...I think she is too young to be left at someone's house. At least someone you don't know. Who knows what they are all about, and who knows how the pets will react to all the kids? What if one of them has an off day and bites a kid...your kid?

We let Drew stay at a house party when he was 8. I just don't feel comfortable much before that. Even then, I feel like we need to know more about the family...oh, and YES...way weird to hang around the house to watch. I'd just pass on it all together this time around.

JennyMac said...

MiniMac is only 3 so we are several years from "drop off" parties. I think I might stay for a short bit just to check your comfort level. If things seem to go well, you can leave and return.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

I had to know the parents really well before I just dropped my kids off at any age. Sweetie, it sounds like your gettin' negative vibes from your gut here. I'd listen to my inside voice here and bow out of the party.

God bless ya and have a wonderful week!!!

Danielle said...

I have zero advice since my daughter is only 3 and hasn't been invited to that kind of thing yet, but thanks for asking this. I love the answers you are getting. It will help me when we are ready for this!

Hannah Gold said...

Okay, I have not read through all of the comments, but here is my two cents as an experienced mom of an almost 15 year old.

Never do I make my child attend a party of a child she does not like. My 7.5 year old was invited by a boy in her class who she cannot stand. We just said we were busy.

Also, I am very leary of letting any of my children to a house of people whom I do not know when they are young. Now, I had to get over that with my high schooler, but she never goes alone...she always goes with a group of friends-who are GIRLS!!! And I ask for a land line and will go to the door if necessary to make sure a parent is present.

I dropped off at a party of someone I do not know around age 8 or 9 at public places that are small. Someone's house? I can't recall her going to many of those. The oens I remember, I knew the parents well.

Mammatalk said...

I'd skip it. There will be plenty of more parties as she gets older. I think a young 4 is way too young for a drop off party. I still stay with my young 5 year old at parties.

Leslie said...

I'm with Mammatalk. Skip it. I would definitely stay with my four year old. Mine is 13 and I still want to meet the parents before I'll let him stay for a party!

Unknown said...

We are not at the drop off stage yet, either.

I would forget about it, especially since you don't know them well and your daughter doesn't even like the kid.

If you ask me, the birthday stuff w/ kiddos has gotten way outta hand. Everyone inviting 50 kids to their parties, going all out, when the kids are so little and won't even remember....

I had a big party for my girls' 4th, and honestly, I think it was more for me...for being so excited to even have them in the first place after all we went through, etc....but all the parents were there and it was crowded and crazy and overwhelming....but fun.

I digress.
Don't go! It's not a big deal---plenty more parties to come!

Kitty Moore said...

I'm still not at the stage where I could drop Mia off at a party if I don't know the parents.

If Mia really wanted to go then I would hang around. But if she didn't even like the kid having the party, I would just save us both the bother and decline the invitation!

Anonymous said...

My answers match Dual Mom's...if she doesn't know him/like him...I would nix the whole idea.

My oldest is 13 and I still don't let her go where I don't know who is who...

God why do they have to grow up?

Aunt Juicebox said...

If he's new, maybe she hasn't had time to get to know him, but if she doesn't want to go, she shouldn't have to, and if she does want to go, no way in hell would I drop my pre schooler off at a person's home that I don't know. I'm still a little weird about letting my 16 yr old go to friend's houses when I haven't met their parents.

Frugal Vicki said...

My little one is still too young to go alone, but I am fully with you...I would NOT leave my little one alone at a house I was not completely comfortable with. There are just too many weird things these days!

TheFitHousewife said...

Oh dear, we are running into this issue at preschool as well. No, I wouldn't let Caleb go to a house bday party alone. Personally, he's just not ready for that. However, I would tag along with him even if I didn't know the other guests. It would be a good opportunity for him to meet some other kids and perhaps for me to meet some moms!

gayle said...

Haven't read the other comments but just wanted to let you know what I think. I don't think your little girl wants to go to the party so I wouldn't make her go. I agree she is too young to be left by herself. I don't know what age is a good age to leave them...I think you just have to trust your gut on these type of things. You are doing a great job!!

Mae Rae said...

wow. it is such an awesome feeling to know that you can ask the bloggy world and they will tell you what you need to hear. I recently had the same deal where I needed advice. To answer your two questions though. My children are 16, 13 and 9. I still do not let my children go to parties where I do not know the parents. And if the parent weirds me out, well then there is always an excuse that can be used. and NO! I don't like people I don't know. I am uncomfortable discussing or making small talk to perfect strangers...OMG, I almost believed myself with that one. Anyway, no, i would not go because I am a in-to-it person. I don't sit.

Tiffanee said...

Go with your gut feeling!! I do not let my kids go by themselves to homes where I do not know the adults. In this situation I personally would "Opt" out and not feel guilty about it. Good luck!!

Respectfully Yours said...

I am late with my comment, sorry. But, first rule of thumb for any mom - "trust your antenna" (that is what my mom always used to say, and her advice is tested and true)

If it doesn't feel right, trust that feeling. Even as you described the story, I didn't have a good feeling and she is not my daughter. I would say, skip the party for sure. Good luck.

She is so young to be left alone.

Anita said...

My kids were probably first grade before I dropped them off at a party that was held in a rented facility - and only if the facility had only one event going on. In other words, I wouldn't leave them at a bowling alley...I'd stay.
Same for house parties - no drop off unless I knew the parents. I felt comfortable with the drop off at a house when I didn't know the parents, also at about first grade...after asking all the parents of the other invitees if their kids were going to be there. I wanted my kids to be comfortable and to have at least one good friend at the party too.
When my kids were four, I declined an invite at the house of someone I didn't know, because I would not want to awkwardly hang around.
Hope that wasn't too confusing. :)
I see that you got lots of opinions. Let us know what you decided.

kyooty said...

I have another problem. I've been the mom holding the party and have had only 1 child out of 8 show up. :(