Children’s birthday party and the nightmare child

So far, most of the parties that N has been invited to have mostly been via friends of mine – so NCT, friends from initial swimming classes, or neighbours.  I expect this will probably change next year once he starts school, but if any of his own parties end up like his cousin’s disco party, I will definitely despair.  I’m not sure I want to keep an eye on a whole lot of children I’m unlikely to have met before.

His cousin was turning 6 and held a party in one of the village halls.  Great idea as it’s a lovely hall, plenty of room, and all the organisation was great.  We walked in and N was a little dubious.  Of course you would be unless you were a really confident 3 year old, going to a party where everyone else was at school.  Add to that the music and he was a little unnerved, however much his cousin tried to get him involved, along with his aunt, uncle and myself.

I do have an issue with the whole party invite thing.  It appears that unless you have a really small intimate party, that once you’re at school, inviting the class (or at least the school year if you have combined year in a class) is the norm.  And that has to include even the nightmare children.

Now as a child, I don’t remember the party invites.  I went to quite a few and mostly they were at home parties with traditional party games and a parent on the music (if there was even music).  Then once we moved to the area we are now, my mum refused to hold any more post my 8th party due to the appalling table manners of the girls there (essentially from a middle class village housing development).

Nowadays parties are a lot bigger so I suppose there’s more pressure to impress and give the child what they want.  I’m hoping N will mostly be happy charging round the garden, although having a January birthday probably isn’t going to be the easiest for holding parties actually around his birthday!

The party N went to, mostly had children of parents I know.  They’re all fairly similar in the way they expect their children to behave, and on the whole, for ‘sugared up’ children, the dancing jumping up and down was fine.  About half the parents stayed, including the parents of the 2 children who turned out to the a bit of a handful (to say the least).

I’m hoping that not every party has a nightmare child who:

  • Pours every grape from the bowl and every sausage from the bowl onto his plate, oh and not forgetting all the crisps from another bowl
  • Piles up a huge stack of sandwiches on his plate that of course he won’t eat
  • Sprawls across whatever chairs are available, and knocks into every child sitting nearby so drinks go flying
  • Pushes other children over while they’re dancing
  • Insists on trying to blow out the candles on the cake even though his mother is trying to hold him off
  • Won’t leave the competition floor when they’re playing party games/dances and he’s been eliminated, despite being told to do so
  • Grabs at every cake put on the table
  • Wheeling chairs around the dance floor (until I removed the chairs and told him to stop)

What I couldn’t believe was that the mother half-heartedly made attempts to stop him doing all of these things before telling me (while every other child was sitting and eating as well as you’d expect when they’re excited at a party), ‘it’s school that’s made him like this’…hmm, like none of these other children go to school and yet even those whose parents had gone home were behaving themselves.

The other child who was causing a bit of trouble was taken outside by his mum to cool off, and surely this is the least that you’d expect to do if you’ve a child causing chaos and tears.  I really felt for my sister-in-law having had to put up with however many kids as well as keeping an eye on this one child whose parent either didn’t think much was wrong, or couldn’t control her child and didn’t seem to have a reason to have a child who behaved like that.  If it had been me, I’d have marched N outside for a talking to, and if he didn’t behave on going back in, he’d have been taken home.

birthday party tea

In the end we left early as N wanted to go home.  He did have a bit of a dance once he’d had some tea (he even turned out to be quite good at musical statues), but I think the loudness of the other children and their size did unnerve him a little.

Yes, it seems parties these days have to be inclusive, but if I’d been running the party, I’d have had to have said something to him myself about either behaving or going home.  I don’t see why a party should be ruined because of one child.  I despair what I shall do when N’s at school and wanting the whole class to be invited.  I also hope that N never behaves appallingly at a party or another person’s house.

How do you cope with invites for children’s parties?  How do you deal with bad disruptive behaviour at parties (or on playdates)?

Or do you just let it ride and pray the nightmare child leaves the school before next year comes round?

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  1. The whole class thing only seems to last for a couple of years, by second grade (primary 3) my 8yo just invited a few friends round for pizza and a movie, much easier! I’ve always hosted the bigger parties at a venue (soft play), that seems to let the kids run off steam a bit before attempting to get them to eat calmly(ish)! Good luck!

    1. So expensive doing organised parties though – does have the bonus of not having to do your on food or having the house trashed. Maybe we’ll just go alternative and not do it. Or maybe I’ll just hire the same nursery tree house/forest school that we won N’s last party at (his day nursery) and get M&S to do the sandwiches!

  2. Ahh yes that sounds exactly like every party I have ever been to 😉 My kids have always invited the whole class, I hate to eave people out but we have had them at soft play so it is much easier. We also had a swimming party last yr which was brilliant fun! I do love kids parties but do wish more parents would stay and look after their children! x

    1. It gets so expensive when you take a lot of children out though. Plus you’ve then got to prevent them injuring themselves or being stuck at the top of soft play! I suppose it’s a case of making sure there’s enough parents to stay (but then you have to cater for them too). Minefield

  3. Unfortunately, from 14 years of party experience, there is ALWAYS one child who tips everything on to their plate and barely eats any of it! They usually put crisps in their drink too! Minimise the invitations is my advice – good luck with N’s party! x

    1. Sounds about right. I will definitely be keeping numbers low from school where I know fewer people, and stick with those I do know (and hopefully that N is still friends with). At least we only have one child’s parties to contend with

  4. Oh my goodness, sounds like a nightmare. The thing that gets me angry is when other parents don’t discipline properly or they make excuses for their kids behaviour. Hope my girls and I never have to endure anything like that. x Dre

    1. I think it’s fine for people to discipline differently, but they should be aware of disruptive behaviour and the child needs to learn they can’t just run riot however exciting an occasion it is.

  5. Ooooh This terrifies the life out of me. One that T might behave like this … He is quite boisterous and clumsy and i am all to conscious of this. Hopefully enough so though that his behaviour is not frowned on. Also he has a habit of not eating his food when everyone else is and then gets upset when he finds his plate has been cleared away. First school party in a couple of weeks … Apparently the whole class invited. Hang on to your hats!

    1. Sorry, last comment didn’t read all that well! What I meant to say, not very eloquently, is that I am terrified that my own child will be the one others perceive to be the nightmare child. I seriously hope he isn’t though, and whilst he is boisterous, clumsy, and quite often the one that ends up in a tryst or tangle with another child, I hope I have instilled into him some manners. (Though it’s my guess he would take control of the bowl of Wotsits if they were anywhere near him and quietly guzzle them all).

      Our first party is an ‘ everyone invited’ affair, but being the last one to have a birthday (late August) I’m kind of hoping I may get away with having a smaller do. Although sometimes it means that his friends are on holiday anyway… Could I even get away without one? Perhaps a day out somewhere great would tick the boxes. That’s a tempting thought!

      1. I knew what you meant! I think there’s excited and one that intentionally wants to cause trouble. I can’t see T doing that at all. And N would love a whole bowl of crisps if given the chance too, although he’s the child that eats his way through whatever’s left, as he did at T’s party.

        Definitely think August you’d have lots of kids away. I reckon I’d try for smaller parties too – January isn’t great for parties, so we might have to just stick with smaller ones or later in the year to avoid potential snow cancellations.

  6. I hate childrens parties….I had one for my girl a few years ago and what annoyed me was that the parents just came dropped the kids off and left me and a couple of friends to it….Looking after 30 kids! A total nightmare x

    1. That ‘s a nightmare as everyone’s thoughts are different. I presumed that school age would just drop off but you’d need to have a few to help out. But you’d think they’d check first.

  7. With my two boys – age 7 and 10 now, we always had small parties with just good friends of theirs and ours – probably a maximum of 10 kids – and mums – I was normally the only man!!! they had a great time normally in the garden and nowrmal party games – everything was always well catered for food/games, but the kids mainly left to themselves to run around – their was one girl who loved gherkins!! (I do as well) so she got her own bowl of gherkins – no1 else liked them!!! Smaller parties with good friends are much better – plus we didnt have the space for 30+ kids running around!!!!

    1. I think small parties are the way to go. Luckily we’ve got the space here, but a January birthday isn’t great for outdoor parties. How weird about gherkins

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