Does Little Miss Bully Deserve Your Birthday Party Invite?

My best friend and I have known each other since elementary school. We’ve had our ups and downs and are still going strong after 30+ years of trials and tribulations. Back in elementary school, we considered ourselves followers and not leaders, which meant a lot of friction with other friends. What I mean by that is if our friend Vicky didn’t want one of us talking to each other, we didn’t. We weren’t strong enough back then to say, “That’s not okay, I’ll talk to who I want to talk to.”

Once we became mothers, we made a pact to teach our daughters differently, in the hopes of avoiding some of the childhood traps that we still have hang-ups about.

Our latest motherhood dilemma is this: Do you invite the girl who is making your child miserable to your daughter’s birthday party? You might say it’s a no-brainer, don’t invite her. Any dad will tell you that. Any strong-willed mom will tell you that and tell you not to think twice about your decision.

On the one hand, I distinctly remember crying at one of my birthday parties, “Mom, why’d you invite Deena? You know I don’t like her! You know she’s mean to me!” She responded, “Because I’m friends with her mother.” For someone reason I could not appreciate the other 29 kids at my party. I was just focused on “why was Deena there?”

On the other hand, we somehow feel badly for the bully (because who knows what’s truly going on with that child) and we don’t want to leave someone out.

When my daughter was younger and kids were still inviting the whole class to their birthdays, she was invited to the birthday party of the girl who was giving her a hard time. I let her know she didn’t have to go. But each year she would go. She wanted to be with her friends. She also constantly gave this girl opportunities to shape up her act. But the girl never did.

My best friend had the same dilemma with her daughter and a girl who was making her miserable. She gave her daughter the same out as I did regarding the bully’s birthday party. But her daughter liked the activity and wanted to go, and so she went. She hung out with other people other than the bully. In turn, the bully was invited to her party.

Let me define bully in this context, because that’s the buzzword that has sometimes taken over the word “mean.” Bullies in these situations are girls who are leaving our daughters out, not being polite or turning other friends against our daughters.

My friend and I have struggled each year about this topic. Why are we, the moms, having a hard time leaving someone out? This year we put our foot down and decided to let the girls choose: Don’t go to the mean girl’s party, and don’t invite her to yours. Or if you go, you need to invite her to your party ….and upgrade her status from bully to friend!

Has your daughter ever been invited to a mean girl’s birthday party? How did you handle it?

Tags : confessions   celebrations   birthday parties   bully   

Nancy Melamed
Thank the Lord I only have boys
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