Please note that threads in this topic are removed from the archive 90 days after the thread was started. If you would like your thread to be retrievable for longer than that, please choose another topic in which to post it. Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. While many Mumsnetters have a specialist knowledge of special needs, if they post here they are posting as members, not experts. There are, however, lots of organisations that can help - some suggestions are listed here.

Ds birthday problem - trivial but major!

(15 Posts)
bialystockandbloom Thu 03-Apr-14 21:25:24

So, it's ds's (ASD) 7th birthday coming up, and we have a problem which should be minor but which is turning into something ridiculously major. Sorry, this is going to be long.

I've already had to talk him down from having 2 separate parties (one after school in local park on the Friday, then another on Saturday on his actual birthday), so now we just have a party at home on his birthday, with magician, and is allowed c.10 children. I'm also still trying to talk him down from his insistence that as it's his party every child will only play what he wants to as it's his rules <sigh>

Now we have a situation with a boy who has been one of his on/off best friends. I'll call him M.

They have a difficult relationship. M doesn't have any SN, I'm pretty certain of that, but has a pretty shit home life from what I can see - don't want to go into detail but eg, as M has told me himself, he is often left by himself sad He cries a lot for no discernable reason, and is extremely sensitive and highly strung. He and ds can get on brilliantly, but often fall out, and sadly I don't think are the most suitable friends for each other.

Turns out ds doesn't want to invite M, as apparently M didn't invite him to his party last summer. I suspect ds has exaggerated some of the details (eg told me M showed him the list of people who were going, a week before the party and he wasn't on it hmm), but he is adamant that this is the case. So he has decided he only wants his other best friends, and those who've invited him to their parties.

I've tried to explain again and again how this will make M feel, the impact this will have on their friendship, etc, but he is getting more and more entrenched about it to the extent that he now thinks it'll teach M a lesson, and "make him realise what it feels like not be invited" as it does seem actually he was pretty upset not to be invited to M's party.

Now it seems that word has got out about the party (it's after easter), and turns out M knows about it - I told ds he should try to keep it a secret , but ds reported the following conversation today:

M: are you having hot dogs at your party?
Ds: yes
M: Hooray!

Obv ds being so literal etc answered him honestly, without making the connection that M would therefore assume he was invited.

Have no idea how to handle this now. I'm dreading the next few weeks anyway as ds gets more and more hyped up about it and his plans get more and more elaborate <further sigh>

Fuck me this is complicated! WWYD??

bialystockandbloom Thu 03-Apr-14 21:28:48

Also meant to say, as well as the social machinations of all this, I'm also worried about how ds is going to manage these negotiations at school before the party - he's saying he'll just say to M he's not invited and tell him why, but doesn't see that this will cause problems. I can forsee a massive upset for both boys over this, with neither very able to rationalise it all sad

PolterGoose Thu 03-Apr-14 21:48:21

Well, having a ds who will say what he thinks regardless of what I suggest (though he's getting better but he's nearly 11 so a fair bit older than your ds) I wouldn't be encouraging the keeping of a secret (in fact I don't encourage secrets at all), and i wouldn't be able control what ds says at school. You can advise, but that's it. TBH my ds has said awful things to his friends over the years but they've stuck with him.

With the wanting to organise everything and be in charge at the party, let him prepare a schedule with you, perhaps include some periods where the children can free-play but have it timetabled. It's not a bad idea to have a rough plan for a party anyway IME.

bialystockandbloom Thu 03-Apr-14 21:58:18

Yes, that's a very good idea about preparing a plan with him, thanks. I just have to try and help him not get carried away with the games with overly elaborate and impossible rules grin

I didn't mean him to lie/keep a secret exactly, just try not to tell everyone about it!

I think if it was a different child it wouldn't matter so much, but I fear that M just won't be able to shrug it off. I do feel sorry for him. And they are really good friends. But then of course agree with ds that he should be able to invite who he wants.

PolterGoose Thu 03-Apr-14 22:13:37

I know, it's tricky, good luck smile

troutsprout Fri 04-Apr-14 06:25:56

Ooh I'm feeling your dilemma!
Could you invite the boy for a mini party at your house before the event? Would that work?
Have invites gone out? Does the boy actually KNOW he hasn't been invited? ... If so, could the comment actually have been more like " I know I'm not coming but I still want to be your friend"
Or was it more of a " I've got a feeling you might not invite me so I need to get in there and act like I'm coming so that you do invite me"
Are you chatty with parents? Could you talk about ds's feelings about party only being for people whose parties HE has gone to and also his possible literal responses at school?
They might be able to help ? Perhaps the parents had a similar dilemma when your son wasn't invited to their sons
If you were to over-ride him and invite boy anyway... Then what would happen? Would your ds be horrid to him/ to you?

Ooh good luck ..It is easier when they leave primary school!

bialystockandbloom Fri 04-Apr-14 11:18:06

It's difficult - I do know the mum a bit but hardly ever see her at school. Family set up is that the dad is mostly in Africa working, the mum works, and the children are mainly looked after by varying aunts/cousins who I think go to and fro between here and Africa. The cousin at the moment is sweet but hardly any english, so I can't really talk to her. They also don't know of ds's diagnosis, and given the language barrier it's even harder to explain.

I think if I just invited him anyway ds would be really upset, and also might be pretty blunt to the boy.

From ds's reported conversation, it does seem like M does assume he's coming.

Arrghh! Reassuring that things might get easier in senior school - only four years left then grin

alita7 Fri 04-Apr-14 21:34:50

could it be that actually m's parents are aware of something being 'different' about your child and that actually they thought he'd be difficult to have at a party and didn't invite him, when maybe m wanted him there? This appears to have happened to dsd though luckily she is the type to get excited that so and so is having a party but forget about it and not realise she never got invited. maybe suggest this in a round about way to your ds? say that maybe his mum said you couldn't go not m? I think it would be sadif m isn't invited as it sounds like his life isn't great and like you say ds isn't forseeIng possible problems with their friendship. also mention how this may cause a cycle and that m might not 'learn' he might just not invited him to his next party in return.

lougle Fri 04-Apr-14 21:53:50

I have to be honest and say that my personal reaction would be "tough luck, DS, we're inviting M, because he is your good friend and we don't teach good friends mean lessons".

It's so difficult when children have entrenched views, especially with ASD, but children don't always have the ability to see the bigger picture and sometimes we have to see it for them.

I suppose it's a 'where do you draw the line between freedom (to choose what you do) and responsibility (to make the right choices)'situation.

My view is that it would hurt your DS far less to learn the rule of 'invite a good friend to a birthday even if they have made mistakes' than it would hurt M to learn that your DS wasn't such a good friend after all.

I'm sure that there would be many, many who would disagree with me though.

bialystockandbloom Sat 05-Apr-14 13:28:18

'invite a good friend to a birthday even if they have made mistakes'

Lougle ^ that is spot on, and exactly what we have been trying to help ds understand. I do agree with you, I do want M to come. But it's how to get ds to accept this which is proving so hard. And it's becoming such a big issue now, the more we are trying to discuss it, the more adamant he's getting.

Alita, I don't think his mum has any idea of ds's diagnosis tbh. But I don't know why he didn't invite ds to his party (didn't even know he'd had one). The politics of 6/7yos aren't straightforward are they?!

PolterGoose Sat 05-Apr-14 13:34:01

The politics of 6/7yos aren't straightforward are they?!

Too right. And if you were choosing who to invite a month ago or in a couple of weeks time he'd probably choose a different 10 children, it's really about whether you give him freedom to choose or not, and only you can decide that.

I'm so glad my ds doesn't have parties grin

lougle Sat 05-Apr-14 15:49:59

Ummm... I could be completely off base here, and it probably shows what 'parenting style' I use, but I would give two choices: 'M comes to the party' or 'no party' blush.

I just think that at the end of the day there are some things that my child doesn't have to understand/agree with and they simply have to understand that I'm the parent and it's my job to make the right decisions for them if they can't make them themselves.

DD3 (4) is having a party soon. I gave her a list of people she had to invite (sisters; cousins; anyone who had invited her to their party, even if she wasn't particularly friendly with them), the number of children that could come, then she had free choice for the rest.

lougle Sat 05-Apr-14 15:55:32

Hmm.... I'm thinking on this.

How would DS react if he was allowed '10 children to invite' plus M ? Would he accept it better if M wasn't one of his invitees, but an additional attendee?

PolterGoose Sat 05-Apr-14 15:57:35

I don't disagree in principle, lougle and thankfully I don't have to make these decisions, but out of interest how many in total are invited to your dd's parties? How many does she get to choose out of that? Personally, I don't think a child needs to invite everyone who's ever invited them because friendships do change, and I don't agree with the general message of give equals receive and vice versa.

lougle Sat 05-Apr-14 23:47:35

She's got 19 - herself and 2 sisters, 4 cousins. That leaves 12 non family. 4 children invited her this year so far, so they've all been invited (I don't think it's about 'gives equals receives', but 'do as you would be done by' and if she went to their party and had a nice time she should reciprocate).

That leaves 8 'free choices' which is plenty for a 4 year old. Although I have talked through her choices with her and checked that she's thought carefully.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now