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Should I make DS go to this birthday party?

(22 Posts)
PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 09:07:07

DS, nearly 5, has a fairly tight little friendship group, mostly boys. One of those boys, let's call him Joe, has an oddly love-hate relationship with DS. They play together, but Joe spits on and puts snot on DS, says quite hurtful things to him about his family, and one afternoon I saw him push and shove DS all the way across the playground quite aggressively. DS has not seemed to mind terribly - I.e. DS doesn't feel bullied or anything like that - but he does tell us about the things Joe does and says on a regular basis, and after the shoving incident I did ask the teachers to keep an eye on things.

Fast forward to last month when Joe hit DS across the face with a sharp implement; DS nearly needed stitches and will have a scar.

Joe's parents are going through an acrimonious divorce, and he has a bullying older sister. I don't think he deliberately intended to hurt DS when he hit him.

Anyway, Joe's birthday party is coming up, and we RSVP'd "yes" to his party. But today DS told me he doesn't want to go, and doesn't want to invite Joe to his party later in the year.

I want to respect DS's feelings, and I don't want him to think he is obliged to spend time with anyone if he doesn't want to. But I also think we should honour the RSVP, and not lie about being ill or whatever.

I've told him we'll go, and give Joe his present, but that we don't have to stay if he doesn't feel like it (actually I think he will want to stay when he sees all his friends having fun together).

A) Is the right solution, or should I let him pull out (which would hurt Joe's feelings unless we made up an excuse, which I don't like doing).

B) Should we exclude Joe from the invitations to DS's party, as he wants, when he would be the only boy excluded from this tight little group of friends? I don't like the idea of that.

nightshade Sun 31-May-15 09:11:20

I would not send him..nor take present ..feign illness and start to distance....why would u encourage son to be friendly with someone who bullies him?

These 'political issues are exactly why I don't do birthday parties for my kids.

PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 09:13:39

Thanks nightshade - yes, I'm thinking of banning parties for DS ;-) I hate the politics too. But it's something that will continue into adulthood, and there's something to be said for training in diplomacy and good manners, no? The problem with feigning illness is that I don't think I could rely on DS not to tell the truth at school, and I'm not going to tell him to lie.

GerbilsAteMyCat Sun 31-May-15 09:14:06

C: perhaps your DS should develop a stomach bug which would mean he wouldn't have to go.
Frankly the scar incident would be the final straw here.
Your son has had enough.

Eigg Sun 31-May-15 09:14:46

I don't think I force my DS to go to the party if a child that scarred him and is bullying him. Is he scared of the boy? I would assume so.

Assuming the party isn't today and you are going to be able to give a few days notice I'd decline politely.

As an adult you wouldn't go to the party if someone who did this to you- even if they were going through an emotional time.

PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 09:15:12

Yes, maybe I'm over worrying here.

Casmama Sun 31-May-15 09:15:13

On the contrary I think your solution is the correct one- it teaches your son that once you commit to something you do it. Can you stay and keep an eye on things?

B I would play by ear- things can change rapidly at that age.

meerschweinchen Sun 31-May-15 09:15:18

Personally I think I'd do the same as you.

PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 09:16:18

Casmama I or my DH would definitely go too; that still seems to be de rigeur here.

PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 09:18:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Eigg Sun 31-May-15 09:20:16

What reason does your DS give for not want to go, then?

It's unusual IME for 5 yos not to want to go to a party all their friends are attending?

PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 09:23:49

I've asked him. He feels hurt; but he says he's not afraid.

NinjaLeprechaun Sun 31-May-15 09:33:16

He says he's not afraid of the other boy, and he says he doesn't feel bullied, but are you sure that's how he really feels? Or is he being polite.
Personally, if my child was being bullied (and make no mistake, that's what this other boy is doing) I would NOT encourage them to spend time with the bully for any reason.

PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 09:52:52

Ninja that's a really good question. He is a very polite and in some ways retiring boy - he lets all the other children push past him on playground equipment, for instance - though he also has bucket loads of self confidence and is not unhappy. I think maybe he is just being polite.

It's not for another week so there's time. I'll think further about what everyone has said.

Wishful80smontage Sun 31-May-15 10:02:10

Agree with others I would encourage ds to play with other children and avoid this child.
I wouldn't take him to the party and I wouldn't invite him to your sons either- he's put up with enough and not done anything wrong so can't see why he shouldn't have a party and be able to invite children he's not scared of.

Crazyqueenofthecatladies Sun 31-May-15 10:03:40

Your little boy has taken a really brave stand to step away from someone who consistently hurts and ridicules him (physically and emotionally abuses him if this were adults) regardless of the social consequences, I think you should back him up, be proud of him and learn from him.

CamelHump Sun 31-May-15 10:12:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Penfold007 Sun 31-May-15 10:15:49

I think you should respect your son's choice. Joe is obviously going through a tough time but there is no justification for him bullying and hurting anyone else. Just phone or send a text message simply saying your DS is unable to attend. Start putting some distance in place.

juliascurr Sun 31-May-15 10:24:42

it's unfortunate the school don't seem very pro-active in teaching this kid how to play/relate with others
I'm with casmama - go but be on hand

Only1scoop Sun 31-May-15 10:31:01

'Hit across the face with a sharp implement which required stitches'

I don't think I'd want to go to someone's party who did this to me. Also the 'spitting and snot' thing isn't great. Presuming teachers are aware.

If you've already RSVP'd then either fake illness or explain why.

Maybe by the time your ds birthday comes he will feel differently.

PiratePanda Sun 31-May-15 10:53:04

Thanks all. I'll see how we go closer to the time. I like the suggestion about just dropping the present off too. But I agree, DS has had enough, and I want to respect his feelings and for him to respect his own sense of space. I've told him he doesn't have to play with Joe if he doesn't want to (though I do think he should try to be kind to all the children in his class, even the ones he doesn't like.) And yes, I'm really proud of him for the way he has handled things so far.

I think if we just make DS's party quite a small one (Joe is in the "outer circle" of friends IYSWIM) - and we were never going to invite the whole class anyway - it won't be an obvious snub.

Meanwhile, as for the school...they are aware, and have been trying to deal with Joe as kindly but firmly as they can. And we have been communicating our concerns with the teacher. But I think it's probably time to seek a more formal meeting.

IDontDoIroning Sun 31-May-15 11:07:41

I wouldn't go neither would I go round with a present. I know you have siad yes but it's not like you have had a better offer your ds has decided he doesn't want to go to the party of a child who injure him with a sharp object badly enough to leave a scar.
Either tell the mum ds has changed his mind - presumably she know about the injury her ds caused, or cancel due to an illness on the day.
Whilst I'm all for good manners at some point a person also has to decide if they really wish to carry on being around a person who is unkind and hurts them deliberately and your ds has decided he doesn't and you should respect that. He may be a child but he needs to know you support him. Also why should you buy a gift for the child who injured him whose party he doesn't want go attend ?

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