Okay, if her brother can come ...

joann23456July 9, 2012

My niece is almost 11 years old. She has lots of friends she likes to hang out with, many of them with younger brothers and sisters.

Something we're finding again this summer is that when my niece (or one of us) calls to invite a friend over or out to do something, we'll get the response, "Sure, but it would be great if her brother can come, too." I've questioned this, and have gotten answers ranging from, "They're so close" to "He gets so upset when his big sister gets to do something he doesn't."

Do any of you find this with your kids? It's right along the same lines as inviting eight kids to a birthday party and having three of them show up with younger siblings. What in the world! When we were kids and one of us got to do something the others didn't, my mom just said, "They invited your sister, not you." End of story. Often, too, it just feels like a request for free babysitting.

I don't go along with the two-for-one suggestion, but it irritates me. Who thinks it's okay to invite their kids to someone else's house?!! (These aren't family friends, they're just the parents of my niece's friend.)

Just venting!

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I'm sure you'll get responses that run the gamut, but I admit that I am getting crotchety. I'm tired of the lack of courtesy shown in many situations whether it is the cell-phone talking shopper with his/her cart in the middle of the aisle, the clueless guests who don't R.S.V.P. when formally invited to an event, or the hapless parents whose children seem to have no understanding of boundaries. I know I'll be taken to task for not being accepting of "harmless" behaviors, but I don't care. I don't want to live in Victorian England, but could I at least expect people to observe the golden rule rather than putting themselves first with no thought as to how it affects others?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Joann, I think this is another extension of the common practice of giving everyone on a team a trophy, no matter how badly they did, just so they will feel special. And, Fun, if you're getting crotchety, then so am I. I don't consider this to be "harmless behavior." Children have got to learn that there are are boundaries that need to be respected. People don't always get what they want, and the sooner kids learn that, the better off they, and the world, will be.

If I were in the situation of inviting a child to an event and the child's parent said "Sure, but it would be great if her brother can come, too," I would reply that, gee, I'm terribly sorry, but we simply don't have room or goodies for extra children. And if I were hosting an event and an invited child showed up with an uninvited sibling, I'd immediately go to the parent of that kid and politely but firmly instruct that parent to remove the extra kid because if the kid remains, he/she will have to sit in the corner and observe only, not participate, because there are no provisions for extra kids.

May sound cruel, but it only needs to be done once before the parents get the hint.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Since I never went thru this, I can only relate what my daughters have done. When my grandkids were smaller probably less that 6 etc, my DD would invite all the kids in the family, along with the mom and/or dad. But then my son in law was usually home and planned lots of things. But as the got older they invited who they wanted, and very seldom was a sibling invited. Now as teens it may be sleep overs, pizza place etc.
At 11, or around that age, no the older/younger siblings should just show up. But if one did, I would have them be a helper only. I wouldn't just ignore him/her. In fact I have use older teens as helpers. They have more energy than I do.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Keep saying no. You needn't make any excuse. IMO it IS a bid for you to baby-sit, so the *parents* can play at home alone. LOL

I would also make it clear when you invite Suzy Q to a party she is one of X number of children you are planning to entertain. I'd even try to forestall the problem by saying how difficult it has been when *other* parents have not understood that an invitation is being made to only one child when you are *planning* a party for X number. Say how much your niece is looking forward to seeing SUZY. Tell them when the party will end so they can come get SUZY.

If parents bring another child, send him back home with them or call them up on the quiet to come get him. If you can't reach them, the kid will have to stay, and you'll be blunt with them when they return to collect their kids. It's not his fault his parents are ignorant. He will feel out of place anyway.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:43PM
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When my "just-married" son was about 8 years old, we had this situation with my nephews. One nephew was a couple of years older than my son and they enjoyed each other's company. We often asked for him to come over for sleepovers. My sister-in-law would say, "Sure, he can come, but only if xxxxx can come too". We did that a few times, but xxxxx was 4 years younger than my son. That put a bit of a crimp in the boys' fun. An 8 year old, a 10 year old, and a 4 year old. Instead of the older boys having fun, they found themselves to be baby-sitters instead. I finally had to tell my dear SIL that it just wasn't fair to the older boys to always have the younger one about. Of course, that meant that the older boys got to spend less time together, but I wasn't sorry because they enjoyed what time they did spend together much more.

It wasn't as if I ignored my other nephew. My daughter is a year older than he is and I invited him over to spend time with her as well. Incidentally, I never heard her insist that the older one had to come then, too.

Sometimes they both came and sometimes just one. I didn't feel an obligation to always invite both.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:44PM
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I don't think you should take it out on a young child. Plus, the parents that may just be looking for babysitters and/or seem to be oblivious are probably not even going to notice or care if their child is being ignored by you or they don't get a goodie bag.

I think the best bet is just to be up front and honest. No, the party is just for Susie's friends we aren't allowing siblings and additional friends because if you invite one, then everyone one would have to be invited and we don't want some kids or parents feelings to be hurt. Or, the party is just for the "5th graders" that's what Susie requested and we would like to honor. Or, I can't or don't want to watch the younger/additional kids, sorry they are not invited. Whatever your reason for not wanting them, probably, in most cases, will be your best answer to give.

As for coming over to play...same idea... the kids probably don't even want a sibling tagging along. Susie may want to spend one on one time with Carrie. Not all games are age appropriate for all ages, etc. If people continue and always ask about another child, I would maybe do something along the line, of even withdrawing the invite... Oh, I'm sorry if Joe can't come over without George, then we'll just have to plan for it for another time. No excuses or reasons, just a statement and let them decide if Joe can come over without George or not.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Well, if you're crotchety, so am I. When our DGS#1 turned 5, DSD asked if they could have the party in our back yard. It was a great time of year--March--and the azaleas would be blooming and we were happy to do it. I asked how many children and she said 5 or 6. That's reasonable for a 5-year-old party. We had the bakery makea "hamburger" cake.

Well, the day of the party, not only were there 5-6 kids, but also their mothers and all the other kids in the family. Plus we had one horrific storm and the kids had to be inside. I just moved furniture out of the family room, put down a large plastic tablecloth, and cut tiny, tiny pieces of cake and ice cream so everyone could have some.

What was a party for about 10 turned into a party for about 20. And yes, I was ticked!! Tell me if there are extra people coming and I'll order a bigger cake and buy another ice cream.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:00PM
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When our children were younger and we had a pool, the rule was that each of my two could invite only one friend each to swim as I only felt comfortable watching four children at a time in the pool. If a parent asked if a sibling could come too, my response was always "yes, if an adult can come with him to share responsibility for watching the kids". It was quite surprising how often only the invited child showed up, but also it was nice when an extra child and adult came over. This later branched out into bringing extra snacks etc. for all to share. It worked out great, the parents understood the invitation, and there were no hard feelings once the rules were clearly understood by kids and adults alike.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Is there any chance the brother is a socially-awkward child who has a hard time making friends? If that's the case, I could see the mother trying to give her son a little planned social time but she should let you know that privately. Otherwise, yeah, she's going for free babysitting.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:06PM
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And along the same lines as sjerin, if this is so than let the mother come along also and help out!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:13PM
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I actually had one neighbor ask if her older and younger children could attend a birthday party for my son. Son was 8, the boy invited was 9.

The older brother was 12, the younger brother was 4.

The answer: NO. Just no - no explanations, no excuses.

The neighbor made veiled suggestions that the invited child wouldn't be able to attend without the others - so I said, "Well, that's a pity. We'll have to arrange a different time for my son to see yours." Surprise - the invited guest came by himself.

It's not necessary to give into rude people wanting free babysitting or whatever. Just grow a backbone and say "NO".

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:35PM
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The girls my niece's age most definitely don't want their younger siblings along. Plus, I can send two almost-11-year-olds to the park together for an hour, but I can't send a 7-year-old boy I barely know along with them. Which means that either they have to stay at home or one of us adults has to go with them.

Another variant I've found are two families who, when we invite the girls over, will say that they like to keep the kids together and thus turn the invitation around and invite my niece to their house. Which is better than inviting their kid to our house, but still means that my niece doesn't get to spend time just with her friend, and doesn't get to play in her own room with her friend. With one of her friends, I would say that for every one time her friend is allowed to come to our house without her brother (which is the only way I'll take her), my niece is over their house 5-6 times. And I *like* having the kids at our place.

It's too bad. My niece is an only child, so when we go places, we often like to invite a friend along for her. She will sometimes suggest one of the friends with younger brothers, but we don't even ask anymore, as we've heard the same answer over and over.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:31PM
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These are parents trying to pawn the other kid off on you so that they can have the kids all being babysat by you and they will have a free evening. Say NO.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:46PM
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My Mother was "that" mother. My brother was born on my 6th birthday. My friends would ask me to play and my mother would say, "Yes, but take your brother with you." I hated that. I don't think it was my place to be his "keeper". 6 years is a huge age difference plus I didn't even like him and neither did my friends. He was always a PITA. Can you tell I've never forgiven her for that?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:06PM
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I had a neighbor like that. Not only birthday parties. She even sewed the younger sibling a uniform to match her older sister at the days when family was invited to main events. I always feel sorry for the kids in families like that. At some point in their lives things won't be equal. Actually the parents are causing a grave disservice to both kids. The older doesn't get to enjoy milestones without the sibling stealing some of the thunder and and the younger has nothing to look forward to. In the case of these girls the older got to be in the program but when time came for the younger her parents weren't interested. She was a typical photo-op mommy. Put the kids in something take the cute pics and move on. LOL DD still knows them on FB. They are not doing all that well in their lives. Bat crazy mother.

I don't think it's always a babysitting move. Most times it was ineffective parenting where the parents have no clue how to treat their kids as individuals.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:24AM
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Drives. Me. Crazy.

DD has a friend who has a twin brother, and always has to take him along. But he is not well behaved and they always fight, plus he is rough with our things and with the other kids.

I did finally talk to the parents and explain that it would be best if he stayed home. They didn't like it, and many times she can't come over. But she can meet DD at the park without her brother, which I don't get.

Oh well.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:51AM
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I don't have kids, so I can't speak from personal experience, but I cannot believe that people do this!!!! SO rude!!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:10AM
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I think whether it is acceptable depends upon the relationship between the adults and between the kids. In this case, it sounds unacceptable. You don't have a connection with the parents and your niece doesn't have a connection to the brother.

We do sometimes include another family's extra child or ask someone to take an extra child depending on the circumstances. We have a good relationship with the other parents and kids. It doesn't get in the way of the friend's kids playing. We only do this with well behaved kids who tend to get along well with others.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:42AM
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When Lauren was younger and had birthday parties, her friends would show up with all kinds of extra kids. I was a lot poorer back then and so only had enough treats for the kids we invited. I never said no to them, though. One time, the parents brought 3 extra kids along! I couldn't believe it. Extremely rude.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:46AM
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I've seen it before too. The best thing to do is say no without any explanation. Because, the people who are bold enough to ask in the first place will question your excuse for why their other kid can't come.

If you say we only bought 2 extra movie tickets they will say, oh no problem I'll but little Johnnies. Just like, I'll buy their meal, I'll do this, that the other.

They are rude, pushy and have balls the size of grapefruits. I personally think the best way to handle it is to say, Mary is invited over, if they say it would be nice if Annie could come with her, say, sorry, Mary is invited over. Stick to it, with no explanations or they will argue with you.

Isn't it funny how we all feel we have to be diplomatic and filter everything we say and do to not offend, and other people feel they can ask for, say and do whatever they want?

Man, these parents are ridiculous. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:46AM
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When you are invited to a dinner or a party I don't think it is acceptable for any reason to bring extra people without permission from the host. If there is a cousin of the invitee in town for a visit I think it would okay with permission of course.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:51AM
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