The Dilemma

I have a dilemma and I’m asking for some advice, because quite honestly, I have no idea what to do.

Meg’s 9th birthday is 3 weeks from tomorrow. This is the year I promised another kid party (every other year to save my sanity), and we’ve been throwing around ideas. We’ve come up with one that would work~have some friends over to watch a movie and make their own pizzas. Nothing too jazzy, but still fun for everyone and not too expensive for my rather tight purse strings.

But the issue is my child. My beautiful, smart child isn’t very good with friends, especially at parties. She has had a meltdown at every single kid party she’s ever had. It’s rather easy to pass that off when your kid is 5, and maybe even 7. But 9. Nine is an age where kids start to talk at school, if they haven’t already. I dread putting her into a situation which could cause embarrassment for her. We don’t even have her friends over except one because she cannot handle the situation and ends up alienating her friends.

I wouldn’t at all be concerned if she hadn’t had a full on meltdown during Drew’s family birthday party last week. Her behavior was so incredibly embarrassing for all of us, most especially for herself. The five of us are quite used to her attention-getting meltdowns, to the point that it didn’t even phase Drew and he went about his business. My poor sister-in-law (who is a 4th grade teacher) ended up spending a lot of time dealing with Meg, but really no to avail. Meg did manage to behave well enough at Drew’s kid party last week, and we praised her for that.

I love my child with all my heart, and I want to do things for her that make her happy. She wants this birthday party. I would love for her to have her friends here and for her to have a good time with them. Is it wrong of me to question whether she could handle herself? I’ve been down this road too many times with her and I’m at the point where I think that I need to save her from herself. Talking to her is almost a wasted effort. She gets defensive, cries, and doesn’t listen. Round and round we go.

So dear friends. Help. Give me some advice. Should I have the party and let her deal with the consequences of her actions if she melts down, or should I just pull the plug?


9 thoughts on “The Dilemma

  1. Hi Krisin, first of all I'm lovin the new blog header, very pretty and seasonable.As far as your dilemma, what if instead of getting Meg too overwhelmed with a whole bunch of kids, why not have one kid over each night of the week during the week of her birthday. Each night they could do something different, make crafts, watch a movie, play games ect. And then just the night or day of her birthday just do like a family party with just you guys, but make Meg the focus. She gets to pick out what's for supper and what kind of cake she wants and so on. If you concerned with having kids over during the week because of school, then why not every friday night and saturday night for the whole month.Good luck! :o)

  2. It sounds like maybe she gets overstimulated. I would leave the decision up to her, pointing out that it would be embarrassing to have an outburst in front of her friends. If she wants to go ahead with it, I like your low-key pizza and movie deal. Keep it short (2 hours) and organized so you're not sending off frazzled vibes. Maybe do it 11am-1pm so it's more of a lunch thing and the anticipation isn't building all day. Give her some coping mechanisms in case something does set her off (e.g. leaving the room to fill up drinks for her friends). If opening gifts is too stimulating, ask for donations to a favourite charity or open them after the party and send out thank you notes after the fact. My cousin, whose son went crazy at his own parties, was offered a Wii (same price as the party he wanted) instead of the party!

  3. I love everything that lori said — keeping it short (short movie!), doing it early, trying to avoid the present opening (not sure if that's tricky or not at this age??). I like the idea of figuring out coping mechanisms beforehand. Last year I had a little signal with my son (I scratched my nose or something) that would let him know that I thought he was being selfish/not considering his friends feelings. It didn't work every time, but did help in a handful of situations and in those cases he wasn't embarrassed by me calling him out in front of his friends. Let us know what you decide!

  4. i think you've received some good suggestions. IS it the crowd of kids that sets her off? or lots of people in general? what if she just had one friend over, take them to the movies (or to pick out a movie to rent) and a sleepover?

  5. Hey Kristin,Wow! 9 already! I like what the others have said and I would agree that having a 2 hour lunch time party with a small number of friends (2 or 3) would be the best solution. It seems that Meg gets overwhelmed by all the people and may do better with fewer people. If all the kids are focused on a movie rather than each other, there may be fewer concerns. And, can Doug take Drew and the twins out for some Daddy bonding? Of course, I'm used to dealing with large classes of 8-18 year olds and not my own. Even 18 year olds can have meltdowns.Good luck!

  6. What if you changed it to an actual movie theater? Then all her friends would be there, but there would be less party-style chaos. Otherwise, I agree, short and sweet, almost like you're planning for a much younger child's party. You said that she is embarrassed as well – has she given you any idea what exactly triggers her outbursts? Obviously it has something to do with overstimulation, but if she is able to handle school, and extracurricular activities, there has to be something unique to parties that does it, and I can see why her own would be the hardest, since she would be the center of all the attention.

  7. A movie means minimal contact, so I think that's a good idea. I would also talk to her about her expectations for the party to see if you're all on the same page. If you really think she can't handle it (you know her best), I would pull the plug. I would also be pretty upset with her for almost ruining Drew's party — not a great example for a big sister.Sorry, my friend. The one time I met Meg, she couldn't have been sweeter, so we KNOW she has it in her to be perfectly well behaved. Keep me posted…

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