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Choosing Classmates for Birthday Party

By Jodie Lynn


My nine-year-old son is turning ten in a few months and does not want to invite certain kids to his party. We have always included the whole class. Is this acceptable? I'm a little embarrassed by this sudden change and don't know how to handle it.


It is almost impossible not to invite everyone in the class without causing ill feelings among those who do not get invited. However, turning ten is a big deal to most kids. When our son had his tenth birthday party, we invited the whole class but made it a skating party. This automatically eliminated half the kids because they didn't know how to skate and did not want to be labeled as the duds that could not. From then on, he decided to invite the ones that came to that party for the next two years. By the time he was twelve, he had enough confidence to invite only those whom he really wanted. - J. Simmons in Boise, ID


The trend has been to invite the whole class to birthday parties for years. It's easy, gracious and no one gets their feelings hurt. However, since your son is entering the double digits, he may have specific preferences about whom he would really like to have at his party. It's a more special time and perhaps deserves a little more input from him. Maybe he wants his closest friends there for it instead of everyone for various reasons. Talk to him about why he may not want to invite his entire class. Who knows, maybe there is a bully or someone he just doesn't get along with at school, on the playground or wherever. It's certainly normal at this age for kids to be a tad more picky with whom they want to hang around, especially for an annual occasion like a birthday party. One of the things you might do is to check with the teacher and ask if his birthday could be acknowledged at school where everyone would be included and then have a scaled down party with a few of his closer friends for a more personal event. This way, for the next birthday, it might be easier for him to move away from feeling as if he has to include everyone just because you do not feel comfortable with it. The last thing he needs to do is feel guilty about his own birthday party. Just remember, most of the other parents will also be going through the same thing at some point in time, so stay positive.

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We are hoping to possibly go on a vacation this summer where there are activities just for the kids. Our children are both girls ages 10 and 12. The oldest has begun to pull away from her younger sister and we are afraid she will not want her hanging around her on the trip, particularly during the activities. How much should we allow the oldest to do on her own?

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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