The horror and heartbreak of kids’ birthday parties

It’s my daughter’s birthday next month, and I’m already anxious.

Because her birthday is at the end of the year, we experience the full birthday party rollercoaster ride throughout the year.

The party where the invitations were sent out only a few days beforehand, so only three kids turned up (and two of them were mine)? Yep, been there.


The party where the invitations were noisily handed out before school to a select group of seven-year-olds, leaving a few kids in tears as they were excluded? Yes, that happened too.

The party where parents RSVP’d, but then failed to turn up on the day because, and I quote, “We had another party in the afternoon and I couldn’t be bothered running around… I guess we should have made the effort”.

Considering the party was at a playcentre and your ‘no show’ cost the parents $20, then yeah, you should have!

Then there was the heartbreaking weekend where a little girl in my daughter’s class had two birthday parties: one at his mum’s house, then one the next day at his dad’s house.

Parties have become such a hot topic amongst parents and I have to say, I’m not surprised.

In fact, I’m astounded by the etiquette – or lack thereof – that many parents display around kids’ birthday parties.

I’ve seen parents show up an hour late (to a 90-minute party). I’ve watched them bring extra siblings and kids without letting the host know (leading to tears when it’s time to hand out party bags).

But the worst thing you can do, in my view, is to say you’re going to come, and then you don’t show up. It’s ten times worse if you don’t even let the family know you can’t make it.

This happened recently for Mia McKay, a Gold Coast girl who celebrated her 8th birthday party at McDonalds. Most of the people she invited didn’t RSVP, and of those that did, only a handful showed up. Thankfully, the awesome Gold Coast community got behind her and threw her a party she won’t soon forget at Kurrawa Park on the weekend!

It’s enough to restore your faith in humanity – and hopefully it’s a lesson to her classmates’ parents, that a little common courtesy goes a long way.