What has happened to our manners? This isn’t the first time that I have asked this question. Sadly, it is something that concerns me a lot lately when I am constantly faced with situations in the car or out of it, where a certain amount of patience or an ability to acknowledge or apologise would go a very long way.  Recently though, I have noticed a new breed of rudeness; one where parents think that it is acceptable to ignore party invitations and I find this outrageously rude as well as being pretty unfair.

We are all busy. As parents, we all have too much to do and too little time to do it in and the demands of modern parenting mean that most children do have more than their fair share of party invitations. But that is no excuse not to respond.  There are exceptions of course.  some children lose the invitations before they get home or scrunch them up in some unrecognisable form at the bottom of their bags.  There are times when there is a lot going on and you may forget.  However, natural emergency aside, there really aren’t that many other excuses, are there?

It might be that perhaps the parent of the birthday child isn’t really your cup of tea or not in your ‘social’ circle at the school gate.  Maybe your child doesn’t particularly like the child in question.  That happens.  You don’t have to ignore the invitation, it is perfectly reasonable to say no.  These days, you don’t often even have to physically respond. Most parents put mobile phone numbers on the invitations, so a simple text message would do. Better than nothing certainly.

Over the last couple of years, we have organised parties for both R and L and leading up to all of those parties, I have become increasingly frustrated by the fact that some parents have failed to respond.  Parents that can stand next to you in the playground, who can smile and say ‘hello’, but who can’t be bothered to say ‘thanks for the invitation..; would love to come/can’t come’.  OK, as the organising parent, you could rally round and ask people to try and finalise numbers, but why should you! It’s a party for children, not some compulsory military activity.  Last summer, we organised a disco for L and he didn’t want to invite many children and so a week or so before, I was starting to get a little worried as we had only had about six replies.  So I did start asking people, but this didn’t sit well with me as I then felt like I was begging people to come.  Most people were fine and seemingly had forgotten.  One mum looked at me like I was completely insane and told me that her daughter was busy. Well, why did she not tell me that earlier?

Recently, I have heard and been told of parties where very few and in one case no children arrived at the party. If that was me I would be horrified, really horrified. In all of the cases, very few of the parents of the children invited had bothered to respond and then you are left in limbo as they may or may not come.  Apart from the fact that parties are quite costly, what about the poor children whose party it is.  What a blow to their self esteem would it be if only a couple children came to their party or even worse no-one at all?  Birthday parties are meant to be fun, happy times and every child deserves that don’t they?

I must admit that I have now decided that birthday ‘parties’ will consist of an outing to the cinema or something similar with a couple of the boys’ close friends as I know the parents and it makes the organisation process a lot easier.  A is now at play group and so the party invitations are starting to come thick and fast for her.  She wants a party in December for her third birthday, but I am putting it off until next year to avoid any undue stress.  If I do get invitations from others, however, I try and reply straight away; whether it is a yes or a no as for me, however busy I might be, it is simply good manners.





  1. Joceejo
    November 5, 2012 / 8:38 am

    So true – but it’s not just for kids’ parties – I had a 40th birthday party and had to chase people for RSVP’s – felt like a desperado! I feel the same way about thank you letters too – rarely receive one for any of the gifts I give at kids’ parties! #grumpy

    • November 5, 2012 / 5:44 pm

      Oh that is rubbish that you had to chase your own party! Maybe this happens across the board then as a friend is having to chase wedding invite responses at the moment too. It does seem that common decency has gone out of the window and I agree thank you letters a re important too, it teaches the children the importance of saying thank you and takes hardly any time!

  2. November 5, 2012 / 9:09 am

    I think this is quite common now, at all ages. My friend organised her wedding last year and, despite having a date that she needed RVSP information by, ended up chasing responses some of which were from her own family! This whole are of etiquette seems to be dying. My oldest is only 2 so we’re not into the realms of parties and invitations yet but I’m not looking forward to him asking for one for that very reason. I don’t think this is the only area where manners are lacking, sadly, but that is another rant!

    • November 5, 2012 / 5:47 pm

      I agree with you it does seem like manners are a dying art which is really sad. Good manners go a long way in my book and I make sure my children have manners but there are a few of their friends who don’t. That’s awful about the wedding invites but I have a friend whose daughter is getting married and she is having the same problem and that is worse as you need numbers for weddings and it is a lot more expensive too!

  3. November 5, 2012 / 12:07 pm

    That is so sad and you’re right; incredibly rude! I’m just organising my first ever b’day party for my daughter’s first birthday – which is a bit different as it’s more about our friends than hers but I’d still be devastated if no-one made the effort and already there’s signs of ‘non-responders’. One strike and they’re out I say!

    • November 5, 2012 / 5:48 pm

      The first birthday is always the easiest as you can get away with friends and family but yes I think you have a good policy there!

  4. November 5, 2012 / 2:21 pm

    I’m so with you on this! After my now 7yr old had a party for her 5th party I vowed I would never do her a party again, not because of her or her behaviour but because people didn’t RSVP whether they were coming or not so I didn’t know how many to cater for. Then I had a couple of parents, who hadn’t RSVPed but came with older children as well who expected feeding and party bags (luckily I had done plenty as a precaution) but still I felt let down by how many did bother turning up and how many RSVPed. Then to make matters worse, I realised that she had less cards/presents than were children present at the party! Now I know times can be hard and for some a card is all they can afford and I’m fine with that really, but not even to get a card! Personally I could never send my children to a party without a card and a present and in the past I have not sent the child to the party (after RSVPing no), told the parent I would give the child a present at the end of the week (depending on the parent and how friendly we are or how approachable the parent is) I have even sent my daughter to a party with a rewrapped Christmas present (in March) that she hadn’t opened!

    • November 5, 2012 / 6:05 pm

      I have nodded my head all the way through that comment! We had a largish party a couple of years ago and it was soft play and we ended up with ‘extras’ and they were all older and it got a bit out of hand. I always send a present but I understand that things are hard so I don’t expect a present, but a card is nice and you can make it yourself and doesn’t cost much.

  5. November 5, 2012 / 4:07 pm

    Definitely rude! I haven’t had much experience of this myself. I always text one way or another as soon as an invitation comes home.

    • November 5, 2012 / 6:06 pm

      You are lucky then! Yes I text ASAP too as I like to let people know and most people give mobile numbers these days so there really is no excuse!

  6. November 5, 2012 / 5:34 pm

    RUDE RUDE RUDE! That’s intolerably rude! Do they not realise that a) you’ll have to cater for specific numbers and it costs money, and (most importantly) b) your child’s self-esteem and self-worth rests on people turning up to his party! I think you’re right to just pick a few friends from now on. I’m very disappointed at the moment because we’ve made a new friend through Tumble Tots and he came to The Boy’s party (plus his sister! That’s another matter) in June. It was this boy’s birthday within the last fortnight and there’s been no reciprocal invitation. RUDE! She can knob off now!

  7. November 5, 2012 / 6:09 pm

    That is a really good point about the cost too as if you go to a play barn or somewhere you pay per head, it makes it really difficult if you’re not sure who is coming.

    I find that some people don’t feel it necessary to ‘invite back’ too and I think it’s mean if they are good friends.

    Great comment and a good attitude I think!

  8. November 5, 2012 / 6:12 pm

    We’ve been pretty lucky with party responses so far, but not replying isn’t a new thing. For my 8th birthday party the whole class was invited, there were two responses and only those two children turned up. I never had another party. It’s almost 30 years now. It’s the kids that lose out the most. I am sad for my eldest when some of her ‘close’ friends at school don’t invite her – especially when there are only 5 girls in her year and the other three are invited to the fourth’s party (if that makes sense!)

    • November 6, 2012 / 9:04 pm

      Oh no that is rubbish and just shows you the effects this sort of thing can have on children. It is just mean!

  9. November 5, 2012 / 8:47 pm

    Totally relate to this too-what has happened to etiquette? I pride myself on always rsvping and asap as well as hopefully never forgetting birthdays, thank you cards etc. Shame folks can be so rude and it’s the child who suffers.

    • November 6, 2012 / 9:04 pm

      I am the same and I am busy and always on the go, but it is simple common decency in my opinion

  10. November 6, 2012 / 11:02 am

    I did the invites side of H’s party which he shared with 3 classmates last year. Had hardly any replies and more people turned up than expected based on the acceptances. Wasn’t really a problem as we were having it at a soft play place and they were happy to confirm numbers on the day and they provided the goody bags too. Irritating though.

    • November 6, 2012 / 9:05 pm

      It is irritating and you then do have to over compensate with party bags and food just in case!

  11. November 6, 2012 / 12:07 pm

    Rudeness is most definitely on the increase amongst parents these days. We haven’t done parties for many years now, not least because Amy can’t cope with them but also because neither can I! I did a few for her when she was very young and even back then we had the same thing happen; people not bothering to reply, wondering why I’d asked if they were coming as they looked at me horrified. It is just a case of manners – something that is so lacking in today’s society.

    CJ x

    • November 6, 2012 / 9:06 pm

      Sadly, I think you are right. My children are being brought up to have good manners and I often think that we are in the minority!

  12. November 6, 2012 / 8:14 pm

    I know the feeling Its not fair on the child or you x

  13. November 6, 2012 / 11:30 pm

    This winds me up chronically too and almost every parent I know – so how is it that at least half still always fail to reply.
    Most turn up too in my experience – it takes 2mins to text ‘yes please’ or ‘no thanks’ unforgivable rudeness!

  14. Anonymous
    November 4, 2013 / 9:01 pm

    Glad to know I am not alone. I sent out invitations for my daughter’s party (which will be a fantastic science party) and some of the mothers have not replied even though I have talked to them in the playground. I don’t care if it looks needy but I will be contacting them before the RSVP date as I need to know the numbers. I did that last year and a couple of parents said they missed the email. Also because we had to keep the numbers down, I want to send out invites to some other kids if some people cannot go. What is so hard about sending a text to say “No” or “Yes”.

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