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My 12-year-old daughter is an only child. A few months ago, she had her first birthday party to which both boys and girls were invited. She chose a neighborhood restaurant to have a small dinner.

She knows twins, a boy and a girl. My daughter invited only the boy, since she's friends with him. The mother of the twins replied "Yes" immediately but several days later asked me if the invitation was for both her children. I said the invitation was for her son. She let me know he would not be attending because he was not comfortable attending without his sister. My daughter spoke to him later and this was not the case. He wanted to attend my daughter’s party. The mother was upset that both twins were not invited. The girl twin is still bringing it up to my daughter’s friends and it happened back in May.

I feel like I screwed this up by not inviting both kids to the party, but my husband said my daughter should be able to invite who she is friends with to her party. I feel horrible! Did I screw this up?

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    I have twins. They're two individuals, just like everyone else; they don't come only as a pair. Ask yourself how you would have handled it if the kids involved were not twins, and take it from there. IMO, you did not screw up. – Pascal says Talk To Monica Aug 2 at 1:53
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In my opinion, by twelve it should be up to the children to work this out, and the parents should not involve themselves directly - they should help their children navigate these things if they need advice maybe, but not forcing their opinions. At six I would say it was probably inappropriate to not invite both, but not at twelve.

That said, you don’t necessarily know all of the back story here, and it’s possible there are things you’re not aware of that impact this. The mother may be concerned about the boy/girl side of things here; some people assume girls and boys cannot be connected except romantically. That’s very outdated, but still common in some areas (like the Deep South).

And there could be other issues, including sibling issues where the mother feels the brother has been excluding his sister perhaps and doesn’t want to let him continue to have a negative influence on his sister’s social life (just a possibility).

Either way, while I agree it was appropriate to let your daughter choose who to invite, I think it’s always possible to have this outcome, and you should be prepared when you hear that question for that result. Perhaps next time probe more into the reason she’s asking - if it’s just wondering whether she’ll have the day free to herself, or if she has a concern. That way you can talk it over with your daughter and make a fully informed decision.

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    Actually, I'd say even a six-year old should be allowed to choose who will attend their party (though parents should obviously double-check the decisions). But at 12, definitely parents should only interfere in case of obvious problems. – sleske Jul 30 at 9:39
  • Thank you so much! It makes me feel so much better knowing your opinions. I only have 1 child and my sister and I are 6 years apart so this is an issue I have never had to deal with before. Moving forward, since this has caused some unneeded drama for my daughter, I will be more aware of guest invitee “potential issues” to birthday parties she has in the future. – Anne1971 Jul 30 at 13:19
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    Also, it wasn’t a romantic issue. My daughter had invited her “crush” as she calls him to her party and the Twin boy is a good friend of his. My daughter invited several boys. This seemed to be the year all the kids were having boy / girl parties from her school so this wasn’t a weird thing at all. One thing to note, my daughter has never socialized with the girl twin or been invited to any parties or to her home before. The boy twin has been in my daughter’s classes for years, they have each other’s cell number and talk and text about school all the time and he has been swimming at our house. – Anne1971 Jul 30 at 13:28
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    I agree with most of what you've said, but even if the kids were younger, I don't see why she wouldn't invite only one of the twins. Imagine the other one being mean or straight out bullying her for instance. Why would she have to invite both in that case? – David Aug 1 at 7:48
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Joe's answer says pretty much it all, but still I'd like to add a note you may find useful:

From the starting point that these conflicts should be let to the children to solve (not just because they are probably already capable of, but because they also need to learn how to do it), I'd say that it's better to screw up at 12 than at 30! Let your daughter be exposed to problems and disappointments so that she can learn how to deal with them. Your role should be a supportive one, but with as little intervention as possible.

A former coach of mine told me later on that when he treated teenagers as adults, they acted as adults. When he treated them like children, they acted like children. Make your choice!

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    Thank you! I had someone tell me I need to speak to the mom to “ clear the air” but upon reading what you wrote, I am going I step out of this totally. I think the kids need to handle this one. I think part of the problem is the twin mom has interfered and has stirred things up. School is about to start and I’m sure everything will calm down or either get fired up. Either way, I’ll let my daughter handle it and if she needs my help she’ll let me know but she’s pretty good at handling problems. Thanks for all the advice and comments. I’ve beat myself up pretty badly over this. – Anne1971 Aug 2 at 12:56
  • @Anne1971 Best wishes to both of you! – David Aug 2 at 12:59
  • I think this not getting invited to the party is a bigger issue than I was aware of because of the fact that the party was at the beginning of May and in July it was still an issue. It hurt my daughter that she was being talked about by girls because they weren’t invited. I’m not sure if I mentioned this was the twin girl “rallied” a few other girls that were not invited to start bad mouthing my kid at an event recently. My daughter was like mom why are they taking about this and me? These girls are mean girls and that’s when I started thinking did I cause this because of the twin invite thing – Anne1971 Aug 2 at 13:07
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In this instance, at 12 years old, there is no difference between twins and other siblings of similar age. I will assume all other parents who had only one sibling who was invited, and one sibling of similar age who wasn't, did not complain. The problem was not the twins being twins, it was the parent.

the twin girl “rallied” a few other girls that were not invited to start bad mouthing my kid at an event recently. My daughter was like mom why are they taking about this and me? These girls are mean girls and that’s when I started thinking did I cause this because of the twin invite thing

Mobbing and bullying are a thing that happens to many kids. I personally think experiencing it, seeing how cruel it is, and learning how to stop it makes any child a better person. Your child is now experiencing it, and you and your husband can help with teaching her how to stop it - which is a difficult task that needs to be tailored to her personality, the culture of the bullies, and involves both of your life experiences and a lot of time. The bare minimum you'll need to do is support her - let her know that her decision to invite people she likes and not others was perfectly fine and normal and there is not even the slightest reason for her to doubt that. Of course you mustn't doubt that either.

  • Thank you for your comment. Interesting point you made about other parents that may have other kids of similar age. One of the kids invited is a triplet and she was the only one of the three invited and the Mom did not get upset about only 1 coming. I agree, it’s the Mom/Parents of the Twins with the issue. School starts next week so hopefully this issue will die down. My kid is pretty strong but I know it hurt her when they were talking about her for no reason other than to just be mean. I agree, it’s a learning lesson. – Anne1971 Aug 6 at 12:41

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