Nothing says “Summer is over!” to a child like being sent home from the neighbors barbecue for no reason.
Reddit cleared out a parent who thought they were absolutely right about sending their 8-year-old daughter’s neighbor friend home while they were hosting a barbecue. At first glance, this may make sense to some. What if the child has food allergies? Does the OP’s daughter tend to invite friends over before asking permission? Or what if their daughter’s friend is constantly dropping by for free meals without any communication from the parents?
None of that was the reason.
“I had an end-of-season BBQ this weekend (all the fun summer food) and we invited several of my and my husband’s work friends along with their kids,” the OP begins. “Our daughter (8f) played most of the morning at a neighbor’s down the street with their daughter (also 8f) and they had lunch together. They were apparently having such a good time that my daughter thought it would be a good idea to bring her friend to our house without checking with me or my husband first.”
The OP also noted that the girl’s parents had not checked in with them about the impromptu play date. “When I saw the girl next door walk in with my daughter, I pulled them aside and asked what was going on. My daughter confirmed they had fun and she invited the girl to see her house and toys, but I didn’t want them to go in and play while we have all this company for the afternoon,” OP explained.
Okay, so the daughter didn’t ask permission and there was a lack of communication between the parents. But it seems that the neighbor was watching OP’s child and feeding her while the OP was preparing for this summer end of year party, which apparently played no part in the OP’s decision to kick an 8-year-old out of a summer party full of kids kicking and having fun.
“So I was super soft and polite about it, but I made an excuse to send the girl to her parents. I told her we planned for the number of people here and we didn’t have enough food for additional guests so she had to go back to her house,” OP said.
And surprise! Her neighbors were angry!
“Now her parents are rioting and telling the other neighbors how horrible we were to their daughter and how we mocked her because of her weight, which didn’t happen at all! She’s not the thinnest kid, but that had nothing to do with why we sent her home.’ OP then said their daughter was also angry with them because “the girl’s parents won’t allow them to play together to teach their daughter that she ‘doesn’t deserve to be treated like this’.”
OP regrets that this is all a simple misunderstanding and asked if she was wrong, and almost every comment was a resounding (and sometimes very colorful) “Yes”, especially in regards to the mock excuse OP came up with.
“And that’s exactly what makes her an a–h–. She said she didn’t have enough food for an 8-year-old. At a barbecue. It is not surprising that the neighbors are offended,” one of them remarked. “YTA – It would be different if you went somewhere else and couldn’t take them with you, but this was at your house. And then you add the excuse that you wouldn’t have enough, how much do you think an 8 year old who has already eaten is going to eat? That child should have been welcomed with open arms,” repeated another.
A few defended OP’s decision, but with a caveat. “As a parent of a child the same age, this is COMPLETELY reasonable, and that alone would make you NTA. It’s also perfectly reasonable not to want her at your barbeque – if I drop one of my kids’ friends over at my house for a play date, they become my responsibility, and if I already had a bunch of people over and take care of things I may not feel comfortable taking on the added responsibility of having another child I haven’t had before at the time,” one sympathized.
That being said, I think you handled this situation poorly, making you come across as TA. Instead of being honest… you made up some weird excuse about food that clearly wasn’t true and just feels stingy. I would write the parents a note apologizing for the misunderstanding, explaining that you and your husband were already overwhelmed with the number of people at your home and were handling it poorly, and asking for a playdate at your home ( with lunch!) day”, the co-parent concluded.
Seriously, we understand that throwing a party on top of parenting duties can be exhausting, and the thought of an extra mouth to feed could be the straw that broke the exhausted OP’s back. But expecting a neighbor to feed your own child and then objecting to the idea of having to return the favor is the first trick. Sending the neighbor’s kid home after essentially giving the OP babysitting for free while they prepped for the party at the last minute is strike number two. And handing out a half-baked, food-related excuse to a kid who clearly has body image issues, as evidenced by her parents’ phone call, is strike number three. If you’re ever throwing a party, one more mouth isn’t too much to feed, especially not a child’s.