Should You Bring The Whole Family To A Birthday Party? The Internet Weighs In

by Tanay Howard
Originally Published: 
A whole family coming to a birthday party
Frank and Helena Herholdt/Getty

Kids birthday parties have always caused… heated debates. And mom Jeena Wilder set the internet abuzz with her hotly contested birthday party etiquette. In a now-viral video posted to TikTok, Wilder shares what happens when one of her kids gets invited to a birthday party. And let’s just say, the comments section doesn’t hold back.The video starts with “When you invite one of my children to a birthday party.”

Wilder continues. “You invite one child you get all of us. Don’t worry we bring awesome gifts.” In the video you can see Jeena and her five kids, ranging from 9 years to 4 months old, dancing away on screen with her husband holding their baby. Wilder explains in her caption that her husband works a lot, and most days she is with the kids alone. She also says that she always RSVPs for her family or asks the parents first.

Of course the comments are full of opinions. But who would I be if I didn’t give mine first?

First of all, COVID … everyone can stay home at this point. But realistically, now that folks are getting more comfortable (and vaccinated), and returning to gathering outside, and kids are in school again with classmates, we have already been invited to more than one birthday party.

As a mom of three, my two oldest are a little less than three years apart. While they go to separate schools, my 4-year-old knows most of his 7-year-old brother’s friends, and they love him. In their case, they do everything together — so if you invite one of them somewhere they’re both coming. If they both cannot go it’s highly likely the other wouldn’t want to go. And in the instance they do get to attend, you’re going to get all three of my kids since my third is an infant.

I can also certainly understand Wilder’s point of view, being the mom that is home with the kiddos most often. As her husband works six days a week, it’s safe to assume he doesn’t have much free time to attend kids’ birthday parties. Is she supposed to never let her kids attend parties if she isn’t able or comfortable with just dropping one off?

The comments did, however, bring up some good points.

Children can definitely benefit from having individual experiences.

“Because god forbid a child gets just one afternoon of alone time to bond with their friends without their siblings around,” one user commented.

I would imagine for siblings that are further apart in age, it would seem pretty random for a 4-year-old to be at a birthday party for 12-year-olds. Also, I would feel incredibly guilty if my oldest felt like they couldn’t have fun or play with their friends due to having to look after their younger siblings. Forming friendships outside of their sibling relationships are also important for social development.

Every family’s financial situation is different.

While Wilder did insist that if the party was in an event space she pays for her extra children, users still did not feel this was acceptable. “Imagine being a single parent on a budget and this happens, I’d be so embarrassed and upset,” a user wrote. And even though Wilder said she asks first, many felt that even the ask puts the party host in an awkward position. Even if the party is at home, it puts the pressure on the host to provide extra food, gift bags, cake and entertainment for children they had no intention of inviting.

And some people just felt like it was bad party etiquette to invite yourself.

“One thing my mom always told me when growing up – never invite yourself anywhere. I’m embarrassed to think of a whole family inviting themselves,” one person commented.

There were a few comments to the tune of “the more the merrier” and “they all can come to my birthday party” — but it seemed like the majority of commenters agreed that they were on Team “Invited Kids Only.” Wilder, for her part, responded to comments, making it seem like she’s perfectly fine sitting out the parties the whole family can’t attend. So… the moral of the story is… to each their own?

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