Children’s birthday parties are tricky; the invite list can be stressful for parents who worry about excluding classmates but also want to ensure that the guest of honor, their child, feels comfortable and surrounded by love. One Reddit mom is concerned that she went a little too far by banning her son’s bully — who showed up uninvited — from his birthday party.
This week, the original poster (OP) visited Reddit‘s subgroup AITA for some perspective with a post that quickly racked up hundreds of comments.
“My son just turned 8. We had a birthday party for him Saturday. He invited some friends from class including Kyle. I did not know Kyle was cousins with this other boy in their class Josh. Josh has been sh*tty to my son for a while now,” she wrote. “The poor kid has gone through a lot. His baby sister died, then his dad leaves him and his mom. My son has a baby brother and he has both me and my husband (his dad) still in the one home. So he has become a target for Josh’s hurt and anger.”
Josh’s bullying ramped up last spring, after students returned to in-person learning. “Made the entire month a living hell for my son and I was on the school’s ass about it,” the mom wrote. “I put in for a class transfer but was denied because they were ‘dealing with it.’ When they returned to school a few weeks ago Josh was still targeting my son.”
So when it came time to plan her son’s birthday party, Josh did not make the guest list. However Kyle did, and that’s where things got complicated.
“So anyway, Kyle’s mom showed up to the party Saturday with Josh. I was confused. Asked what was going on. She explained he was her nephew, etc, etc, and she was hoping it would help everyone if he was included since everything going on,” she wrote. “I said no way. That he was not invited and given the way he treats my son he was not coming in. She argued with me but I stood firm.”
The OP added that Josh’s presence was upsetting for everyone. “My son freaked out when he saw Josh at our house and asked if he was staying. He was so relieved he wasn’t. AITA here? I feel bad for the kid but feel my only loyalty is to my son.”
Reddit was overwhelmingly on her side, with many users declaring her NTA (not the a**hole).
“For starters, it was very presumptuous of her to show up with a +1 when she was not given a +1,” someone pointed out. “She also put you in a position where you needed to choose to turn away a kid who is having a hard time, or force your son to put up with his bully in his own home. Neither choice is going to be the right one and the onus is on her for forcing that on you.”
“SHE put the kid in a bad situation not you, she made you the bad guy/gal for having to refuse the kid at the door,” another wrote, adding that if the boys wanted to repair their relationship, it should be their decision. “…Also if this kid is jealous of OP’s [child], a happy family birthday party where OP’s kid is center of attention is a TERRIBLE place to try and mend fences.”
And one commenter had no patience for bullying, no matter the cause. “A very possible result of this would be that the bully learns he can be a sh*tty person and still be rewarded, which often is exactly how bullying works out anyways,” the person wrote. “Plus the aunt made the party about her nephew, a kid who wasn’t even invited, and not about your son. His comfort at his own birthday didn’t even take precedence.”
We believe this mom made a hard choice to protect her son and prioritize his comfort. Good job!
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