Help, my child didn’t get invited to the birthday party!

This might be an all too real of a heartbreak that you have encountered or might encounter in the future.  

“My child wasn’t invited to the party.” I have had so many feelings about this topic, but mostly I am heartbroken for my child.  

Believe it or not this unfortunately still exists even with many schools strongly encouraging or mandating parents invite the whole class and not just certain children.  At our school, birthday party invitations passed out at school must be passed to all children or the parents need to contact 1-2 parents outside of school to avoid the school “birthday party invitation” getting passed out in front of the students.  Children who don’t receive an invitation when this occurs often feel rejected, sad and angry. They might also not understand why they didn’t get an invitation.

Many children with social deficits struggle to make and maintain friends.   This is because many of these children try to make friends with kids who do not share their interests or they misinterpret social cues (communication, personal space, and body language).  This behavior can be offputting to other children and can scare or deter them. Another situation is when they think that any friendly person wants to be their friend and as we know that isn’t good either.

It is important to help your child understand the different kinds of friendships.

  1. Just because friends…. Friends due to a mutual connection.  This friendship happens with minimal effort or no effort. Maybe the common connection is Pokemon or Legos.
  2. Nearby friends… Other children that are neighbors, live close by or ride the same bus.
  3. Kids of parents’ friends… These friends are not seen very often and the commonality is that the parents are friends.
  4. Outside activity friends … These are the friends in soccer, basketball, cub scouts, girl scouts, Sunday school, etc…
  5. Good at the same things friends… Friends due to a commonality of a shared focus such as reading group or math group.
  6. In-school extra activity friends … Band, Choir, Theater, Basketball friends.
  7. Cousins… Bonus friends that are genetically bonded through the family.

Help your child understand what a good and positive friend is

  • They remember important things  (birthdays, accomplishments, etc.)
  • They are reliable, honest and trustworthy.
  • They do kind things for one another and use kind language.
  • They help out when a friend is sad or has a problem.
  • They like to spend time together and do fun things

As a parent here are some skills you can work with your child on

Role Model being a good friend

Read books on friendship – Below are a few of our favorites.

Practice good friendship skills

This is a great book for girls to focus on practicing friendship skills.

Role-play various situations

Sharing a toy; playing a game; inviting another friend to play; determining what to play; taking turns; working out a conflict

The take away – Help your child understand how to make a friend who shares similar interests and who treats them kindly.


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