Can I vent here?

Kirsten - posted on 10/19/2012 ( 19 moms have responded )

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I'd like to know what others think about what I'm about to write because I may be overreacting:



Yesterday, my son told me that a friend from school had invited him to a Halloween amusement park (Valley Scare here in the Twin Cities). I called the boy's mom to make sure this was really the plan because its a pricy event (about $30 per person). As a single mom, I'm watching every penny. This event would not be something I could ordinarily afford.



The mom (I'll call her Marge) agreed that each of her two sons could invite a friend. She was happy that my son could go with her family. I asked if I could send along some money with my son for food, and she suggested that I pay for the ticket ($32) plus money for food. I was a bit taken aback. That's a lot of money for me, and I'm between paychecks. Because my son was already excited about going, I sort of agreed to bring the money. Now, I am feeling yucky about how I got sucked into paying so much when all along I thought that my son was being invited.



What does everyone else think? Should the family have paid for the ticket for my son? Am I out of line for feeling duped? What should I do at this point?



Thanks! K.

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Jitka - posted on 11/16/2012

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Last time we went to an amusement park and my boys wanted a friend, we covered the friends costs. I didn't think it was right to expect money his parents might not have counted on spending just because my kids wanted a friend along. I thought that went without saying?

Heather - posted on 01/04/2013

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I know that my family sticks very firmly to the traditional etiquette of "you invite, you pay." My daughter is too young for this issue to come up with her yet, but I remember when I was a teenager that we pretty much stuck to this. My parents wouldn't allow us to invite a friend unless they intended to pay for them. I also remember being invited to go with a friend (just the friend and me) to visit her grandmother in Florida, and before the trip was discussed with me, my friend's parents called my mother to discuss it with her, because they weren't planning to pay for my trip. Of course, the grandmother was providing lodging and food at home, and also actually paid for my meals most of the times we ate out while I was there, but my parents purchased my plane ticket and sent money with me to cover my food, because they had spoken with the parents BEFORE I WAS INVITED and knew this was expected. I think it was very unfair of the other mother to invite your child to something that she didn't intend to pay for without knowing your financial situation. I would be furious if my daughter came home with an "invitation" for me to spend $30+ on an activity. That doesn't sound like an invitation so much as just a ride. Just because financially times are tough, I don't think that's an excuse for etiquette to go completely out the window. In this situation, if the family couldn't afford to pay for the friends, they should have called the parents first or not invited the children. Ask Emily Post. I bet she would agree.

Stacy - posted on 12/22/2012

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I dont think its odd, its just alot of people just dont have the money, thats the not case for some people but for most I would imagine, but if I let my son have a friend come along I will surely tell the parents as soon as they are invited if there are any costs. I would be somewhat upset if I was in that situation if they didnt upfront

Samantha - posted on 12/18/2012

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Lynn R i think you are way out of line. The family have said they could bring a friend each so in my eyes that would mean they are paying for them, if not then they would be able to invite a class full! I would offer her half the price of the ticket and spending money, there's no point in skinting yourself for something they should have talked with you about in advance.

Angela - posted on 10/21/2012

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Mind you, I'm expecting so not sure about my "advice"... I think that in most cases, if the children's parent invites your kid, they should cover the cost...or discuss it with you beforehand. If the mother had discussed with you, then there would have been room to discuss when going to the park would be best for both of you (timing & financially)... What if you had a family event planned for that day? Best protocol would be for her to check with you BEFORE inviting YOUR child anywhere... I think that since this situation is already rolling, I'd try to to make it work and speak to the mother in a very kind way (after some time has passed) and explain that you're on a budget and in the future big plans should be planned out a bit more so that you're sure that it can happen. Good Luck and you sound like such a great mama! :)

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19 Comments

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Christy - posted on 01/14/2013

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Lynn R - there are ways of saying what you intend while being tactful. Your later reply was much more polite, but I think you could use some lessons on people skills.

Kirsten - many posters have already replied the important takeaway ideas. Middle Ages or not, an invitation implies expenses are taken care of. Marge should have called to discuss the details with you before saying anything about it to your son. Doing so would have negated the need to offer money later on, you'd already know what money would be expected to be sent & she'd already know how much she would be footing. Now, this is a perfect example of a way to teach your son proper etiquette. If he understands that not everybody knows the proper way to extend an invitation, he can expect that sometimes you'll also have to say no based on your own criteria. Hope this helps for the future.

For now, assuming he's old enough to understand, I'd explain to him that sometimes we have to make sacrifices and going with this friend would mean not having food to eat for several days and maybe you could save up for the following year's event. Good luck!

Renee - posted on 01/12/2013

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An invitation means the person inviting is paying. Plain & simple. You have every right to vent & every right to be upset.
Yes Lynn was way outta line. Seems her anger is being directed at you, she should deal with it a different way.

Jo-Ellen - posted on 01/07/2013

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In my opinion, with the invitation coming through the kids the mom should have been prepared to pay for the ticket. If she had contacted you first then it would seem reasonable for you to be covering the cost. I do usually offer to pay when my kids are invited out, and usually it is turned down or a midpoint is reached. As for the comment from Lynn, I think she was out of line. Of course you wouldn't pay because you wouldn't have been going. I think you were right to contact the mom before hand, but maybe not given an answer to the son until the details were worked out.

Tara - posted on 12/31/2012

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You have a right to be pissed I would be, how are you going to invite a friend but yet you don't expect to pay for them. The mom should have called you and said we are thinking about going here do you think your child would like to come? Not hey we want to take your kid here and we are going to do this and this and that and you have to pay $$ this much what is that.

Kim - posted on 12/30/2012

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I wouldn't have said yes to my son until finding out details from his friends mom because nowadays u supply the money when Ur child is invited along its not like it was back when we was kids..this is a new era ppl are different and I don't wanna say selfish but more careful how money is spent life is different. I would have declined the offer if I could not afford it your son has to learn not everything in life is happy or fair and this is one of those times.

Haley - posted on 12/29/2012

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I think that based on the rules of etiquette an "invitation" is at no expense to the person invited. Now there are some stipulations where a person can say, "hey, we are going to be at this place at this time, let us know if you are going go go/want to ride with us" that is slightly different. Maybe you're not getting the whole story. But by her saying that each of her kids could invite a guest, if it were my kids doing the inviting under my approval, I'd be paying for their guests.
Many people think that these days everything is assumed to be dutch. But it's not always the case, and sometimes it makes things awkward or difficult, just like this. And it sucks.

Lynn - posted on 12/22/2012

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You shouldn't be venting in forums if you don't want to hear other's opinions. That doesn't make me a snob Amanda, it means i have an opinion. And my opinion is that, i don't expect or assume that other people should pay for my child's entertainment, it would be nice gesture "if offered" and i would fully expect to reciprocate if someone took my child somewhere for free by taking their child at a later date somewhere for free also. It takes a real sense of entitlement to expect others to foot your bills. When i can't afford things i don't do them, and when i can i know have earned the privilege. Looking to others with the expectation of them owning you something is just plain rude. Have some pride in yourself and take responsibility for your own choices..."poor me" is a poor excuse.

I do agree though that the parent should have asked the parent before the child about a trip such as this. I would have a problem with someone else taking my child to a big city amusement park, especially if there was water around. I would not feel comfortable leaving the supervision of my children in the hands of someone who didn't know me well enough to call me about it first.

Dani - posted on 12/22/2012

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I don't know about this one. When I was younger and if my friends came with us to do things, my parents would pay for them too. Has it really changed? I would have thought that if you invite someone to somewhere, (especially only one friend) the child would be looked after. It seems odd to me that this has changed.

Amanda - posted on 12/19/2012

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I agree, Lynn R havent you ever learned if you dont have anything nice to say dont say anything at all? Kirsten dont let snobs like that make you think badly of yourself. They should have ran it by you first if they invited him they should have paid for at least the ticket

Me - posted on 12/12/2012

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First of all, we, as mothers, need to stick together. Life is difficult, but as a single mother, it gets a little more difficult. I know all to well how that feels, but you should talk to her and explain your situation. She might understand.

Lynn - posted on 12/10/2012

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You are way out of line. No the family shouldn't pay for the ticket. They are paying for a adult tickets, gas/transportation and the time of taking the kids...let me ask you this...would you have paid for her son? Give me a break, if you can't afford it right now, then NO is a good answer. Why would you think someone else owes you something or should be responsible for your situation? Politely decline and do it as soon as possible so the family can choose another child to invite, if you screw with this you will ruin your child's friendship. I know this is harsh but your message just really rubbed me the wrong way. When someone makes you a generous offer with good intentions you shouldn't bitch about it like they were trying to screw you over, it makes you sound ungrateful and petty.

Stacy - posted on 11/16/2012

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I think sometimes people just dont know, coming from different backgrounds. I think it is a curteous thing to do to cover the cost expecially if you invited them, but with along of money issues lately it seems like people just arnt able to do that. For me Id rather bring it up to make sure or let them know in advance because i wouldnt want them to get upset for paying for my sons way if I didnt send money with him (assuming they were paying) or vis versa

Stacy - posted on 11/15/2012

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I think evryone is tight lately and to me if another family invited my son to something, I would automatically assume that we would have to pay for our own just because they didnt say out fron that they would take care of it. Somehting like this, I would always assume this. If it was a thing that they were having a party or some sort of get together at the place I would think differently. I get where your coming from though,expecially since it being hard money wise. Id say if hes really excited about it and thinks everything is fine, try to come up with the money, but if it really shorts you out say on bills or something necessary, Id def. not let him go.

Annie - posted on 11/05/2012

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From my experience, this is just my personal happenings, whenever someone offers to take my child somewhere I offer to pay. I would say usually the parent pays, but a couple of times I have been expected to pay my child's way. I never tell my child yes until I hear ALL of the details, that way if I can't do it, she doesn't get her hopes up to high. I am constantly struggling between paychecks so I know how you feel.



It sounds like you feel as if you were trapped into this, which is a hard pill to swallow. We all only do what we can, maybe the mother was having a hard time telling her son's no as well? My daughter is ALWAYS asking me to bring a friend along. Most parents offer to pay their child's way, I usually thank them and have them send "spending" money.



I think what your situation boils down to is a misunderstanding in communication - which happens very often when there are little ones involved!!

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