Dilemma with Upcoming Family Function

Luv My - posted on 08/18/2013 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I have a dilemma with an upcoming family function. My 15 year old daughter was invited to go on vacation with her best friend's family and I am planning a surprise 75th birthday party for her Grandmother smack dab in the middle of that vacation. The invitations have already gone out so the party cannot be changed. It will be about 35 family and friends at a restaurant. Should I allow my daughter to miss this event to go on vacation with her friend or force her to attend this family event? She has suggested that if I let her go on vacation she could spend another day with her grandmother instead. She is very upset and is saying that the only reason I want her there is to save face. It is true that I do want all my children there, but I want her to realize the importance of family obligations. Am I being too unreasonable by requiring her to attend the party and forego the vacation?

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Mary - posted on 08/18/2013

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She's 15. At this age, it's totally normal for her to want to go away with her friend rather than stay home for a family event, no matter what that event is for. I'd also expect that if you make her stay home, she's going to be a bit sullen and unpleasant for the entire week, and especially the at that dinner. You can make her stay home, but you can't make her WANT to be there, or see that as the "right" thing to do.

Since the party is a surprise, you'll have to wait until afterwards for her to spend some time with her grandmother to celebrate. However, I would be sure to impress upon your daughter that when she does come home, it will be up to her to explain to her grandmother why she wasn't there. If it was me, I would probably impress upon her that her grandmother and other family members (including yourself) may be disappointed or upset with her for choosing to go...and then let her make that decision on her own, and deal with any hurt feelings that may arise.

Gena - posted on 08/18/2013

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I agree with Firebird.I would let her go on the trip and tell her to spend the day befor the trip.I guess if you wont let her go on the trip she will be upset and most probably not enjoy the dinner.She is 15,its normal to want to go on a trip with her best friend instead of a dinner with family,that doesnt mean she doesnt respect the family,i think its just the age.

Firebird - posted on 08/18/2013

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Honestly, I'd let her go. She's already shown a sense of "family obligation" by offering up a compromise to spend a different day with her grandmother for her birthday. I'd also ask her to spend that day with grandma before she goes on vacation.

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Ev - posted on 08/20/2013

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Sandi-my idea of talking to the other parents of the best friend is to let them know what it going on and tell them if they want to take the girl on another vacation with them at a later date that would be something they could work towards. We don't know but the parents could be best friends too. It is also just an option. Maybe she could go on a later trip with her best friend's family. I have been in this position before to an extent. We made other arrangements to make sure the kids got the chance to spend time together. What is so bad about that? Its not about a decision but more or less a polite way to let the inviting family know what is going and and why the child is not able to go on this trip and if they want to invite her later on that it would be a possiblity.

Sandi - posted on 08/18/2013

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It's isn't necessary that the friend's family has a say-so in the matter. And it's unimportant that her friend's family "get the idea that major family members are to be there...." Parents with good parenting skills would not put the best friend's parents in the position of having to come up with something creative. They are not obligated to "offer another vacation", so to say "If they don't....." isn't right. If they do, that's lovely. If they don't, then the parents should make arrangements to do something with this girl and her friend.

Sandi - posted on 08/18/2013

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Sullen and unhappy she may be, but too bad. To knuckle under to make a 15 year old happy, are poor parenting skills.

Kaitlyn - posted on 08/18/2013

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I would insist she stay for the party of her beloved grandmother who is waaay more important than a good time with friends she may not even know in 5 years. She needs to know that family celebrations of this type are once and vacays to look at boys and do things they probably shouldn't do are a much lower priority. I 've been through this as my girls are now in college and they didn't like no but later they realized it was the right thing to put family over play. She will have plenty of time for play. You need to teach her that family is more important than her play time. She will appreciate later when she matures that you gave her that value.

Ev - posted on 08/18/2013

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To me it would be a good idea to sit down and discuss the value of family and what it would mean to her grandmother for her to be there. I would also discuss this event with the parents of the best friend and tell them that this was planned before the vacation invite and can not be changed over. If they get the idea that major family members are to be there, they might just suggest to your daughter to join them for another trip another time. There are ways to compromise. If they do not want to offer another chance for a vacation, I would tell my daughter that she is 15 and that means that if I decide she has to stay that is it. She will learn to get over it. A grandparent's birthday this late in life is a milestone. Its also one event she won't have a chance to see again or be part of.

Sandi - posted on 08/18/2013

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At one time, we were four generations and the teens looked forward to the birthday party of their grandfather who was in his 90's. Believe me, not every teen wants to ditch a family celebration to be with friends.

Sandi - posted on 08/18/2013

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For me, attending the party for her grandmother wouldn't be up for debate......period. The invitation to go on vacation with her friend came after you'd planned the party. At 15 it's difficult for them to that every day is precious, especially at the age of 75. Grandma's 75th birthday will only come ONCE, while there be plenty of years left for your daughter to vacation.

So no you aren't being unreasonable. You are being a responsible parent, trying to teach your children values, and where their priorities should lie. Stand firm, she'll get over it.

Chet - posted on 08/18/2013

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I'm assuming that this is not a once in a lifetime vacation. Your daughter wouldn't be passing up the only chance she'll ever have to go to some exotic or educational locale. I'd also hope that the parents of the friend would sort of ex-invite your daughter on the trip anyway if they knew she'd be blowing off a milestone birthday for her grandma to tag along. Like you, I would want to instil a sense of familial obligation. I would say she stays home from the trip... not to make me look good, but to make her look like a responsible caring young woman who understands that this is more than just a dinner. In twenty five or fifty years when people look back at the pictures from the party she should be in them with the other family members.

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