Birthday party risks: advice and debate

[deleted account] ( 15 moms have responded )

While we're having a bit of a birthday party discussion on DM, I thought it would be a good time to ask this question.



Would parents feel comfortable dropping their 5/6 year olds off at a party and picking them up at the end time? I'm really interested to hear opinions from Americans, but everyone else is welcome to chime in on this one too.



The reason I ask is because every party I've been to we're expected to stay for the whole thing. When I was a kid it was normal to just drop your kids off and leave them to get on with it and this still seems pretty common back in the UK. I wouldn't make it a mandatory thing, parents would be welcome to stay if they want to.



Would American moms or any other moms do this with people they don't know? Have times changed when it comes to this sort of thing? Am I putting myself at risk of a law suit if I allow parents to do this?

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Jodi - posted on 10/02/2010

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"these days there are sexual predators on every corner."



There are no more actually sexual predators on the corner than there were 20 or 30 years ago....this is a misconception because these days we have 24/7 media coverage, as well as greater awareness, so therefore it is just more common for it to be reported.



In answer to the OP, I am in Australia, but Taylah is 5 and I generally just drop her off and pick her up. But like Sharon, it depends where the party is. Sometimes I stay, especially if it is a distance away. Sometimes I stay and have a cuppa because I am friends with some other parents and have the time, so its an excuse for a break, but staying isn't the general rule of thumb. A year ago it was different, before she started school I stayed because I think a large group of younger children can be hard to manage, but once they are school age, you know they can cope with asking where the bathroom is, asking help if they need it, and following an adults instructions :)



But generally, I have met all of these parents at some stage and know several of them reasonably well, so it has never been a question for me.

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[deleted account]

Ha ha Sharon! I know! It is crazy, but all this crap happened after my hubby and I got married (that act kinda fueled the violence). We are working on restraining orders and revoking rights, plus we are thinking of moving to another state (or even country!) and if we do that after her rights are revoked then we don't have to give her any new contact info. I know that was off topic, but I had to explain :)

I think that we are going to be better and better with leaving the kids at parties as time goes on. Our oldest already knows really well not to leave any public place without us, and I know she would do the same with any friend's parent, I'm just a bit paraniod (and I'm not even sure if it's warranted or just a bunch of scare tactics on her part... or stupidity, however you look at it! lol).

Krista - posted on 10/02/2010

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With young kids, I would definitely stick around, if for no other reason than to give the poor parents a hand! Once they're over 6 or so, though, if it's people I know, I would just drop him off and off I'd go. If I don't know them, I'd do what Sharon C-F does -- stick around for a half hour or so to get to know them and get the general vibe of the place.

[deleted account]

This past February was my son's 5th party. Backyard party with a bouncer and we had 12-14 kids total. 2 nephews, 1 family friend, the 3 kids next door. So the remaining kids were school buddies and I told each parent to feel free to leave their cell # and enjoy a few hours to themselves, come back at 4-4:30. I had plenty of adults on hand, and most parents I have met prior to the party.

But this year I did drop my son off at 2 parties. Both at Chuckee Cheese. One set of parents I know, the other set of parents I met for the first time. I stayed for a good 30 minutes to chit-chat with the parents, get to know them, then I took off. Last weekend was another b-day party at the girl's house and I planned to drop him off, but I ended up staying. It was actually nice because I got a chance ot meet some of the other moms form my son's class.

Sharon - posted on 10/02/2010

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Geezus holly. Was it worth it to marry into batshit crazy? Now you live in fear all the time?

Charlie - posted on 10/02/2010

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Im an Aussie but for me it would depend on who's house , but gee i would really feel for the brave person willing to take on a whole party of 5 year olds on their own .

[deleted account]

Like others have said, it really depends on where the party is and who the party is for.

To this point in my oldest daughter's life (she's 8), I stick around, but I am paraniod because our oldest daughter's biological mother has thretened to kidnap our daughter on more than one occasion (we have 99% custody) and has said stuff like "I always know what you're doing" even though she lives 2600 miles away from us, so she's implying she has people spying on us. So, because of those little comments we are VERY cautious about where our daughter goes without us (I even sit in on her Girl Scout meetings...).

Our other 2 kids (ages 3 and 19 months) are still young enough for me to accompany them all the time, but when they get older I will most likely stay with them as well, but that's mainly because our oldest daughter's bio mom has also said things like "I wish your other 2 kids were mine." and CRAZY shit like that, so I am always super cautious.

If my life didn't have this crazy woman, I am sure I would be more flexible on staying with our daughter. Our oldest daughter's best friend is having a sleepover for her birthday this year, but I know her mother pretty well by now, so I am okay with it as long as they don't go to the public park without me or something (and I know they won't because the little girl's mom knows me and knows my concerns). If they wanted to go to the park, I would just meet them there (and I would help the other mother of course!).

Rosie - posted on 10/02/2010

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i do it (leave them), but only with people i know. some random kid invites my child to their party, and i don't know them from adam...well, he's either not going, or i will have to stay.

[deleted account]

We will probably have a house party because it's all we can afford. I don't think I'll do the waiver signing thing though.

I can understand why some parents would be concerned about sexual predators, especially if they're leaving their kids at a house with people they don't know. I'm just wondering how wide spread this concern is. I respect parents who have these concerns and they are welcome to say if they want to. I'm just wondering if parents would actually want to stay given the choice. I know from personal experience that I would have loved to get away for at least some of the party because they are a bit boring for adults.

[deleted account]

I think for me, it would depend on WHERE I'm dropping her off and WHO would be responsible for her. If I was hosting the party I wouldn't make it mandatory for parents to stay but I also wouldn't be inviting anyones kids that I didn't know already so I would hope their parents would trust me enough....I dunno, we're not there yet. Ask me again in a few years...

April - posted on 10/02/2010

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these days there are sexual predators on every corner. even a relative can be a predator. i would not leave my 5/6 year old alone at a party, even at someone's house. i don't care if i'm the only mother staying. I also feel that just because you're throwing your child a birthday party does not mean you have to babysit all their friends too. i am responsible for my own child, I wouldn't trust a parent who also has to watch 15-20 other kids to keep an eye on my son. i don't even know about sleepovers anymore. my sister and i rarely went to those as kids because when my mom was young, one of the parents turned out to be a child molestor.

Amie - posted on 10/02/2010

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See what Sharon just mentioned, people signing waivers. I think may be in part to where you live.

I'm in Canada. We're not exactly "sue happy" people. (that's not meant to be offensive.) One year we had to call the parents of one of her friends. She had fallen and gashed open her knee. She needed stitches. It didn't even enter her parents minds to blame us or to sue anyone. They took her to minor emergency, got her stitched and brought her back.

Sharon - posted on 10/02/2010

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It depends on the party and who is throwing it. House parties - yeah I'll drop the kids off.

Parties at our local stupid game & pizza place, I stick around. there are like 7 entrances and most of the time the parents are getting hammered and NOT watching the kids.

Pool party - usually the local public pool (more like a water park with wave action, fountains & slides.) - depends on who is throwing the party = my neighbors & close friends - I'll leave the kids there.

yeah you're at risk no matter what. usually though - if your party is in a public venue - the parents will opt to sue the party who will have more money = like the public pool instead of you.

Whether the parents are there or not, you're liable for injuries. years ago we had a neighbor that had EVERY parent sign a waiver of liability to let kids play in her yard. I'm not kidding.

[deleted account]

My girls are almost 9 and I've only dropped them off for 2 parties (ironically at the same location, the Humane Society). I believe they were 5 the first time. We don't usually go to many parties that aren't for close friends though, so it's never been an issue cuz all the parents stay at those. I wouldn't drop my kids off w/ someone I didn't know, but I'm aware that there are others that do this and that's fine too.

Amie - posted on 10/02/2010

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People do this? My son's birthday party is today with his friends. Only one parent is staying and she's my neighbor. Her daughter also has severe allergies so it's more of an, I'll have the epi pen ready just in case scenario.

I've always just left the kids at birthday parties. Other parents do the same thing with their kids for birthday parties for mine. I didn't know parents stayed without a reason. LOL

Obviously for small children, toddlers, I can understand parents wanting to stay. We never threw parties with friends for our kids when they were that small though. I dunno, just seems weird to me. lol

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