Judith Martin (a.k.a. Miss Manners of the Washington Post) tackled a parent's question regarding their daughter and her decision to not make an appearance at her own graduation party. The parent wrote to Miss Manners and explained that along with her daughter's father, they had planned a high school graduation party for 30 friends and family members.
As the letter writer explained, parties aren't really this kid's thing:
My daughter does not like parties, so we asked her the week before to please let us know if she was feeling uncomfortable and we would call it all off, no problem. She said she would be okay with it, and we told her she could just come for a bit to say hi and thank her guests.
However, the daughter never showed, and instead stayed away from home all day. "On top of it all," the letter to Miss Manners added, "her grandparents flew in from out of town, and she was extremely rude to them and didn’t spend any time talking or thanking them for coming."
The letter ends with the parent wondering if she should return the cash and checks people gave as presents, which the daughter didn't even open.
The question of gift returning isn't the main concern in Miss Manner's response. "It seems to Miss Manners that this is the least of your problems, considering that you have a thoroughly rude and callous daughter," the response opens. Damn. According to Miss Manners, returning gifts is normally rude, but since this high school kid has already insulted guests, it'd be OK to give people their money back.
While Miss Manners calls out the daughter, she has some opinions about the parents, too. "Leaving aside your duty to teach your daughter manners and consideration for others, there is the question of why you even considered giving a party for someone who hates parties and your willingness to allow guests to make plans that you offered to cancel a week before." Miss Manners holds no punches.
There is no consensus on this letter writer (known in the comments as LW) and how she should handle this situation.
BaconLvr1s thinks defecation is happening.
I won't get into the details of LW1 and how rude and ungrateful their daughter behaved. I'll have to really think about that one. But what also bothers me, is how the parents coddle this spoil brat and the final straw?! Is that this mother CONTINUES to wonder if she should keep the money to pay for this brat's tuition! Are you kidding me? LADY, DON'T LIFT A FINGER TO PAY FOR TUITION OR A STICK OF GUM FOR HER! She continues to defecate on everyone around her and she still expects to be catered.
Caitlin Ohman doesn't think asthma and triathlons mix.
So can I just say that there is absolutely no context on the daughter's side of this? From the parents' point of view this is extremely rude, however, we have no idea what the daughter's mental state is. She could suffer from agoraphobia (she left the house but that doesn't mean she left to party; it's perfectly possible she went to a quiet place like a park or library or just drove around) or have autism. The fact that her parents had to ask if she was comfortable with it makes me think that she has some sort of anxiety issue. IF YOU KNOW YOUR KID HAS ANXIETY AND IS UNCOMFORTABLE IN THOSE SITUATIONS, DON'T TRY AND FORCE THEM INTO PARTICIPATING. People who have anxiety issues do not know how they will be feeling a week out, much less a few hours from now. They could be fine one day and the next they cannot breathe due to whatever is bothering them.
No one should have to apologize for their anxiety. I'm sure if their daughter had asthma they wouldn't force her to compete in triathlons and they wouldn't publicly shame her for her physical weakness. Mental disorders are a real thing. They can be just as crippling as any physical illness. Shame on these parents for not getting their daughter help OR AT THE VERY LEAST trying to understand what she's going through.
Patty Jones blames everyone.
The parents were, in fact wrong for planning the party. If they knew the daughter didn't like situations like that, they chose to run the risk.
Not that the daughter is off the hook. It was completely rude of her to back out at the last minute after saying she would attend.
We have a daughter that has anxiety issues, but I make it clear "You WILL be there" when it is absolutely necessary that she be somewhere. There are very few things that she "must" attend. Personally, I would NOT have planned a graduation party for her.
Return every gift given with a sincere apology and let little Miss "Anxiety" work for everything she gets from now on. She's going to have to learn that the world just won't care and won't indulge her.
Jen Rice doesn't want people to confuse mental illness with being a diva.
As the mother of a son with schizophrenia and the wife of a brilliant man with schizophrenia, for heaven's sake please stop blaming every rude, immature, and entitled act on mental illness! It does not promote true understanding of anti social behaviours stemming from illness, and that is something we desperately need. It only makes it more difficult for those who need that understanding the most.
While people disagreed on the responsible party (the blame game is fun) and what to do with the gifts, nobody questioned that the graduation party was not a good time.