As a parent, you want to give your child the gift of a vibrant and exciting childhood. This means every birthday, every holiday, every special occasion presents another opportunity to sprinkle some magic in the mix. However, sometimes that magic includes its own complicated social dynamics.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for taking her daughter backstage at a show, and accidentally leaving out her friends. She wrote:
I’m (34F) a retired trapeze artist and my daughter (6F) is enrolled in circus school. She loves it so much that she asked to see a Cirque du Soleil show as a birthday present. My husband (37M) and I managed to get discount tickets to take her and three of her friends from circus school on a 2-hour drive to catch the nearest show.
When I got there I checked the company credits and noticed a friend of mine, an acrobat from Belgium, was one of the performers. I hadn’t seen him in years and sent him a message on Instagram just to say I was in the audience with my daughter and excited to see him.
He replied almost immediately and told me to look for a stage manager after the show so we could say hi and I could take my daughter backstage.
And so I did - since he only invited my daughter and I (I didn’t mention in my short message there were three other girls + my husband, and I couldn’t impose taking a small party backstage), my husband waited with the girls for about 20 min after the show was over while we toured backstage. My daughter was so happy!
Yet she kept talking about it on the way home and that’s when I realized the other girls could be feeling left out. What do you know? The same night one of the girls’ mother called me, to say her daughter came home crying because she didn’t get to go backstage and that it was very poor form on my part to invite them to a party and to exclude them from one of the experiences.
I tried to explain how things played out, but she kept being aggressive - until I finally lost it and told her she had no right to call me and try to reprimand me and should instead have a talk to her daughter about how to deal with such frustrations. My husband says I should not have instigated and that, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have split the party. AITA?
YTA. You could've simply informed your friend that you were in the company of your daughter's friends and left it up to him to decide. You also could've explained to your daughter not to keep talking about that with her friends there, so they won't feel left out. That simple; if you really, really felt the need to only take your kid and not the others.
Instead, you did in fact leave 3 other kids out, you allowed your daughter to brag about what she alone got to do, and you're surprised a bunch of 6-year-olds felt left out. You then double down on the one mom who wanted to defend her kids' feelings. Yes, YTA.
NTA. It was 20 freaking minutes to show your daughter a once in a lifetime thing that's relevant to her special interests on her birthday. The kids were safe and still got a free night out paid by yourself. The other kid sounds like a spoiled brat, and her mother sounds entitled and enabling. Guaranteed the other kid won't remember not going backstage, but your daughter will remember this special opportunity.
Unpopular opinion apparently, NTA. There are birthday and life experiences that people get individually, and nobody is under any obligation to change that just to spare people's feelings. During a birthday, only the birthday kid gets to blow out the candles, unless the birthday kid specifically asks others to do it with them.
They're under no obligation or pressure to change that and let others blow out their candles or help them blow the candles out. Same with presents. Only the birthday kid gets to open presents on their birthday. There is no obligation or pressure for the birthday kid to allow others to do so, or even help them.
And we never say anything about kids that wave around brand new shiny toys or electronics on their birthdays and brag about them, but now it's wrong to brag about an experience that a birthday kid got on their birthday, specifically because it was their birthday nonetheless? Nope.
Your daughter got to go backstage at a show that you took her to for her birthday. The whys and how's don't matter, since it could have been that you could have gotten her backstage passes for her birthday since she's the birthday kid and not gotten them for others. It wouldn't have mattered.
NTA these kids got a dose of reality. Sometimes you don't get what you want. Gotta learn to deal with disappointment at some point. Also...even discounted tickets are still pretty pricey. That mother should've just shut her mouth and been grateful that her child got to experience it at all. There I said it.
YTA. I'm sure you knew the invitation backstage might not be forthcoming if it was a whole group of you, so you deliberately "forgot to mention" you were there with a party of people. You do not invite a group out to celebrate with your daughter and then leave them hanging around for 20 minutes or so whilst you go off and do something else.
As for you criticizing the other child's parenting, well if my child came home upset from a party I'd probably want to find out exactly what happened as well.
And secondly, let's hope you are excellent at explaining to your daughter about how to deal with frustrations of that kind when she is upset that she doesn't receive invites to other children's parties, once word gets around of how you treated your own invited guests.
Clearly, no one can agree here, so we need you to weigh in.