For the last two years my daughter Mia (10), has had a Christmas party with her friends on the same night I hold an adult Christmas party. This year Mia's party will be a pamper day, followed by a themed 'dinner party' and a movie night sleepover. A couple of weeks ago Mia asked me if she had to invite her step-cousin, Georgia (11).
For context, Mia and Georgia have known each other since they were 3/4. When they were young they would play together but when they got older, not so much. I will say Georgia wanted to play with Mia more than the other way round, as Mia grew out of active games quite young.
They still sometimes hang out at family gatherings but there have been a couple of instances where Georgia has had to be told to leave Mia alone because she won't accept that Mia doesn't want to play.
Based on this I said Mia doesn't have to invite Georgia to the party (Georgia was invited the past two years because my brother and SIL were coming to the adult party), but that she wasn't allowed to mention the party in front of Georgia because we didn't want her to feel bad.
When I sent out invites for my party, SIL called confirming whether there would be a 'kids' party like last year. I said it was never a kids party, it was Mia's party, and yes she would be having some friends over.
SIL didn't get the hint and asked what time she should bring Georgia so I told her that we allowed Mia to choose who to invite and she'd only chosen her friends from school.
SIL got mad and asked how I could let Mia exclude her cousin like this, but I said the girls aren't close, and I have no right to dictate who Mia chooses to invite to her own party. I also said that since Georgia would never know about the party, I'm obviously not intentionally hurting anyone.
A few days later, SIL called and said Georgia now knew about the party so I had to invite her. I said no, I didn't, and the only person who could have told her was SIL or my brother so I was not going to fall for their poorly contrived way to force an invite.
SIL got mad again and said she can't believe that I'm teaching my daughter to be a bully just like me, and that she and my brother wouldn't come to my party and might not come to family Christmas because they don't want Georgia to be around people who exclude her.
I thought she was bluffing and would get over it, but my mom has said that my brother told her he's still trying to persuade SIL to come to Christmas because she's still upset that I wasn't making Georgia feel like 'part of the family.'
To me, this has nothing to do with whether Georgia is family, she's not Mia's *friend* and Mia didn't want her there, end of story. My mom said maybe I should just relent, because Georgia will probably have a terrible time and leave early anyway, and then SIL won't hold it against us. But I don't want to ruin Mia's day to pacify SIL. AITA?
OP answers some commen questions:
I see a lot of people saying I shouldn't have had the parties on the same day because Georgia would know she wasn't invited to the other party, but my party is adult only, Georgia would not have been there to know about Mia's party. It's an adult only cocktail party, no kids will be there.
I'm getting a lot of questions about whether other guest's kids would be at Mia's party - No. Last year, Georgia was the only child with parents attending the cocktail party. None of Mia's friends parents were or are invited to the cocktail party, there is no overlap.
Here's how people judged OP:
NTA. I am so confused by these comments calling you the AH OP. I applaud you for listening and standing up for your daughters wishes. Why should she have to invite someone she barely knows and gets along with? To make Georgia and SIL happy? Hell no. You have every right to not allow someone to a party.
I was the kid who's parents forced other kids to invite to things. You know what? I made my life SO much worse. I ended up with girls who I just didn't click with out right bullying me to the point i had to change schools.
Reading between the lines, I'm hypothesizing the Georgia doesn't have a lot of friends and considers Mia a 'safe' interaction. While that's great for Georgia, it's not so much for Mia.
Im a mother of an autistic son & youre right them being excluded is painful but ive to disagree with the rest- i never wanted a pity invite from anyone who basically just doesnt like him for whatever reason. I can think of nothing worse than being in company who basically don't want you there.
NTA. SIL wants free babysitting. It would probably be best to just uninvite SIL from your party. She's being manipulative and will continue to cause issues.