Dear Lola,

Recently I found myself in an awkward situation at a child’s fifth birthday party. This was a party in a private home, with 15 children and their parents in attendance. One of the kids was having a wild day – hitting, screaming, throwing things. His mother and father were watching and seemed to just chuckle and act like it was normal behavior. I am a very close friend of the host, who was slowly losing her mind over the parent’s inaction. She asked me to quietly take the parents aside and ask them to have their child behave or leave. I did so as politely as possible, explaining the host had asked me to speak with them because she was too busy with the party. The parents were livid. They said the host should have spoken to them instead of dragging other guests into gossip and that they were invited and would stay for lunch and cake. The couple then stood in the corner of the garden and glared at me and the host. I finally asked them to leave (at the behest of the host) when their son picked up a glass vase and threw it on the ground.

Lola, what could I have done differently in this situation?

Mischief Mismanaged

Advice for humans. They need all the help they can get.

Dear Mischief Mismanaged,

I hope you can forgive me for my name pun, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use the word mischief. It has such a great effect when used in a sentence, yet rarely does the opportunity to use the word present itself.

Unfortunately for you, this is where my praise ends.

You (and the host) bungled this situation badly. Miniature Humans have long been plagued with terrible behavior, especially when their ages are in the single digits. Add in extra bodies and the behavior amplifies by ten. Throw in a few innocent party games and the Miniature Humans morph into a new beast, one more similar to my species. Every moment becomes a feat of survival and the last body standing gets the ultimate prize.

A slice of birthday cake, and all the frosting their eyes can see!

Year after year, Hominid Wranglers host these parties with the same results. Someone’s Miniature Human ends up on a wild tear, the Wranglers become flustered and embarrassed, paralyzed by indecision. Should they discipline their offspring in public and risk censure by the others for being harsh, or let their beast run free and risk censure by the others for being lackadaisical?!

Every so often a vase or two gets broken.

That’s the risk every host takes when they open their home.

There’s nothing you can do to correct what has happened – it is now up to the host to make nice with the other side. Or she can avoid the situation entirely and spend the next 12 years standing awkwardly next to these Hominid Wranglers at every school event. I’m guessing that’s the tack she will take based on her unwillingness to step in when her own home is being torn apart by a tiny tornado hopped up on sugar. In future, resist the urge to step in when a host asks you to. Unless you are named on the invites or appointed as meeter and greeter of an event, you should act like the guest you are.

The messenger always gets blamed.

By the way, how did the birthday cake taste?!


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26 replies on “Dear Lola – Mischief mismanaged…

  1. Yikes! We once had people over and their kid who’d been a little sh&t all day, which they seemed to think was normal behaviour, finally upended the ‘kids’ table with all the plates and cups on it (but all plastic so only the food went to waste). The parents were so embarassed and went to ‘deal’ with it – which didn’t seem to involve much dealing with it at all, which was probably half the problem. The other half was they didn’t know me at all and hadn’t seen my husband for 20 years, so they were embarassed. So who knows what goes on, and maybe that kid was always an angel and chose that time to lose it…kids are pretty random. One of my kids chose that moment to become a model citizen and be horrified at the behaviour (hehehe) so we didn’t do or say anything. It was quite a relief when lunch came to a close…(which was quite a bit of time after the table incident). As for the party story above, I’d still rather the wayward child than all the sibilings that weren’t invitied expecting a lollybag that you haven’t made for them – some even taking one without being offered and you have to snatch it back for an actual invitied guest…#GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We host a Halloween party every year. During the first one, I was horrified when other people’s kids would go mental. However, i’ve since had my own kids and learnt to become much more relaxed. We tend to move any valuable’s upstairs, out the way. But if something did get broken by someone else’s little “angel”, well, it’s a risk we take.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s so awkward when parents don’t deal with their kids’ behavior, but someone certainly needs to advocate for all the victims of the childish mayhem–and the host is the most logical person.
    I have actually stepped in before when a child hopped up on sugar and generally poor coping skills was mistreating one of the other kids, and it didn’t cause hard feelings, but it does make me wonder what parents are thinking when they don’t run interference with their own kids’ misbehavior…???

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your focus on the birthday cake. However, many parents will know just how embarrassing it is when your child plays up and not only that but there may be special needs issues known about or not. So it is a tricky one. Little ones are wired differently just like their adult counterparts I guess #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s tough. I do think the host should have dealt with the problem, or just let it go, rather than involving another guest. But as a parent, understanding that little people don’t have perfect self-control and parties are stressful, etc., I think the child’s own parents should take the initiative. Sometimes a child just needs a quiet place to calm down for a bit. I even need that as an adult. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree, it is totally up to the mum who is hosting the party to intervene. It is a horrible and extremely awkward thing to do but you can’t ask a friend to do it for you – that just looks really bad. Plus if I was the parent of the child doing all the screaming and throwing I would remove them from the party immediately. I will never understand people!! #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am one fo those people who would have been extremely angry at the parents for not correcting their child. Hopped up on sugar or not, it’s the parents’ job to step in when their children are acting out of hand. It’s called parenting. It’s not an easy job but if you choose to become a parent then be prepared to be the bad guy sometimes. I do think the host was wrong in not dealing with the situation herself. She was the host of the party and had she handled it herself, the parents probably would have been more receptive. The situation was definitely made worse by involving an outside party. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

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