Dear Lola,

My daughter is celebrating her twelfth birthday in a few weeks. Due to continued lockdowns, she will not be able to have a party in person. Instead, we are planning a virtual party over the internet. I just found out that she updated the party information to let guests know that she wants money for a gift. Lola, I am so embarrassed by her actions! I tried talking to my daughter about why informing guests as a whole of your gift desires is inappropriate but she brushed me off. Her rationale was that wedding invites have registries and she wants to make sure people give her what she really wants. She also cannot seem to grasp that asking for cash is another faux pas entirely. Maybe she’ll listen to you!


Disconcerted Dad

Dear Disconcerted Dad,

It’s not every day that someone gets to slip the phrase ‘faux pas’ into a letter and I’m absolutely thrilled you managed it.

I had that on my 2021 bingo card.

As for your Miniature Human, I would guess her bingo card has something like ‘world domination’ on it, requiring her to assume large amounts of cash in order to facilitate her rise to power. When you view her request in that light, it may make you feel better. Once she is running the planet, you can rewrite the etiquette books in any way you see fit.

Thus showcasing your Miniature Human’s actions in a better light for future historians to ponder.

Until then, it might be wise to take a few deep breaths and realize that your Miniature Human is indeed that – a young version of you, without the decades of social faux pas to guide her interactions. Give her a few years (or 30 based on the number of letters I receive!), to figure out how to navigate these delicate situations. Also take into consideration the fact that most of the people attending her digital party are likely in her age bracket.

No one in that group is going to fall over in shock due to her request.

Soothe any older relatives who make comments and let them know you’ve done your parenting duties by lecturing your Miniature Human for, let’s just say, an hour – increase this arbitrary amount based on the seniority of the relative who is complaining. Then simply let your daughter know that weddings are the absolute only exception to the ‘tell them what to buy me’ party invite. Except for baby showers. And bridal showers.

Do you see why this seems so confusing to your Miniature Human?!

You’ve already said your piece in this matter, now it’s time to let it go. Address it before her next birthday and remind her that she should wait until someone asks what she wants before blurting out that cold hard cash is the only reason she even wants these people to show up.


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