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Should Kids Attend Adult Parties?

Kate Raidt


We have all been there. We have either hosted a party and squirmed about how to politely tell the guests that their precious little Johnny needs to stay home, we have attended parties where someone brought sweet little Johnny or we are the parent of precious little Johnny and have stressed whether to bring him in tow or not.

Recently, I shared with my friends that I was planning to write an article about the social etiquette of bringing kids to parties (or not!) and if they could all weigh in. Whoa, I received a very unanimous, strong opinion on the topic. So here it goes….(take a deep breath before reading)

  • 100% of the people I surveyed said they wish children did not attend adult parties. Definition of an “adult party”: Baby shower, birthday party for an adult, dinner party, wedding shower, book club. Unless the person being celebrated is a child, then it’s an adult party.
  • All moms said it’s rude to ask the host if your child can come, because it puts them in an uncomfortable position to say “no” – or to say “yes” and then hold a grudge.
  • Most moms said that going to an adult party is their one-day-every-six-months of freedom and fun without their own kids – and when another person’s child is present or fussy it’s an invasion on their mommy-time.
  • Just because you think little Johnny is oh-so precious, doesn’t mean every person at a party thinks the same. Sorry!
  • If you need a babysitter, think of other moms who will be attending the same party and bundle 2-3 families together and hire a babysitter. My committee says: if you can’t find a babysitter, stay home. Sorry!
  • It is perfectly acceptable to print on a party invitation “adults only”.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to bring your kids when the host voluntarily says (or it’s written on the invitation) “bring your entire family”!
  • My “committee” also stressed the importance of parents keeping a close eye on their children when they attend parties. Too often parents get involved in conversations with other adults while precious little Johnny is taking a permanent marker to your guest’s sofa or he has snuck into the backyard swimming pool.

Most parents would agree that it’s a stress bomb to bring a young child to a grown-up party. And the point of attending a party is to have fun, right? So treat yourself to some fun adult company from time-to-time and pitch in for a babysitter.

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Kate Raidt

Kate Raidt is the mother of two children and an alumna of the Southwestern Company's summer work program.