If A Child's Sibling Turned Up To Your Kid's Birthday Party, Would You Let Them Stay?

Mumsnet is in uproar over a parent's "out of order" request at a birthday party.
David Espejo via Getty Images

Children’s birthday parties can prove surprisingly tricky to navigate as a parent – from the etiquette of gifting to whether you stay or drop your child off, there’s always something that’s under scrutiny.

One parent has landed themselves in hot water with the internet masses for turning up to a child’s birthday party and expecting their child’s sibling to be allowed to stay, too.

The party’s host took to Mumsnet recently to ask whether they were being unreasonable for thinking it was “out of order”.

The parent explained they hosted a birthday party for their eight-year-old with a bouncy castle, food and party bags. They had a limited invite list and 13 children were able to make it.

“One mum (who we don’t even know) turns up with her eldest (invited) and then his younger sibling (5 or 6 ish?) in tow,” recalled the gobsmacked parent.

“And seemed to think that was totally fine to bring him along, despite him not being invited – no other siblings were there or invited.”

The parent claimed the other child’s mum said: “His younger brother is tagging along. Do you want me to stay with them or can I go?” And because they didn’t want to make a fuss, they let them stay.

Afterwards, however, the party host let rip online. “She didn’t contact me beforehand to ask if it was OK, or even drop the invited child off and then take the other one to the park around the corner. She’s not a friend, hadn’t even met her before,” said the outraged parent.

They were also annoyed that the family only gave their son a card: “So she brings an uninvited kid to the party and then doesn’t even bring a gift. Who the hell does that?!”

Is it ever OK to leave a sibling at a birthday party?

Generally speaking, it’s frowned upon – especially if you haven’t already discussed this with the party host.

While one person thought the original poster was “massively overreacting”, the majority of people in the replies were largely on their side.

“You are not wrong. Uninvited children should not be at a party and she has no manners,” said one person in the comments.

“It’s rude. But I wouldn’t judge too harshly,” said another. “She may be broke. The eldest might be nervous. Who knows.”

Another parent said that while it’s “rude and annoying”, it does happen quite often. “I think it’s just one of those things,” they said.

People seemed to be particularly put out by the fact the parent hadn’t asked in advance whether it would be OK for both children to attend – especially as the host hadn’t pulled together enough party bags to give to the other child.

Other parents advised the parent to put a proviso on future invites that only invited children can attend due to space limitations and planned party activities.
“People are cheeky,” said one respondent. “The sibling thing you either need to accept will happen from time to time and roll with, or make it clear that they aren’t invited – either on the invitation or on the day if the parent is rude enough to try that on.”
An article on children’s birthday party etiquette for Family Corner advises parents not to bring siblings unless they have specifically been invited.
“If you’re not sure what to do, ask the hosts,” they add. “They won’t mind and will appreciate your consideration.”