Tiered birthday parties: The trend that’s dividing parents

Tiered birthday parties are the latest trend to sweep school years across the globe.

Seen by some as a way of being inclusive to all kids whilst still allowing children to celebrate their birthday with their closest group of friends, other parents are criticising the trend as ‘mean’ and ‘hurtful’.

What are tiered birthday parties?

Known also as two-tiered birthday parties, the idea is essentially that a child will invite all of his or her class to their main birthday party, but then at the end of the main event, a much smaller, more select group of children will be invited on for a second celebration too.

Normally a sleepover, or something held at the child’s home, the idea is that where most parents can’t host a whole class in their house, they can still let their child have a birthday event with just their closest friends.

So, what’s the problem with tiered birthday parties?

Children’s birthday parties can be controversial enough already. How much do you spend on a child’s birthday gift? Should siblings be invited to the party? Should other parents stay to provide moral support instead of leaving? And the idea of two tiered parties seem to be no exception.

While some parents have defended their decision to throw one, arguing that they wanted to include the whole class in the party but could only safely let their child invite four or five children to stay the night, others have branded the idea as ‘mean-spirited.’

Writing on parenting forum Mumsnet, one worried parent explained that her son had been invited to tiered birthday parties, only for her to find out that he wasn’t in the ‘top tier’ of the birthday party, meaning ‘he will be coming home when others at the party are transported back for a sleepover.’

The worried mum explained her fears that her son would be hurt and heartbroken when he discovers he isn’t invited back for the sleepover after the party.

‘I understand that some parents want to do exactly what their children want, maybe can’t fit all children in their home for a sleepover,’ she wrote. ‘But am I being unreasonable to expect parents to do the adult thing and treat all partygoers the same on the day, and perhaps have a sleepover at a different time?’

Criticizing the idea, blogger Melissa Willets points out: ‘rejection like this can stick with a kid.’

Others people commenting on the parenting forum were in agreement: ‘I understand some children have closer friends than others but I think personally I’d do the sleepover part on a different day as it’s like saying the other 8 are staying but you go home because I don’t like you as much.’

However, some mums defended the idea, saying that it was personal, merely practical.

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‘I wouldn’t give it a second thought! Couldn’t invite more than 2 to our house for a sleepover because of space. If it was EVERY child APART from your Son that would be mean but if not I don’t see a problem,’ wrote one.

‘Is it really any different than adult bride and groom inviting some guests to the wedding breakfast and others just to,the evening do?’ wrote another.

So, what do you think? Do you think tiered birthday parties are cruel? Or just practical for the parents, not personal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.