I host a lot of parties. All kinds of parties. Cocktail parties. Living Locally parties. Geek parties. Picnic parties. Hula hooper parties. You name it. I find parties to be an excellent personal branding system and means to keep in touch with friends, particularly weak social ties: you know, people I like but just don’t see that often.
Plus, parties are just way fun.
Now, as more of my friends have elem and middle-school-aged kids, I’ve become more cognizant of their schedule pressures. So, I just switched up my parties, especially the cocktail parties, and made them kid-inclusive. Now, this is a very specific word choice I’m using. These are not kid-friendly parties. There’s no face-painting. There’s no kid-friendly food. And, frankly, there will be drinking and alcohol. I hope my adult friends will give stern looks to interrupting children who forget their manners. And I hope that, when we’re at a more upscale place, that the parents will take advantage of the teaching opportunity to discern appropriate clothing for different events. A cocktail party is a cocktail party. It’s not an outdoor picnic.
The last 15-20 years of American culture — as I see it — have leaned toward parents and adults putting kids first and then socializing around the edges of their children’s activities. I understand this. I understand generational influences. I understand cultural shifts. And it’s all cool.
I also believe that what has become the norm is now shifting and the kid-inclusive adult events, rather than the kid-focused family events, will start to become more common place and will shift the culture in a new direction. In either case, whether I’m right or wrong, this is how I’m doing it. My parties are kid-inclusive. But, please, parents, understand (and help your kids understand) the subtle nuanced differences of kid-friendly and kid-inclusive.