A Preteen Birthday Bash

Most preteens face a social challenge that will not be overcome by the time of the big birthday bash. To them, the opposite sex may be, for lack of a better word, gross! Most likely, this translates to a same-gender birthday party. Of course, eliminating one half of your child's classmates makes for a smaller and more manageable affair. And it allows for slumber parties. The good news about the latter option? Most of this year's birthday party will go on long after you've stuffed your earplugs in for the night.


If your child is between 11 and 13, planning a successful birthday party will require good listening skills. Your preteen probably has definite opinions on what's "cool" or what's "totally babyish." Caught in the abyss between being a child and becoming an adult, preteens may have varying concepts of the perfect party. One preteen may ask for an Anastasia party, while another would rather die than drink from a paper cup adorned with this character. There's just no predicting.

Be flexible and understanding. Allow your child to lead the way and don't make judgments. Let's face it, your days of controlling birthday-party content are numbered.

Children this age often segregate by gender. The beginning surge of serious hormones may manifest itself as an overwhelming feeling of disgust toward the opposite sex. Commonly, a coed celebration is out.

In addition, themes may be gender-based. Girls this age can't wait to be women, and a manicure or facial party with a visit from a beautician would be an excellent idea. For boys, try a group hockey game, complete with a tailgate barbecue party.

If your child decides to throw a coed party, planned activities can help break the ice among guests. Most preteens would enjoy bowling, laser tag and skating parties.

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