Whether it be about vaccinating your kids or letting babies cry it out, there always seems to be a new, incredibly divisive debate in the parenting world. And though I don't have kids of my own and therefore rarely come across these back-and-forths online, one massive conversation breaks through every now and then.
This time, the debate started when Jeena Wilder, a 32-year-old mom of five, posted a video on TikTok about how her family navigates birthday parties that only one of her kids was invited to attend.
"When you invite one of my children to a birthday party..." she wrote at the top of her video while smiling over an invite card.
"You invite one child, you get all of us," Jeena continued before dancing in the opposite direction. A train of her kids, all ranging between 4 months old and 9 years old, follow behind her.
Jeena's husband makes up the rear of the train, carrying their newborn, and the clip concludes with the phrase: "Don't worry, we bring awesome gifts."
The video went viral almost instantaneously, reaching over 1 million cumulative views on TikTok and Twitter. And the driving force seems to be engagement, with the Twitter post getting ratioed by commenters who were desperate to weigh in with their thoughts.
While some loved the idea of their child's birthday party being a large gathering...
...others were concerned that parents bringing their whole family to another child's birthday party may be financially inconsiderate:
Viewers also said that children should be allowed to spend time away from their siblings and develop relationships outside of their family:
And some simply believe the concept of inviting yourself to a party is rude:
For more context on the situation, BuzzFeed spoke to Jeena about her birthday party etiquette, to which she explained: "My husband works Monday through Saturday, [and] in the summer he has even longer hours, so I barely see him. Most days, it’s just me and the kiddos. I’m not okay with dropping my kids off at a birthday party solo. So, my solution is: I always ask beforehand if I can bring siblings to the party and always pay for the ones that weren’t invited if the party is at an event place."
"I never pressure parents or feel entitled to take my family to children’s birthday parties," she continued. "But for me, I hate the idea of just dropping my kids off somewhere and picking them up hours later, but I also hate the idea of a child not having anyone show up to their birthday party. When my kids are older and I feel like they can understand what to do to keep themselves safe, I will feel comfortable with dropping them off at parties and picking them up later, but at this young age, it’s not happening."
When it comes to the debate online, Jeena also thinks the disconnect between viewers and herself could be cultural. Having grown up in a traditional Haitian household, she said she was accustomed to doing everything as a collective. "It’s how my parents and family members did it. You have a baby shower? The whole family goes. You have a graduation party? The whole family goes. You have a birthday party? The whole family goes," she said. "Haitian are very family-oriented, so we just do things as a family."
But as promised in her video, Jeena confirmed that the family always brings "awesome gifts" when they are welcomed.
Which side of the debate do you land on? Let us know in the comments.
And if you'd like to keep up with Jeena and her family, you can follow them on TikTok and Instagram.
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