(Closed) How to tell a family member their special needs daughter is not invited…

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: How would you handle this?

    Sit down and talk with her.

    Send one invite to her&husband, then a second invite to her other kids.

    Other. (Explain!)

  • Post # 33
    41 posts
    • Wedding: August 2013

    The mother and father may already not have intentions of bringing her anyway. I’m sure because of her special needs and unpredictable outbursts she as a mother knows what situations are and are not appropriate to bring her child to. I’d sit down with her and maybe ask her how she feels about bringing that child to the wedding. She may surprise you with a simple “oh, we would get a sitter..” or if she intends to bring her, you could use that opportunity to voice your concerns and come up with some sort of agreement. I however, would advise against inviting 3/4 of the children on paper. On paper, I would invite the parents or the entire family, period.

    Post # 34
    1462 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    ok i am going to try and be understanding here.

    I have a special needs brother. He can be very challenging He is brain damaged and autistic. I would be offended and upset as a sibling if i were invited to a family wedding and my brother wasnt. I know that in this situation my mother would much prefer to receive either an inite for the whole family including my special needs brother to which my mother would almost definately find a carer for him for the day anyway or for children to not be invited at all.

    Although you are very close with all other members of the family it can be perceived as discrimination if you are to exclude 1 family member purely because they are disabled.

    I ask you to think very carefully about your desicion.

    I know my mother would not be as offended if the whole family were invited however she was asked directly whether said child would be atending, if so do any special arrangements need to be made such as a carer for during th ceremony etc.

    Post # 35
    427 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    Agree with what everything everyone has said.  I run a business working with children who are special needs, and although I understand your concern, feel the only realistic and sensible thing to do here is just invite the parents.  Inviting parents and the othe siblings and not this one child, will really wind people up.  Whatever you do, do not exclude this child by inviting their siblings.  I can guarantee the parents will be offended by it, and quite rightly so.  That’s their family.  They go throw the issues this situation presents day in and day out.  Do you not think that’s sometimes maybe they want to go for dinner and there not be issues?  Maybe they want to go somewhere but know they can’t.  As much as we all here love weddings, weddings are about family – please, seriously think about how hurtful it could be if you invite all the other siblings and not her.  If in response to this you feel as though it was really important that their children are at your wedding, run you need to perhaps think about allowing the children with special needs to come.  Nobody is actually going to judge you at your wedding if a special needs child causes disruption.  That’s life. Worse shit happens. 


    Also, maybe be careful how you word things? You said she fits over nothing.  You are perceiving the things she fits over as nothing.  The child obviously has a learning disability and so therefore that is neurological.  Her sense of perception is not the same as yours and where as something may seem like nothing to you, it is not that way to her.  Im sure you didn’t mean it like this but please don’t say that to her parents.  

    Post # 36
    132 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    I’m the mother of a special needs child and while I DO appreciate how sensitive your being (and I do mean that) i would be very offended if you invited me and my non-special needs children but not my special needs child. I do understand that there are situations where it is not appropriate to being my son and I’m sure these parents know that as well. 

    There really is no tactful way to invite 3 children without inviting the 4th. I strongly suggest just inviting the parents or inviting all 4 children and letting the situation play itself out. If their child gets disruptive, they may remove her and leave early or they may choose to leave her at home knowing that your wedding isn’t the most appropriate place to bring her, but it really isn’t fair of you to invite 3 children and not 4. Your discriminating against their child if you invite 3 and that could cause some serious hard feelings, regardless of how close you are to them.

    anahappilyeverafter phrased it VERY well when she said “You said she fits over nothing.  You are perceiving the things she fits over as nothing.  The child obviously has a learning disability and so therefore that is neurological.  Her sense of perception is not the same as yours and where as something may seem like nothing to you, it is not that way to her.” 

    Post # 37
    1032 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    Hey ๐Ÿ™‚ I know these things can be tricky. Huge kudos to you for asking these questions and taking on board what people are saying.

    My brother has cerebral palsy. I have spent about 6 years working in different capacities with children with special needs. I agree you cannot invite only three. That really is sending the message that your soon to be niece is less valued to you than the others. I also agree that the parents of this child do know best about what she can handle. I’d either invite just the parents (in that case, it really has to be no nieces and nephews except bridal party – nothing worse than realising your children are the only ones not invited), or invite all four. Honestly, ask if there is anything you can do to accomodate the daughter, then leave everything else up to the mother. The mother knows what her daughter can handle, and if she needs etc. care. Chances are she will leave her at home or in care. Taking a child with needs like you described is stressful for the mother – she will only do it if she is confident it will go well.

    To the PP who said it is all about how you frame it – in most cases I agree, but in this one I don’t. This mother has had this child for years. She will be constantly getting reminders that her child is different, and not always welcome. I could see it being taken as being condescending, and possibly cause more hurt.

    Good luck, OP!

    Post # 38
    413 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    The is absolutely no way you can invite 3 out of the 4 children without there being a major fall out!

    Post # 39
    364 posts
    Helper bee

    Could you just have the parents to the ceremony and then have all the children at the reception?

    If not you would either have to invite just the parents or the whole family, you can’t really seperate thir daughter I think no matter how close you are to someone they would still be hurt by this.


    Post # 40
    450 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    @JenGirl:  +1

    I work with adults who have extreme challenging behaviours AND I am a mother of a severely autistic child…

    I am trying to see this from your point of view…(this is all just my opinion & it’s a little close to the heart).

    I understand that you see the behaviours as a “put off”…and being a mother with a special needs child, I have had my fair share of people who have judged.

    Even in my work place I see on a daily basis people who judge “the unknown”, and thats what it is…fear of what “might” happen. I take “special need” adults- who are coming out of being in an institutional life and introduce them to the community. After years of working with these people I can’t believe how far they have come…We take them into the community everyday and 90% they are great..other times, not so great. It is so rewarding to enrich peoples lives…

    Don’t get me wrong..I totally understand that you are worried about this child making a scene/ hurting herself (or other guest)/ destroying property…

    I can almost guarantee that your Future Sister-In-Law WON’T bring her child to your wedding, in the fear of being judged by everyone. For my whole child’s life (not by me)…he has been left out of things, ignored (people dont understand his condition,so just leave him to his own devices), judged (Biggest problem). I was even fearful of talking him to people’s houses in the fear he would break something,

    I have a girlfriend who had never met a child with “special needs” and she was shocked to see what I had to deal with day to day. Not to mention the people in public who couldn’t help but add their own opinion…One day I went to her house (first time taking him to a friends house) and my son ran straight up to her plasma tv and pushed it (he got excited about the pictures), the tv nearly fell over. I was so embarassed that I took my son and left. My friend rang me 10 minutes later and told me to come back…she just got the tv insured over the phone for accidental breakage….That was a huge thing (lots of emotions), just by her giving my son a chance. We go there regularly & he has now learn’t not to touch tv’s.

    I know I’m rambling…I am just trying to let you see it from a mother with a “special needs” child.

    I can almost say with out a doubt that this mother has had so much heartache from  being reminded (in one way or another) EVERYDAY that her child isn’t “normal”(I hate that word)…and if you invite everyone, except that child…she would understand why but I’m sure it would be another punch in the stomach…PLEASE speak to her about it, she will understand…

    I myself am having 5 “special needs” children & a few of the adult people I care for at my wedding. Most of the people already know and understand about people with extra needs…but for those who don’t we are having awareness cards on the tables for the guests to read (any chance to educate people)…I wouldn’t imagine my day without my son there (or the other children & adult I have grown to love) If people want to judge, then that is their problem…and if something gets broken, I will pay for it.

    I know I have put a lot of personal emotions into this but I hope it adds a little insight into what you Future Sister-In-Law might be feeling…In my personal opinion, give this girl a chance (this might be her only chance to experience a wedding) if it doesn’t work…then she will just go home with her carer (and I’m sure it would be quite quickly). Who knows she might love it & you enrich her life just a little ๐Ÿ˜‰

    No offence & I’m sorry for babbling ๐Ÿ™‚


    Post # 41
    1289 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: February 2012

    Agree with PPs on inviting only parents or all the family, otherwise I’d imagine them to be (rightly) pissed with your Fiance and you.

    Post # 42
    7553 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: April 2019

    I agree with PPs, definitely sit down with the family. I also agree that it’s either all the children or none, inviting all her siblings but not her would be discrimination, especially as your reasoning is so you can get your security deposits back, you don’t want her causing a scene. Just sit down with her parents and discuss options ๐Ÿ™‚

    @anahappilyeverafter:  +1

    Post # 43
    291 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    This post really rubs me up the wrong way.

    I totally appreciate your concerns about the disruption this child may cause on your day but excluding someone from an event because of their disability goes against the idea that we can move forward in society and accept those who aren’t “normal”

    I have a disability that has caused me to be discriminated against over and over in my life and I’ve fought so hard to prove that my “differences” shouldn’t prevent me from having the same experiences as everyone else. I haven’t ever disclosed the situation on the bee because I don’t think it’s relevant to the boards.

    If you invited my parents and siblings to a wedding and purposely DIDN’T invite me, I don’t think I know anyone could find that forgivable.

    I agree with others, invite just the parents or invite them all. If you invite them all, be kind and ask the mother of the child if you can help in any way to make the child in question more comfortable on the day and if the mother decides its best the child doesn’t attend then only she should be making that decision, not you.

    Post # 44
    1193 posts
    Bumble bee

    I think it is a really hard situation you’re in and I completely believe that you are genuine in wanting to be sensitive and not hurt anbody. I don’t think badly of you at all that you prefer the child to not be there. It it one of the most special day of you life, so I can understand your concerns. But after reading the responses from bees who have family that has a disability or works with people with disabilities it is obvious that you can’t exclude the child. You need to only invite the parents or if you believe that the mother would arrange for the child to stay at home anyways, invite all 4 and talk to the SIL.  Hope it all works out for you.


    Post # 45
    922 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    I wanted to throw my 2 cents in since I have a brother with special needs who was very violent/desctructive as a kid. Don’t invite any of the kids. I don’t know what the mother is like, but my mom was irrationally offended anytime she thought someone was possibly leaving him out. And my mom would have been the type to bring my brother even though he would ruin the wedding because she would feel bad leaving him at home. This is a crappy situation, sorry you are having to deal with it ๐Ÿ™

    Post # 46
    1338 posts
    Bumble bee

    I think sitting down and talking to her is the best solution. But yeah, I would lean toward inviting just the parents. 

    The topic ‘How to tell a family member their special needs daughter is not invited…’ is closed to new replies.

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