Q. My daughter found out a classmate is having a birthday party, and she wasn't invited. How do I console her?
A. "This can be painful for both parent and child," says Sherry Henig, a psychologist in private practice in Plainview. But try not to overreact.
Figure out the situation. How did your child find out about the party? Is everyone in the class invited? Or is it a more exclusive party with a limited number of guests?
If it seems everyone else was invited, you may want to call the teacher, as he or she may have insight into the situation, Henig says. There might have been an oversight or miscommunication. It's not always a mistake to call the party girl's parents, but be cautious and understanding in your approach.
"The other parent might have agonized over whether to invite your daughter," Henig says. "There may be another side to the story."
Your child might not want you to call the parent; discuss with her whether she would like to ask the party girl herself why she was excluded. Assist her in practicing how to do that.
If it's a party with a limited head count, the situation is more complicated; perhaps there had to be a cutoff due to the expense of the event.
Figure out together with your daughter what might make her feel better, such as planning a mother-daughter outing for that day. Life includes disappointments; one role of a parent is to help children learn to cope, Henig says.