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Social Etiquette and Good Manners/A Parent that has invited himself and a child to a small vacation


I recently invited a child to come to a small family vacation with my family.  When my significant other spoke with the child's parent about the pick up time, the other parent invited himself to come along on the trip and mentioned he was going to bring another child.  My significant other says that one cannot say no to a parent who's child is coming with us on a trip and we would have to allow them to come along.  I disagree, I believe  I have a right to say no, since it is my vacation time and I chose who I want to spend it with, even if this person is paying for his way and the other child.  (I am still paying for the child I invited, and this child has come on a few trips with us.). Could you let me know if I would be considered rude and bad etiquette to do so? My significant other thinks I am 100% wrong.  How would I handle a situation like that?

Dear Mary:

Well, this situation is awkward.  I will assume that you spoke to the invited child's parents about the trip when you asked if they could join you and they didn't mention that they wanted to join you.  It was incredibly rude for the parent to invite themselves with another child to join you.  Because you are the host, you have the right to say no.  The proper way to say no would be to say something like, "I'm really sorry but we can't include you on this trip. It's a time for your child and mine to have a good time together and to help him/her to learn how to be a guest without his/her parental supervision. All the plans have been made and we don't want to make any changes.  Perhaps you could plan the same trip for your family sometime.  If you would prefer that your child not accompany us on our vacation, we understand. However, we prefer not to add anyone else to our plans and we ask you not to impose."

The other parent will be put off by your refusal to include them but you will be in the right and they will be in the wrong.  Promise to keep in touch during the trip.

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Cynthia W. Lett


Proper manners with friends,family,colleagues,neighbors and everyone else you know.


I have been an etiquette expert teaching and consulting on the subject worldwide since 1983. I started and serve as the Executive Director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals and am considered a leader in the field of etiquette and protocol training and execution. I edited "Etiquette for Dummies" and have recently written "Lett's Talk - Everyday Etiquette Dilemmas and What to Do about Them". My book, "That's So Annoying:An Etiquette Expert on the World's Most Irritating Habits And What To Do About Them" was published in 2009 and is available wherever books are sold. I taught the Business Protocol class to Master's level students at the George Washington University, Washington, DC for seven years I served as Chief of Protocol for MCI Telecommunications for three years.

International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals, ASTD, PCMA, National Speakers Association

I have been quoted over 700 times in the past 5 years worldwide. Publications include Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, NY Times, Washington Business Journal, USA Today, Associated Press, London Times, Newsweek Japan edition, Newsweek US edition and many many more.

I am a Certified Etiquette Professional (CEP) and Certified Protocol Professional (CPP) earned by examination through ISPEP. I have a Master's degree in hospitality law and undergrad degrees in Restaurant & Hotel Management and Public Relations/Interpersonal Communications from Purdue University.

Awards and Honors
Who's Who Worldwide,Who's Who of American Women, Distinguished Darden Professor (Purdue University).

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