to feel sad DS is not invited because we're 'different'

(91 Posts)
notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 09:31:06

I've namechanged because I am very identifiable from my chat history. I am also prepared to be told IABU but sadly think that's not the case. DS is 4.5, in reception and is really enjoying it there, making lots of friends, always chatting about his day and if he's on holiday (eg last half term) asking when he's going to go back to school! His teacher and TA are lovely too. We are muslim and south asian, I wear a headscarf but dress 'fashionably' and both DH and I were born here and have professional jobs.

Since he started, he has only ever had one invitation to a party and that is probably because the whole class has been invited (it's in a hall). He is never invited to anyone's house. I know there have been lots of parties that he has not been invited to.

There are only 2 or 3 mums in his class who I have ever had a conversation with, some of them won't even make eye contact which I find incredibly rude. I always make an effort to smile and say hello. I am not naturally an outgoing person but will always chat to someone if they look approachable. I have even had a mum move away to join another group when I approached to talk to the person she was chatting to! I recently had a baby, most people have completely ignored that I was pregnant and then had the baby. I don't expect anyone to make a fuss of the baby but find it odd that people don't acknowledge it at all.

So AIBU to feel that people are excluding us as we're different? DS was at nursery before this where he was one of very few Asian children (although it was quite international, lots of Europeans). He was always invited, but we moved to a different area and the school is quite 'middle class'. Is he not being invited because people are worried about their children being invited back? What can I do to help him? Because my baby is only 6w old I don't feel ready to have lots of playdates (and I'm worried about being knocked back) but will try and invite some children if this is the way forward.

katiecubs Tue 05-Mar-13 09:34:58

If that is the case then it's shocking and I feel very sorry for you OP.

I think maybe if you started asking children for play dates that may help - hopefully it's just people think you are a bit shy and have not got to know you yet.

NewRowSees Tue 05-Mar-13 09:36:27

That sounds terrible, I'm so sorry you're being made to feel like that. I'm assuming you live in an area where there's not much diversity? I think your idea of inviting children over, in ones and twos, is probably the way forward. If it was just you in this situation, I'd say ignore them (and that would be my inclination) but I suppose you should really make an effort for your son's sake. Let's see what other people advise.

dogsagoodun Tue 05-Mar-13 09:37:36

You sound lovely. I would definitely invite you all here if we were at the same school. You might be pleasantly surprised if you make the first move. Could you start by inviting one of ds's little friends for tea? It is scary making the first move but it may well pay off.

Hope it improves for you soon.

Pagwatch Tue 05-Mar-13 09:37:41

I don't know why other parents are odd but a couple of the mums at DDs school are Muslim - both Libyian I think and the girls come to parties and sleepovers. One is a good friend of mine. I don't see it being an issue here tbh so I am hesitant to think you have found the right 'reason'

I think you need to ask your DS who his friends are and invite them over. Give it until the summer term when baby is bigger if that helps you feel more comfortable.

Congratulations btw smile

stealthsquiggle Tue 05-Mar-13 09:38:10

Sadly I think you may be partly right, but how much inviting to houses/ large parties is really going on? It may not be as much as you think/fear.

I would start with the 2 or 3 approachable mothers and invite someone when you can face it, but there's really no rush - if DS is as settled and happy as it sounds, then it is clearly not affecting him.

Pagwatch Tue 05-Mar-13 09:39:52

If I am honest I tend to be lazy and have lots of the same friends over because it becomes reciprocal. I try to invite dc of parents I don't know at least once a half term but I get distracted sometimes.
So invite first. It's a good way to break the ice.

thinking1 Tue 05-Mar-13 09:40:09

I don't think YABU. Maybe the way forward is to invite some of his friends round for tea or to play. Why would people be worried about their child being invited back? I would have thought it would be a good thing for the children to experience different foods, cultures etc.

Maybe try to look at it a different way. Maybe they think you are unapproachable - you say that you aren't naturally outgoing? You may be reading more into it than there is there. Maybe they think you are keeping yourself aloof because you're "different"?

Good luck.

ZZZenAgain Tue 05-Mar-13 09:40:31

it hard for shy people I am sure but maybe you need to speak to someone who also seems a bit shy too, catch her on her own and try inviting some people round for playdates individually if you feel you can manage that with the baby. Weather permitting maybe just a trip to the park after nursery? Could you face hosting a party yourself?

Flobbadobs Tue 05-Mar-13 09:40:41

I think playdates may be the way forward. Do you have a soft play centre or park nearby if you don't feel like having children back to yours just yet? (And who would with a 6 week old baby? smile)
I live in an area pretty similar to yours, very few Asian families and only a handful of the children at the school. The Mum's certainly don't get ignored though and the children as far as I can see aren't treated any different because they are different.
It may not even be because you wear a headscarf, people in the playground can be just generally bloody ignorant, there are some parents who still turn their backs on others and our children have been at the school for years..
YANBU to be sad for your DS, but YABalittle bitU to assume it's because you are 'different', it could be them not you x

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ScottyDoc Tue 05-Mar-13 09:41:14

Whereabouts are you OP? This can happen and does happen unfortunately in some areas. I've seen it slightly at my ds's nursery, but it's definitely all about just being bright and cheery with everyone and taking the initiative to invite friends for play dates. If people don't acknowledge you then it's rude, ridiculous and completely their loss tbh. I have many Muslim friends and know it can be difficult in more 'white' areas to get involved, but you aren't alone because mums in predominantly asian/African areas face the same challenges. Bite the bullet and chat more to other mums, it's usually a case of people not really understanding perhaps a religion or culture very well and so that's why they appear standoffish. When it's Eid, maybe do a party and invite your ds's friends along, and try to find out from other mums as a conversation ice breaker if there are any local baby groups etc. I'm sorry you're experiencing this, I can fully sympathise as I've had it too but just from the opposite side.

Littleturkish Tue 05-Mar-13 09:41:33

Could you have a party at yours? Not a birthday party, but just a little get together...like a football party or pirate party, and make little invitations and invite a few friends round for games (not expensive like a birthday party with cake or anything- just games and finger food) and perhaps you'll be able to forge some friendships that way?

I'm so sorry to hear you've been feeling excluded.

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 09:41:39

thanks everyone, you are actually making me cry feel a bit more normal for feeling like this!

aimum Tue 05-Mar-13 09:42:26

I think the problem may be more to with you being new to the area. I have moved a few times and found similar problems, simply because other people know each other very well from playgroups and pre-school. I find the best thing to do is invite children back for playdates - I know you say its difficult because of the baby but IME its a good starting point. I find that most parents are happy to get rid of the children for an hour or 2. It also gives you something to have a quick conversation about i.e. is there anything child won't or can't eat and then gives you the opportunity to chat to the other mum when she comes to pick up.

moogy1a Tue 05-Mar-13 09:42:35

I doubt very much it's because you're asian. Much more likely explanation is 'cos youi've recently moved there. It takes a while to get chatting to people, especially if you are not very outgoing. Unfortunately, you have to bite the bullet and approach people ( even the ones who don't "look approachable; chances are they're in exactly the same boat as you).
FWIW my ds is in yr1 and has never been invited to someone's house to play . AFAIK no kids go round to each others' houses yet, you pick them up from school and go home!! Hanging out at others' houses is a few years down the line yet.

BegoniaBampot Tue 05-Mar-13 09:43:01

I think some people assume that people who look 'Muslim' as in their dress etc think that many muslims probably don't want to mix outside their community. Probably best if you invite a a few friends for a play date. Give you a chance to speak to the mum and they might realise that you are open about friendships etc. Shame you feel like this and hope you get it resolved. Now makes me wonder how the Muslim mums at our primary feel - if they feel included or not.

Isitme1 Tue 05-Mar-13 09:43:14

That sounds horrible and sadly it does happen. Im muslim (mixed race so unless im in my Asian clothes you can't tell), dont wear headscarf though.
I can say there is a difference when I wear traditional clothes and English clothes.
As im very fair I fit in and it seems like theres more 'respect in the air' when im in my asian clothes the amount of times ive been looked like im shit of the floor is horrendous.

I know its not much help and I am sorry that it happens but cant think of what youccould do to change minds.
X

GreatUncleEddie Tue 05-Mar-13 09:43:59

If they are only little make sure you talk about what will be for tea when you invite them - they can be really fussy "plain food" types at this age and may need to know that it will be fishfingerschipsnpeas before they feel comfortable about coming.

BegoniaBampot Tue 05-Mar-13 09:44:56

Also agree that it might be just that you are new. I was the new mum and it can be quite hard when the others seem to have known each other for years, kids all went to pre school together etc.

littlemisssunny Tue 05-Mar-13 09:45:24

Oh that's so sad, though I think a lot of playgrounds can be quite cliquey and I find it hard especially when they already know each other. Kids don't see the divide, it's the parents who put it in their minds, which is such a shame.

We don't get lots of party invites either but the kids don't seem bothered and I would be more upset if they were.

Have you thought about asking a mum round with their child maybe?

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 09:47:28

i think i will try inviting one or two children for a playdate and see what happens. I'm not one of these people who pulls the race/religion card every time some thing happens (in fact I hate it when people do this) but I do feel it is a factor. I'm sure if i was the type of person to be loud and chatty it would be easier but that's not really me. I'm also going to start going to the local baby group to meet people.

DonderandBlitzen Tue 05-Mar-13 09:48:10

Sorry you are feeling like this. Were you able to hold parties and playdates yourself before you had the baby?

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 09:48:25

oh and I agree it must be partly to do with being new to the area, I'm not sure how many children knew each other beforehand but some of them did go to the local montessori together.

I think many non-muslims think that muslims dont celebrate birthdays and dont do parties. I know some dont.

Both my childrens' best friends (back home in Norway where we also lived a few years) are Muslim (we are a Catholic family) and I am friendly with their mums. The Lebanese Muslim (to call them something) family dont celebrate birthdays. But their son invited to a "summer party" on their sons birthday and said he did not accept birthday presents. My son therefore brought him a "hostess present" and a card saying Thank you for inviting me to your summer party. It was a hoot. He is not allowed to go to birthday parties himself. So in the friendship group they dont do birthday parties any more, they do random parties without presents! Water fight parties, beach bbq, etc. All is well and good.

The Moroccan Muslim family is very lax, my son has been friends with this boy since he was 3 and in preschool. The boy is allowed to go to birthday parties, and they hold birthday parties for him, now. But his mum told me when they were just four "Do you think there will be more birthday parties now that they start school?" That is when I realized that he had not been invited to any of the parties that the preschool children held! I chatted with the other mums and they all thought that Muslims did not celebrate birthdays, so they did not want to offend so they did not invite the child. My sons birthday party was therefore the first birthday party this little boy attended! That was the cue to all the other parents, and he has been to several since.

I think people are so different, and believe so many different things, and have so many perceptions, rightly or wrongly, of other peoples practices, in many cases they just dont want to offend.

Could be worth bringing it up with school that you feel he is excluded?

I think you just need to bite the bullet and start inviting home for playdates. In my experience people are so busy, you may find it will be weeks before you find a date that is agreeable to both parties!

Oh, I do go on, look at the length of that! shock

aldiwhore Tue 05-Mar-13 09:50:00

I think whether your 'difference' is an issue or not depends on the area you live and perhaps the motives behind the exclusion?

My village is very white middle class, it's a lovely village with lovely people, yet they can be accused of being a bit behind the times, there's no malice, just a hesitant worry of how to behave around difference, a fear of causing offence, saying the wrong thing etc., ... we have an iranian family who are new to the area, the mum is lovely, but quite shy and has been left to stand in the playground alone at times, people tend to think it's her separating herself rather than looking at their own actions.

I can't bear to see a new mum standing alone, I am one of those irritating people that chats to everyone, I've learned who LIKES being alone and who's shy by simply talking to them, making a few faux pahs along the way.

I can only advise that you start inviting children around for tea.

The other issue of course (other than outright ignorance or malice) is that maybe no one's noticed a new child? My son has a friend I didn't even know existed as I'd never met his mum and obviously didn't recognise the boy on the playground, he'd been there a full term before I realised, and then also realised he'd probably been excluded innocently?

I'm really trying to err on the side of innocent mistake here, but if you ARE being excluded solely because of predudice then that is just not on.

MrsDeVere Tue 05-Mar-13 09:51:22

Ripple can have preconceptions and assume that you wouldn't accept an invitation ecause 'they don't go to other people's houses'

It's lazy and an excuse not to bother.

I am sorry you feel so excluded. It happens and it's hurtful.

Hopefully mat of the parents are have mistaken ideas about your probable response rather than just pain nasty.

It's crap that you have to do all the running though.
I hope you find some nice friends smile

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 09:51:58

donderandblitzen We did have a party for DS for his 3rd birthday, but that was before we moved. After we moved, I was working full time before going on maternity leave and had to get house in order after moving and before having baby. I could probably have made more of an effort at that time if i'm honest but thought he'd make friends and it would happen naturally.

DS hasn't noticed but he will eventually so I'm trying to preempt things before he does.

DonderandBlitzen Tue 05-Mar-13 09:55:29

If you've not invited any of the children on playdates or parties yourself then i wouldn't take it personally. Hopefully in the future you might be able to do so and then I expect your son will get return invites.

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 09:58:07

beertrickspotter it does seem quite cliquey, there are a couple of 'queen bee' type mums. There are a few who look nice but never speak to me. To be honest sometimes I feel a bit annoyed by it all and wonder if its a bit pathetic to try and get the attention of people who clearly don't want to talk to me! I mean I'm a person with a good career and education and plenty of friends (all quite far away now) so I don't need them as such - but it's important to me that my son is included so I will make the effort.

BegoniaBampot Tue 05-Mar-13 09:59:31

Thing is when you are new you generally have to be the pushy one. Make the first move etc as folk can be just so blind and settled in their ways. Be pro-active if it's bothering you and you want you're child to developers friendships. You might develope a few as well.

lottieandmia Tue 05-Mar-13 09:59:55

OP, I am sure you're not being unreasonable and I'm sorry that you and your son are on the receiving end of this. It must be very hurtful. People do decide to ignore and exclude people for no good reason - my dd goes to a school that has its own Brownie pack which children from other schools can also join. I have noticed that the mums from other schools just won't talk to any of us whose girls go to the school. Obviously this does not impact on me in the same way your situation does on your or your son but people can be so narrow minded sad

flatbread Tue 05-Mar-13 10:06:19

I think it is pretty shit they did not acknowledge or congratulate you on your new baby.

sad

tiredaftertwo Tue 05-Mar-13 10:10:23

OP, you do sound lovely and I am sorry this is happening to you.

I live in a very diverse area - and I am afraid I can see it happening here. Not for any horrible reasons, just a complicated interplay of preconceptions, sensitivities and so on. I do hope it is that with you. And also I fear people are busy an wrapped up in their own lives so not always as welcoming to a newcomer as they might be.

Is there a friendly looking mum whose eye you have met or whom you feel might be approachable? If so, I would try and smile a lot and start a conversation (I know this can be really hard). Just try to get to know one or two people a little and et things develop naturally then. And I completely understand about the situation with the baby but I wondered whether perhaps in the Easter holidays you could invite a friend of your ds, perhaps to go the park for a picnic or something? Somewhere where the children can play and you can sit with the baby. Perhaps ask the friend's mother as well - I found that a really good way to get to know people, not sitting in houses. And then you may run into other people there....

Good luck.

PavlovtheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 10:11:47

I think at the school gates there is often an element of parents feeling intimidated other parents, so they circle around those who dress similar, speak in the same way, look the same, act the same. I think this applies whether it's because you are wearing a headscarf, have tattoes, dress formally, etc.

At my school it is very cliquey, I sort of presumed it was like that in most schools. There are a lot of Forces children and those parents tend to stick with each other. There are some very local parents and again they stick with each other. There are the 'working' parents who don't really speak to anyone as they are always in a rush!

DD is now in yr2, and there was one mum who didn't even know I was DDs mum til Yr1! I found it very hard in the first few months/year as we live out of the 'local' area, and we both work so we alternated the school runs. DD got invited to a few parties as they were 'whole school' parties, but I am shy, and found it all quite intimidating, so I didn't put myself into group discussions as I didn't know if they knew each other, wanted to talk, was I intruding etc. So, they sort of presumed I was not interested and ignored me back. Also, I am 'professional' so to speak, and when I strode in, in a rush with my suit on, but also with my lipstud in, some parents felt wary of me I felt. I came across as aloof.

I am saying this, as I think it is quite common to feel this way, and it WILL get better and easier, it takes time and effort. The thought of having someone I didn't know around my pokey little flat judging me and having to accommodate the children who I didn't know terrified me, but I did it and slowly I got to know some of the parents.

I am not best chums with any of the mums, but I am comfortable enough to chat to them all now, and I am also comfortable not talking to any of them if I am feeling 'introvert' and they know that's ok. DD has made friends, still doesn't get invited to loads of parties, but, know I am thankful for that as it is tedious going to loads of them!

We rarely do 'playdates' now as I have not been able to do it due to ill health. DD goes on them every couple of months, suits us both fine as we have children in our social circle that we see regularly.

Chandon Tue 05-Mar-13 10:16:50

I never have much time for people who wail about not being invited to things.

If you want to get invited to things, the way to start this is by Inviting THEM to your home first. That is how it is done.

So many people mope around saying nobody ever invites them, well, how many people did YOu invite?

I very much doubt the whole school, MC or whatever, are avoiding you.

curryeater Tue 05-Mar-13 10:16:56

I am astonished people have ignored your baby. Congratulations by the way!

Sometimes there is a weird dynamic in groups for reasons you are not aware of. There may be one particular cause in this case. There is no point in trying to work out who it is or why because it is none of your business and not your fault. I agree that asking individuals over is a good idea and you sound as if you have good instincts for picking nice people. So go for it. But remember - if it doesn't go according to plan, it is not your fault. Extending a friendly invitation is a lovely thing to do and remains lovely (and by extension you are lovely, grown up person with kind mature values) even if the person refuses or does not reciprocate.
Some will though. There are nice people everywhere even in places with weird dynamics.

neolara Tue 05-Mar-13 10:19:18

Why don't you ask some kids on playdates. When the kids are so little, I always ask the mums / dads if they want to come along too, or whether the kid would prefer to come by themselves. Generally, the parents comes along for the first one or two times. This is a perfect opportunity to get to know them better and opens up opportunities for chatting in the playground.

Chandon Tue 05-Mar-13 10:19:47

Sorry, that came out a bit harsh blush.

But really, I think you may be a bit too sensitive, and not proactive enough on your part.

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 10:24:13

I'm just on my way to the baby group so can't write much now but thanks again to everyone. I understand that some won't have much sympathy but it IS difficult if you're a bit on the quiet side and then have an additional barrier (perceived or otherwise)!

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 10:26:23

Chandon no offence taken smile

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Mar-13 10:28:44

I agree with Chandon

You're new to the area, the kids are still so little, you've been very busy and you have a 6 week old baby.

So for obvious reasons you haven't been doing much inviting yourself have you?

On top of that, I think parents nowadays spend too much time trying to 'fit in' with other parents in the playground.

Why? Just let the kids make their special friends and eventually the invites will come.

I don't think I ever had a friend come to tea until I was about 6 or 7 years old and made a best friend.

My Mum (and none of the other Mums) did anything more than pass the time with each other until the bell rang and the kids went in/came out.

If you want to make friends in your area, the school playground isn't the only place to do it.

RubyrooUK Tue 05-Mar-13 10:29:36

Ah OP, sorry you feel so excluded and particularly when you have a 6 week old baby. I live in a very mixed part of London and my son's nursery has a very broad range of kids from a whole variety of backgrounds so it is hard to tell who is "different" round here. Which I love for my DS as I was the different one where I grew up.

I think Reception is a time when lots of children start to make their own friendships and they take over from the ones their parents choose. And sometimes it takes parents a while to catch up.

For example, my son goes to nursery. Because I am working full time, I rarely get a chance to chat to any parents. Occasionally someone tells me that their child loves my son but DS is very unhelpful at telling me who his friends are!

As a result, I don't really do playdates except with the kids or parents I know already through luck or chance. And most often it's with my own adult friends who happen to have kids, rather than picking the people DS likes.

I'd try organising some casual playdates yourself before feeling too down. People are often lazy or very busy, sticking to the other parent friends they know and they might be very happy to get to know you.

Oh and congratulations on the baby!

Jomi273 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:30:39

To some extent I know how you feel, although I don't have the muslim element in the equation and really hope that that wasn't a reason people haven't been engaging with you, or inviting your child over - I found the same sort of thing when we moved schools and from Somerset to London. After a month or so we wrote out some little cards saying 'I would really like it if you could come to my house for tea, please could you get your mum to call my mum so they can arrange it, her name is ...and our number is'. My child then gave these to anyone they liked. Only a few arranged the playdates, but it was a start and I really think this was down to schedules, work hours etc - but lots of the mums started chatting to me (the stranger) in the rare occasions I was in the playground as a result and it got much better after that.

akaemmafrost Tue 05-Mar-13 10:32:02

Ok I am going to be honest here. I live in London and my dc have both attended very ethnically diverse schools. On four occasions I have asked for play dates with Muslim children and been turned down each time. Have assumed that for them it is just not the done thing to go on play dates so stopped asking. Would always still invite to birthday parties but till now (Year 1) I always do full class invites anyway.

After reading this I am going to try again with a little boy in dd's class that she plays with and tells stories about to me because she says he is so funny naughty grin.

MistyB Tue 05-Mar-13 10:32:11

Are there class coffee mornings / nights out? Perhaps go along to one of those? Is there a parent rep that you could have a chat to and ask if they could organise a coffee morning? Or, get involved with the PTA, very difficult with a small baby, I know.

Are there any other Mums with babies, perhaps invite a could of them to the local coffee shop after drop of one morning or ask to join them if others do this (again, very difficult, perhaps not the one who walked away!) The local baby and toddler group might also be a way of chatting to a few people or be introduced to people in his class.

If his birthday is a long way off, could you host a party, perhaps in the holidays, at your house (perhaps even bluntly saying that you have been here a while now and after the chaos of moving and having the baby and feel it is time to get to know everyone a bit better!). Try to get a few people to commit so everyone doesn't think that other people will go. (This would be quite a challenge for me in your situation, I would have to put on a big brave face!!)

Good luck!

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Mar-13 10:34:27

DS is 4.5, in reception and is really enjoying it there, making lots of friends, always chatting about his day and if he's on holiday (eg last half term) asking when he's going to go back to school! His teacher and TA are lovely too.

That ^^ is what is important here OP.

Your child is happy and has lots of friends.

And since he is the only reason you're even at the school, I'd say the rest doesn't really matter.

Have you tried MumsNet local to make friends for yourself?

LadyApricot Tue 05-Mar-13 10:35:32

It could just be your shyness- it was the same for me for a long long time, I would always see Facebook photos of them all meeting up outside of school and organising trips with the kids, etc
I was a single parent and for my job used to have to dress really 'glam'
I wonder if that made them wary of me!
After I married (and he is Asian) everyone suddenly started talking to me and soon after we had our dd I was invited along to everything!
Very strange how some people work isnt it?
Why not also try some out of school activities to make friends for him that way? My ds joined a cheap football night once a week and he's made lots of friends that way.

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 10:36:05

I'll catch up with the thread in a bit but thanks again to everyone

Have a few things to add so will be back!

LadyApricot Tue 05-Mar-13 10:37:12

I said ' and he is Asian' to show that race did not matter at all in these circumstances

Hawkmoon269 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:37:22

When my dsd was in reception I found that parents were generally nervous about their (still very small) dc going to play at other people's houses if they didn't know the other parents very well or had been to their home. How about asking one or two other parents if they'd like to all come home with you for tea while the children play? Or all go to the park together after school? Might that help?

A couple of times I arranged play dates and the parent(s) came too - much to my surprise, but I realised it happened a lot in reception.

Hawkmoon269 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:38:08

hadn't been to their home!!

hope baby group is fun for you today. smile

It is tricky when you move to a new area, but you will get there, Im sure.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flatbread Tue 05-Mar-13 10:40:44

Have you tried MumsNet local to make friends for yourself?

Think OP has said that she has enough friends and doesn't need more.

Leaving aside the playdates stuff, I do think it is very odd and rude of the other mums to avoid eye contact and not even acknowledge a new baby. If it were me, I would be really annoyed.

squiddle Tue 05-Mar-13 10:42:26

I think this is a normal experience when your eldest dc is in reception - I could have written most of your post when dd1 went to school, and there are so many threads on mn about the school gate.

It does get easier but if you want people to talk to you, then you have to talk to them. If you want to start the whole playdate thing, then you have to invite other dc to yours. But I don't think you really need to worry about the social side just yet - your ds sounds like he is having a lovely time as it is. My dd is in Y1 and still prefers playdates with kids she knew from nursery. They are very young and don't necessarily want to go to other people's houses unless they know them well.

VenusRising Tue 05-Mar-13 10:45:57

Congratulations first and foremost!

I think that the advice to invite some of the children to the park, or for a play date at your home is good.

We had a similar experience in our school - my dd was friendly with a little girl who happened to be Muslim. Her mum also wore a hijab. I was amazed at how shy she was, even though she was doing a post grad degree in the local university. She had been brought up to be reticent, and not to speak out, but it didn't translate well, as other mums thought her standoffish.

It took a while of inviting her dd to our house for her to come, and when she'd come to collect, she'd never come in in case my DH was there.
This mum wouldn't shake hands or speak to a man not in her family, and while I understood this, having worked in the Far East, it was off putting for other parents. I was quite shocked at the reaction of some mums to her hijab, and not shaking hands with a man not in her family, but I suppose you'll meet that everywhere.

In some ways it was easier to have my dd go to her house, as she could control the environment to suit herself and her beliefs, and we had lovely times, chatting, and drinking tea, when id go to pick up my dd. I played it by ear with her, and we spent a lot of time, sitting, chatting on a rug on the grass in a local park, while the kids played.

For parties, her dd would arrive after all the food had been eaten, or she asked the hosting mums not to feed her dd, that she had just had lunch etc. I was quite used to dietary restrictions and observances, having kosher relatives on my DHs side, and allergies on mine, though some mums thought it quite rude to refuse hospitality.... It can be difficult, can't it, not to step on toes?

I think the thing is to be persistent, and maybe start off with a local park to have the play dates - maybe ask the other mum along too so you get to make friends, (and that way she can admire your baby!). And see where that leads you. If your DS isn't unhappy, you're obviously doing a lovely job, and sometimes school and some after school activity, like music (an orchestra) or sport ( a team) can fulfil the social aspects of a child's life, without having to have play dates.

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Mar-13 10:47:57

Oh right I missed that flatbread

In that case OP, just let the kids get on with it and the invites will come when they're ready and probably when you can be more proactive yourself.

As for the playground, just treat it for what it is - somewhere to pick up and drop off.

FantasticDay Tue 05-Mar-13 10:53:24

Hi. I know there is an element of the stereotype that 'girls whose mums wear headscarves aren't allowed to go to parties' in my daughter's school. I know this is not always true, by any means (headscarf-wearing friend and daughter coming to tea tonight, and my Muslim sil is a party animal). But I do know that some Muslim friends of my daughter never do respond to party invitations, go to school discos etc. (which I know could be for a whole host of reasons - language being one), and she then doesn't want to invite them to things as 'they won't be able to go'. If there is similar stereotyping at your ds' school, then you might be able to overcome it by asking a couple of ds's sons for a playdate. (The ones with the more approachable mums - if someone is rudely avoiding eye contact, don't start with them!) You could also suggest a playdate at the local park, if you don't feel up for hosting (which with a 6wk old would be entirely understandable!). Good luck!

I think people vary quite a lot in how open they are to diversity and difference ....

See if you can find the ones who are more prepared to be friendly to everyone as they'll be the nicest and most interesting anyway !

And ignore any narrow-minded boring racists !

I agree with others that if you can find a friend or two to invite over you'll soon get the ball rolling for you and your son smile

Congratulations on new baby thanks

tallulah Tue 05-Mar-13 11:05:07

My DD is in Y1. Towards the end of Reception I became aware that all the other mums knew each other by name and were meeting up regularly. There were lots of playdates I'd been unaware of.

One or 2 mums speak to me regularly. Some ignore me. It's a school in a WC area and some have clearly been here for generations. We moved here 2 years ago and I work every day.

I find it hard because I am the same age as the grannies. Most of the mums are my DD1's age, so we are different too.

IMHO I think you've more chance of making friends with other people who identify as slightly "different" than with a clique of people who all see themselves as having a lot in common.

That is I often find people more friendly who are from other cultures and like me have moved to this city from other places, than those who've lived here for generations. Even though I'm WBri as it says on the forms.

Basically some people will only let those like themselves into their friendship group. IMHO that's their loss !

mum382013 Tue 05-Mar-13 11:28:41

i have this with my youngest. she is disabled and has never been to anyones for tea ever. only very occanional parties. she always has a party and invites around 50 kids, and i have had kids for tea here. no invites back. not one. ever. and she is 10 this year. mainstream school with friends at school but for some reason she doesn't get invited.

mum382013 Tue 05-Mar-13 11:29:18

congrats on the baby smile how lovelysmile

Kiriwawa Tue 05-Mar-13 11:34:31

Hi notsodifferent. Just wanted to share my experience in case it helps: I'm white, similar age/background to many of the mums at my DS's school but moved here just before he started reception. I really, really struggled last year with feeling excluded as there appeared to be loads of well established groups.

DS is now in year 1 and he (and I) are finally being accepted into the community - he's been invited to lots of kids' homes, they're talking to me more etc.

I think it takes a long time for established groups of people to welcome in someone new into the fold in an active way. The fact that you are 'different' isn't going to help admittedly but I've found that you have to be a bit pushy - be really smiley, hideously over friendly and absolutely invite someone to a playdate. That really is the way in.

Good luck

fromparistoberlin Tue 05-Mar-13 11:34:38

aww notso

wish you were at my school, its like United Nations and so diverse there is no minority or majority!

but we are in London, and I am guessing you are not

first of all we really dont do play dates, kids tend to see each other in the park or at parties. FYI only... I dont think reception age playdates are the "norm"

From reading your post, I am a bit hmm that noone commented on your new baby, and I can see why you have a busy life you are concerned for your DS

HOWEVER, he is happy at school and I think he will develop his own friends in time.

I am not sure where you are, but yes maybe (if all white) their is some racism

I think right now, you need to almlost do nothing. Let him settle in, and get used to new baby. And sound out these people to see if they are just standoffish, or something else.

dont assume all bitches, and put a smile on your face and give it time

I do feel sad reading this, fucking hate people sometimes!

123oap Tue 05-Mar-13 11:37:15

I'm sorry to hear you've been treated like this. Some mothers do have stupid reasons for not inviting other children back, so please don't assume it's because of your race. I agree that maybe you could suggest it to the nicer mums, and encourage playdates that way. Or could you have a chat with the sympathetic teacher, and see what she thinks.

pigletmania Tue 05-Mar-13 12:30:58

Yanbu tat sounds awful, ignorant people can be very narrow minded, and probably have stereotypes that they have read in the DM. Invite a couple of his friends to play or if not meet in the park. You do sound lovely btw

DeafLeopard Tue 05-Mar-13 13:10:36

I agree that you really have to put yourself out there.

When DS started school I was working f/t so wasn't invited to the coffee mornings / reading in school etc, so it was down to me to really make the effort to help his social life.

We invited one friend over for tea a week - it was a good way of getting to know his friends, their parents and generated some reciprocal invitations too. The party thing could be down to the fact that children are only inviting small numbers and your DS friends aren't the ones having parties.

When we moved (DD was in Y2) I had to start all over again by inviting every girl in the class. Some reciprocated, some didn't.

I think a lot of people don't really think about other people in the playground, they only think of themselves, so gravitate to the people that they know and stand round in little groups.

Iseeall Tue 05-Mar-13 13:11:05

Another one here who thinks you need to be more proactive. It is not your headscarf or religion it is very likely the fact that you are new. Nothing more. You said you were shy, you have just has a baby,
you and your dh are professionals, I guess you are on maternity leave perhaps?
You child is happy and has friends, ask his favourite home for tea/play. Directly from school for two hours max. This is doable with a new baby.
Other mums will be just as shy, you are not the only one.....do try for your ds sake.

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 13:30:24

Just got back from baby group and lunch, had a lovely time chatting to 4 or 5 other mums. Everyone was friendly and approachable, so different from the playground! I think on reflection, I was being a bit unreasonable and it is more to do with being new, not already in a group etc, although I do find the mums quite unfriendly.

I will be making more of an effort and will try not to feel sorry for myself or DS smile This morning children were being given party invites and that's what set me off thinking about it.

worraliberty think you are right about not being too worried about the whole thing, it IS just a place to drop off and pick up and anything else is a bonus. I feel a bit more positive knowing I can do something about the situation anyway.

AIBU isn't always the bearpit it's made out to be smile

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 13:31:03

should say, not all the mums are unfriendly, some of them are fine

EuroShaggleton Tue 05-Mar-13 13:37:49

I've just finished reading the thread and my conclusion was that it was to do with being new rather than your race/religion. I've seens a lot of posts on here about unfriendly cliques at the school gate.

There might also be an element of uncertainty if it is not a very multicultural area, for example, being unsure what to feed your son, whether your family celebrates birthdays, etc. (Not racism in the sense of excluding him because of his race, but rather as a consequence of it, due to a lack of knowledge which just makes it seem easier to avoid the issue by not inviting your son.) You could perhaps try to overcome this by being the one to initate and see if they reciprocate with playdates.

currentbuns Tue 05-Mar-13 13:45:49

My dd has had a couple of Muslim friends at school and has been keen to invite them on a playdate at various times. In each case the mothers made their excuses - repeatedly. It was all rather awkward because I got along well with the mothers and one of these little girls was a particularly close friend to dd. Every day, the two of them would emerge after school chiming, "Can we have a playdate?"
Dd has always had a succession of other friends around to play, so it was difficult to explain to a four year old why this little girl's mother would always refuse.

Kiriwawa Tue 05-Mar-13 13:52:04

I can understand being a bit hurt if you saw invites being handed out - I would be too.

Again though, last year, DS wasn't invited to any parties. I'm not sure if other children didn't have them or if they just invited the children they 'knew'. This year, we have had 3 in the last 10 days. Be careful what you wish for grin

You do sound like you have a lovely, positive attitude so I'm sure you'll be accepted into the bosom of the classroom very soon

TheEndTisHere Tue 05-Mar-13 13:55:58

I was close friends with a group of mothers at my DC's school. Went for a nights out together. Once I went out for a fag with a 'friend' and was chatting to a black lady who had just moved to my area from where I was from so we got chatting so called friend (who seems lovely) ignored her and even tried talking over her! I only talk to her now when she starts a conversation with me and even then I keep it short .

I've made friends with some of the other groups now and luckily most of them are non local just like myself. I'm VERY shy and don't trust other people, due to to many bad experiences with an old friends and disowned family member. I would happily move to a remote island and build a massive wall around it but this not helpful to my DC or DH so I fake it easier said than done till I feel safe and believe me it works. The best way to make school mum friends is play dates straight after school for an hour or two. Ensure you have a pick up time too i once had one child for 7 hours

iseenodust Tue 05-Mar-13 14:10:44

Not nice but may not be deliberate on the part of many. I can understand your feelings from two angles. We've always been counted as 'different' (erm white & middle class) just because we don't live in the village where the school is and 95% of the families do live. In the end the children do make some closer friends and invitations come. On the other hand when DS was in reception he was so tired I didn't invite any children for a playdate until at least halfway through the year and then only ever one at a time. DS also wanted to share himself about fairly (grin) so I don't think any kid was invited for a second time until yr1.

I don't think you are being unreasonable. The choice is let time take its course or put yourself out there more just for a couple of years to help your child socialise now. Remember playdates can be at a weekend if this is easier to fit with feeding/bathing new baby (congrats!).

minouminou Tue 05-Mar-13 14:13:49

Oh, OP, sorry to hear this. It seems, though, that you've got a very positive, "work at it" attitude, so I'm sure you'll get there in the end.

I'm going to say something a bit weird now, so apols to all if it's wide of the mark or out of order in anyway.

OP - where do you stand on dogs?

The reason I'm asking is that DS formed a v close friendship with a Muslim girl in Reception, and they were just mad about each other. I was suggesting getting together for months, and we always got very polite and gentle but definite rebuffs.
I twigged one day, when I had our dopey springer spaniel with us and we met the girl and her mum in the street. Again, she was v subtle about it, but it was obvs she didn't want to talk to us for too long as the dog was there. The family knew we had the dog already, but only rarely saw her with us. Me being me, a few days later, I asked if the dog was a prob....could we put her in another room when her DD visited, and so on? I got a very round-about-the-houses answer (in retrospect I shouldn't have asked, as it put her on the spot) that kinda revealed that the dog was an issue.

Still on friendly terms with the mum, and we'll always stop for a quick natter, but sadly we couldn't take things further.

So.....finally I'll get to my point. If you don't mind dogs, maybe drop a few hints to dog-owning parents. You never know....people may not want to offend you by inviting you and your DS to a play date because they have a hound.

The parties will take care of themselves before much longer, I should imagine, and you can attend them and do a bit of "captive audience" schmoozing!

Just read this back, and it looks a bit bonkers, but it might be something to bear in mind.

Congrats on the new baby, btw!

notsodifferent Tue 05-Mar-13 16:56:52

minou I think the dog thing can be an issue for a lot of muslims esp Asians who aren't used to being around dogs.. I wouldn't mind DS going to a house with dogs but he's just got over his fear so might be nervous as I don't think we've ever visited anyone who owns a dog (that probably sounds quite bizarre!)

choccyp1g Tue 05-Mar-13 17:39:15

Congratulations on the new baby. I would have been across the playground like an old granny (but faster!) to peer at him.

The reception teacher might like you to bring the baby into the classroom for a few minutes one day, so that your DS can introduce his new baby brother/sister. Most reception children LOVE to see new babies; and it will make your DS feel very important as the "new big brother",the other children might feel more comfortable with you, and ask their parents if they can have playdates.

(But I can understand if you might not fancy having 30 little ones gawping at your baby)

KC225 Tue 05-Mar-13 18:19:27

I live in a very diverse area of London and at the DC nursery there were quite a few ladies muslim ladies. A few were very friendly, up for playdates, parties and mucking in for cake sales/summer fetes etc. But a few kept to themselves, didn't join in. I invited a little girl of one of the quieter ladies to play and her Mother asked if we served pork (I told her that I didn't eat meat) then asked if we would have drink in the house or if we would be playing music. I thought I had assured her and arranged a date then the following day she told me she and her husband had discussed it and decided that her daughter was too young to go with strangers. The girls were so upset and the mum went out of her way to avoid me after that. I mentioned it to another of the muslim ladies (our daughters often have playdates with each other) she laughed and said 'yeah some are, some aren't' to be honest it has put me off approaching muslim ladies that I didn't know very well because it was all very awkward.

I know you are shy, but I think you need to make some moves. It's hard with a new baby but the park is a good suggestion. What about suggesting a coffee after drop off - popular at our school with some of the mums maybe you could do it by email. Maybe arrange a party for your little one and invite the class.

Yfronts Tue 05-Mar-13 18:45:33

Expect it to take a year or two to get to know people. Don't bother with play dates till your baby is a little older but why not try meeting up with other mums with babies during school hours? Which toddler groups do the school mums with babies go to?

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 05-Mar-13 19:52:28

As an American in England, I sometimes feel self conscious of being different. I would be tickled pink if another "different" person sought me out to befriend me.

DonderandBlitzen Tue 05-Mar-13 22:09:38

"This morning children were being given party invites and that's what set me off thinking about it."

Yes I always think it is best to ask the school staff to put invitations in book bags, it's a bit tactless to hand them out on the playground in front of uninvited kids.

minouminou Tue 05-Mar-13 22:38:35

OK, Notso.....it was worth a shot, eh? Although if you demonstrate a friendliness to dogs, it's a great way to get talking. We live in a very diverse city here, and loads of Muslim, Asian and Far Eastern people smile and wave at our dog - I guess they can maintain a comfortable distance but still show willing.

Anyway, I'm labouring the dog point. There's loads of other things to consider and try that the other posters have given great advice about.

Posters who've said to give it a year or two have got a good point, although you have two prongs of attack - DS and the new baby.
I reckon you should go ahead and dish out some invites!

Go on.....we dare ya!

christinarossetti Tue 05-Mar-13 22:48:44

There's so much they don't tell you about this school business, isn't there.

I would try to find a combination of a. child that your son plays with and b. approachable parent and make this the first parent that you mention about 'getting the children together outside school' and go from there.

Also, 4.5 is still very young and school may be enough socialising without too much other stuff on top. You've got years of this a head of you, so you can afford to pace yourself!

Congrats on your new baby.

notsodifferent Wed 06-Mar-13 00:01:37

We went to the park today and I spoke to a couple of other mums, it seems lots of children go there to play when the weathers good, so that gives me a starting point!

DS got hurt playing (another boy accidentally hit him in the face with the seat of the zip wire swing shock) so we didn't stay long as he was upset and grumpy afterwards. he's a little bit sensitive and timid compared to other boys in his class so won't rush the playdate thing.. I will aim to invite someone soon though.

MrsHoolie Wed 06-Mar-13 00:16:56

I am giving out invites tomorrow for my DD's party. It will be a small party at our house so we can't fit all 30 kids round from her class.I feel bad about it though and will be discreet.

I already feel awful that we are only inviting five of them. One of the girls coming is Muslim.

We are in London so it's a big mix of children. It is friendly ish although we haven't done the play date thing yet. I reckon it's because they only started school in September so are pretty knackered by half past 3. And also because of the weather.

Congratulations on your new baby.

pigletmania Wed 06-Mar-13 00:25:49

Tats great not so, mabey the park is a good idea to get to know other mums and children. Just go for it, just try to break the ice with other parents even if it's about the weather

thebody Wed 06-Mar-13 00:35:13

Hi op.. Read your post and your ds is a happy and settled 4.5 and you have a gorgeous new baby.

Think you are over thinking and worrying;( we all do).

Relax going to tea at another child's house is a relatively new thing for small kids. Lots of time for that...

KC225 Wed 06-Mar-13 01:23:49

Well done notso that's a great start and fast. Shame little one got hurt but these things happen at parks. Remember he is still very young and they are tired and emotional after school even though they swear they are not. Even it you manage a park visit and a chat once just a week, it will make you and your son feel more included

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