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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.

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

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...

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

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.

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.

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.

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

OK, 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!

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.

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.

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?

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.

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)

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!)

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!

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!).

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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 try for your ds sake.

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.

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

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.

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