To think my awkwardness is ruining friendships for my dc?(33 Posts)
The situation is, I've got a 9 year old son, and he virtually never socialises outside of school.
I haven't got many friends, I've got a couple with dc the same age and we meet up occasionally. The one friend has pretty much stopped contacting me and stopped inviting my ds to her sons parties.
I've invited a couple of his school friends over but the invitation was never reciprocated. I've also dropped loads of hints such as saying we will have to meet up over the holidays, or offering to give their child a lift to a party, stuff like that.
I try my best to speak with the other parents but sometimes feel I get frozen out of conversations. I know the other children and parents meet up outside school but ds is never invited. It's heartbreaking because ds constantly asks. Other parents were initially friendly to me but over the years have become less so. Like no one ever approaches me and I almost feel some turn their backs when I approach them or will start whispering.
Ds was at a party recently and the mum joked that her child had wanted to invite another child but that they never turn up so invited mine.
I take ds to loads of out of school activities but he hasn't made any close friends from anything.
I'm not sure what more I can do. I'm quite shy and awkward, ds is the complete opposite and wants to be everyone's friend, so I can only think it's me.
Does he have good friendships at school? If so I would just keep on having those friends over at yours and try not to worry about them being reciprocated. IMO by that age, if the child doesn't want to attend an arranged "play date" then they find an excuse not to come, so the fact they are happy to come to play with your ds is a good sign.
FWIW we don't really have many children over on a regular basis. Maybe once or twice a term. My dc have good friends at school and are very happy with their own and each others company at home.
I agree to just keep asking close friends around anyhow, even if not reciprocated.
My DM was socially awkward - I never remember having guests except relatives. Now I am grown up, I realise that there was an "in" crowd at primary and I wasn't in it. Although pretty popular at school during school hours, I didn't really get that many invites to parties as my parents kept themselves to themselves.
However I have to say that most of this passed me by unnoticed! As long as I had a few friends and was busy at clubs etc., I was fine so please do not fret. At secondary, everything changes and kids do their own thing anyhow.
As to what I'm like myself with my kids.. I do host and reciprocate a fair bit and have made an effort to know the parents, but will never be the person that drops my kids off for an all day playdate before hosting a sleepover for 8!!
My ds never got invited to peoples houses when it was in the control of the mums tbh. However now in yr6 the boys sort themselves out, and now theres two other 10 year olds in my sitting room. I barely know their parents and have only been to their houses to drop children back when its dark. I did nearly fall over when one just turned up on their bike having organised it with my ds in an online game
@CMOTDibbler I agree with that point too!
Thank you. Unfortunately the children came once then made excuses thereafter. So we literally never have anyone over.
It's heartbreaking because ds constantly asks.
the mum joked that her child had wanted to invite another child but that they never turn up so invited mine
Jurassicbaby, have you considered the possibility of changing schools?
I wouldn't have thought your awkwardness would even be noticed by 9 year olds would it? I have a friend who shouts a lot, at her kids and their friends, but even though the boys talk about her shouting and say they don't like it, they still go round to see their friend, her DS, if invited.
Are you sure that they're making up excuses not to come over? Maybe they're genuine excuses? Don't give up, keep inviting.
Also, my 2 DC'S don't really have 'best' friends like I did at their age, it's more that they hang around with whoever into the same thing as they are that particular week. So don't worry about a lack of close friends, he could just be friends with everyone.
It's not you, it's him. I am sorry, I am sure you'd much rather think it's you. But he is 9 and at that age, kids are making their own decisions as to who they like to be with. You said that ds wants to be everyone's friend -- how does ds express his eagerness? If you want to help him, you need to know what he is doing that is putting kids off. Maybe talk to a teacher or instructor at one of the after school activities?
I don't think that the kids notice my awkwardness. More that there seems to be a friendship group going on among some of the parents so they meet up with the children.
I've already spoken with his teacher about how he's doing with friendships and they've reassured me that he's well liked.
Actually one of those moms would be your best source, if you feel comfortable enough to approach one of them.
What can I say though? Ask if my ds isn't liked? They're hardly going to be honest are they?
I'm part of a friendship group that meets up with the children. If one of my DS'S asked if his friend could join us then I would say yes, it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference if I liked his mother or not. However, I know other parents who seem to have to like the whole bloody family before allowing their son to be friends with them outside of school. So that could be part of the problem.
How many boys are in his class? Surely they're not all part of this friendship group?
I think that if he's well liked at school and doing lots of outside activities then try not to worry. Like pp have said, they start organising their own social life soon.
Also...Neither of my boys have made friends which are close enough to invite over from their outside activities. And I'm super sociable
Yes! Ask her (just one) to please help you understand why ds isn't invited more often. I wouldn't assume that she wouldn't be honest. You need to reassure her that you are not going to get angry or defensive or impose on her son, you just want to understand so that you can help your ds.
Is your son's school very small? Why can't your son play with kids whose moms are not part of that mom's friendship group you speak of?
There are only a handful of boys in the class. A lot of the parents you never ever see because they work full time. I wouldn't even know them if I saw them.
There are children that ds just doesn't play with, their parents I either never see or they don't speak to anyone, and, despite me doing whole class parties they've repeatedly point blank ignored invitations.
Then there is what I would describe as an in crowd. A group of parents of boys and girls who all meet up with the kids. These are the.m children ds says he plays with.
Yes it's a small school. Well it's 30 in a class but I think they're undersubscribed. One class per year and only a few boys.
It's not that he can only play with certain children, but for example I've done whole class parties, and I struggle to get 10 children to attend. Half the class just ignore the invitation.
What a mean comment regarding only inviting your son because another didn't come.
Have you invited parents over for some food/coffee/drinks with or without kids? I know that may be tricky if you feel awkward but could help kick start something. There may well be other people who are not part of the clique.
From the other side, I have four children and while I made an effort when my first was little, I really struggle to return play dates now they are all at school. I only do school picks up two days a week and then am rushing off to pick others up/take others to clubs. My youngest has been invited over to a couple of new friends and it will take me weeks to return the favour. I have hardly spoken to the new parents in Reception. This is not because I do not like them or their children but I really struggle with time. In the summer holidays I ended up having loads of kids in one hit just to try to return various play dates that had built up!
Ah I see! Your son wants to get in with the "in crowd"! And they don't think he is "cool" enough to play with. And their moms are avoiding you so that they and their son don't have to be seen with you and ds.
I'd give them the finger. Advice ds to move on. The more he wants to be with them, the more they'll look down on him. Don't buy into the hype these clique moms are trying to create. Encourage him to seek out the other kids. You can help him by inviting one of the other kids whose parents you've never met.
I don't think she actually meant it how it came out. Basically half the class don't even bother rsvping to party invites, let alone turning up. She was saying how her son wanted to invite little George, but he never turns up, so she'd told him he'd have to invite the ones that turn up, and gestured at ds.
I feel like I've dropped plenty of hints but I guess I haven't outright invited lots of kids directly.
I personally feel frozen out of friendships amongst parents at school who are only interested in mixing with others like them, and thus only make any effort to encourage friendships with children of their own friends. I still invite their children over, but not nearly as much as I used to given that the parents barely acknowledge me in the playground.
Hey I would agree with keep on inviting. People can just be busy and if the parents are working full time they will often have childcare arrangements set up afterschool which they won't want to change. Maybe try and find one of the mums you think is approachable and ask her directly if her son would like to come over. My daughter is 9 (nearly 10) and I have noticed this year much less organised playdates and more off the cuff meet ups as and when suits sometimes after clubs on a Saturday (rarely during the week due to homework/clubs) - and sometimes organised by the kids themselves. She has a group of 3 friends and they are constantly falling in and out so sometimes it is easier to have just 1 child over rather than a bigger group. My son is 12 and in high school and the parents really arrange very little -the boys sort it all out themsselves so it will get easier. PS I do think that was a bit of a mean comment about the party x
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