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Unfriendly School - Advice Needed

(20 Posts)
Ellon Thu 11-Apr-13 22:28:54

I moved my ds to a new school recently (a prep school in London) however the other mums are really unfriendly towards me, for example one mum has walked away after I spoke to her on two occasions, another one has blanked me a few times even though my ds had been to playdates at her house. At two school events last year nobody spoke to me at all and one person even got up and went off when I sat next to them and tried to have a conversation, which made me feel like I was nothing. I really dread any school events now as I feel so out of place and my ds has noticed that nobody speaks to me. Now my ds is due to go to another similar school after he finishes at prep school and I am really worried that it will be the same thing there. He is really friendly and wants to make friends but I think the parents think we are not worthy so I struggle to arrange play dates and they have stopped inviting him. Does anyone have any advice? Should I look for another school (any ideas, I would move outside London if I was sure it was somewhere he would be happy and people are more friendly?). It's hard for me to pay the fees (single parent) so I don't want to be struggling to pay for somewhere that we don't fit in and he won't be happy so I would be grateful for any advice.

metimenowplease Thu 11-Apr-13 22:42:42

How awful, they sound incredibly stuck up, poor you. Are the local state schools any good, especially if it's hard for you to pay the fees? My DD went to various schools , some state and some private, and the state schools were better imo, as well as having more "down to earth" parents. If he does move on to the other school, will it be with the same group of children?

Ellon Thu 11-Apr-13 22:49:10

Hi yes some of the children will be the same, he struggled moving schools as he missed his old friends so he is keen to not move to his next school without knowing someone which is one of the reasons I am finding it hard to know what to do, the other is that I made a mistake moving him to this school so I am almost afraid in case I make another bad decision!! I think you are right though it would be better for find somewhere with some more down to earth people as we really don't fit in at the current school and I don't know that it will do him any good to continue in this vein.

happygardening Thu 11-Apr-13 23:30:04

Many of the mums at my DS's old prep school were absolutely ghastly the year below my DS2's were hideous so unfriendly they were frankly just bad mannered and ignorant. I'm generally pretty liberal but firmly believe that "manners maketh man" courtesy cost nothing. IME there will be a few decent parents out there I found Sunday Times rich listers, hereditary peers, serious old money and those high up in the FO are generally pretty friendly nothing to prove I suppose, Russian oligarchs are also friendly just glad anyone will talk to them and those scratching around to pay the fees, easy to spot older car and always rushing around.
The good news is that at senior school you have significantly less contact with other parents. I do know some of the parents at my DS2's school who as a general principle seem pretty decent none are rude and unfriendly but the vast majority I only know in a smile and wave and how is your DS getting on sort of way.

Ellon Thu 11-Apr-13 23:45:55

Thanks, it's good to hear I am not the only one experiencing this and that things might be better at senior school. I am more worried about my ds making friends than me really, as this experience is making me worried about what's ahead for him and he has moved away from his friends from his old school! It may be just the year he is in as I am the only one in the rushing around, struggling to pay the fees category and pretty much all of the others are two parent, one at home, seem comfortably off, sadly there are none of the other type of people you listed. I am horrified at how rude the other mums are to me to be honest and I am not sure I want my ds experiencing this or thinking this type of behaviour is ok.

happygardening Fri 12-Apr-13 00:11:27

I've reread your original post why would they think your not worthy? I think it's absolutely awful that you struggle to arrange play dates. It out s hard sometimes for children to break into existing friendship groups. When your DS changes to his senior school is it a different school with all new children or if the same school will new children join the school if it's either of these two I'm sure he'll find it easier to make friends.
Two other points: I know I said many mums are rude and unfriendly and they are and don't take this the wrong way (I'm not known for my tact but I mean well) are you sure your struggling to arrange play dates because other parents don't like you or are they genuinely busy? Secondly I have found that many mothers who I perceived to be pretty unfriendly on a one to one were actually much better. I'm a complete smiley extrovert and know lots of people and can chat to virtually anyone but many people are surprisingly shy and find smiley chatty extroverts who seem to know everyone rather intimidating and this means they come across as rude and unfriendly!

Ellon Fri 12-Apr-13 00:34:25

Well my ds is in a group of a few boys who all hang around together at school and they have play dates amongst themselves but don't invite him so maybe I am putting two and two together and coming up with 5 but when I text or email about play dates they don't even answer! The new school will have a mix of the same children and new ones. I have found the mums unfriendly as they either blank me (mums who I have chatted with previously) or on some occasions I have gone over to them when they were on their own and spoken to them and they have actually walked off without acknowledging me!! I am sure some of them are nice when you get to know them but I don't think I ever will as I am not in their circle, I dread going to the school now for any reason, school play, parents evening etc as I just feel like a pariah. There was one occasion where I tried to join a group of them chatting and one of them turned their back on me, closing a circle and carried on chatting leaving me standing on the outside while we were waiting for the children to finish something! Ds only has one year to go otherwise I would just call it quits because of how it is affecting him. I suppose I need to decide what to do for the best, let him go to the next school and hope for the best, or look for a small friendly (with more down to earth people) school within striking distance of London (need to work here).

Dustylaw Fri 12-Apr-13 01:37:14

Don't despair! If you're looking at independent day schools in London then they are going to be bigger and quite a bit more diverse than a smallish prep school. It's hard to think of an independent secondary school in London where they won't have a reasonable intake of children from a state school background as well as prep schools - even if they do have a feeder prep. You may well find it's snotty parents who find it hard to fit in there and that most are pretty down to earth. I think the important thing is making sure you feel happy with the school he will be going on to - if you don't like the look and feel of it now then go look at alternatives. Generally in London at least there are alternatives within a reasonable distance.

happygardening Fri 12-Apr-13 03:13:27

Ok OP we'll go with my first premise they're absolutely ghastly and hideously rude and bad mannered. I really feel for you and your DS. I thankfully know little about London preps but I can't believe they're all this dreadful in fact my DS spent only one year at one 13 years ago and I still meet up with some of the mums and I now live 150 miles away. We spent 6 years in a country prep and I've only really kept in contact with one I admit distance is playing a factor as its 200 miles away but I was back in the area this week and there's not one I'm desperate to meet up with. I really believe at senior school it will be better, to up sticks just for this seems madness or perhaps you have other reasons to move as well. Moving you DS with just over a year to go might be difficult, I'm assuming you've got an entrance exam to sit and if you move far enough away you will have to find another senior school although I've known people do it. If he's really unhappy and lonely I suppose you could consider it if I was you and I liked my choice of senior school I think I would start off trying to find a viable alternative within my current part of London.

difficultpickle Fri 12-Apr-13 13:41:01

Are you sure it isn't because the other parents have their established friendship groups?

Ds moved in yr 4 and it has been very difficult to get to know the other mums as they all seem to know each other really well. Whenever I've been to class events I've struggled to talk to anyone. I haven't taken it as them being deliberately unfriendly, more that the onus seems to be on me to get to know them. I'm rubbish at talking to people I don't know so it just self perpetuates.

It is made a bit harder because the majority of the mums don't work and therefore meet up during the day. I work full time and I'm reluctant to use my holiday when ds is at school, which means I can't attend the coffee mornings.

I'm sticking with it as ds appears to have made friends, no playdates though and is happy. I also feel it is a process of letting go. As ds gets older he will get more independent and the less influence I will have and the less contact with other parents. He does seem to be a bit young for that process to have started but I've realised I will never have the type of friendships at this school as I did at ds's old one where our dcs all started school together and none of us knew each other so we all had to make an effort.

happygardening Fri 12-Apr-13 14:05:04

Maybe its a combination of factors. As I've already said the year below DS2 were notorious for being unfriendly to all who weren't in the inner circle but also we moved 200 miles away from my DS's pep for the last two years and only went to the school when we absolutely had too. No more standing on the side of rugby pitches, no more hideous mothers lunches, on the few occasions we did go parents weren't as friendly as they used to b,e new parents had joined my Ds's year and they was hardly knew us old parents had become good friends with the new parents. Similar to bisjo's experience the ones who started with us in yr 2 remained more friendly.Of course the other problem you have is that the fewer mums there are to talk too the less you want to go so you never get to know people.
Being a serious non conformist I'm not a joiner by nature but what about helping on the dreaded PTA or manning a teddy bear stall, volunteering for this kind of torture is bound to make you very popular with someone. Or even worse becoming the form/yr rep (brings me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it).

MTSgroupie Fri 12-Apr-13 23:42:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

difficultpickle Sat 13-Apr-13 10:59:59

MTS seems quite a personal attack on the OP. It can be very hard to make friends when your dcs change schools out of kilter from the norm. Just because the OP has posted that she is finding it particularly difficult doesn't make her a troll. I'm lucky that I have plenty of friends and ds has made friends at his new school. If I make some friends too then great but if I don't it doesn't matter to me. However it does matter to the OP. We all know the type of mums who stand around gossiping and judging others and if the OP is on the receiving end of this then it really isn't very nice.

AuntieStella Sat 13-Apr-13 11:11:18

You know, any school - private or state - can have its clique of foul, bitchy, unfriendly parents. DS2's year was like this - and if it hadn't been for e experience with DS1, and wha tis now happening with DD, I'd have felt exactly like you,OP.

But it,'s not you - it's them and they are never typical of one particular type of school. You were just unlucky.

There is no reason to think that you'll be unlucky twice. But if the move is from junior to senior, you will see a listless of other parents. Don't take that personally: it's how things change at year 7.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 13-Apr-13 11:15:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Elibean Sat 13-Apr-13 11:36:57

MTS - you are a cynic.

bubblesinthesky Sun 14-Apr-13 17:22:57

I'm shocked by some of the stuff I'm reading here.

If parents already have established friendship groups then so what. Anyone with a touch of compassion and empathy will do their best to reach out to new families and if not embrace them at least be pleasant and polite. It takes very little to at least smile, enjoy a quick chat and let someone join your circle as you talk.

I would be appalled and furious with DD if she treated a new child at her class in the way you describe the parents treating you. If I expect my child to be civil and pleasant then I can only expect the same of myself.

If these people can not behave in a normal and civil manner then I don't think you're missing out on much OP. They are clearly so insecure with their status and position in society they don't feel equal to welcoming any diversity into their circle. They should grow up.

Remember a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet

Sorry just fuming that people can behave in this way

Elibean Mon 15-Apr-13 11:48:55

Yes, I would expect the same, bubbles!

gabsid Mon 15-Apr-13 15:10:56

Yes, it can be state schools too. We moved to a village 4 years ago when my DS started school and I found that everyone was talking to each other, but not me. When I started a conversation people would be polite enough to answer, but some parents would ignore me and look the other way in the street.

It took me a long time to figure out that there are existing groups of parents who themselves have grown up in the village and that I am just not one of the 'in crowd'. Anyway, 2/3s of these parents I don't feel I would have anything in common with anyway but I just feel its rude not to smile, say hello or nod if you walk past someone you see every day. Our hairdresser confirmed that parents have always been that way in the village. After 4 years it has become better, but there are still people who do it and it just grinds on my self-confidence.

Only last week I saw 2 mums from the village at an event some miles away (one of them I once bought a buggy from and who always seemed friendly when I saw her by herself, the other a cleaner at the local infant school), I smiled at them and they were both very straight faced moved on??

I don't get such behaviour. I may be different from them, but certainly not inferiour in any way.

Ellon Thu 18-Apr-13 22:31:46

I don't know what a troll is but the reason I posted it because I don't have anyone else to ask about it!

Thanks to everyone else for your advice and insights.

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