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

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

How horrible for you.

Is it a generally 'cliquey' sort of school gate set up? It may be that there is a culture of excluding people and it's not to do with your 'difference' at all. And I put that in ' ' because to me, you wouldn't be different because you wear a headscarf or are not particularly outgoing.

I would try one or two playdate invitations, with the parents who haven't been rude or excluding to you.

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

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