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.

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

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now