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.

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

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!).

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!

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!)

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)

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

OK, Notso.....it 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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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...

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

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