Dear parents at school,
Do you remember what it felt like when your child first started school and you knew nobody? Perhaps that didn’t bother you, or perhaps you connected with other parents really quickly, or maybe you knew other parents from the local kindergarten and already had a school parents’ friends base.
Not all parents find as easy to connect with others though. Spare a thought for them when they drop off or collect their child and they’re standing alone.
Perhaps they only occasionally drop their child off and find it hard to break into the clique who are there every morning and afternoon doing the drop-off and pickup.
Maybe you’ve pre-judged them because their child’s always in trouble and maybe their child has called your child a ‘fat-arse’ and you think that the parent must have somehow influenced the child saying that.
Maybe you think that because their child is in trouble nearly all the time that they don’t care about this and wouldn’t be worth knowing.
Maybe if you reached out that parent might really like some support and a friendly chat.
Maybe they’re just really shy and would welcome it if you made an effort to say hello to them and engage them in some sort of conversation. After all have one thing in common – your kid goes to the same school.
Maybe because you only rarely see them that you think it’s not worth it, after all they probably don’t have time to join you for a really long chat or a coffee and you just can’t be bothered.
So spare a thought for that mum or dad who’s standing by themselves at the school. They might not be standing alone out of choice.
I always thought it was just me that found being a ‘dropping off/picking up mum’ was about as hard as my first day of highschool when it came to cliques and groups. It’s more than half way through the year at kinder and I can count on one hand the number of other mum’s who’ve even bothered to say hello or chat in passing… even a smile and a nod would help.
I know I suck at the social/making friends thing and I often wonder if it is me…. but maybe it’s not…?
Hazel Edmunds says
Jen (and Kate)
It’s not just you – and it’s not just them. Hard though it is (been there, done that) YOU are the one who has to make the first move to try and break into the cozy clique. It’s not just at the school gates that these divisions are noticeable but just about everywhere that people congregate. And believe you me it gets harder as you get older unless you’ve managed to keep in with friends from way back (which I haven’t).
Farmers Wife says
I just went through this at the start of the year as we changed schools. I found the first few days harrowing as nobody would talk to me and there was already cliques from last year. After the 3rd day I said to myself, it’s up to me to introduce me to them, which I did and all was well. I have made some good friends but it took some effort to be noticed.
Oh I remember this all too well – and yes, it does still happen.
I figure there are those friends unmade in the group – and those who will never be friends.
All you can be is approachable and smile. Good luck.
Oh, that used to be me, too, “the one with the autistic kid” I heard myself pointed out one day, and I got used to bringing a book along to read.
Oh, yes…it’s real shock to discover that some grownups don’t grow out of the clique tendencies childhood.
When my XY7 started school in Sydney I fortunately connected with one of the seemingly few fulltime working mums. Two years ago we relocated to country NSW and I haven’t yet really had a breakthrough…although there are a couple of mums and a dad I say hello to. Now I’m working parttime I started doing reading groups but it’s not really a chance to meet other parents. I wanted to get involved with the P&C to get to know some parents but it meets on one of the nights my partner works.
I just try to keep smiling and look friendly!
I can relate to this post. We moved house and therefore schools and my eldest went into grade 1. It took me along time to stop standing on my own. And I think part of it had to come from me. Now I try to remember how that felt and look out for others standing on their own.
I never knew this was a problem, I was always the adult on the inside of the room. It gives me something to think about though when do return to work. I have always had a kettle, coffee/tea and milk available for parents to have, maybe I might need to put up some conversation starters on the wall outside too. They can grab a cuppa and discuss the topic together. Do you think that might help?