I have young kids who just started elementary school and were in nursery school in this awful town that we live in. I say awful because the people here are so mean and self-centered. We are trying to move but have not yet been able and part of me feel we shouldn't be chased out. My kids are very open and friendly and kind. You would not believe how viciously they are treated by other kids, and their parents! They are heartbroken at never being invited to playdates, etc. when they see others doing so. They don't understand and neither do I. There is a nasty group of women here that when they see me and my kids, they angrily stare us down, and they frighten my kids. We don't know any of these people. My girls especially attract a lot of attention because they are pretty, so it has been suggested that this behavior is coming out of jealousy, but what kind of person would hurt an innocent child by ostracizing them? They have no real friends, except at school. I am so worried that they have no idea what a friend is and are being socially "damaged" by this experience. We have tried everything - scouts, inviting kids to playdates, dance, etc. I don't know what to do and my husband just buries his head in the sand even though he agrees that it is hurting the kids and is tantamount to bullying. My school admin is indifferent, but the kids are doing well academically and feel attached to the school so I am just....stuck watching them suffer and spinning my wheels trying to help. What can we do until we are able to move?
It sounds to me like you are trying everything thing you can. Do you have any idea at all what is behind this? In any event, I would just make sure you are very supportive of your children and ensuring they feel loved and secure. Whatever is going on in that town, it sounds like your kids are getting a very mean lesson way to early in life. I'm sorry your going through this.
From what you have said here I think it highly likely you are right about some jealousy ,It probably started with one dominant woman and then friends of hers latched onto it, thats the kind of thing humans do ..I think you have to stop trying so hard and let the dice fall where they may.Allow your children to make friends them selves if they are going to, I think like all parents you are concerned too much that they make friends and you are not letting it happen naturally.So Take a step back, say less, especially to your children allow them reign to make friends .Good luck you are a good parent who is upset for your children..but let them sort it out..or not ..
Hm. Well, I guess this could happen. Not sure why it would . . . and will be honest. I wonder if you have this somewhat in your head and then take the attitude that they feel this way about you. I mean-------------- why would they decide collectively as a group to not like you or your kids? I will tell you that I've moved my entire life and been the 'new kid' in town and have now stayed put for a while. I have found in my moving that people are people wherever you go. And if you move with this attitude of victemization, it will probably surface there.
Please don't get me wrong. I am concerned about what you write and about your children and their feelings. I'm just suggesting that sometimes we have to get out of our own head and stop the negative talk.
What grade are your kids? In preschool and early elementary school, kids couldn't care less where another kid comes from or if their parents like them, they just want to play. That would have been the time to invite kids over all the time to build relationships. We get invited to play dates but honestly, I like them better when we host. So, just be the host most of the time. Don't worry about what is fair (being invited back). Just keep inviting. Keep your kids active in sports, extra curricular things like cub scouts/girlscouts, dance, gymnastics, etc. Whatever they like.
And on your end, get involved yourself. Sign up for pta and help out with school activities. Volunteer at school in your kid's class. Put how you 'think' people are feeling about you away for awhile and ignore that. You are bigger and better than that. And just try a different approach.
And I do agree that I would not discuss this with your kids unless they discuss it with you so that your feelings of what is happening do not carry over to them. If they feel that way, that is one thing. But I'm afraid that your own insecurity will affect them as much as anything else you've written.
There was a post very similar to yours recently here on the board. So I'll say what I said then.
There are two possibilities:
1. You really have run in to a group of extremely cliqueish, cruel women who are in real competition with each other and have inexplicably decided to reject your family for no reason. (I will say, it's not because your children are pretty. Pretty children have distinct advantage in being accepted, they aren't rejected for being good looking).
2. There's something you've done, or you look different, or your husband has done something politically or otherwise offended the community, or your children don't look well groomed or dress inappropriately or behave inappropriately, or somehow some horrible misunderstanding has happened and people believe something that isn't true, etc. I could go on forever trying to guess what the others are cueing on to dislike you and your family.
So. Since none of us know you, we don't know which option is right, 1 or 2.
I really think if you can't put a finger on what has caused you to be ostracized where you are, you may not do much better in a different place.
In rereading your post, it occurs to me that your children are connected to the school and have friends there and are doing well. So the teachers and kids like them and treat them well. That's good information. It's not them. I'm just really curious at this point - it sounds like maybe there's misinformation about your family that the other mothers believe.
Thanks for your insight and support, and yes, this is actually known as a very clique-ish area, where people are like this to one another. If you meet someone here, within 5 minutes they will be badmouthing another child or family, or put someone down because they are not a member of the "club" (the country club) which we are not, as I am not interested in elitism, I am interested in community. We moved here for the great schools but where we lived before was very normal and friendly - neighbors, school families, etc. Where I grew up was nothing like this (it was also friendly). My kids are very polite, well groomed (to answer a question) and yes they are very well-liked by the teachers and whole school administration. And there are kids who like my kids as well - as you say, at this age kids just want to play. That's why it is so sad when, outside of school, I see the kids try to go up to greet a child that they recognize from school, and the child is happy to see my kids, and I try to say hello to the mom, but the mother actually turns around and gives us a dirty look and turns her back. And invariably the next day that child is mean to my kids. And these women seem to enjoy doing this. We don't have to like everyone, but shouldn't we be polite? These people don't seem to feel that social obligation. Especially to total strangers who we know nothing about, and their kids? The school admin just acts like yeah this happens here, it's awful, oh well. They tell me how some of the moms are so rude in the loop, dropping off and picking up, and I have seen this behavior - mothers speeding past kids walking in the loop area, honking, etc. Someone warned me when we moved here that many women are on "power-trips" here. But I can't believe that no-one is nice here. I mean, we are here, and I would never treat anyone like this. I would certainly never participate in isolating a family!
Margypops' comment was startling because yes, there is a dominant woman who was mean to the kids in nursery school. I tried to look past it and find another reason because it was so weird, and invited her child over to play (but the mother was obviously uncomfortable, it was just ridiculously tense, of course the kids had fun but that doesn't seem to be a priority to parents around here). When she introduced me to her husband at a school function (reluctantly, and barely hiding her dislike) it became obvious that something was up - he was so rude and so nasty to me. I was shocked. In all my life I have never had total strangers go out of their way to be rude to me. Then she started asking about my daughter's hairstyle, her clothes, etc. - I am friendly and cordial with everyone so I answered all of her questions but it struck me as a bit odd, all the focus on looks. That's when someone else noted to me that this woman likely started spreading something negative about us.
I knew two really nice famiies when we first moved here that just gave up and moved from this town to more "normal" areas. These folks were very social but also very down to earth, nice people and they just couldn't take the snobbism here. I never saw the darker side of this clubishness until my kids entered nursery school. I hear even worse horror stories from people I know in Berkeley CA - kindergarteners being exclusive and mean to other kids! I just don't understand how people can be this way.
I am just worried that if we stick it out too long here, it will hurt my kids. We are very loving and supportive with them but I don't know if that is enough.
I wonder if there is some jealousy involved ..may I ask what you look like Lol are you well turned out like your children ,could be the old green monster,hence the husband being unpleasant to you in front of his wife .
:) I am not insecure about my looks but I am nowhere near as pretty as my daughter. I don't wear makeup and generally dress fairly plain and 'business-like', so I would be really surprised if that aspect of myself were a factor ;). The men around here are kind of like the women in that they are very status-conscious, shallow and rude so it most likely comes from that dimension. Thanks again.
I'm going to suggest something worriedmom that has nothing to do with your daughters. I'm only trying to help here---------- but I have to wonder if some of this is in your own head and due to your own insecurity. I've lived a LOT of places---------- big cities, suburbs that are have cliques, LOTS of places.
I don't think others are jealous of you but I think you are probably sending off vibes that are standoffish. How friendly are you to them and how invovled have you ever tried to be?
I do not think the stepford wives actually exist-------------- and would suggest that in every single domain in this country----------- there are people that enjoy others and need friends as much as you do. So I would knock the chip of your shoulder and try to find these people. Try to connect with your community. If you are religious at all, maybe a church would be a good place to get involved. They have mother's groups, father's groups, family things, etc. Join a committee of some sort there. The PTA at school is ALWAYS looking for people to help------------ that is a universal thing. If your kids are in sports, start volunteering for the team. When you invite a friend over for one of your daughters-------- make that time FUN! Have things for them to do based on their age---------- crafts, baking something and eating it while there, a good movie rental, a super fun game, etc. (I do this myself because my son has a developmental delay and I want kids to want to come to our house to play-------------- ).
So, I'd try to think of this differently because I am afraid you will run into the exact same thing if you move------------ if you don't address your role in the way you feel. good luck
That's what I was saying at first, Specialmom, but I've kind of changed my tune here.
Worriedmom's description sounds a LOT like areas I've seen outside of Dallas. Women "dress" to go out to the bus stop with their kids, and if you don't you are shunned. If you do your own yardwork, shunned. Don't drive an expensive car? Shunned. No matter how nice, and well-groomed, and intelligent and worthwhile you are, you better not show up at the mall in shorts FGS. Shunned. And you never really know why or what they're so worked out about that makes them so pissy.
The fact that worriedmom had lived in another community and loved it and did well - it just seems that there are pockets of communities where the women have lost their minds out of boredom and lack of real purpose in life so they have to spend all their time worrying about their status, their kid's status, and sneering about the "walmart crowd".
Oh I mean to add also about the PTA. I'm a HUGE believer in PTA, and am in fact an honorary life member (PTA people know what that means. ;D ) Anyway, in communities like worriedmom is describing, a group of bossy mean women can take hold and lock down the PTA positions for their friends and lock out people that they don't think make the "cut". Officers are elected, and committee chairs are appointed by the president with the approval of the officers, so if you get a group of four controlling women in there are officers, they can clamp the PTA leadership down for YEARS. In my positions in PTA I've have had to go into schools like that and try to unravel the grip these women can have, and it's absolutely amazing the backstabbing and plotting they can do, and the hurtful way they treat people who just truly want to be involved. Geez. Most PTAs are full of good hearted and have their hearts in the right place, but the way PTA leadership is set up, it only takes 4 women to run the program into the ground with their pettiness.
Thank goodness those schools are few and far between. But they ARE there. eeks.
Thanks RockRose, you are dead on in your assessment. You have described exactly what the dynamic is here - there are towns like this.
So what do I do, I am trying to figure out, to minimize the impact on my kids until we can get to a better environment? It was very disheartening that no matter how much volunteer work I did in the community - and I have been doing soooo much - that people were still nasty to us, Honestly, I feel like we are on another planet. I mean, as class parent for my kids I do soo much work to help the teacher and class with projects, trips, etc. The teachers are all sweet and at least they are very appreciative, but the PTA - yikes. I actually stopped going recently because it was so unpleasant. FYI, when this person long ago had warned me of the power-trips that women take when they move here (often from high powered jobs in the city), she mentioned the PTA as being an insufferable experience. I of course had to go regularly to PTA meetings, being that I was class parent, but I was snubbed and barely tolerated as one of the outsiders. The church, boy scouts, girls scouts, soccer, crafts event here at our house, school band, local kids volunteering......there actually isn't anything we haven't done....sorry, thought I had made that clear....that's why I posted here. We are desperately concerned that no amount of community involvement, generosity, helpfulness and kindness is worth anything here. But really, enough about this awful place, I have given it too much time already, and my concern is now what can I do to reconcile this with my kids since this is the reality I have to deal with right now.
Specialmom, thanks for your input, but the problem is here, not in my head, and my question to this forum really just is, how to mitigate the effects on my kids. We cannot force people to be nice to us. We can continue to get involved in activities as we have been doing, but what parenting advice would you give to someone to help their kids? It was mentioned that it's probably best not to talk about the 'awful' town to the kids and I agree and appreciate that advice. Part of me wants to explain to the kids why people are nice and normal elsewhere (I mean, they lived in an area before this where they ran out and played with the neighbors, etc. etc. so they don't get what's happening....).
I think that you should ignore it all, do not say any more about it to the children ,they may not be as aware as you are about these folks attitude, so chill out ,let it drop and see what happens ..it may go away as time goes by .Good Luck
Worriedmom270, I really feel for you and I could've written your post word by word. We just moved from an area exectly like yours and I am so glad we did.
Our last school was run by cliqish and MENTALLY mean PTA women ( most of them were teachers in other schools ) where they tried to bully me, phisically threatened me, spread vicious lies about me, and ostersize me and my family. I am very sure it was started by one person, and I can't believe that people can that easily be brain washed, or they join the game for the fear of becoming the next target. I NEVER once let them know that I was bothered by it. I befriended few moms ( some were from different schools and activities ) and mainly associated with them, and our kids played together even though they were in different grades. My suggestion, if you can not move yet, find some moms that are similar to you, and stay away from the ones that pay TONS of attention to their appareance, and are deeply involved in the school. They are not worth it. They are cliquish, evil, shallow, and highly competative with each other.
Thats the way to deal with it..like flavor has posted , to stay away from them I am sure you wont be the only one so make a few of your own friends dont give a thought to the others ..possibly they feel threatened by new comers ..
I find myself in the same situation as you and I agree with some comments above to make you own friends and avoid them. My dilemma now is how long can I keep avoiding these so called inclusive group of moms?
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