"The question from my eight-year-old son that made my heart sink."

“How far away from the earth is Mars?” asks my eight-year-old as we drive to school. I dunno. It’s 7am, and I’d literally kill for a coffee.

“How many kilometres until school?” Seriously, I dunno kid.

“How many degrees will it be today?” Really? How would I know?

“Why don’t I have any friends?”

“…Why do I never get invited to any parties?”

My heart sinks. Actually, it breaks.

All those friends we made in kinder, all those “favours” I did for other mums, it all essentially amounts to nothing. All those cakes I’ve baked, flowers sent, play dates organised, soup left on the doorstep, school pickups covered.

Kelly and her son. Image: Supplied.

A year ago I insisted that he invite his bully to his birthday party so he wouldn't feel excluded. We have striven to teach him to be inclusive - but at what cost? Where did I go wrong?

My kid is amazing. He's funny and smart and interesting. His smile lights up a room and his laugh is irresistible. He's a tricky kid. An amazing combo of brains and heart who struggles a little to keep up with his peers physically.

Not long ago he started to tell me he's uncool. That he's weird. His smile disappeared and he retreated to the sanctuary of his bedroom.

How is it that the same kid who is asking what we can do to make the new kids at school feel more welcome, is also asking me why he has to hide in the library at lunchtime?


I organise play dates. I play him videos of Ed Sheeran telling the world that weird is cool. I squeeze him tightly as he goes to sleep and whisper in his ear "I'll always be your best friend". I hope and pray dearly that this will be enough, that he'll make new friends and that he will have a better week.

Kelly wants other mums and dads to think of the child they're excluding. Image: Supplied.

Is it enough?

We so desperately need souls like his in this world of ours. We need to nurture and encourage these little people who feel so deeply and love unconditionally. We as parents need to have each other's backs. Invite the tricky kid over. Encourage your kids to have a wide base of friends. Teach them to be inclusive and watch them thrive.

This kid will do amazing things. This kid will change the world.

Until then, please remember he's a little boy who only wants to belong.

00:00 / ???