friendship

The one problem facing all school parents.

If 97% of parents want this, why aren’t we trying harder to achieve it?

When I was younger I moved a bit and went to a number of different schools.

Every time I started at a new school I would get this horrible feeling in my gut. It’s a feeling that comes when you are stepping out of your comfort zone into something new and scary.

As adults we often choose to avoid situations like this, we’ve generally found our social circle and don’t have a need to step into the unknown.

That is, until our kids start school.

We all know it’s a big step for the kids but often we forget what a big step it is for the parents. If your child didn’t go to preschool/prep, or is going to a school not linked to the preschool/prep they did go to, often this step is a big one for the whole family. It means meeting new people and trying new things, and not just for the kids. (Read more here on how to get over those preschool blues.)

Kids find it so easy to make friends.

Unlike children,  parents find it hard to just walk up to someone and do the whole, "Hey, so can I be your friend?"

It's weird, right? No one does that. Kids do it all the time, like every time they go to a park, but as adults we seem to lose that fearlessness and think we'd look stupid.

As parents we don't do it, but we WANT to do it.

In a study done by the online social network for parents schoolparents.com.au, it found 97% of parents are interested in meeting the parents of their child's friends.

Yeah, so basically all of us bar an odd, very anti-social, 3%.

From the same study they found 70% of parents know 'a few' of the parents and 10% know none, and that's really upsetting.

We met through school and instantly clicked.

One third of the parents who wanted to meet other parents stated that they 'were not confident enough to introduce themselves'.

Despite my job, and my outgoing nature, I absolutely relate to this.

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As adults we are so afraid of failure. We overwhelming still have a fear that these people, people we don't know, won't like us. People who, quite possibly, could be long lost BFFs.

At what point do we lose the part of us that goes 'they're like me, I should talk to them'? It's there when we were kids but as time goes on, it slowly fades. And then by the time your kids are at school and you are a full fledged adult, you have suddenly got the instinct to run and hide rather than introduce yourself to a random stranger.

Getting involved in your kid's school is a great way to meet other parents. Have a look at this video on the benefits and ideas on how to get involved in your child's school. Post continues after video...

For me, it took a crazy amount of courage to go up to a fellow school mum when my son started kindy, but can I tell you something, man am I glad I did that. Turns out we actually had a heap in common, and we got on so well that I was fortunate enough to be her bridesmaid last year.

We've even organised great outings and fun events for the school crew and our extended social groups for things like fun runs, which are such a blast and a great way to get to know the school parents outside of school.

One of our awesome fun runs together

Two and a half years later we still talk daily, and our extended group of school parents message and chat regularly about school dramas, assembly info and of course when one of us forgets the mufti day.

I think, sometimes in life we just have to act like a child. Pretend you are that kid at the park. If there's another kid there you're clearly meant to be friends. If it doesn't work out, that's fine too because there's always another kid on their way to the park that you can meet tomorrow.

Do you talk to other school parents?

Want more? Try these:

Do parents of school kids really deserve to be shamed over this?

Don’t judge me, but… I’m one of those parents who ‘dumps’ their kids at school.