A new school is scary; the kids are nervous too

Share
Related Topics

Both my kids started at their new school last week. Obviously they were nervous as neither of them has ever been to any other school than their previous one. We did our best to tell them that everybody finds going to a new place tricky, and that they will soon settle in and make new friends. I hope they believed us, as we knew this was mostly lies.

I gave my son a top tip. I told him that when he had spotted the person in his class with whom he wanted to be friends, he should simply approach him, give him a big hug and not let go while chanting: "I like you, you are my best friend now …."

I had to quickly let him know that I was only joking as I could see a rather worried look in his eyes as he tried to work out whether making friends in this world was really going to have to be like this? I imagined coming to pick-up to be approached by an irate mother demanding that my son release her child from his "friendship hug"... "It's been nine hours now and our Timothy is very upset."

I'm really not the one to be giving advice on how to make friends. From the age of about 16 until my 29th birthday I was a Goth and would sit in the corner at parties, hiding under my freshly crimped hair and hoping that somebody would say, "Who's that interesting guy in the corner? I should go and talk to him." Nobody ever did. On reflection, I think it's probably for the best if I let my kids make their own way through the social minefields of academia.

What nobody mentions, however, is that it's a bit intimidating for new parents as well. At our/their old school, we knew everybody and drop-off/pick-up was quite a fun, gossipy, social occasion that would break up the monotony of having a staring competition with a sheep out of my office window (I'm doing this right now as it happens. It's a huge sheep and he just eyeballs me as if he's some kind of evil sheep king). We would all gossip about the horrible pushy mother and tut-tut about the dad with his new trophy wife and mutter under our breath when somebody turned up in a horrible car with personalised number plates.

Now, we are the new kids, and Stacey and I wander around nervously, smiling at everybody and trying not to attract any unwanted attention. As we wait to pick up our kids we lean against a wall, deep in conversation with each other, hoping that someone from one of the cool parent gangs will come and ask us to play.

Occasionally, we'll move closer to a big group of chattering parents and slowly try to join the conversation. We'll laugh at jokes we don't understand and nod furiously at points we don't agree with. It's futile though – we are expected to pay our dues, serve our time as "newbies" before we can start to be included.

I thought that once you had left school all this social insecurity would be over. Far from it, however – it never leaves you. I'll probably still be suffering from it when they wheel me into an old folks' home.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Would you fork out to spend time on Sting's Tuscan estate?  

Happy to pay for the privilege of picking olives? Then Sting might have a job for you...

John Walsh
Clockwise from top: Zafran Ramzan, Razwan Razaq (main picture), Adil Hussain, Umar Razaq and Mohsin Khan were sentenced for grooming teenage girls for sex in 2010.  

Nothing can make up for the trauma of Rotherham's abused young girls, but many more heads must roll

Jane Merrick
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?