Nursery Parents

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  • Hi! Anyone have difficulty with parents at their nursery? Sometimes I feel like parents go out of their way to avoid me. I don’t think I do anything abnormal, I say good morning and good evening politely and smile but parents will typically just look away. One couple is really friendly but they are a couple similar to us (Japanese with non Japanese). The staff and teachers are amazing, don’t get me wrong and really that’s all that matters. I see other parents interact with each other, but with me, I feel avoidance. Maybe it’s me. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but if you have suggestions to get them to open, I’d appreciate it! Thank you!

    It’s a bit weird (and rude) for other parents not to respond back when you greet them. But I’m also a small woman who “blends in” (for lack of a better word) and doesn’t usually speak to others unless spoken to so I’m perhaps not the best person to give advice. (It does hurt, though, when I’m left out… which is why I tend to just keep to myself. Again, not good advice, it’s just a coping mechanism for me.)

    I understand wanting to keep a good relationship with the other parents and I think it’s good to keep trying. Is it a mix of mothers and fathers who pick up their kids? Sometimes the moms aren’t so keen to speak to other fathers. Also, are the other parents friendlier with the international couple?

    In terms of trying to get parents to open up, as an antisocial person, here are things other moms said to me that made me talk more:

    -complementing my child on something, like her cute shirt or shoes

    -mentioning that their child spoke about mine at home (I understand your daughter is still too young for that yet, but soon!)

    -talking about an event coming up

    I also asked my husband about this and he said that if they continue to be cold, you shouldn’t waste your energy on them…

    Everyone always says hello to me and my kid but I think it helps that she’s super outgoing and will start a conversation with anyone – unlike me. A few months have reached out, because our kids play together – but our kids are older. We also live very close to the daycare so we often run into kids outside of the daycare and they end up playing together, so we sort of chitchat, but I’ll admit my Japanese level is pretty abysmal. There are a couple teachers that seem to go out of their way not to talk to me but I don’t really blame them with the communication issues.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Pilaf! I’m sorry to hear that some teachers try to avoid you, I wish they would at least try to communicate to set a good example for the other kids.

     

    DD, there was a comment on Twitter as well regarding your post. I’ll share it here so that other parents in the future can access it. The comment is from @HC_Be_My_Bride ↓

    For mothers:

    I honestly think that my “daily life” interactions (vs long-term, deep friendship interactions, which have always been solid) improved once I had my son. It was suddenly very clear to everyone what I was doing in Japan, and what my “job” there was (mama).

    I’d often be the first to start chatting with other mums, to set them at ease (since my Japanese is fine for most things). I think even if someone’s Japanese isn’t great, they’d be able to muster a “kawaiiiiiii~” in regards to the other parent’s kiddo and that goes a long way! Although it’s basically song and dance, saying how “it’s so cool, you can teach my child JP, and I can teach yours FR and EN!” gets the vibe going, and shows that you get the type of interaction, and therefore it’ll be pretty easy to become mom-friends in their minds – obstacle overcome! And then over time you just naturally get closer.

    Things I learned to NOT do/say (that turned things sour, unfortunately): talk about my husband taking a full year of paternity leave. Although the other women likely had their mothers/family while I didn’t, there was always a wistful/envious vibe about it being my husband at home. Maybe they had wanted their partner at home, and he couldn’t or wouldn’t… but, for whatever reason, it’s a somewhat sensitive topic that I found best avoided.

    I also quickly realized not to speak much with the husbands which is so unfair because a parent is a parent! But, oftentimes (I’m convinced just to practice English) the father would want to chat with me. It created very bad vibes, and I always ducked out of it by basically answering the mum instead, smoothing things over. But I think that a part of their feelings of distaste for me (through no real fault of my own) remained. I sort of get it, bc once there was a mum who literally asked my husband on a playdate – just him – right in front of me. She kept stepping in between me and him, and the whole room of JP mums had my back and snubbed her completely afterwards. So… I sort of understand.

    But, truly, meeting other mums and their kids is so much fun, and helped me integrate in JP in a different and very fulfilling way.

    For fathers:

    I think that the things I experienced/felt mostly still apply (see above).

    With some of my friends who’ve become dads (although they’re JP), there’s a LOT more involvement in kids’ lives than there used to be, even if moms still typically fill the parenting role more. So if you’re at all nervous about it being weird that you’re a he, maybe it’s reassuring to know that you might not be the only guy around.

    Although it’s sad, some of the mums might be intimidated… I guess if you feel like it might be the case, I’d try chatting mostly about the kids, how cute and clever they are, etc. rather than asking a lot about the women themselves. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but… in the interest of getting along well, if the group is more conservative (read: no other dads), then it’s just a possible thought. Because if they happen to be conservative, then you’re “intruding” on “women’s space” (I put those in quotes bc I personally think it’s hogwash, but you can read the room at preschool and decide).

    My husband mostly made meaningful connections with other dads, if I’m thinking about it really lucidly. But when he took our son out, he always met and chatted with ppl (other moms, too!) casually and happily. So I really hope OP will have similarly positive experiences!

     

    I find parents loosen up when I involve their kids in conversation, because kids don’t really care and will talk to anyone(!) – by this I mean, for example: a boy at daycare yesterday was telling me about someone else’s shoes that were based on the Narita Express, so I exclaimed how cool they were, asked him if he likes trains, asked him if he enjoyed going on the Narita Express with his dad, that kind of thing (while obviously looking after my daughter too). Then his mum was really friendly toward me and felt more confident asking me questions – because she’d been able to hear my level of Japanese during my interactions with her son, rather than feeling the old “does she speak Japanese? maybe I shouldn’t say anything…” awkwardness.

    However, I feel that daycare is for my kid to make friends, not the grownups – everyone’s at hoikuen because their parents have full-time obligations and have busy lives, so I don’t feel any personal need to be super close with any of the parents or exchange contact details or whatnot. Just a polite good morning or otsukaresama desu at the end of the day is enough, and if they don’t respond that’s on them and their bad manners, and it’s not worth the effort of trying to change their whole personalities! The good friendships are the ones that develop organically, after all.

    Really great advice, Pippa! Thank you for sharing!

    I was actually wondering about interacting with other parents and kids outside of hoikuen b/c my kid has two kids that he is very nakayoshi with and I have no idea if it’d be weird to be like “do they want to hang out outside of hoikuen?” especially when it’d would probably be my wife and not me going to any park outings or whatever b/c I work mostly during the days? Or if it’s okay that he just has his other kid interactions at hoikuen? GAH I wish my brain wasn’t so slow with Japanese >__< I can understand okay, but I get really stumbly when I speak ^_^;;

    I thought it would be weird, too, and was (still am?) nervous about asking other parents to hang out. But one mom approached me the other day at my daughter’s ichijihoiku. I had never met her before as I’ve only recently started using it but she was super friendly and we exchanged LINE and are having a playdate on Monday! What led to the LINE exchange was me saying, “I could talk to you all day!” (we have a lot in common and she speaks fluent English) and she asked for my LINE.

    But I think it would be harder for this to happen in Japanese… But not impossible! (I am also very stumbly in Japanese because I don’t use it often anymore, I say something and a moment later I’m like, “Wait, that’s not the right word/grammatically correct/fml”.)

    I’m going to try to ask another mom in Japanese to hang out, so I’ll report back if it worked!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Kay.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Kay.

    Thank you for the advice! I’ve been saying good morning to everyone since this post. I wish we could set a play date but none have gotten that friendly but I do understand. A park day works be so fun!! I think we are in similar hoikuen situations Pippa, so I should take the mindset like you

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