Vent about parenting choices
My family and I have attended a church for almost two years. We are not members, but we are active participants. I teach church school classes about twice a year(parents volunteer to teach for a month at a time), I work with the youth group and I recently decided to work with the social committee.
Andrew has quite a few friends, and I am friends or associates with the parents of his friends. Some I am closer to than other. For the most part we share similarities in how we parent our children, but there are a few differences. The most obvious difference is that I don't spank. I will admit to having swatted his bottom a few times when I am overly frustrated, but I am diligent about calming myself down until I am able to better process a solution to the problem at hand.
Most if not all of the children at the church are able to sit through a two to three hour service. Some are spanked if they make noise or fidget too much, some are scolded, some are fed snack on demand to keep the peace, and some are just children with a quiet patient nature. All of the children are with a year range of age, be it younger or older. We go to church school, and have attempted in the past to stay until the Children's Story during worship, which is about 1 hour into the service. It is a long hour. I don't expect for my 3 year old to sit quietly for an hour, nor do I feel comfortable with him disturbing others. There is not a nursery, only a cry room which I generally avoid, because Andrew tends to want to play with the other children. Again, I know that this is normal behavior, but the other parents want for their children to sit quietly and eat their snacks. I respect their desires, so we generally leave right after children's story.
Because of my child's energetic and bubbly personality, and his inability to sit still for more than 15-20 minutes he is viewed by many as "bad", or a "problem". One parent teaching the class told Andrew that he needed to get rid of his energy before class began. I interjected and told her that having too much energy was not a negative attribute. (this is from a mom who told me that my son looks as if he is not spanked
. She is not a friend, but a mom who spanks her young 2 year-old so that he will sit through the service)
I take worship seriously, but I also believe that it is not always suitable for children. Until I was 6 or 7, I only attended church school.
Last night I was to work a table at the Children's Christmas craft program. DH was at work, so Andrew was not under my general supervision. I had my eye on him but I was busy. We arrived at 4 to begin set up for a 6 o'clock program. Between 5 and 6, Andrew was playing with the other children. When he plays, Andrew goes into a zone. He plays hard. He was playing with 4 children. A 5 year old, another 3 year old and a 10 year old. The 10 year old said that Andrew spot on him. He did , but they were making growling, hissing sounds. This I saw with my own eyes, but to me it was a mistake. I talked to him about being careful and that spitting is nasty and we should not spit on our friends, etc, etc. The mom, a friend, was annoyed and said something to Andrew. She then came to me and said that I needed to be firmer with him, and that other parents would have/have a problem because I was only talking to him and not being hard enough. She then went on to say that her daughter use to spit and she spanked her and she has not spit since.
I have a serious problem with this, because I don't parent my child to please someone else. I told her that the method that I use was sufficient for our needs and that I was not interested in parenting my child to appeal to others.
Less than 15 minutes later the children were wrestling, and Andrew kicked the her son. I called for Andrew to come and sit next to me. We talked about his behavior, I admonished him and he played with clay (after his time out) while I finished attempting to set up.
After awhile, the other younger children came to play with Andrew. General silly3 and 5 year old behavior ensued. Soon they were running in circles in a small area near my table, away from others. Someone walked by and said that Andrew needed to stop running. There were two other children present.
At this point I took of my costume, packed up my belongings and I left, but not before talking to the director who said that the others words were in jest. Well, ha. ha. I don't see the humor in the situation.
Since we arrived all that I heard was Andrew, Andrew, Andrew.
Before others arrived Andrew was standing at my table playing with a portion of clay that I set out for him. Someone walked by and said. "What is Andrew doing with the clay, is he wasting it?"
A short while later someone said, "Oh you have to keep an eye on that Andrew".
Then a statement was made about beating children.
I would never begin to think that my son is perfect or refuse to believe that he is in the wrong. Andrew is three, and what he does not know or not remember, I must teach or reinforce.
Andrew attends PK, and not once have a received a negative report from his teachers, and there are parents who have. I ask about his behavior and his teachers reply that his wrongs are age appropriate and with consistent reinforcement they will go away. Andrew's busy nature is never a negative, but a plus. His school friends parents have talked about how well behaved he is, and they see his good and bad days.
I am tired of him being greeted with negativity in our place of worship. This is my month to teach, but I have already spoken with the lead parent (another friend)) and informed her that she will have to find a replacement for the remainder of the month.
Either I will teach my child at home until he is older, or I will find a church that caters to children. My husband objects and says that he will take him, so that Andrew can see his friends, but I don't see how that will remedy the situation.
I need a nap.