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Church behavior - Page 2

post #21 of 166
Originally Posted by frenchie
I totally agree with this.....I just don't think it should be a requirement. Family worship is wonderful, but if a child is unable to be in the sanctuary and comply to the "quiet rule", then they should be in the nursery playing with the other kids thier age. Crying babies and restless children are a distraction to others trying to listen to the sermon.
God visits noisy places too
post #22 of 166
My Oldest DD will sit fairly still but just doesn't get the quiet concept. Really the only time that it is quiet enough to need to take her out is prayer time or during the Lords Supper. I am a big proponent of family worship but it has its challenges. One thing that helps us is haveing family Bible time in the evenings where we read 1-2 chapters and sing a hymn. I would keep the stuff going into church to a small amount. A cup, small non messy snack, maybe a picture Bible....Having family worship is a wonderful thing and the congergation and pastor should be tolerent while children learn appropriate church behavior or if they cause an interruption of some sort. Now that I think about it at 11months we sat in the back and let DD play on a blanket at our feet. I think we just have to be careful not to get too idealistc with our expectations of children in worship services.

post #23 of 166
My son is pretty "good" in church, but I do have to do at least one of these things in almost every service:
*whisper, "Shhh, listen to the story."
*catch the eye of one of the (many) people who are fond of him and encourage some peek-a-boo
*let him play with the kneeler cushions or turn the pages of a hymnal
*let him walk back and forth on the floor between pews, or on the pew holding onto the back
*hold him upside down (he really likes that)
*carry him into the side chapel or narthex (entry area at the back) to admire the stained glass; I still can hear from there
*take him outside or into the parish hall if he's really freaking out, but come back as soon as he calms down.

One thing I've found really makes a difference is my attitude. If I let myself feel annoyed and tense and like I'm just dreading the next thing he'll do, HE is much more annoyed and tense and acts almost threatening, like, "Give me constant attention or I'll scream!" But if I think about how much I love sharing church with him and how cute he is, not only can I see a few minor misbehaviors as cute rather than irritating, but those will be the ONLY misbehaviors. Sure, sometimes he acts up because he slept poorly or something, but in general it's up to me to set the tone. Oh, and it helps to sing a hymn on the way to church to get both of us in the mood.
post #24 of 166
All 3 of my girls have been attending Mass since birth. They can learn to be quiet in church, but it's a process that takes time and patience. It happens gradually. Going to church regularly is the best way to learn, just like being taken to restaurants is the best way to learn to behave appropriately in a restaurant. I agree that 2 services each day is a bit much to ask. Scolding won't help and is upsetting to the baby.

With our girls, they were carried in a sling and breastfed when they are little. As they grow, we switch to distraction and redirection. I also pack a bag of toys for church. These are different toys that will keep their attention. I like softer and not noisy toys for throwing. If they throw a soft doll, it won't make noise. Board books are great too. Snacks and sippy cups work wonders when the baby gets bigger. By 11 months, I'd be using this tactic. When all else fails, dh or I will walk outside for a few minutes to give the little one a chance to calm down and be ready to go back in.

It also depends on your church and if you have a choice of service times. We have three choices for Mass times. When the babies are small, I take them when I know they will sleep. For my youngest, this was the 11 am service. I could count on her to sleep through at least half the service in the sling or in arms. This cut down on the amount of time I would need to distract her. When they don't want to be in arms anymore, dh and I sit apart, creating a nice little area for her to play between us.

We've done this with all three of our girls. With a little patience and planning, it is possible to be GD in church. They are now 7, 6, and 3 and are all very well behaved in church with very few reminders. Even my youngest has no trouble in church anymore. Over Lent, she and I have been going alone to Stations of the Cross on Friday mornings. Twice I was asked to read. She actually sat in the pew right in front of me by herself. She played happily and quietly during the service, even though neither of her parents were right next to her. I got so many compliments on her behavior after the service ended. Had we never taken them, I'm sure none would know how to sit quietly. They learned by going. We are also blessed with a great priest who really doesn't mind the kids in church. He likes to see them. A few times when the littlest was not well, I left her home with dh and took the other two. He asked where his little friend was.
post #25 of 166
we're serious about church. 3 hours a week, actaully. but neither of my kids can sit for it. My bottom line recomendation- take her out, let her crawl/eat/cry there, and when you're ready to go back in, tell your husband it's his turn! repeat 6-12 months.

Our 13 month old hasn't stayed in a pew more than 10 minutes since Christmastime. I think that's normal for her age. She is certaintly too young to undertand "be quiet" and is a long ways off from developing the mental capacity to control herself even if she understood that order.

Our 3yo is not the type who can sit still and read or color. Maybe your 3yo will
So with him, we're just glad when he stays in our row and is quiet. We can expect that much. but we need toys, snacks, and other kids to keep him busy, and not make him sit, but be on the floor or whatever he needs ot do, as long as he's quiet.
post #26 of 166
I nurse mine... I try to keep her awake through the singing part, then during transition to sermon I get her settled into the sling and latch her on... then she nurses and sleeps through the sermon.

About oh, 16-18 mos that stopped working, and for a few months I sat with her in the foyer... there's a tv there to watch what you are missing. There are usually several families in the foyer. By 25 mos, she was sitting nicely in church with me again. She's 27 mos and I manage to keep her reasonably quiet for about half the sermon. About that time, my dh (who is on staff) comes and stands in the back to count heads... I watch to make sure he's done with his count, and then I point him out to her and send her running down the aisle into his arms. He keeps her with him until the end so I can have the last half without wrestling.

Pretty soon we'll have a newborn and she'll either try out the preschool class or my 12yo and 9yo will take over holding her during service.
post #27 of 166
There is no way DS will sit still in church. He doesn't do that at home. We have a Children's Ministry attached to the main santuary.

We haven't tried it yet (heck, we haven't been to church in almost 3 years) because I am afraid of Separation Anxiety...he is always either with me or DH.

I was trying to wait until Age 4. I dunno know....
post #28 of 166
Crying babies and restless children are a *distraction* to others trying to listen to the sermon.

Originally Posted by allgirls
God visits noisy places too
I wasn't disputing whether or not God visits noisy or quiet places. When my son became mobile (and vocal), we decided to bring him to the nursery during the sermon....I worked in the nursery, or my husband did, until Kai was comfortable with us leaving him there to play. Once he turned 2 he went to "Sunday school" class and listened to stories about Jesus, sang songs and made crafts.
When I'm in church listening to a sermon, I prefer not to have any distractions. I assume other people like to listen without distractions as well. I know our pastor gets frustrated when people talk, or kids goof around during a sermon.....and I understand why....it's distracting. Just my .02
post #29 of 166
Not all churches have a nursery option. Ours doesn't If my DD gets too noisey I walk with her outside age 3 (we can still hear the mass) I expect some noise from kids but do try to stay respectfull of others with in reason.

post #30 of 166
If you just switched churches and aren't too attached to this one yet...I'd keep looking. I know there are some more child friendly churches out there. I'd think that those people who are bothered by children making noises would be less likely to attend them so it wouldn't be too much of an issue.

There is no way my 19mo would sit through any part of the cermon. He doesn't do toys (what's the matter with my kids??? none of them really have. Unfortunatly that doesn't mean we can just get rid of all those presents of toys they've gotten cause "I play with that ALL THE TIME" ...ok sure....let me brush off the 6 inch layer of dust and you can have it back ), isn't distracted by snacks unless he's truly hungry and he loveslovesloves to explore. The only way I could get him quiet for that whole time would be to start pushing the benadryl Jk!
post #31 of 166
Thread Starter 
We have a nursery but not one where parents leave the kids. You take them ther to feed them and take care of them. Since the church is still in the process of finishing the new sanctuary, the TV screen isn't up out in the nursery yet. Eventually, the service will be able to be broadcast through out the whole building. I wouldn't worry so much but my inlaws are saying she should sit through church. I agree with the pp who said that my nevrousness/uptightness affects her- I KNOW it does and it has since she was born. I need to just relax and remember that she's still a baby and not be so concerned with what others say. I have a bag of toys only for church and that works pretty well. I just need to avoid getting so upset with her. I find myself doing it at home too and have to stop and say out loud that she's a baby and this is what babies do, so relax. I feel like a terrible mother sometimes and wonder why I thought I could do this. I am guessing that it has something to do with the pregnancy hormones- the fact that I get upset and frustrated so easy; and the feelings of everything being out of conrol.
We do sit in the very back pew right by the door so it isn't too hard to go in and out. I think we'll try letting her sit on the pew tomorrow night since she really doesn't want to be held and holding her is uncomfortable for me- one in wiggling and one out wiggling Thanks for all the input and advice!
post #32 of 166
I wouldn't worry so much but my inlaws are saying she should sit through church.
Yeesh. Then in that case, they're a bigger problem than her behavior is. Her behavior is age appropriate; by their age, they should know better than to make you feel bad about it.

Maybe you could try something like,

"I really don't want to discuss the situation with dd in service."
"I know you think dd should sit and be quiet but it's really not realistic at this point."

Then quickly change the subject.
post #33 of 166
Originally Posted by Mama2 '05'06
I just need to avoid getting so upset with her. I find myself doing it at home too and have to stop and say out loud that she's a baby and this is what babies do, so relax. I feel like a terrible mother sometimes and wonder why I thought I could do this. I am guessing that it has something to do with the pregnancy hormones- the fact that I get upset and frustrated so easy; and the feelings of everything being out of conrol.
Oh Mama
I bet you are doing a wonderful job.
If you feel that your mood swings are bad, please talk to someone. And stick around here, these ladies are super.
When we have a baby we have lost control in a sense. I found it best just to relax and go with it, it will all be over so quickly.
post #34 of 166
Originally Posted by georgia
Have you considered alternatives to how y'all are currently attending services? Would it be possible to attend for part of the time? Trading off being in the sanctuary? IMO, just because others in your congregation think a 12 month old *should* be able to do something doesn't make it so. I would be concerned they don't have the child's best interest at heart. It's difficult for many adults to sit through a 45 minute service IMO, I would look to why it's important to you for her to behave in whatever way you are expecting her to. Do you feel it's a reflection on your parenting (it's not!!!) when she behaves in ways that are not acceptable to you/the congregation?

It sounds like she might have been frightened in the surroundings and feeling the anxiety surrounding you and dh's reactions to her behavior. Do you think this might be the case?

There are lots of creative ways that families work out handling religious services/meeting spiritual needs with young babies. IMO, it's setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration to expect such a young baby to understand and comply with 45 mins. of quiet. Goodness, some days we're lucky to have 5 minutes of quiet, happy time around here.

Hope you find some solutions that feel right to your heart.
Please do not scold or speak sternly to your baby. I would really consider finding a new church if it is "expected" that babies sit still for a 45 minute service. That's just not reasonable in any sense. If you can't find a new church, or really don't want to change churches, then can you and hubby alternate Sunday's? You go one week, he stays home or in the lobby with baby, then you switch next Sunday.
post #35 of 166
I just need to avoid getting so upset with her. I find myself doing it at home too and have to stop and say out loud that she's a baby and this is what babies do, so relax. I feel like a terrible mother sometimes and wonder why I thought I could do this.
It sounds like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself It can be really, really scary to suddenly realize everything you've ever thought about babies/children might be totally different than you'd ever anticipated or what you've expected. Babies are a lot of work! Meeting and understanding their needs can be a real challenge, especially w/unsupportive, though well-meaning, family members.

PM me if you wanna chat or need an ear or a shoulder
post #36 of 166
To the PP, I am sorry that you feel the way you do and that you feel pressured to "make" your baby sit through a church service. I don't think that expectation is fair to both you and your DD. I wouldn't even expect a 4 year old to sit quietly during a sermon. (I am a pastors wife and I find it hard to sit through a sermon!!!) It's boring for them at that age. That's what children's ministries are for. I know not all churches have children's ministries though.
My DS is approaching his 2nd birthday. We hang out in the church service during the music part of the worship just because I really value that time (even as a toddler I did) and DS loves music, especially if there are drums that day. Then once the music has stopped we trot off to the nursery. I have not sat through a sermon in almost 2 years because I believe that right now my biggest ministry in life is to my child(ren). If it's the message you want to hear, you could get a recording of it, or even record a TV church to watch at home. Or, you could just get "fed" by other means. IMO the most important thing about church attending is the fellowship (which doesn't actually happen much during the service, but before and after the service) and not the message. You can worship alone at home, you can learn alone at home, but it is hard to fellowship with other believers alone at home.
Phooey on those people who expect your DD to sit through a service. It is not a fair expectation. I'm sure there are babies out there somewhere who are content to sit quietly, but the majority are not hard-wired that way. My suggestion is to ease up on yourself and your DD and explain to those whose expectations are whacked-out that sitting quietly through church is not age-appropriate behavior for a babe.
FWIW, I am also pregnant and feeling the same - upset and frustrated when I shouldn't be - with my DS. I'm pretty sure it's the hormones.
post #37 of 166
I was flustered and mortified about my ten-month old fussing through a service once, but a lady came up to me afterwards and said, "If you can't hear the babies crying, the congregation is dying."

I think your church's membership really needs to think hard about whether or not they really value little kids and families, or whether it's all just lip service.

Because they won't know what they've got till it's gone. Plenty of churches would LOVE to hear a bunch of crying babies... a sign of vitality.
post #38 of 166
Originally Posted by Mama2 '05'06
We spent the rest of the service in the nursery where she sat on my lap and had some snacks that she really wasn't interesed in and cried every now and then. I don't know what to do with her any more. I am trying to sit down every evening and read a story or have daddy read and hold her on my lap or his and insist on a "quiet" time before bed. In case you're wondering why she needs to sit in church, all the kids are expected to sit in church by 1 yr. If they get hungry or wet or something you can take them out but they are suppossed to sit for most of the time which is about 45 min of preaching. Any ideas?
My first thought was that you need to find a different church, but I wasn't going to say that. Then I read how you feel like you don't know what to do with your baby anymore because this is such a frustrating situation for you, and I thought maybe I should reply. Having children is challenging and downright maddening at times, and adding outside pressures in the form of people who convince you that an infant should be able to sit quietly is too much. It sounds like it is interfering with you feeling the joy in being a parent, but of course we do that to ourselves enough without needing any help.

There are churches that welcome the sounds of babies and toddlers and want them to be part of the congregation. There are other churches that want a distraction free adult positive experience, and they often provide other alternatives, like separate rooms for people with noisy children, or a nursery with lots of fun play and activity. I don't feel comfortable with how my children are in church, and sometimes I feel like I don't want them there because they will disrupt the service. But I would feel really upset if people tried to imply there was something wrong with my parenting if my 1 year old couldn't sit quietly through a 45 minute sermon. I don't think I could sit quietly through a 45 minute sermon, to tell you the truth.

I have been in situations where my toddler was making noise in a quiet place, and I've overreacted and felt so angry at my child and myself, and there is so much I wish I could do over again in this regard.
post #39 of 166
This is very Pearlesque, Ezzoesque, Gothardesque sort of teaching and should raise big bold red flags.

How are babies *taught* to sit passivly and behave in church?



You are expected to teach your children "Sit" and "quiet."

If they don't, they get taken to the bathroom for a spanking.

Blanket-training is a term used by neocons (abovenamed) to teach a baby to sit and be quiet.

Think crate training for dogs but with a spanking.

The child is placed on a blanket and beaten when she attempts to crawl off or get her mother or father's attention.

Some natural effects for this type of negative reinforcement.....

Learned helplessness.

A negative association between churh and beatings.

Adversrial relationship with parents.

Stunted development (babies are wired to move around.)

Would Jesus do this?

Did Jesus chide His Disciples for a negative attitude toward children when He was on this earth?

I wouldn't darken the door of a church that would pressure you to abuse your child in the name of quiet.

Quiet is not a virture.

It isn't a gift of the Spirit.

It is not a fruit of the Spirit.

In fact, there are verses that say if there is no praise out of the mouths of people, the very rocks will cry out.

Would these people blanket train the rocks as well?

I wouldn't darken the door of a church that didn't have babies worshipping the L-rd in their own language.

Debra Baker
post #40 of 166
Originally Posted by Mama2 '05'06
I wouldn't worry so much but my inlaws are saying she should sit through church.
I think this, and the church's expectations are the problem, not your little one. Expecting ALL small children to sit quietly for 45 minutes is not realistic, unless you employ some of the decidedly NOT GD methods outlined by DB above.

DB, I really you! I was obsessed with the "Duggar" thread a while ago, though I didn't post much, and always felt like cheering when I read your posts!
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