Kids in church

Christy - posted on 10/16/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I have three kids - a 4-yr-old girl, 3-yr-old boy, and a 1-yr-old girl. Of course Mass is always a challenge. My husband and I have decided to bring our kids with us every week, and we have some good days and some bad, but we get through it. Today, however, my children were particularly awful during church.

After Communion, the priest made a comment about loud children. He said that we need to leave church if our kids are screaming and that we need to to control our kids (not "we" my family in particular, but it was obvious he was referring to us).

I have been in tears since I left church. We try our hardest to raise our kids in the Catholic faith and teach them about Mass. It's not as though I wanted my kids to be loud at church. I am so embarrassed, and I'm not sure what we are supposed to do next week. I don't even want to go to this church again. My husband wants to go "talk" to the priest, but I'm afraid it'll turn into a shouting match with nothing accomplished.

Any suggestions (or supportive words) would be great.

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Valerie - posted on 07/02/2012

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While I was pregnant with my oldest child, I remember a priest saying in his homily, how else will children learn how to behave in church if you don't bring them to mass. I always held on to these words. I don't think the priest was out of line reminding that children who are being loud and noisy should be taken outside. Noisy children disrupt the mass. Plain and simple. Same for adults who feel the need to hold conversations during mass, cell phones going off, people texting, immodest dress and so on. I have been in your shoes. We have 5 children ages 11, 7, 5, 4 and 5mos. The only trouble we have now is if the baby is fussy. So if she starts to fuss my DH or I take her out, calm her and come back in. But when the middle three children were younger say two years ago, we were constantly outside. I had a mother of 11 stop me one time to give me some advice on how to settle my children. Of course I was absolutely mortified! But after time, I came to understand what she was telling me. Her advice didn't work but she shared her motherly insight with me a young mother! I hope you can get past the hurt and return to mass with your children.

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Liz - posted on 10/21/2012

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I understand and sympathize. I have a problem with my 4 year old granddaughter. She is very busy and must go to the first half of the service with songs, prayer, and the children sermon before being dismissed to Children's Church right before the pastor's sermon. She is considered "too old" for anything else. It's a stiff environment and while I appreciate the need for reverence I know children can have a hard time being perfectly quiet or still for 30 or 35 full minutes. Today I had to take her out when the preacher noticed her whimpering and starting to cry. I could not stop her, it was humiliating. He has no grandchildren and no concept. It is a protestant church. We go weekly but sometimes it's difficult.We don't know what to do? My husband is usually in the choir.

User - posted on 06/14/2012

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Our priest mentions every once in awhile (before the sermon) that crying and screaming kids should be taken out. It's just a little reminder. Don't switch churches just because you don't like a priest. You're there for God. Our 2 yr old embarrassed us at church last Sunday. I thought he was beginning to sit still through Mass but he was crazy this time! He wanted my purse, tried kicking the people in front of us, had to be taken out 4 times and started to yell at the Communion rail! Yikes! I want to start taking him to a few weekday Masses. Maybe it won't be as crowded and I'll have the opportunity to work with him on these issues. Once a week just isn't often enough. It's really the only time he's expected to sit still that long.

Nicole - posted on 12/09/2011

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Sorry to hear your priest said such a thing. I'm sure I get a few looks now and then, but honestly, I'm so wrapped up in trying to deal with the kids that I don't notice. What I do notice are those people who stop to talk to the kids before/after Mass or to me, saying how good they are (even though it was a rough one for me!). I think in general the kids are always worse for us than others and most people I run into love parents who take their kids to Mass.

To address your situation, I agree with above posts that you should talk with your priest, and/or if need be, find another parish where you'll feel more welcome.

But the phase does pass, keep faith in that! Sometimes pointing out the different parts of the church helps with my 2 year old - not always but she does love Mary and baby Jesus so it can help. She also likes to "sing" and imitate so I try to get her involved as much as possible. Of course then my two older boys start slacking (4 and 6) though they know better.

One final thing that I found amazing was taking my kids to a Mass outside of Sunday at least once a week. The Mass is shorter, no singing, less distractions, and for whatever reason, they find it more interesting and behave so much better (usually - and they truly aren't horrific during Sunday Mass either).

Good luck!

Andrea - posted on 12/04/2011

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Today, in the middle of the homily, a father carried out his crying son. Our priest stopped to tell a story about an older child who was being taken out of mass for misbehaving and knew he'd be reprimanded. On the way out, the child yelled "pray for me". He then said, "let's hope we don't have to pray for our little friend". Everyone laughed, and he continued his homily. I thought that was a nice, light hearted way to comment on the crying child.

Meanwhile, my mother had given my 3 year old a dinkie, and she would not stop making Vroom noises and driving it all along the pew. Ahh, some days are better than others :)

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I actually had a woman yell in the middle of mass for me to shut my daughter up. She wasn't quiet, but she wasn't being loud either, and it was happy noises. I almost cried though. It made me feel a little bit better to see that those who always sat around us glared at her.

One thing that has helped us with our daughter is a "treat" of sorts afterwards. On nice days that is time to play on the school playground, bad days we go to our local Y to play. They are an indoor playground for toddlers, and sometimes we let her go in the childcare area to play. She knows that if she misbehaves (which is defined as being so loud/rambunctious that she needs to be taken out), she can't go play.

We bring a bag of quiet toys with us, it has books, coloring pages, crayons, a few stuffed toys, and often a baby doll.

I hate cry rooms. They hurt more than help it seems.

I agree that you might just need to find a more family friendly parish.

User - posted on 10/25/2011

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I have a 3 yr old and a 19 mo old. I can definitely identify with your frustration. We have our good days and not so good ones too. But we keep going. Luckily in our parish there are several families with younger children. But I do feel bad for anyone around us when one of our kids decides to act up. On the one hand I don't want to ruin Mass for them, but on the other hand, I am committed to raising my children in the church. Our priest is pretty easy going and never says a word about the kids.

We tried once, sitting in the cry room - oh my. I'll never do that again. Between my kids and other kids all in a small room, it about made me nuts.

I too suggest finding a different parish that might have more families with younger children and maybe a more understand priest. I'd be in tears too if our priest said what yours did!

Michelle - posted on 10/17/2011

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I have 3 kids also ages 4, 2, and 10 months. That is not appropriate for the priest to have done that. We take our kids to mass every Sunday and they've had some really bad ones but for reasons I can't explain everyone seems to think it's cute. The priests tend to think it's wonderful that they are there. I've been to churches where we got a similar experience as you (like when my husband wanted to go to a particular church that had the stations of the cross in Latin on Fridays during Lent) and we did not go back. I guess maybe my suggestion to you is to find a Catholic church that is more family friendly in your area or attend a mass where a different priest is presiding. I've been where you are and in the end it's better for your family to find a parish that is more welcoming when it comes to small children. We're very lucky because we belong to the same church that I went to as a child. We don't have problems unless we're vacationing or there's a special mass that another parish is having that we'd like to attend. I hope things get better for your family.

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