misbehaving during service

April - posted on 02/26/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )




ok, my 6 year old son was acting up quite a bit during ash wednesday service last night. mainly, he wanted to color and when I asked/told him to stand up during the prayer and abosolution, I got a screech and dirty look and defiance. he knows how to behave during church (has chapel at school every week and does fine) and while I dont mind him coloring during communion or for a bit during the sermon I expect him to try to follow along. after a diaper disaster with my 3 year old, then that from my son, we ended up going home. I think I overreacted by leaving, (we could have sit in the cry room and listened instead) but I was so frustrated, and now i'm wondering what I can do next time. we are attending midday lenten services every week with all 5 kids (my hubby has work) so I could really use advice on how to discipline in the middle of church. what are some of the ideas that have worked for you all????

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April - posted on 02/27/2009




that is a good idea, the kids go to a lutheran school, and have daily devotion, but I would like to do one at home-I'll have to check the church library and see if they have some. thanks!

Sarah - posted on 02/26/2009




A friend of mine (whose children are perfect in the sevice) told me their secrect.  They would place a few chairs in front of the tv and put a sermon on.  The more boring the better :) and make the children practice during the week.  They started out with requireing the children to sit quietly for 5 minutes and then 10 and so on.  It is easier to discipline at home and address whatever the issues are that are causing the problem (distraction, bordem, ect.).  They said it was only a few months before the children were able to sit quietly through an entire service.  There children were about 3 and 5 when they did this. 

I am working with my almost two year old and hope to be able to always keep our children in the service with us.  We don't believe in nusery and our church dosen't even offer one.  We believe that children learn by example and that the family unit should be the priority.  Not playing in the nursery or sitting all over the church with their friends instead of with the family. 

Also one more thing that I suggest (and this is something I have only been able to practice with my much younger siblings as my children are still too young) is to structure weekly family devotions and Bible study time around the sermons from the previous week.  This not only gives the kids insentive to pay attention during the service so they will be able to answer questions later, but helps to solidify the concepts in their minds after a week of study.   Again this is more helpful with the middle school age children who are easily distracted, or more interested in passing messages to their friends. 

Linda - posted on 02/26/2009




Children are smart--they knew they could get away with more because only one of you was there. I definitely think your idea of asking for help is great. Either an older child/teen or another adult. They could sit with your other children while you take the unruly one out.

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I am a mom of 4 (ages 3-8) and I often have to attend Church alone as my hubby is chronically ill and often can't come. (He has been this way since pregnancy of the 4th). My younger kids are allowed 1 pen/pencil and 1 notepad. I have found this way more effective than colouring because you can't lose, drop, throw it more than once and it is gone. Also there is no fighting over who has what. My youngest is the only one I need to take out anymore. He is just starting to talk and that is his issue with learning to be quiet.

On our way to Church we have fun in the car by trying to remember the correct behaviour for Church and yell out the answers. This gets out some energy as well as reminds them what is expected once we get there. It seems repetetious to me to do this every week, but it really helps the kids. 

One other thing to remember is that if the services you are going to are in the evening, he may be getting tired and that may be part of his inability to obey. 

I hope things get better for you. I don't think your expectations are too high for your kids, they sound very silimiar to mine. God bless you as you instill His love in their hearts.

Ellen - posted on 02/26/2009




Sounds like you ned your church community at these times. Our familes seem to notice when there's a parent alone with the kids, and one of the older couples or school teachers, or other families sits by them to help mind the children. That way if one needs to go out there's a known person with the rest of the kids. I would find a friend who's going and ask that they help you out. Don't you love community - it's like having extended family all the time!

Jennifer - posted on 02/26/2009




I recoment the book Parenting in the Pew. It is out on loan & I can't think of the author, it is a female. After reading it services with my 6 year old special needs foster daughter went MUCH smoother. It also helped me feel good about having my children with me in services. Like most childcare books there are things you'll agree with & things you'll completely disregard, but after reading it through it made a diffrence. My husband even read it & took note of the things I pointed out.

April - posted on 02/26/2009




the only reason I didn't take him aside was that I knew he was close to melt down- when my husband is there too, one of us will usually discipline the unruly child, then bring them back when ready. its just hard when I have all of the kids on my own, the twins are into exploring and the 3 year old is still learning how to sit in church for 15 minutes! I may need to look into asking a couple of the older kids in the congregation to sit with us to keep things under control! its hard to have to take them ALL out of service to discipline 1 !

Gayla - posted on 02/26/2009




With many warnings to my son, 4, to not talk while the preacher is talking, as a last resort, we go to the bathroom and I spank him.  He is usually quiet after that.  Our church has children church for all the services except on Sunday night.  I have only had to take him out once.

Denise - posted on 02/26/2009




I would have to agree with Michelle.  Colouring could be used as the reward for good behaviour and use the cry room in such cases.  I understand you were frustrated and I probably would have done the exact same thing as you, eventually left.  But making you intentions known before you attend service is a great way to prepare yourself and the children as to expectations.  And always follow through with your intentions!.   That is #1 problem we as parents tend to forget and children play on it well.


Michelle - posted on 02/26/2009




I would talk with them and let them know that if they insist on not following your requests then they will no longer have the benefit of coloring durning the service.  I grew up going to church and if we acted up my parents would make us take notes during the sermon or sometimes my mom would pinch us.  I don't really recommend pinching them b/c if it were my kids and I pinched them they would wail loudly and make a scene, lol, but maybe if you were to take away the coloring books then they would straighten up.  I'd tell them they can only have them if they behave and do as you ask, the minute they don't listen take them away, if they begin to cry take them to the bathroom or the cry room and have a firm talk with them.  Hope this helps.....this is what has worked for my kids but I know that not all kids act the same.

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