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Posted By: lcanthony ill mannered children - 07/29/13 02:42 PM
I don't know exactly where this belongs, so here goes. We have a group of 3 to 5 families who sit front and center. The problem is that it adds up to 5 to 8 very misbehaved kids who scream, cry, run, eat, drink, play and at many times during D.L. drown out the mic'd priest. These kids range in age from 3 to 7- old enough to know better. And while we should be happy to have children in church they have totally ruined any ability to concentrate on the matters at hand. And the parents do very little to reign the munchkins in. Nothing is said from the pulpit or in the bulletin. The acoustics in our church are very poor to begin with, kind of like being in a cave. So the kids love the sound of the echo. I was on the verge of leaving yesterday- it was totally pointless being there. Anybody have this problem and what solutions are possible??
Posted By: JDC Re: ill mannered children - 07/29/13 02:48 PM
Originally Posted by lcanthony
it was totally pointless being there.

No it wasn't.

Anyway, get a couple of friends together, arrive earlier, and occupy those spots.
Posted By: lcanthony Re: ill mannered children - 07/29/13 03:05 PM
You had to have been there, it was like a day care run a muck.
Kids were running across the pews, trying to climb over the pews. No exaggeration-- it was atrocious.
Posted By: haydukovich Re: ill mannered children - 07/29/13 05:09 PM
There should be no pews in a Byzantine Rite Church ...

If there were no pews the children would be free to run around the whole church - as Christ would have wanted them to.
Posted By: haydukovich Re: ill mannered children - 07/29/13 05:10 PM
I think He would have wanted them to.
Posted By: Alice Re: ill mannered children - 07/29/13 06:52 PM
Sounds horrible lcanthony.

I have never seen children misbehave in pews.

Seldom do children who are alone with a parent act like that.

Since this whole group is together, it doesn't surprise me that they are misbehaving. Kids love goading other children to misbehavior!

What to do? I don't know. Does your church have a Sunday School?

If not, maybe you can kindly and compassionately suggest that someone (a matushka or other woman) can organize a little time out of DL for all the little children with religious coloring books and religious discussion?

Trust me, I am sure that the parents would be relieved if there was something some one could do to help them out. It isn't easy being a parent of small children.
Posted By: theophan Re: ill mannered children - 07/29/13 08:31 PM
lcanthony:

Christ is in our midst!!

I was conducting a funeral at a Catholic church one day and we had a group of kids start acting out as you describe. The priest was very patient as they ran between the pews, shouted, and generally caused the havoc you describe. During his homily, Father suddenly stopped and said that he was finished trying to compete with the kids so either the parents could get them under control or take them out. He also said he would wait until they did one of two things. Well, he did wait and starred them down. The parents took the kids out.

It seems to me it's up to your pastor. If he's afraid of people not coming back, shame on him. There is always room for children in church, but they need to learn that church is not a playground or daycare. we all learn that different behavior is called for in different venues. Go to court sometime and see what the judge does when order is threatened. We get the behavior we demand.

Bob
Posted By: lcanthony Re: ill mannered children - 07/29/13 09:09 PM
It's funny you mention conduct in the court room. I was a juror last week in a murder trial. Both defendant and victim were of ill repute. In the gallery sat members of both families. When the order was given for all to rise maybe half did and half didn't. The judge didn't even acknowledge that but he sure was quick to throw anybody who had a cell phone go off, etc. I guess proper conduct has gone by the wayside in church and court. What stable pillars of society are left unaffected by life in the 21st century??
Posted By: haydukovich Re: ill mannered children - 07/30/13 03:02 PM
The answer is to remove the pews as the church was intended to be from the beginning.
Posted By: theophan Re: ill mannered children - 07/30/13 04:36 PM
lcanthony:

I think the problem has to do with our children's education. Both my children came home from kindergarten telling me "you can't spank me anymore because I can call the Child Abuse Hotline." They had spent the whole morning memorizing the 800 number and recited the same lecture--parrot-like, though they were separated by five years in age. So I'd heard the same comments twice and they were exact to the letter. In hearing something like this, I really think parents become afraid and begin to abdicate their responsibilities as parents. People are afraid to think that they'd be hauled into court by some agency getting between them and their kids.

I took that one on right away. When I did my student teaching, some of my problem students came to class one day really subdued--really out of character because they were the district's worst of the worst according to the principal. So I asked what was up. One told me me that their friend--whose seat was vacant--had been sent off to the county juvenile center until she was 18. Her mother had threatened--and then followed up to go to court and ask that she be sent away. According to the story, Mom told the judge that this girl was incorrigible and she couln't control her or take her guff anymore. And the girl went from the courtroom to "juvie."

So I told my two that calling that number would be like jumping off a cliff without a parachute. I told them about "juvie" and what the foster care system was like. And I also told them that if we appeared in court that I'd tell the judge the same thing that that mother told the judge--take the kid; I can't handle him/her. I also told my two that we discipline children because we love them, not to be mean. The world is full of punks; they're not punks; they have lots of potential; and it's only the disciplined who get their dreams fulfilled. BTW, a tap or two on the backside with an open hand at age two is a lot different than someone beating the child to the point he/she needs to go to the hospital. By the time they'd gotten to teenage, they knew that when the old man's voice suddenly changed the time had come to get in line.

My two turned out okay. They'll tell you that they grew up fearing their father, but that our relationship evolved as they grew and we are now the best of friends. We are a strong and close family. The Faith is important and is at the center of who we are and how we conduct ourselves.

I think parents need to know who they are, what they stand for and what limits they set. I knew I did something right once when I overheard my son tell someone on the phone "I don't know about your parents, but my old man won't tolerate that for one minute." He was eleven. I don't know to this day what the conversation was about, but I knew he knew what the limits were.

Bob
Posted By: Carson Daniel Re: ill mannered children - 07/30/13 07:45 PM
When O when are we ever going to act like an Eastern Church. Stop blaming the kids when you have pews. Get rid of the cages...er...pews and you will see some improvement. That probably is all that's needed but it's a start. Pews are a modern Western corruption. They are designed to cage people. Get rid of all of them except for the few you need for persons with physical handicaps and nursing mothers. Look around at how many Eastern Churches that have families with children. The more pews they have usually the fewer the children. There are plenty of good reasons for this but believe me, pews are the enemy.
Posted By: DMD Re: ill mannered children - 07/31/13 10:28 AM
The problem does begin with the latter "P" but the word is most certainly NOT "pews." It is a more fundamental issue to anyone's spiritual well being - "PROPER PARENTING." (ok, two words with "p".....)
Posted By: Slavipodvizhnik Re: ill mannered children - 07/31/13 06:31 PM
If God send children, sons or daughters, father and mother must take care of these their children. Provide for them and bring them up in good instruction. Teach them the fear of God and politeness and propriety, and teach them some handicraft, according to the time and age of the children: the mother instructing her daughters, and the father his sons, as best he knows and God counsels him. Love them and watch them and save them through fear. Teaching and instructing them and reasoning with them, punish them. Teach your children in their youth, and you will have a quiet old age. Look after their bodily cleanliness, and keep them from all sin, like the apple of your eye and your own souls. If the children transgress through the neglect of their parents, the parents will answer for these sins on the day of the terrible judgement. If the children are not taken care of and transgress through lack of the parents' instruction, or do some evil, there will be both to the parents and children a sin before God, scorn and ridicule before men, a loss to the house, grief to oneself, and cost and shame from the judges. If by God-fearing, wise and sensible people the children be brought up in the fear of God, and in good instruction and sensible teaching, in wisdom and politeness and work and handicraft, such children and their parents are loved by God, blessed by the clerical vocation, and praised by good people; and when they are of the proper age, good people will gladly and thankfully marry off their sons, according to their possessions and the will of God, and will give their daughter In marriage to their sons. And if God take away one of their children, after the confession and extreme unction, the parents bring a pure offering to God to take up an abode in the eternal mansion; and the child is bold to beg God's mercy and forgiveness of his parents' sins.

Punish your son in his youth, and he will give you a quiet old age, and restfulness to your soul. Weaken not beating the boy, for he will not die from your striking him with the rod, but will be in better health: for while you strike his body, you save his soul from death. If you love your son, punish him frequently, that you may rejoice later. Chide your son in his childhood and you will be glad in his manhood, and you will boast among evil persons and your enemies will be envious. Bring up your child with much prohibition and you will have peace and blessing from him. Do not smile at him, or play with him, for though that will diminish your grief while he is a child, it will increase it when he is older, and you will cause much bitterness to your soul. Give him no power in his youth, but crush his ribs while he is growing and does not in his wilfulness obey you, lest there be an aggravation and suffering to your soul, a loss to your house, destruction to your property, scorn from your neighbours and ridicule from your enemies, and cost and worriment from the authorities.

Excerpts from Домострой (1548)
Posted By: Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian) Re: ill mannered children - 07/31/13 06:41 PM
Originally Posted by Carson Daniel
When O when are we ever going to act like an Eastern Church. Stop blaming the kids when you have pews. Get rid of the cages...er...pews and you will see some improvement. That probably is all that's needed but it's a start. Pews are a modern Western corruption. They are designed to cage people. Get rid of all of them except for the few you need for persons with physical handicaps and nursing mothers. Look around at how many Eastern Churches that have families with children. The more pews they have usually the fewer the children. There are plenty of good reasons for this but believe me, pews are the enemy.

I remember +Fr. Mike, of happy memory, who used to ask me when we were in the sacristy after Liturgy "Eddie, what are pews good for?"

I shrugged my shoulders, not knowing.

"FIREWOOD!" he said emphatically!
Posted By: Paul B Re: ill mannered children - 08/03/13 06:44 PM
Originally Posted by JDC
Originally Posted by lcanthony
it was totally pointless being there.

No it wasn't.

Anyway, get a couple of friends together, arrive earlier, and occupy those spots.


I totally agree with JDC. If a responsible adult sits between the children, another sits behind them and someone else sits in front, and they mutually try to get the kids to behave one of two things will happen. Either the bahavior will improve or the people will move to a less visible spot.

Generally I recommend small children to sit in front so they can see what is going on, but the recommendation is for normal children who may occasionally make noise.
Posted By: CDB1718 Re: ill mannered children - 09/08/13 02:28 PM
Go to the parents. Learn who they are and why they struggle. Welcome them to the community. Provide what they need.

They don't need an announcement in the bulletin with everyone wagging their tongues about how awful they are or a forum of people who don't know them weighing in on how they ruin everything. Maybe their kids need to participate more. See if you can start training the 8 year olds on how to be singers or servers. Maybe they need an extra set of hands to separate the warring 3 and 5 year olds. Maybe they need someone to encourage them instead of staring them down. A big guy sitting at the end of the pew acts as a great blocker to keep children contained and provide positive re-enforcement.

Don't look at them as problem munchkins. Look at them as a part of the community who has needs just like yours and then try to figure out how to meet both needs at the same time. That requires getting to know them and a desire to serve them.

Taking an us against them stand where all you care about it is getting your needs met in the way you desire is going to lead to a standoff no one will win. You see their need. Now humble yourself enough to find out how you can best serve them. If the best you're able to do is to devote your prayers to them when the children misbehave, it will help both your salvation and theirs. But I think if you get to know them you'll find plenty of other ways to be of service. And as you form community with them and serve their needs, you'll also find your own needs met both in reciprocation and in grace.
Posted By: dochawk Re: ill mannered children - 10/20/13 07:15 PM
It goes against the grain, but with the particular issues with a couple of children, we started day care (usually my wife) during liturgy.

Most of the small children are in the church, but a couple are with her. (and before people complain: Yes, there *ARE* conditions and afflictions which leave a child unable to simply behave, or wander around, or otherwise be inside during liturgy without seriously disrupting it).

We added a sound system and a wireless microphone on Fr. Marcus, so that the liturgy is played in the rooms she uses.
Posted By: Epiphanius Re: ill mannered children - 10/21/13 11:31 AM
Originally Posted by CDB1718
Go to the parents. Learn who they are and why they struggle. Welcome them to the community. Provide what they need.
... Look at them as a part of the community who has needs just like yours and then try to figure out how to meet both needs at the same time. That requires getting to know them and a desire to serve them.
... And as you form community with them and serve their needs, you'll also find your own needs met both in reciprocation and in grace.
CDB,

Thanks so much for posting this. It's exactly what I would've wanted to say, except I don't think I could've expressed it as well as you did. You're taking the principles of the Gospel and applying them to real-life problems, just as God intended for us to do. *Many* people will call this a fairy-tale approach that has no relation to "real life." I think they're wrong.


Peace,
Deacon Richard
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