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Children too noisy in church

(64 Posts)
SPSGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 22:42:49

I am looking for advice. It has recently become clear that my church are becoming intolerant of the noise made by my two kids 4 and 2. One person had e grace to discuss is with me but others have obviously been discussing this without me. I now hear that they are talking about removing the children's area in the hope that the kids will be quieter. I do my best to keep the noise to a minimum but as I go to church and DH doesn't it is really hard. I have been going to the church for 10 years but don't know what to do. I am starting not to want to go any more. What do I do?

thewhistler Sun 10-Mar-13 22:46:18

You poor thing. It's really hard. What do other children do?

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 10-Mar-13 22:48:03

Why are your children so noisy? What are they doing?

ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 22:49:07

are you with the dc in a separate area at the back of the church? IME most churches have some kind of creche set up for the smallest run by volunteers and a Sunday school where older dc are taken out for part of the service and go into another room. What is the set-up in your church and are there no other families there with dc similar ages to yours?

TomArchersSausage Sun 10-Mar-13 22:50:31

I not a church-goer but mil is. I understand some churches do a family type service where a bit of noise is to be expected from small children.

SPSGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 22:50:47

They play in the children's corner. They draw or play with the toys. DS is in terrible twos so knows how to stretch the limits. Even when I try and read quietly to them they can speak loudly. I guess they Re used to being loud at nursery. DS has taken to playing with e votive candles

difficultpickle Sun 10-Mar-13 22:51:52

What does your vicar say? Ds was noisy in church when he was little and he and the other children were subjected to much tutting from some others in the congregation. He was christened when he was 6 months and has been a churchgoer ever since.I remember once when ds stood in the aisle and danced during one of the hymns. I apologised to the vicar who told me that he loved seeing children in his church and to ignore the ttuting and comments. Ds went on to be a choir boy at the church and now is a cathedral chorister.

I think it is very sad if the vicar supports removing the children's area. If that happened at our church I would be taking my custom elsewhere.

500internalerror Sun 10-Mar-13 22:52:52

Talking about it behind your back doesn't sound very Christian to me. They are either intolerant of something perfectly normal, or they are unwilling to offer a hand of help to you when you could do with it. Either way, there are loads of lovely churches that are very family focused...

ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 22:54:17

depends what denomination it is who you would approach but assuming COE, maybe have a word with the vicar and say you're concerned you are disturbing people and you 're not sure how best to handle it

difficultpickle Sun 10-Mar-13 22:55:02

At our Sunday morning service the children who have been to Sunday school join half way through the service but the vicar makes it clear that children are welcome for the whole service.

ReallyTired Sun 10-Mar-13 22:59:19

I think that you need to look for another church if your children are not welcome. Most churches have a family service where a bit of noise is to be expected. There are lots of churches who bend over backward to accodomodate their more active parishioners.

At our church children are welcome at the 9.30 service, but not the 8am service or evening song. If people don't like children then they should not attend the family service.

Children need to feel happy and welcome otherwise they will hate church. It is not realistic to expect a two or a four year old to sit still.

I agree with bisjo that it would be very sad if the vicar supports removing the children's area. It send out a terrible message to families that they aren't welcome.

SPSGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 23:03:59

Sadly our church doesn't run to a Sunday school. With only 4 kids attending regularly. Guess I will have to talk to the house for duty vicar.

NorthernLurker Sun 10-Mar-13 23:05:06

I would suggest two things. Firstly tell the vicar that people have been talking about you and your children behind your back and it makes you feel unwelcome in the fellowship. See what s/he does. Secondly - look at some other churches and see if you can feel happy somewhere else. Perhaps somewhere that embraces young dcs as a full part of our fellowship and accepts it's our collective job to nurture and lead them, not only the job of the parent to keep them quiet!

ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 23:08:19

oh I see, with only 4 dc attending and two of them yours, it isn't really much of a family church. Ours has around 70 dc attending regularly so that is very different. You have been going for 10 years and dc are the future of the church, aren't they so no one should have an interest in alienating you. Hope your vicar can help. Maybe the 4 year old can have some little role?

Wolfiefan Sun 10-Mar-13 23:11:28

I take my 3 year old DD. We go to a family service. She sits on her seat, on my lap or plays in the kids corner.
I talk quietly to her and she understands it is a time to be quiet. I also take colouring, toys, books and yes snacks too. The kids all have actions to do and instruments to shake during hymns.
It does sound like your church is not very DC friendly. What a shame. Who do they think will fill the pews in 10-20 years time?!?

I had to bring ds1 last week when dd was serving (catholic). He has SN so can be difficult.

Our priest was lovely, showed ds1 what was in all the drawers in the sacristy while dd got robed up.

Ds1 then spent all of mass tapping benches, lying on the floor and generally being troublesome.... No-one batted an eye.

You need a new church, one that is genuinely family orientated. Or else leave the kids with dh whilst you go (my usual approach)

hiddenhome Sun 10-Mar-13 23:35:32

I got chucked out of church once because ds2 was making a bit of noise at the back. Sod it, I left in tears and didn't return.

I hope you find some way of resolving this. The CofE is too stuck up imo hmm

VenusRising Sun 10-Mar-13 23:44:00

Not just the CofE IMHO.
It's sad isn't it that people can be so unkind - especially Christians! You'd expect them to be accepting and welcoming, not carping and bitching behind your back, and not asking how that can help you out.

Tbh it's why I left the church, as I was just too upset at the attitudes towards normal childish behaviour. Children are children, not mini adults- either they are part of the community, or they are not. If not, I would go elsewhere to introduce them to a loving and tolerant god.

I hate hypocritical and bigoted behaviour- it's unfortunate that some Christians exhibit the worst of it.

LittlePushka Mon 11-Mar-13 00:31:18

Hiddenhome that is terrible.... I am shocked by there people - Whatever happened to "Suffer the little children to come unto me"??

SPSGirl, I know that these people have made you feel uncomfortable. However,.... I think that if, when the issue arrises during the service, you try to banish what other (deeply narrow minded and intolerant) people think and concentrate on what Jesus thought, then at points at which you feel embarrassed, you will get through that moment. For sure, quiet type toys(pencils little torches blah blah blah) produced at may help you manage your children through what will seen to them, perhaps, a boring eternity. But, the basic premise of kids is that they are noisy unless they are seriously seriously ill. So thank the Lord yours are audible I'd say!!

If the others in the congregation cannot get through it then they frankly ought to be reminded of what exactly it means to follow Jesus. (And I would advocate simply telling them!) I simply cannot belive that the behaviour of a child was radically different 2000 years ago. I seriously belive that if Jesus came to your church, he would gather up the four to right right by him, and that his preaching would be wholly inclusive and celebratory of them...RIGHT IN THE FACE of people who are judgemetnal about children participating in worship. (And yes, I would probably high five him on the way out which would hack off the traditionalists, though bemuse JC I think!winkn

You and your children have no less right to worship that folk without children. And nor is there any "right" way to worship. if you have a selection of churches to worship in locally try them all out - I do not think that the denomination of christian worship matters so much as finding a warm and welcoming Christian congregation. So try out the methodists, the evangelists the catholics - anybody (not Christian as such, but perhaps Quakers may not be terribly receptive!)

Alternatively, flood your church with a posse of your mates with pre-shcoolers every week for a month. keep the faith! wink

Sorry for the rant - am very cross with your congregation. grrrr

coupleswithtroublesTHERAPIST Mon 11-Mar-13 03:56:46

You've been going to this church for 10 years?
That's a long time and then they dare to treat you like that! You must feel horrible.

This isn't the way a good christian should behave. Kids do make noise. You simply can't expect them to sit still during the whole service. One day it might go well and the other..... no so well.

Matthew 19:14
Jesus, however, said: “Let the young children alone, and stop hindering them from coming to me, for the kingdom of the heavens belongs to suchlike ones.”

God loves children, children do make noise, I guess then that He doesn't mind the noise they make. If He does, then He should have created them differently.

The church I go to they have a special room for the children. There you can go to and still be able to follow the service. You can bring something for your child. Like a coloring book and usually the other people are also very nice with children.

Once my eldest was very noisy. A lady asked if he wanted to sit next to her. He wanted that and he was happy and quite throughout the service.

I've seen so much of these so called Christians. I think we all have. Even if you never have been to church we've seen the reports of child abuse to often in the news papers.
It's sick and horrible that people mistreat the faith for there own sick thoughts.

My personal advice:
Tell the vicar what happened and how you feel about it. If there is anything he could do about it.
Or just go and find another church.

I think in every church you'll find people who just are there, but don't believe nor act like a good Christian.
But there's a difference between one person being like that. Or a lot of them that talk behind your back about the noise of your children.

I wouldn't want to stay in the middle of these people.

Take care,

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 11-Mar-13 06:10:28

Everyone here is assuming the OP's children were not particularly noisy, even though no one was there.

Does anyone think there is a point where children are just too noisy?

Should a 4 year old not be able to stay quiet when told?

It isn't actually that hard to bring your children up to use indoor voices in church, or anywhere else where there are other people to consider (restaurants, library, doctors' waiting room...).

Saying that, they aren't exactly getting a lot out of the service if all they are doing is playing with toys at the back or colouring. It's not what the Christian faith is about. I would recommend going to a church with vibrant children's work, where they can worship and learn at their own level.

MaryBS Mon 11-Mar-13 09:00:58

They don't sound very tolerant SPSGirl. If you are doing your best to keep the noise down, they need to be more accepting. Are there any other children that go?

BranchingOut Mon 11-Mar-13 09:02:29

I think that sometimes setting up a play area at the back can be a bit counterproductive, as then that leads to more lively behaviour.

Then again, do really young children get much out of it? Week in, week out. Plus the distraction to your own prayer etc.

If they just went with you once a month then maybe they would experience some of the specialness of going to church and see it as a bit of a privilege or treat, especially if there is food served afterwards! Could your DH look after them some weeks?

hiddenhome Mon 11-Mar-13 09:38:14

When mine were younger, I'd just let them play quietly on their nintendos (with the sound turned down). They managed fine. I think people are intolerant of toddlers in particular. The church I was struggling with was just run of the mill CofE, but most of the congregation were elderly and I was just glared at sad Rotten old ladies angry

They had a Sunday school, but your children couldn't join that until they were about 5. They opened up the choir vestry at the back of church for the toddlers, but if any toddler happened to venture out of it and made any noise whatsoever you were glared and tutted at. ds1 wasn't out of hand or anything, he was just playing around the pews a bit because the room was boring. I left in tears and the minister's wife followed me out and tried to comfort me a bit, but didn't invite me back in. It was horrible.

I've returned to the Catholic Church now and we have lots of babies/toddlers all making noise and nobody bats an eyelid. We have a childrens' session in the vestry and they return to their parents just before communion, so they're included in the service. It's lovely and no one minds if there's noise or the children are pottering about. They never get out of hand, it's just a bit of background playing etc. It's far more tolerant and feels much happier and there's nobody who's 'stuck up'. My children are older now, so can keep quite, but I'd never judge anybody with littlies because they do make some noise and it's only natural. Church services are boring for them. I can recommend taking pencils and colouring in and perhaps a small electronic device to play a few games on, discreet snacks too smile

ReallyTired Mon 11-Mar-13 09:43:13

"Then again, do really young children get much out of it? Week in, week out. Plus the distraction to your own prayer etc."

The young children become part of a community. They make friends with people within the church and see going to church as part of life.

"If they just went with you once a month then maybe they would experience some of the specialness of going to church and see it as a bit of a privilege or treat, especially if there is food served afterwards! Could your DH look after them some weeks? "

That is the thin edge of the wedge. If children are taken to church once a month then it tends to drift to being main festivals only. Colds, hobbies, life and general apathy gets in the way. Inevitably children who attend church so little do not see themselves as christians and do not attend church as adults.

I feel the church needs to look at ways of reaching out to families if its going to survive in the 21st century. Children and families need to feel happy and welcome in church. People who want silent and digified church services have other options like an 8am service or mid day services or evensong.

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