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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?

noisytoys Wed 20-Mar-13 19:36:25

I just left a church that isn't tolerant of children. It was heartbreaking because it was the church I grew up in, but since going to the new church and seeing the difference and how welcoming they are of everyone, I realise I should have made the move a long time ago

MarvellousYou Wed 20-Mar-13 19:09:35

During worship in our church, the children run around like loons (there's space at the back) but we make sure they are quiet if there is a reading or someone gives a testimony.

It's a lively 'happy clappy' church (evangelical/charismatic) quite reserved/ middle class (so room for people to grumble, maybe) but when I first joined the church I remember the elder prayed for more children in our church- God answered! We've had to move creche and sunday school into bigger rooms.

Find a church that doesn't tolerate gossip and that loves it's children, tantrums and all- in my limited experience attitude normally flows from the head down into the congregation. There's nothing more lovely than seeing children spontaneously clap and dance to a song (even if they don't always comprehend who they're dancing/singing for!)

Hope you and your children find a more tolerant church family soon x

thewhistler Wed 20-Mar-13 18:50:06

V impressive

Knowsabitabouteducation Wed 20-Mar-13 17:23:27

We don't have 400 children at every Sunday, but we have about 400 children on our books. We probably see 200 on any given Sunday. It is still chaotic at the start of the service!

We have a big church family because we are evangelical in teaching, and have four services every Sunday catering for every worship style. Our modern music attracts young families, along with relational children's and youth work. We have have five ordained clergy and a whole host of readers/pastoral assistants who can provide the right level of pastoral care in our parish and beyond.

We divide our church family into pastorates where people can study and fellowship together on a more intimate scale.

We work hard to ensure that we are serving our local community.

thewhistler Tue 19-Mar-13 22:52:26

knowsabit, how do you get so many? All the Sunday schools are closing near us. Any tips?

thewhistler Tue 19-Mar-13 22:50:53

I do sympathise because on the outside the church we go to is like that, with a glass narthex and that is what I felt like when Ds was small. On one occasion he screamed all the way to the communion rail. Loudly. Through a visiting choir's careful piece de resistance.

But actually, the congregation that attends the family service is more tolerant than I would have believed.

We did the prodigal son in the vestry recently and there was a sugar rush as we feasted and some of the children came out oinking in their pig masks and then oinked up for a blessing. They also oinked in the pews. The only people who complained were in their 30s. Everyone else giggled.

The congregation is delighted to see the number of children and young parents increasing.

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 18-Mar-13 20:57:05

We have about 400 children in our church and it is absolute chaos until they go out to their groups.

I always feel sorry for people who visit for the first time (we are a fairly ordinary parish church in a town of 10000). I think they go right back out again.

Jaynebxl Mon 18-Mar-13 11:36:57

I'm with you mummytime. Our church has about a hundred people and only two are over 60. About 30 are teens and the rest are families. We sometimes go to stuff at our village church which does have a lot of older people but also has loads of kids, families, etc.

I would definitely go find a more family friendly church, there seem to be plenty around.

mummytime Mon 18-Mar-13 09:53:21

""high proportion of intolerant, middle class pensioners."

I'm not a Christian but I've been to a fair few services for various reasons. I must say, I'm yet to attend a church where the vast majority were not in the category stated above. But that does fit in with the average demographic of Christians in this country today, so I guess it's no surprise."

I have to say that none of the churches I am involved in could be described this way, not even the Cathedral. Most people in all the congregations are middle aged, not pensioners. Yes probably most are middle class, but I live in a very middle class area; at places like Spring Harvest I have met a lot of working class Christians.
Intolerant - some are, but not most. The Cathedral is one of the most tolerant places, although there are far fewer children so their noise is more obvious. Actually the people who get most stressed are the grandparents of children being Baptised (who often aren't real regulars but like to get their Grandchildren Baptised at a Cathedral).

RuckAndRoll Mon 18-Mar-13 09:34:56

SPSGirl I really sympatise. We've been slowly coming to the realisation this weekend that the church we've been going to for 4 years is really anti children 'seen and not heard' type attitude. Our first DC is due in the summer and I'm already freaking out about taking it down as a tiny baby incase it cries.

We have a foyer with baby toys and sound looped to the main church so you can still see and hear the service, and a Sunday School so the outward facing bit is very welcoming, but underneath they don't want children there. I'm not looking forward to spending my whole time sat in the foyer with the toddlers incase the baby cries.

I've been told that sitting in the foyer is acceptable, even if the baby is asleep, because if it wakes and cries it'll disturb others. I spoke to our rector who said anyone who complains, send to her, but at the moment I'm a hormal mess and don't have the strength to fight it.

Anyway, hope you find a solution for you. It's really hard as in 20 years, who will still be there? Not the elderly congregation currently complaining.

blackeyedsusan Thu 14-Mar-13 00:02:26

ds has asd... he does not have an indoor voice, nor, until recently, could I peel him away from my leg to stay in creche/sunday school. I found that keeping his mouth occupied with other things seemed to reduce the noise. (though carrot sticks do result in orange poo on monday grin)

we left one church due to their attitude about the children. this one is much better and only one persistant glarer.

Kendodd Wed 13-Mar-13 15:18:19

I'd just find another church were children are welcome.

elfycat Wed 13-Mar-13 15:13:06

When DD1 was young I took her to a tiny local church. the vicar (army padre) would say that children were free to make as much noise and run around, but would the adults please refrain. DD1 started playing peekaboo at him around the pew and he kept getting the giggles until everyone was laughing. A proper child friendly church.

Then I moved to a small town. Tried taking a 3 year old and 1 year old but they would make noise and not stay put. Not helped by the second 'family' service on a Sunday turning out to be a 1.5 hour ordeal some weeks. I get told it's lovely to have children there, and it's fine that they make noise. But it's said brittely not indulgently. And it's not me being paranoid about our welcome. I've heard it several times from other people with small children. I think the main vicar isn't a people person at all. I want to get DD2 christened but need to find another church.

difficultpickle Mon 11-Mar-13 21:48:29

Stop taking your children until they can sit through a service and understand and listen

If those were the criteria for church attendance there would be no children in church and quite a few adults wouldn't be able to attend either.

cloutiedumpling Mon 11-Mar-13 21:43:11

It is shit when people are so uppity about small kids. I've had folk tutting at me about my DCs before too and it is upsetting. I think some congregations just get so unused to having small kids that it comes as a shock to them to realise that they make noise. Hopefully the vicar will have a word with the people involved and they'll see sense.

Jaynebxl Mon 11-Mar-13 21:30:56

I would agree with Kaekae and look for another church. It sounds like this one just isn't suitable for you at this stage in life. It would be good to look for something where you AND your children are welcome and where the children won't be seen as a burden. So many churches around have great sunday schools and the kids would get so much more out of it, leaving you to get more out of it all.

BOF Mon 11-Mar-13 20:45:03

Are you not able to consider leaving the children at home with their father? Or at least the younger one?

SPSGirl Mon 11-Mar-13 20:35:21

Thanks everyone for your advice and support. I will speak to he vicar. Sadly In a small country congregation of 30 I don't think views will change much.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 11-Mar-13 19:32:55

"high proportion of intolerant, middle class pensioners."

I'm not a Christian but I've been to a fair few services for various reasons. I must say, I'm yet to attend a church where the vast majority were not in the category stated above. But that does fit in with the average demographic of Christians in this country today, so I guess it's no surprise.

thewhistler Mon 11-Mar-13 17:46:45

In one CofE church we went to, the vicar's son's red ball ended up in the chancel. The vicar, no mean footballer, shunted it softly back while continuing. I remember that with affection.

Yes, I agree that things can feel ruthless, but I think it is great to be part of that community early. It is different from school and friends and gives you a different perspective.

MadHairDay Mon 11-Mar-13 15:37:42

Too right, JandT, us Vicars Spouse types have to keep up the tradition of the Vicars kids being the worst behaved grin (I don't seem to have a problem with helping that happen with mine)

JandT Mon 11-Mar-13 15:24:21

SPSGirl - I'm really sorry you had this experience, we had something similar so I thought I'd share.

My (very traditional/catholic CofE) church is welcoming of children however, there are the 'few' who don't like the noise etc. DS2 (aged 18 months) decided to do a runner to the front of church, DH stupidly trusted that DS2 would stop hmm. Before that, he'd been good at walking around at the back of church but, I know my parents would have told me if they could hear him. Anyhow, churchwarden told me after that people were finding him distracting and he was making too much noise. I replied that I was glad we went to such a child friendly church and then cried all the way home when no-one from church could see.

DH emailed both churchwardens and PCC chair (no Vicar at that point) asking that we did something for small children. Nice churchwarden and PCC chair both replied saying they were open to ideas/improvements and that they were upset that I'd been upset (we knew the nasty churchwarden wouldn't have mentioned it to them). From then on, small children were welcome to go to Sunday School and run around/make noise. We also have a crèche which a year later (mainly due to new Vicar, his wife and I having a 'moment') has been updated for the first time in 40 years. The crèche thing caused conversation in PCC with someone arguing what would we do if it brought lots of noisy children into church-Vicar replied that he'd still say Mass, just a bit louder grin. Still only two people that I know of who find it a problem and a lot of other (less grumbly hence quieter) people who love my crazy child and remind me how much he takes after me (apparently I was known as Little Miss Wrigglebottom for a while...).

Please don't give up for the sake of a few grumbly people who need to be shaken up and made to question/remember why they go to church. I know it makes you feel paranoid of every cough/giggle they make but that feeling goes. Speak to your Vicar, speak to the churchwardens, explain you want to keep coming but it is difficult if you know 'other people' find them distracting. Ask for their advice and prayer. It could be there is someone sitting quietly who has been waiting for the opportunity to do something for your children.

(As an aside I should probably say that DH is going to train to be a priest soon so does a little preaching at our church. Preached on the importance of children in church just after the incident. Also, as 'Vicar's Wife' I am going to make sure my children are the noisiest so that no-one else feels bad. grin

Abra1d Mon 11-Mar-13 15:21:36

Yup. No children probably means the church will be a carpark or converted into flats within twenty years.

MadHairDay Mon 11-Mar-13 14:50:45

No need for that on this thread really, mungo, tongue inserted or not.

OP, I tend to agree with niminy. You could turn this into a positive, possibly, by it being the catalyst for a shift in thinking by the church and maybe the start of something that might attract families.

It makes me sad when I hear of your experience and hidden's. No wonder some churches are dying on their feet with such attitude. They say they want their church to keep going yet make no effort to welcome the people who will make that happen.

I love a church full of noisy children. This is the way it should be. If your vicar or church is not willing to change OP it may be worth searching for somewhere who will welcome you. There are plenty of vibrant churches with lots of families out there (inc plenty of CofE)

mungotracy Mon 11-Mar-13 14:20:54

/insert tounge in cheek

Here's a list of some of the things that children can get out of being at church:

They can be part of a cult and indoctrinated to be intolerant of every other religion at an early age
They can take part in worship of a graven idol of a man being tortured slowly to death.
They can pray and learn that any good they do is by gods grace but that any wrong is their fault
They can learn about the Christian tradition that people are tortured to death because you sinned.
They can eat after-service biscuits and the catholics sometiimes have wine.

/remove tounge

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