Sunday, January 27

What Do You Do When Your Child REALLY Misbehaves In Church?

In Church this morning Tristian kicked his brother, refused to return (or even look at the people) peace with the very understanding men sitting behind us (if you ever happen to stumble on this, or if you aren't one of those exact men but have ever been behind a child who misbehaves in church... I am truly sorry for it). He kept kicking the seat in front of us (ditto to being very very sorry to those sitting in front of us) kept talking about random things while the priest was talking, really loud. And finally screamed in the middle of the eucharist ceremony after asking if we could do something after church and being told no (because it was a privilege we sometimes do if they are really good during church, which he was very much not). And when I say screamed... I mean SCREAMED.

What do you do in those situations? That's not all, but that's the worse. Trevor had to take him out into the cry more then once because he was being so loud and misbehaving.

Well here's what we did. First he did not go to catechism. We did not feel that would be fair to the other children with him acting this way. We explained to him that Catechism is a privilege and if you can't behave in church then we have to assume you cannot behave in Catechism either. A little harsh I'm sure, but I don't think it would have been right to send him into the class behaving this way. We did not go out to eat after church either. Another privilege that was lost.

But the problem is we need a way to make sure this doesn't happen again. His behavior today was in every way unacceptable. We spent the whole ride home trying to come up with some solution to make sure he doesn't ever want to act this way in church again. I was spanked growing up, my immediate inclination is to spank because of that. But I don't really agree with spanking for stuff like this. One it's too far after the fact by the time you get home, and two, I generally only spank for things were they harmed another (granted kicking Trace in the HEAD was that, but too far after the fact. )

We came up with the idea that as he did not sit still and behave for the hour/hour fifteen you have to sit and be good during church, he is going to practice sitting and behaving today. So that's what he's doing right now. He is sitting in a chair and being good. He is not playing, he is not talking, he is sitting looking straight ahead and being good. A little extreme? Yes, part of me feels like the worst parent ever right now. Especially after how he acted in church. But this is a skill he needs. I know he's only five (and a half)... but still, this is a skill he must have in our society. Being able to sit and behave is a lost art and I do not want my child thinking it is ok to act like that during church or any other setting when the appropriate behavior is to sit quietly and be respectful.

What are your thoughts? How do you deal with this? Have you came up with a better way to teach your child to behave? Do you think this is too harsh?

This should be a one time deal. Our hope is that after this he will have a basis for going, "I'd rather sit and behave now when there is no option of playing and having fun, then have to do it later when I could be playing and having fun."


  1. Sitting in church for that long is tough for the little guys! Hopefully he'll figure it out soon. :) I honestly let my youngest draw, write, even play my phone sometimes. He listens! He hangs on every single word. I know this b/c we talk about the sermon. He'll even chime in with his thoughts sometimes, but his little hands are busy and his butt is still!

    1. Thank you for your reply! I really, really appreciate you taking the time to comment!

      We take coloring books with crayons, snacks, drinks, reading books and my tablet. They have lots of fun stuff to do lol.

      For some reason more and more lately Tris has been acting very inappropriately in church. He'll repeatedly ask if it's over yet, want to talk about all sorts of other things. I try to get him to listen to the priest and point to the words as they are read or sung and etc... Just trying to get him interested. He loves reading the bible at home, but for some reason I can't get through to him that what is being read in church is the bible. He loves catechism, but just won't behave during church. I'm at my wits end with it =( Especially because when he starts acting out Trace starts doing the same thing.


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