I was sitting with my husband and 3 teens at Mass on Sunday when a family came in late and sat behind us. There was a mom, three teens and a pre-teen. They were quite disruptive playing with their i phones, eating and unwrapping food (during the quiet gospel), laughing and chewing gum. Mom seemed to be oblivious! At some point during Mass, gum was placed on our pew while we were standing. DD and myself were gummed!!! In all my 50 years of attending Mass, I have never had my pew booby trapped.
I can deal with disruption. It happens and it give me good examples to show my own kids how NOT to behave. The gum goes too far. I’m wondering if I should go to our pastor or will he laugh me out of his office. What would you do? Gum was discovered at the end of Mass while attempting to rise from our seats. Offending family was gone. My daughter knows one of the teens names. Really disgusted about the whole thing!
Call the mother of the girls and tell them you fully expect them to pay to have your clothes dry cleaned. Children’s behavior is like water. It will find the lowest point and stay there until something makes it move.
I would not let this pass, but I would try to keep it in perspective, too. Teens and pre-teens are as a rule uncivilized boobs with no experience and little appreciation for others. As a father of 3, I feel safe saying these kids thought it was hilarious, meant no real harm, had no appreciation for how inappropriate it was and, since they know your daughter, that alone probably made them feel like it was OK. As I said, they are socially boobs.
They need to have this brought up so they can learn. I would call the parents. I would sympathize with them about the trial parents have rearing children, especially teenagers. I would not get angry - simply want the parents to deal with it - and hopefully get an apology and maybe have them pay for the dry cleaning - not so much the money itself, but to make an impression. Parents of teenagers need to work together to get these kids grown and socialized. Like Ben Franklin said, “We either hang together or we’ll all hang separately.”
Good luck, keep it cool, and realize it might be your kids who do something stupid next. Pax te cum.
As a father of a teen who has been bullied I would just add that you should tread carefully on your teens possible relationships here. I have embarrasses my sons on many occaisions trying to fix the world. It has taken me a little while to learn the lesson that it is not my job to scold the world. I can teach by the example that my actions set. This seems like a situation to move on from.
I sent the pastor an email and presented the situation as “distractions happen” but the gum was a little over the top. I offered Father a name if he wants it but otherwise I got it off my chest and I’ll move on. I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else in our church. If it happens again, Father knows he can get the name from me if he wants to pursue the matter.
My daughter is not friends with the teens that were sitting behind us–she just knew one of the boys names. If it was a friendship, the mom would have gotten a call from me.:mad:
I’m sorry but I can agree with this posting. I have serious doubts that the mother knew gum was placed on the pew and did nothing about it. How are children supposed to be corrected if their disciplinarian is not aware of what they doing wrong ?
Exactly. This would have been a phone call from ME to the parents, and not pushing it off on my pastor to deal with, who has far more better things to do than worry about gum in the pews.
I remember when I was in junior high and a girl was bulling me something horrible. My dad looked through the phone book and called every single Brown family in the city until he found one with a daughter named Sue. He told them he wanted to speak with them, in person, at our home, about their daughter’s conduct. They showed up and sat on our couch and got an ear full from him. He handled it. He didn’t push it off on the school or on someone else. He told the parents to their faces that they had a problem with their daughter and it needed to be fixed. The bullying never happened again.
The parents should still get a call from you. All you need to say is that you asked around and the son in the family was recognized. Finding a piece of gum in your seat would be over the top at the symphony, let alone at church. Were I a mother in that family, I would very much appreciate a calm notification about the incident from a fellow parent in the trenches. I would word my call as if this were the case. If not, I’d express surprise that it was not, and shake that dust from my feet.
IOW, I would let her know it happened, but tell her that in her position I would appreciate being allowed to deal with my own children in my own way, and that I was contented to let her know about the incident and leave it at that. If she raised the issue of the cleaning bill, I would say that I’d rather eat the cost against the possiblity that some poor soul had done the same for me and my family at some point, without saying anything. (Never mind that you are “sure” your child has never done anything remotely like it. For a mom, humility is always the better bet.) Either she will take steps with nothing more than that, or you’re beating a dead horse, anyway. You may as well be gracious about it.
A teen will get it much worse from a parent who feels that a calm adult discretely let her know about something like that than if the news came as an attack on the child. If you have already aired your displeasure about this incident to anyone but the pastor, I’d let it drop. It will either get back to them, or it won’t, but you are better off not calling if news of your anger precedes you. Either the news set the situation straight or it didn’t, and if it didn’t, you’ll be shot for being the messenger.
I know a woman with three boys in high school and one in college. She got a call from someone who did not identify herself, but launched directly into this: “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR SON DID TO MY DAUGHTER?!?”
The son, as it turns out, had slammed a locker door on the girl’s hand, nearly breaking her finger. The woman receiving the call said she expressed regret, but that it was all she could do to stop herself from thanking Heaven out loud! (Let’s just say that she feared the offense was less easily-mended than a broken finger.)
thats disgusting behaviour and the mother isnt any better if she sits there while her kids do that…you go to church to pray and worship god and to be around others with the same beliefs…you shouldnt have to deal with that behaviour…i bet that gum was hard to get out of your clothes and maybe stuck to the car seats when you got in your car to drive home?..if your daughter knows any names tell her to give you the names and you go talk to the priest and maybe he can have a word with that family next time he sees them in church