Disruptive little ones at Mass

I was at the 11:00 OF yesterday, in my usual seat in the middle of the church. There were two extremely talkative tottlers right in front of me, and it made it extremely difficult at times to hear what the priest was saying. I love the little ones, and these particular little ones were probably too young to know better, but I thought they were being very disruptive. I was at a loss on what I should say, if anything, to their parents. I didn’t want to come off as uncheritable, but I desperately wanted to tell the parents that their kids were making it hard for me to hear. I finally resolved to just softly say “shhhh,” and put my finger to my closed lips, but the little ones just kept on talking. Finally, during the sign of peace, I told one of the parents that I was sorry for shishing his child, but I was having trouble hearing.

I’m not sure if I did the right thing in this situation. If it would have happened at a movie theater or at a concert, for example, I would have probably just moved to another seat if I could, or I may have felt more comfortable just telling the parents right then and there that their children were being too noisy, and asking them to please do something about it. In the past, the noisier little ones have always been far enough away from me for me to even care, but they were right in front of me yesterday. They were cute, but I was trying to hear the Mass, and I didn’t want to be distracted. Would it have been ok for me to just say something to their parents when the problem first started?

In this day and age, it is better just to move pews.

Everyobdy is probably working, nobody supports anyone, and the parents are probably fried.

It’s alot easier not to go to to Church at all. I cut parents alot of slack just for showing up.

I also reason this way: The prayers of one new Christian will probably do more for my soul in the long run than the sermon!

(Sorry, Padre!)

I can fully appreciate your problem. My wife and I raised 7 children. We never let our kids carry on like that in church. If they became too noisy we got up and hauled them outside, where we tried to talk to them about being quiet. When they calmed down we brought them in again. We used to think that we would never get to sit through a whole Mass, but as they grew up things changed.

The problem with many parents today, is that they pay no attention to the little ones. The parents seem to think that little Johnny is sooo cute that all folks just love him. Which is not the case.

I think that about all you can do is to sit up front and hope the priest will get tired of the same thing and talk to the parents in private.

I have raised my family, but remember how hard it is to keep little ones quiet…just as hard to get them to church at all.

I would never make an issue of it with the parents or priest. I know as a parent I would have felt mortified and it may have caused me not to go to church with my children.

Please be forgiving, and discretely change pews.:blush:

as long as you consistent and the shush the big people that are always talking, while your at it chase down the dine and dash recipients after communion.

Corsair, you sound like a great parent! :thumbsup:

Sometimes it seems people go to one extreme or the other - I have two issues in the “noisy” area if everyone will permit me:

  1. Children being allowed to bring hard, noisy toys like cars and bang them on the pews - also hard soled shoes on the pews. Soft toys, preferably religious themed, and soft-soled shoes would be better. The kids really shouldn’t be walking up and down, up and down the pews, but I could deal with that if they did it quietly.

  2. Our parish has a uniquely designed cry room which is made of thick glass that slants upward and at an angle towards the sanctuary. I hear kids banging on that with such force I’m afraid one day, even though the glass is thick, they’ll hit some sort of stress fracture line and tragedy will ensue. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I should mention this to the pastor. Even if it’s not dangerous, it’s inappropriate and distracting.

And one issue to raise in the opposite direction, which hopefully is becoming a thing of the past and I hope my mentioning it doesn’t stir up a firestorm:

  • People being too angry and taking their kids out and spanking them severely. I fear this might make kids associate Mass with anger and upset and to rebel against the Church later. IMO, it’s better to take away a privilege after Mass or something.

Please parents, don’t think I post this to pick on you. Your job is not easy and I realize that. :o

I can’t remember that I was ever noisy in Church. Although I must admit I was raised by a very strict and disciplinarian father.

On the other hand I am more tolerable of little ones in church. They’re innocent and couldn’t know any better. Jesus said that heaven belongs to such as these. I have less patience and charity for adults who chatter during Mass. Also for parents or grandparents who allow kids to bring their toys and play during Mass. There is one in the RC parish I attend. I don’t blame the child, I blame the granny. Whats the point of bringin a child to church when they start associating it with playtime? When I was young my parents never let me take toys to school or church. School is for learning and church is for praying. We should train our kids to make the proper associations. Form good habits from the beginning, never hedge your bets on “they’ll eventually grow out of it.” Even if my son is an infant, the only toy we ever bring out during Mass/Divine Liturgy is his chew toy because obviously he needs something to chew on as he is teething. Everything else stays in the bag until after Liturgy.

All good points above.

I’d like to add that some parents think they have to bring their young children to Mass, just like they themselves have an obligation to attend. People are sometimes surprised to hear that the Church says children don’t have to attend until they reach the age of discretion, i.e. around 7.

When ours were little we used to reckon that it was unfair to expect the under-twos to sit through Mass every week.

Let’s see…

I have two 5 y/o boys. They have sensory issues. They are, fortunately, not extreme. This means, you, the average Joe, THINKS my children are perfectly normal, and that I’m “just ignoring them.” And letting them act out in a fashion inappropriate… because it may be that one is just making noise, which causes the other to laugh.

I can’t leave them at home, as it’s against the law to do so without care. And I’m not in the financial situation to hire a babysitter for much of anything.

They WILL learn over time how to behave… it will come with maturity. But they are behind on that right now… so… :shrug:

I actually took them to the baby room the Sunday. WHAT a nightmare. They decided to take the cue from the little kids… that this was a play pen. We CAN’T do that again. Talk about major regression.

I did find a church that has Sunday school. They usually attend while I’m in mass. However, the church program, for some reason takes holiday breaks that line up with the academic year. The boys had no place to go… and it was the first day of advent.

I know how hard it is for you to hear. Imagine how hard it is for ME to hear. And exhausting. AND EMBARASSING… because I KNOW I and my children are being judged by those completely clueless… There are times they also sit perfectly still, cuddled into me. It suprising, and not often. Their father works an extreme schedule and is unavailable many Sundays. So there is no taking the one that’s acting out, outside without taking the other. Talk about a production. Plus, he’s not Catholic. So the fact that he goes so we may stand as one on the Catholic upbringing… is HUGE!

I know I was a perfect little child in church (and that’s the story I’m sticking to!). But I am also “normal” by most standards…

I would imagine that since we are seeing record numbers in children being DX’d (for real) with ADD, ADHD, and various degrees of autism compared to generations past, we will also be seeing their behavior in church… and it’s going to be extra appalling, 'cause you’re going to see behavior in ages groups that “should know better.”

I do find that Churches that have multiple Masses often are child heavy during one of those hours, and more elder heavy in the others. If that’s an option… I would evaluate and switch.

I’m starting to stick to the unspoken rule that I observed as a child… Old, childless, deaf people down in front… noise makers in the back.

I know I’m not be personally attacked here (no worries there)… Just thought I might give you a probable 'cause to the issue…

I remember one holy day I took my son by myself to Mass. He was about 2 1/2, and nothing I did would calm him (I even resorted to standing outside the church to listen to the Mass until I could at least receive communion). One parishioner told me to take my child and leave b/c he was disturbing the whole church.

Less than 1 year later, my son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. I never attended that church again. My home parish is much more loving and accepting of all of God’s children.

My best advice…1) move to another part of the church or attend another mass; 2) ask the pastor if this is an ongoing issue or if there are family circumstances that you may be unaware of; 3) remember that Jesus wanted the little children to come to Him, so try to be tolerant.

I am not a big fan of a stranger telling me how to parent simply b/c one just does not know what medical/emotional issues (something like ADD and autism are invisible disabilities). I have educated many people about my son’s disability. And I thank you for taking the time to read this post.

God bless.

I am a firm believer that good habits are formed early. Even though they are not obligated to be at Mass, its best that they go there so they form the habit early on. When my son was younger, which was not so long ago, I used to go to Saturday evening Mass and my wife will go to Sunday morning Mass, and our son stays home with one of us. It started when the Bishop came to our parish, we wanted to go together so we brought our son. He was surprisingly good at Mass so we take him with us all the time now. He’s starting to become a handful, but I beleive in the long term benefits. I do hate that I have to miss parts of the Mass/Liturgy when I have to attend to him more and my attention is not there, but God will forgive me if I raise a good Catholic :thumbsup:

A young Mother brings her two very undisciplined children to Mass. I’m sorry to say it, but it isn’t the children, it’s the Mother. She simply allows everything without a word of discipline in the mix.

Mass is only an hour, yet she brings enough finger food for a small picnic. LOUD belching follows, then howling laughter from both children. Hard toys rountinely go flying or banging down the pews. When their movements become restricted, they cry like howler monkeys.

My Mom spanked us from a very early age and we learned the consequences of bad behavior from each other’s paddlings (I have three other sisters).

Our 10:00 A.M. Sunday Mass is the Family Mass. At times I am somewhat amazed at how young some parents bring their little ones. I can recall we didn’t start taking our children till they were about 4-5 – I also remember one of the first times we took them it was in the days where they still had the altar rail – and when my husband and I came back from receiving Communion everyone around our boys were laughing. Of course, they didn’t tell us what they did/said, but it must have been amusing.
Our former pastor one Sunday told the congregation that if we didn’t like the “noise” at the 10 AM Mass we could attend another one because he wanted families to feel welcome. Even though it is somewhat noisy I do love to go to the 10 AM as I love to see the young families.

Sadly you cannot do this anymore today here in North America. I was brought up by spanking and I am a firm believer in it. My dad never beat me up, but I got spanked when I misbehaved. It can be done at home but unfortunately not in public.

I’ve been on both sides of this issue, and it’s hard for everyone.
Yes, you have a right to be able to go to church and hear what is being said.
Yes, children need to be exposed to Mass, so they can learn how to behave there, and know that Mass is something families do together. Most parents are doing the best they can, and it IS a big deal to get everyone up and dressed and there on time for Mass.

If your church has more than one Mass, try the other Masses, and see who attends.
At my church, the 4;00 Saturday Mass is mostly made up of families with older teens, and as a whole, the group dressess casually.
The 8;00 Mass on Sunday morning is normally made up of older people who dress up in suits, ties, and dressess.
The 10:00 Sunday Mass, bless their souls, is made up mostly of young families with worn out, tired parents, crying babies, kids jumping on pews, and people dressed in whatever was handy.
It wouldn’t make sense for me to go to the 10:00 Mass, and get annoyed with crying children, when I could go to one of the other two Massess and avoid what I don’t like,
just as I wouldn’t go to the 4:00 Mass and complain that the people should be dressed up, when I could go to the 8:00 and be around what I find pleasing.

It may not all be perfect, but I’m pretty sure God is happy to see the effort made to be there by all his children. Yes, it is annoying not to be able to hear, but you already have your religion ingrained deep in your heart. We have to think of the long road ahead for these little ones, that don’t have that connection yet. It’s a hard world for them to stay Catholic in.
Peace to all

We got the EVIL EYE at Church, knowing that if we didn’t immediately stop our shenanigans that we were going to “get it” at home.

This thread has me extremely upset.

I have 2 very active little boys. I try to be a conscientious parent but of course sometimes they act up. I can say that I always do the best I know how. I see a lot of other parents there also doing the best they know how.

I wish that the house of God could be a place where I and everyone else could expect charity rather than judgment. This thread makes me feel like perhaps it isn’t?

I can’t even tell you how sad this makes me feel.

Our Children were taught at home that being in Church was for God, and they were to be very quiet for Him and all the other people saying their prayers. If they misbehaved they were punished at home later. Our oldest two were very good examples for the younger ones.Peace and happiness to all our parents and children. :)Carlan

Not to sidetrack the thread, but just be advised that some people don’t object to the angry spankings for mere “PC” reasons. Some were traumatized as children by raging parents and it’s a trigger for them. I once had a panic attack in church witnessing a situation like this. So it would be an act of charity to refrain from making others witness these unpleasant episodes.

I don’t know that if I had a kid I’d never spank them, but it wouldn’t be severe and painful if I did, it would be more like “Hey!” to get the attention than to “beat the devil out of them.” I’d try to be proactive and guide their behavior, nipping potential problems in the bud with verbal and eye contact and redirecting, so that the question of spanking or not would rarely arise.

cowers, waiting for the fight to break out:ouch:

I would have to agree with you. My wife and I have three kids. 18, 16, &15. We have brought them to church through their entire life, except the 16 year old girl, she is adopted. She has been with us every Sunday since she moved in with us.

My point is, I hate it when people take their kids out of mass. They are part of the community and our little brothers and sisters. I want them praying with us!!! Even if they do it loudly. Did the earliest churches come with a “cry room”?

We do have to admit some parents fail to “train” their little ones, but please don’t chase them out! I promise you the nearest four square Gospel church will bring these little one in.

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