[quote="SarahR, post:34, topic:204428"]
You are not alone!
My youngest (age 2 1/2) has no church manners whatsoever. My older 3 kids were manageable with "firm looks" and "clear expectations" etc, but not this one. He loves the captive audience at Mass, and uses it to do the naughtiest things his sweet little mind can conceive of. He intentionally mimics what the priest says, he'll start calling out the new words he's learned through potty-training (because it gets him attention from the other parishioners), he screams that he wants "one of those cookies" during Consecration :blush:, anything I whisper to him he will repeat at an extremely loud decibel level "Noooooo, I don't see Jesus. Jesus isn't heeeerrrrre. I don't want to praaaaaaayyyy", he'll try to pull the hair of the person sitting in front of us, tear pages in the hymnal, unzip my purse and shake the contents out all over the floor, he'll start taking off his pants and diaper (he has rather crude humor for a toddler), and that's just for starters.
He's quite bright and knows that his discipline at home (distraction, time-outs and sometimes swats on the tush) aren't going to cut it at church. I swear that little guy realizes Mommy's hands are somewhat tied sitting there in close quarters with several hundred quiet people. He is a complete terror at Mass, so I always have to leave him with a sitter (I'm a single mom). And I don't feel the least bit guilty about it!
We do, however, make a weekly trip to the Adoration Chapel. We stay for just a couple of minutes, but he seems to do well there for some reason.
I feel for you, good luck, and this stage will pass.
Your hands may not be so tied. If he's old enough to be potty-trained, he's old enough to look down the road just a little while.
You might try what I try when my kids are not so great in the store. I say, "Oh, you know, you aren't doing very well at behaving in the grocery store. I think you need more practice!" Just because I don't want a misbehaving kid in the store with me doesn't mean that he doesn't want to be there even more. Ah yes...mothers always put their kids needs above their own. Aren't they lucky when we make the sacrifice when they need to be miserable far more than we need to be happy?! :rolleyes:
At our house, good behavior gets you choices. Not-so-good behavior gets the opposite of whatever it is that you want. In my case, if there is someone to watch them while I go to store, they only get to stay home if they've behaved themselves there recently. Otherwise, it is off to the store for more behaving-in-the-store practice.
In your case, you have the added advantage of siblings to reward while he goes without. I think maybe his well-behaved brothers and sisters get to go over to the parish center for doughnuts after Mass, and you and he get to stay over at the church and practice until the family comes back to get you. (It doesn't have to be doughnuts. Just make sure the treat is a place he likes to go or do.)
I would give a heads up in advance, to let him know the rules have changed: "This week, the kids who are very good at Mass get a very-good-at-Mass treat. The kids who aren't good get to stay at church and practice being good until the others get back from their treat. The kids who are only a little good can practice being better next week, but they don't get a treat until they do a really good job."
He's bright, so he may catch on that his number is up just from hearing the theory, but he's only two and a half, so he may not get it right away. He may need a little, "Oh, no, I'm sorry. Doughnuts are only for the kids who were good at Mass. Don't worry, you'll do better next week. I know you will." Be relentlessly positive about his prospects of giving in and how happy he'll be about it. This gives him no battle of wills to push against when you are so stubbornly on his side. (It drives them nuts.)
The sliding scale of rewards also gives him a reason to straighten up when he's already lost the gold prize. This follows my rule of penalties for kids: Make sure penalties aren't so bad that further bad behavior can't make things worse, if there will be any time to make more choices between the offense and the penalty. Otherwise, they'll figure out that they may as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.
You can let the older kids encourage him--c'mon, Jack, be good, because we want you to have doughnuts with us--but no gloating over their superior performance is allowed. Nothing good will come of that. And no chiming in or piling on in agreement while Mom is parenting. One set of parents is enough for anybody.