My in-laws are upset that we sit in the back of Church


#1

My wife is close with her parents. Before we got married, we all atteded church together. My in-laws always sit in the very first pew. It's like if they're not sitting on top of the Priest, then they aren't at church. Anyways, we have a 2 year old child that likes to run around and we prefer to sit in the back, where it specifically says, "RESERVED FOR FAMILIES WITH SMALL CHILDREN".In-laws are upset that we don't sit with them and they think that we're "hiding". We tried explaining that with a child it's really hard and they come back with "We always sat in the first pew and we had TWO children to take care of". They even stated that they would help out with our child if we sit with them.

I don't know how else to approach this. I mean, it's not like we're missing Mass.


#2

[quote="joshkt79, post:1, topic:253351"]
My wife is close with her parents. Before we got married, we all atteded church together. My in-laws always sit in the very first pew. It's like if they're not sitting on top of the Priest, then they aren't at church. Anyways, we have a 2 year old child that likes to run around and we prefer to sit in the back, where it specifically says, "RESERVED FOR FAMILIES WITH SMALL CHILDREN".In-laws are upset that we don't sit with them and they think that we're "hiding". We tried explaining that with a child it's really hard and they come back with "We always sat in the first pew and we had TWO children to take care of". They even stated that they would help out with our child if we sit with them.

I don't know how else to approach this. I mean, it's not like we're missing Mass.

[/quote]

Maybe try it once...tell them you are reluctent...but with try their way once. If it doesn't work...at least you can say..."look, we tried it your way once....." Nothing personal.

I personally don't like the back because I can't see or hear. Which is maybe why your in-laws don't like it either.


#3

[quote="Annabelle_Marie, post:2, topic:253351"]
Maybe try it once...tell them you are reluctent...but with try their way once. If it doesn't work...at least you can say..."look, we tried it your way once....." Nothing personal.

I personally don't like the back because I can't see or hear. Which is maybe why your in-laws don't like it either.

[/quote]

We have tried it once. Our child kept wanting to run and explore and when I wouldn't let her, she started crying and had to take her outside and let her run out there. I think I'll tell them that once she gets older, we can all sit in the front pew like one big happy family(without the sarcasm).


#4

In-laws = discussion for your husband. ;)

They need to get used to the fact that you and your husband are not THEM. You will make LOTS of different minor choices along the way... none of them really matter in the long run.
If they're going to take this personally, then they're going to take a LOT of minor things personally, and that's just the joy of dealing with family personalities.

I would encourage your husband to have a peaceful conversation with his parents. Remind them that this is "not about them" and that you love them very much. Your children have different personalities than theirs did... etc, etc...

My MIL is a front-pew-sitter too... we are just not comfortable there. This has no bearing on our ability to focus on the Mass or how to teach our children to behave and pray properly at Mass (in fact, we get loads of compliments every single week on their behavior!)... it's just a personality difference.


#5

I was the opposite, I preferred being up front with my children so that they could see what was going on.

I remember going to the Easter Vigil with Dad and DD when she was about 4. We didn't get there early and by the time we did most of the pews were taken and so I just kept walking until we got to the vacant second pew. As we slipped in Dad looked at me and said, "I notice there's nothing on the altar, you sure you wouldn't like to go sit there??" I had to explain that keeping DD interested in what was going on was more important than his discomfort at sitting up front -- a strange discomfort for a man who served Mass for over 30 years.:shrug:


#6

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:4, topic:253351"]
In-laws = discussion for your husband. ;)

[/quote]

AMEN! :thumbsup:

When I was in RCIA, my husband (then boyfriend) would tell me that "good Catholics sit in the back." :p It may not be the line to use in this situation, but your wife might mention that where someone sits says nothing about how faithful they are or aren't, and that you are trying to be charitable towards other parishioners.


#7

My wife and I go back and forth with jokes. I tell her that if her parents wouldn't be sitting on the Priest then maybe we could all compromise, and she fires back with, "Well, at least my parents go to church."

She always wins.


#8

By the way, I am the husband


#9

invite the in-laws to take care of the children, and the two of you sit where you want so for once you get to participate in Mass uninterrupted by the needs of small children.

my bet is (after having attended Mass all summer with the grandchildren) they will be more than glad to hand them back to you next week and enjoy the peace and quiet of the first row


#10

[quote="joshkt79, post:7, topic:253351"]
My wife and I go back and forth with jokes. I tell her that if her parents wouldn't be sitting on the Priest then maybe we could all compromise, and she fires back with, "Well, at least my parents go to church."
She always wins.

[/quote]

:rotfl:

[quote="joshkt79, post:8, topic:253351"]
By the way, I am the husband

[/quote]

Oops... sorry... you know what happens when you "assume". Sigh. :blush:
Yeah... make that a "discussion for your WIFE!" ;)


#11

[quote="puzzleannie, post:9, topic:253351"]
invite the in-laws to take care of the children, and the two of you sit where you want so for once you get to participate in Mass uninterrupted by the needs of small children.

my bet is (after having attended Mass all summer with the grandchildren) they will be more than glad to hand them back to you next week and enjoy the peace and quiet of the first row

[/quote]

I suspect you're absolutely correct.:D


#12

You can sit where you want and your in-laws can learn to live with it. Provided that she isn't letting your child disrupt Mass or otherwise preventing you from your duties as a parent, I'd concentrate on pleasing your wife in this matter, and let the chips fall where they may.

If your wife wants to let Grandma and Grandpa have a stab at handling the 2 year old, though, I'd make two conditions: they take her out if she needs to be taken out, and if they don't keep her reined in to your specifications (rather than the ones they had for your wife when she was little) with you standing right there, you will reserve the right to discipline your child personally and sit where you think that is best accomplished. If your wife agrees to present these conditions as a commonly-held between you two parents, then you're good to go. Whatever you do, whether you are contending with child or in-law or anyone else, become a unified force with your wife before you take on anyone else.

It would hardly be unknown for a little kid to be an angel with Grandma when she would not mind anything like so well with her mom or dad, for the old saying is true: Grandparents and grandchildren get along so well because they are each locked in combat with a common enemy. :D

Mostly, though, in this battle you be the President, but let your wife be Field Marshall. You provide the moral center, but you let her run the battle. She knows her parents, she will bear the emotion of the interchange the most, and her parents will not see her as an interloper interfering with family harmony or politics. If she concedes a part of the field in order to better wage the larger campaign, let her do it.


#13

Make sure your kid doesn't run around or cry! When I was little I was made to sit still for an hour.

That being said, if you tried it once, then you gave it an honest try. Tell them that once your kid is older and consistently behaves at mass you can join them up front. That is perfectly reasonable, and they should understand!


#14

You are the head of your family, and you should sit where you think it is most appropriate for you and your family.

Your in-laws need to understand that you need to be where it is best for your family.


#15

You could just give the reason I like to sit in the back at mass when I'm not serving in some capacity at the mass.

We like to leave the forward seats open for the elderly and infirm so that they don't have as far to walk for communion, the priest can get to them easier to serve them in their seats if they need to, and so those who can't see or hear well can be up closer. We're young, healthy, and can sit in the back so others who need to closer seating can have it! ;)


#16

Regardless of how close my future wife is with her parents-and being close with them is a good thing-I would never let them try to pressure me with things this mundane. If they try to boss you around with this thing, they'll try to boss you around with things much more serious.

Without trying to sound like a jerk, I'd tell them, "Look, we're sitting in the back. You sit up there. If you don't like it, your welcome to sit with us. Here, have some coffee."


#17

[quote="joshkt79, post:1, topic:253351"]
In-laws are upset that we don't sit with them and they think that we're "hiding". We tried explaining that with a child it's really hard and they come back with "We always sat in the first pew and we had TWO children to take care of".

[/quote]

You've tried to explain it to them and they refuse to listen. I usually take this tact in that situation:

“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”


#18

Your in-laws sound a little controlling and that is not a good thing.

The decision about where you sit at Mass is between husband and wife* only*
In-laws have no say in this matter. This could be an issue of your wife not leaving (parents)and cleaving(to her husband) I hope this is not the case because this kind of behavior will create disorder in the marriage and by extension disorder in the relationship with the in-laws.

Little things like this can add up to big trouble in young marriages.I hope you and your wife can work this out. God bless your marriage.


#19

[quote="Rascalking, post:16, topic:253351"]
Regardless of how close my future wife is with her parents-and being close with them is a good thing-I would never let them try to pressure me with things this mundane. If they try to boss you around with this thing, they'll try to boss you around with things much more serious.

Without trying to sound like a jerk, I'd tell them, "Look, we're sitting in the back. You sit up there. If you don't like it, your welcome to sit with us. Here, have some coffee."

[/quote]

I don't think you mean you can stop them from trying. Controlling goes both ways! OTOH, you're right that it can be a bad lesson to let others succeed in winning you over with unwelcome pressure tactics. You do teach others what kind of treatment works with you. The use of the infrequently rewarded tactic is the hardest to extinguish, particularly if the infrequent score is ever thought to be a major one.

It's better, though, if their daughter gets to be the heavy when delivering the "no, thanks." If she actually wants to sit with them, that might be fine. You two talk about that. If she doesn't, support her in standing up to them herself.


#20

I agree with the notion that where you sit is entirely up to you and your wife and nobody else.

I would personally disagree with the suggestion that you let your in-laws try watching your 2-year-old during Mass (and by "personally," I mean "STRONGLY"). We did this with my mother-in-law once because she was so disgusted by how mean and controlling we were being with our daughters during Mass (by "mean and controlling," she meant, "not letting the then 6 & 7 year old girls bring toys and bags full of food into Mass with them"). We pointed out how well-behaved they were, but she insisted they were miserable and not enjoying Mass.

I'd forgotten how, when our son was little, she'd take him into the cry room and let him run wild, so apparently Mass was supposed to be a fun occasion for kids in her eyes. I decided to let her watch our girls during Mass just so she could get a taste of how we operated. I told her that the only way I'd agree to it was if she'd abide by our standards of behavior, meaning that, while under her watchful eye, they weren't allowed to play, fight, or disrupt anyone else, and if things got out of control, she had to take them to the back of the church until they were under control. I also told her that she wasn't to ask us to reign them in when her methods failed.

Without rehashing the whole mess, I'll just sum up by saying that feeding little girls candy and juice all throughout Mass is no way to keep them under control. Walking out when they get out of hand and reneging on an agreement is also no way for an adult to behave. It took us a few weeks to get them back to being their normal, well-behaved selves at Mass after that (they couldn't understand why we wouldn't let them have candy since Grandma did), but if nothing else, it taught us a good lesson. Since then, we've seldom even let them sit at the other end of the pew with relatives, let alone allowed anyone to watch over them or make suggestions about how we should handle them at Mass.


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