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Author Topic: preschooler dislikes church - what to do?  (Read 3555 times) Average Rating: 0
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kmm
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« on: January 07, 2009, 03:43:10 AM »

My 3 & 3/4 year old son really seems to dislike church. At first I took it to be a one off (he'll often dislike something one minute only to want it the next), but his statements of, "I don't like church, I don't want to go to church" have continued. The only way I can get him to church without a battle recently has been to threaten to leave him at home with his Baba, staying with us at the moment, who doesn't attend church (although reluctant to go to church, he'd rather go than be stuck at home cooped up in our little place). Then he spends much of his time at church telling us that he doesn't like church and wants to go somewhere else (fortunately in a whisper - even when he misbehaves in church, he always whispers - we managed to get that much into him).

Anyway, I was wondering what to do about this. I'm not out to make church entertaining or anything - it's good for him not to be constantly "entertained". But I would like him to develop an appreciation for church.

Is it just a stage that kids this age go through? My dad, who is not a Christian, as a very young child did have to attend church and it bored him silly - he keeps telling me that church doesn't have  any meaning for kids, doesn't really do anything for them, and why make them attend? - I, of course, do not agree.

Although we don't attend church as much as we should (for instance, tonight was the first I've been at church for several weeks due to work obligations, significant illness, and then being snowed in, although we usually go at least twice per month), I think we are pretty positive about it, so I don't think that's rubbing off on him. My husband needs to be encouraged to go, but once he's there he's happy he's come. I love going to church.

I've also tried telling my son that church makes us stronger, that it makes God and Jesus happy when we go, etc. etc.

We try to engage our son by talking, sometimes (I do know I need to shut up in order for him to really experience things) about the icons, what's going on etc.

I do expect him more and more to stand or sit for longer periods, but don't think I'm nasty about it. We don't usually go for the whole two hours, as we find it too challenging for both of our small children to be there for that long. I will allow him one or two small toys he can play with in the narthex, where most of the other children tend to hang out. But I do expect that he will continue to whisper here, and I do remain fairly strict about his behaviour (although will allow him to play quietly over to one side, out of others' way, with the other children) for periods of time. I want him to develop some discipline, but slowly and age appropriately.

Anyway, suggestions would be good. I'm actually quite upset that he's so negative about it. Now, he is exceptionally stubborn (and has been since literally the day he was born - quite seriously - once he decides he likes/dislikes something, he REALLY digs in his heels - yes, since birth - I won't go into that story right now. Funnily, my younger son is quite different and has been since birth too). But there has got to be a way around this. My dad points out that my eldest is the kind of kid who, depending on his guidance, could get himself into a lot of trouble, or turn out to be amazing. I would like to avoid the former, and to me, church, God, Jesus - a spiritual life, is one significant way to direct him the right way.

Ideas please?
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2009, 05:30:11 AM »

I have resorted to the oldest trick in the book, "Come to Church and I will give you candy/hamburgers/pizza". Say what you will about bribery but it works on kids.

I also have found it to be a good idea to bring a colouring book and crayons. If you want you can print out some line drawings of icons instead of bringing a colouring book. Check out http://dce.oca.org/resources/line-drawings/

My oldest kid is seven and I try to encourage her to stand and participate as much as possible, but I will not force her except for gospel readings, the creed and the Lords prayer.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 05:34:01 AM by Robert W » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2009, 06:50:32 AM »

I'm afraid I don't have any ideas that would be helpful, though fwiw I can sympathise with you. My 2 year old thinks that Church time is play time, and insists on running around, playing "keep away from Mommy/Daddy," bothering other people (who are always gracious about it), and so forth. It got so bad that we finally had to start taking her out of the Church and let her run around the fellowship hall, only going back in for communion and the end of service. So in the end we decided to let her stay at home when we can get a sitter, until she grows out of this stage. I don't know if something similar would work for you or not (I know you mentioned that this is an option, and one that your child wouldn't really like, but maybe forcing him to stay home a couple weeks would help him see the light, so to speak). I don't really like the idea of keeping kids away from the Church, but if things get unbearable, it might be a last resort option.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 06:52:29 AM by Asteriktos » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2009, 08:39:10 AM »

I'm afraid I don't have any ideas that would be helpful, though fwiw I can sympathise with you. My 2 year old thinks that Church time is play time, and insists on running around, playing "keep away from Mommy/Daddy," bothering other people (who are always gracious about it), and so forth. It got so bad that we finally had to start taking her out of the Church and let her run around the fellowship hall, only going back in for communion and the end of service. So in the end we decided to let her stay at home when we can get a sitter, until she grows out of this stage. I don't know if something similar would work for you or not (I know you mentioned that this is an option, and one that your child wouldn't really like, but maybe forcing him to stay home a couple weeks would help him see the light, so to speak). I don't really like the idea of keeping kids away from the Church, but if things get unbearable, it might be a last resort option.

What is the consequence for playing up in church? Do they understand its a sacred and important thing. Even when I was a 8 year old Atheist I respected church and I understood it was a place for solemnity and reverence.
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2009, 08:47:29 AM »

I'm afraid I don't have any ideas that would be helpful, though fwiw I can sympathise with you. My 2 year old thinks that Church time is play time, and insists on running around, playing "keep away from Mommy/Daddy," bothering other people (who are always gracious about it), and so forth. It got so bad that we finally had to start taking her out of the Church and let her run around the fellowship hall, only going back in for communion and the end of service. So in the end we decided to let her stay at home when we can get a sitter, until she grows out of this stage. I don't know if something similar would work for you or not (I know you mentioned that this is an option, and one that your child wouldn't really like, but maybe forcing him to stay home a couple weeks would help him see the light, so to speak). I don't really like the idea of keeping kids away from the Church, but if things get unbearable, it might be a last resort option.

Unfortunately, on a negative note (I have positive things to suggest/say, but not the time now):

When my kids thought Church was play time (in the sense of being disruptive, they could draw (they usually drew things in Church as it was) point, etc. to their hearts content) they got a time out in the corner in the narthex. Rarely it took a repititon in the service.  And I was also IMMEDIATE with the time out.

Were it not for the reason that you say your son hates staying home, under no circumstances would I even think of doing that.  I made it quite clear that it was a nonnegotionable, like school.  In fact, I made that more clear by justing acting as if the question never entered my mind at all.

I'll post more when I get the chance.  Btw, both my sons (10 and 11) are proof that your father is utterly wrong that children get nothing out of Church.
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2009, 09:13:27 AM »

Is it just a stage that kids this age go through? My dad, who is not a Christian, as a very young child did have to attend church and it bored him silly - he keeps telling me that church doesn't have  any meaning for kids, doesn't really do anything for them, and why make them attend? - I, of course, do not agree.

I'll post more when I get the chance.  Btw, both my sons (10 and 11) are proof that your father is utterly wrong that children get nothing out of Church.

I have an anecdote that speak against the opinion that kids get nothing out of church.

My wife recently discovered that our son (5 years) had taken an icon from our icon corner. He was holding it in front of our youngest (3 month old girl). He was trying to instruct her, telling her who was depicted on the icon (the Theotokos I think), moving her hand to make the sign of the cross and putting the icon to her lips.

Our son has never been able to stand still nor be quiet in Church, allways on the move and never paying any attention to the liturgy. Still he found it important to teach his baby-sister how to venerate icons.

While we might think that our kids learn nothing and just play around in Church, things DO in fact stick.
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 12:12:21 PM »

Have you asked him why he doesn't like church?  It may be that he does get restless after a while and needs a change of scenery or something quiet to do.  Or maybe the priest looks scary with all the vestments and smoke and such.  You'd be surprised what a four year old can make of unfamiliar situations... I remember not liking going to our old Baptist church when I was five and six because I thought all we did in Sunday School was squish Play-Do and drink Kool-Aid.  I was more interested in going to the service with my mom than the Sunday School.  On the other hand, some Orthodox parishes are adopting Sunday School as a way to teach kids about Orthodoxy in a way that's easier to grasp than listening to Matins.  (That said, I agree with other posters that you'd be amazed at what kids pick up in services!)  In any case, maybe there's something that's scary about church or something someone said that's bothering him. 

I agree with ialmisry that church should be non-negotiable, at least until a certain age (16 or 18, for example) under normal circumstances. Again, if he's frightened or upset about going to church then forcing him to go will not help. If it is just a matter of getting bored, try bringing coloring books, a stuffed toy, or a book for him to read to keep him interested.  I think it is a very good idea to keep explaining things to him throughout the liturgy as this will help him understand what he sees and also help him stay interested.  Encourage him to ask questions about what he sees and hears, too. 

He probably is going through a phase... he is right at the age to be exerting more independence and trying to make decisions for himself.  I think it's good, too, that you give him choices to make.  It sounds to me like you're doing a pretty good job.  He's just trying to exert some control over himself.  You may even give him a few decisions to make, like a choice between this outfit and that one for church, whether or not he wants cereal or pancakes for breakfast, etc.  Just simple things like that will make him feel like he has some control over what goes on (though the choices you give him should be between two things that are equally acceptable to you so no matter what he picks you'll be ok doing it). 

I hope this helps!  Sorry for the book!
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 12:42:54 PM »

My 3 year old son is not baptized.  My son and I (along with his older cousin) tried attending an Antiochian Church on the Sunday before Christmas; My son wouldn't sit still and others were looking at us funny as we kept leaving and reentering the sanctuary.  If said Church had a cribbery, I would have taken him there except I assumed the cribbery was closed due to the impending holiday.

We voluntarily left after the Gospel reading akin to the Cathecumens being asked to leave.

Note that my son didn't attend an Orthodox Church from his 40 Day Churching until the aforementioned visit.  He used his inside voice quite well and he was also restless.   Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 01:45:31 PM »

I think we are pretty positive about it [and] don't think I'm nasty about it.

Just a quick note to say that I think the above is crucial.  Specifically, what kind of person does your child perceive you to be when you're talking about God, trying to include spiritual things in your life, when you attend services, etc.?  If you are normally playful but turn into super-serious Church Enforcer when you're in Divine Liturgy (not saying that you specifically do, but I've seen it from several parents and try to avoid it like the plague myself), then your kid is going to think that "Church/God makes my mommy/daddy mean and angry."  No kid's going to want to participate in that.

I think it was our own Thomas (iirc) who said that one of his...kids?...grandkids?...mentioned to him that his (Thomas') eyes "were shinier in church," and that, of course, was a good thing in the child's mind, for it gave a good, gentle, happy association to what life in Christ does for him.

So I guess I'd say try to be mindful of that (without making it fake, of course), both when you're in church and when you're doing your morning/evening prayers with them at home, so that they can see that 1) Prayer to God is something we do every day in this family, and 2) This is a good thing for us to do.

My $0.02.
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 02:33:25 PM »

^I don't have kids or even a wife so if you would indulge a perspective of a single man for a second, maybe I can offer something.

My godfather is now a priest and he has two very young kids (4 and 2) with another one on the way.   The youngest still runs around during Church but the older one at four has calmed down quite a bit and I think the reason is this:  Their father, even before he was a priest, had a very active prayer life in his home and occasionally his daughter would join him and she would even go through all the motions with him, though I doubt she understood anything.  And, even in church, I would see her trying to make metanoias before the icons and kiss them.

Now, I'm not accusing any of you parents (I have no right to as I am not one and for a whole host of other reasons), but could it possibly be that if your child or children are not doing so well in Church it is because they have no analogy for it at home and thus there is a disconnect?  Again, I am passing no judgment or anything, I'm simply offering this as perhaps a reason.  Forgiveness, please, if I have offended anyone.
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 03:38:07 PM »

Sit towards the front if possible so that the kids have the best view of what is going on. We have icon cards, bibles and small soft toys we take with us for the kids to play with. I try to have "special things" that they can play with only during services so that just going to services and "playing" is a treat. My 7 and 3 year old daughters are great about church. My 18 month old son is a wild monkey-trying to climb everything ect. I have actually resorted to a toddler harness on occassion since my husband can't attend with us.

But this is an important thing to remember-if you keep your kids away because you don't think they are "ready" then how will they become ready? We don't force our kids to sit until we feel they are ready to walk and then expect them to walk perfectly. Why shouldn't we expect some floundering, stumbling and the like as they learn how to behave ad participate in church? The more services children attend the better. Try taking them to the less populated services like vespers. I have found that my kids are much better behaved when there are less people. Regular attendance is the only way to teach children to behave properly in service. You will see a difference in your kids if you take them regularly, in their conduct in and out of services.
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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2009, 03:46:37 PM »

Another great idea is to have a child size prayer book that outlines the service. There is this blue one that has angels on the front that is really great. Kids like to know what part of the service is coming next ect.

kmm; It sounds like you could loosen up a little on your son. If he is good with the toys and books it should be OK to take them into the nave. Just being there is important right now, paying attention thru the whole service can come later. And standing when he needs to-gospel, procession, censing and the like is plenty. He will eventually want to stand more on his own if left to his own devices. He will see you and everyone else doing it and will want to do it himself. But right now let him make the choice to stand or sit when it isn't mandatory. The more choice and freedom he has on these little things the happier he will be with being at church.
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« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2009, 03:55:42 PM »

Oh! And my daughter LOVES to bring her bible to church so she can look at the passage in her bible (to see the pictures that go with the "adult version).
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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2009, 03:58:54 PM »

http://www.archangelsbooks.com/proddetail.asp?prod=SDUGUARDANG

Here is the book I mentioned.
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2009, 03:07:31 AM »

Well, I'm glad I have people to commiserate here with, and to provide some wisdom. Again too, I appreciate the behaviour management ideas (keep 'em coming), but the big one, which some of you have been addressing, is actually instilling an appreciation so he actually will like and appreciate church. And yes, I do at times resort to bribery, although it goes against my feeling as a teacher that I must instill intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation. :-)

I think we are pretty positive about it [and] don't think I'm nasty about it.

Just a quick note to say that I think the above is crucial.  Specifically, what kind of person does your child perceive you to be when you're talking about God, trying to include spiritual things in your life, when you attend services, etc.?  If you are normally playful but turn into super-serious Church Enforcer when you're in Divine Liturgy (not saying that you specifically do, but I've seen it from several parents and try to avoid it like the plague myself), then your kid is going to think that "Church/God makes my mommy/daddy mean and angry."  No kid's going to want to participate in that.

I think it was our own Thomas (iirc) who said that one of his...kids?...grandkids?...mentioned to him that his (Thomas') eyes "were shinier in church," and that, of course, was a good thing in the child's mind, for it gave a good, gentle, happy association to what life in Christ does for him.

So I guess I'd say try to be mindful of that (without making it fake, of course), both when you're in church and when you're doing your morning/evening prayers with them at home, so that they can see that 1) Prayer to God is something we do every day in this family, and 2) This is a good thing for us to do.

My $0.02.

Something to thing about. Well, I do tend to be stricter, less playful whenever we are out in public, as I tend to be mindful of how our behaviour affects others. But while I can get away with that when we, for instance, go to the aquarium because he adores it. At home I am usually more playful. I even wrestle. And let the kids make a mess too. And jump on the couch (that horrifies people, but we don't have a yard,  have a small space, and I want my kids to get as much exercise as possible - if it means they have to jump on my old second hand couches, so be it - don't worry - they don't jump on other people's couches).

In church too some of the older ladies especially give the nastiest looks when kids misbehave, and I've overheard them, when they happen to be speaking in English, complain about some of the moms (which kills me - they never complain about the dads, which is especially galling since most of the moms have to work outside the home just as much as the dads due to the high cost of living here) and the way the children act.

Have you asked him why he doesn't like church?  It may be that he does get restless after a while and needs a change of scenery or something quiet to do.  Or maybe the priest looks scary with all the vestments and smoke and such. 

He probably is going through a phase... he is right at the age to be exerting more independence and trying to make decisions for himself. 

I hope this helps!  Sorry for the book!

I've tried asking him, but he won't or can't articulate it. He has always been quite fond of our priest, and he is rarely frightened by anything (okay, he did go through a love/hate relationship with the vacuum between years 1 and 2), but again, he may be and just not willing to tell us.

Re: decisions - good point!

And don't worry - I'm about the last person who should complain about the writing of books on this forum.



Unfortunately, on a negative note (I have positive things to suggest/say, but not the time now):

When my kids thought Church was play time (in the sense of being disruptive, they could draw (they usually drew things in Church as it was) point, etc. to their hearts content) they got a time out in the corner in the narthex. Rarely it took a repititon in the service.  And I was also IMMEDIATE with the time out.

Were it not for the reason that you say your son hates staying home, under no circumstances would I even think of doing that.  I made it quite clear that it was a nonnegotionable, like school.  In fact, I made that more clear by justing acting as if the question never entered my mind at all.

Time outs aren't very effective with him (especially if it's me trying to do it) because he's big and strong and I wear out before he does, not to mention I'm afraid of a disruptive scene occurring in the church (if my husband is available, it is a little easier for him, but again there is the scene). I am thinking now though that a couple of small toys in the church help because he does respond to my taking a toy from him if he misbehaves. And yeah, if he ever decides he would prefer to stay home to coming to church, I'll have to change tactics (but I think that's a part of parenting as kids change and mature). That said, in a few months we won't have someone we can leave him at home with anyway, so it'll be a moot issue.


Now, I'm not accusing any of you parents (I have no right to as I am not one and for a whole host of other reasons), but could it possibly be that if your child or children are not doing so well in Church it is because they have no analogy for it at home and thus there is a disconnect?  Again, I am passing no judgment or anything, I'm simply offering this as perhaps a reason.  Forgiveness, please, if I have offended anyone.

Well single man, you haven't offended me anyway - you've expressed yourself in a very gentle manner. Plus, I think you are probably right, at least in my case. We don't do nearly enough home prayer. My excuses are that I only get 5 hours sleep a night and don't want to sacrifice anymore, and that I also keep waiting for a time when all of us (husband included) are able to stand in one place at one time (my husband and I are constantly in juggling mode - you parents know how that is), even in the house, as we madly try and get stuff done (we do always pray and almost always eat dinner together though, unless hubby is out of town for work as he is currently). Neither excuse is acceptable, I know, and the latter needs to be solved by my just leaving my husband out of the equation if need be and get on with things. It's just that I keep hoping. Of course my hanging out here on this forum doesn't help, but I usually just go through a major writing phase once in awhile, so I don't think that's a big issue. And the reading is really important to me as I learn a lot here about Orthodoxy.

Sit towards the front if possible so that the kids have the best view of what is going on. We have icon cards, bibles and small soft toys we take with us for the kids to play with. I try to have "special things" that they can play with only during services so that just going to services and "playing" is a treat.

The more services children attend the better. Try taking them to the less populated services like vespers. I have found that my kids are much better behaved when there are less people. Regular attendance is the only way to teach children to behave properly in service. You will see a difference in your kids if you take them regularly, in their conduct in and out of services.

"special treat" toys - good idea.

Aahhh, vespers. Took the big boy for the Christmas Vespers Tuesday night. I always regret doing that with him though (and I know kids are all different), because at that time of day he falls asleep in the car on the way to vespers (and he won't nap nowadays earlier, and if he does nap he'll be up to 11pm). That would be fine, except he's inherited this thing from my husband where waking up from a late afternoon nap results in an extremely foul mood. My son will scream and cry (although that's improving) and insist I hold him/carry him, and will be problematic in general. So in our case the liturgy is much better because he's perky in the morning. But yes, we do need to at least be attending liturgy every weekend (I can't attend weekday ones because I am working outside the home).

Another great idea is to have a child size prayer book that outlines the service. There is this blue one that has angels on the front that is really great. Kids like to know what part of the service is coming next ect.

kmm; It sounds like you could loosen up a little on your son. If he is good with the toys and books it should be OK to take them into the nave. Just being there is important right now, paying attention thru the whole service can come later. And standing when he needs to-gospel, procession, censing and the like is plenty. He will eventually want to stand more on his own if left to his own devices. He will see you and everyone else doing it and will want to do it himself. But right now let him make the choice to stand or sit when it isn't mandatory. The more choice and freedom he has on these little things the happier he will be with being at church.

Thanks for the prayer book link. And maybe I do need to loosen up a bit. We've always allowed him some movement, and when the weather is somewhat reasonable he has always runs around a bit outside (inside doesn't work because our hall is usually off-limits because it now houses a preschool, which I understand, being a teacher who has had to share classroom space with evening/weekend classes, I know how frustrating it is when parents allow there children to wreak havoc in my teaching space and not clean up/replace destroyed/stolen item).

Anyway, lately I've thought that the running around part needed to be tightened up a bit, because we ended up spending very little time in church. Plus if he can sit still in preschool, and he can do it a bit at church. But perhaps he's just not ready for it yet.

Anyway, pardon my rather lengthy responses. I always feel the need to dot all my i's and cross all my t's, explain myself fully (although I never do to my satisfaction), and that is generally my reason for it. (That and I am a yakalot, and don't get much yakalot time nowadays in person).
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2009, 04:52:30 PM »

I was terrible in church when I was that age. You couldn't get me to keep still since I didn't really understand what was going on and I think that is the main problem why kids end up being bored and nto liking church. They have to really understand whats going on. One thing that could work is maybe before church, tell him about a Saint that is being commemorated on that day; talk about their life and virtues so they can learn and take example from them.
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2009, 04:59:50 PM »

^ I find it hard to talk to a young child in Church especially if said Church restricts conversations throughout (like they should).  In some Churches, good acoustics allow even for the faintest whisper to be heard across the Church.
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2009, 07:49:34 PM »

There's a couple of small children in the local Church who wander off during the service and grab a ton of books from the stand (mostly Greek service books) and bring them all the way across the room to their father who sighs and whispers "thank you", only to look on in desperation as they head back to grab some more. Cheesy

By the end of the Liturgy, he's left standing there with about 20 books. One of the reasons I find children so utterly endearing.
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2009, 10:19:42 PM »

kmm, a lot of what you say reminds me of my own little boy.  He doesn't hate church, but he's big, stubborn, and used to be very noisy in church.  (Now his dad takes him alone because we're going to different churches.  Sometimes he behaves, sometimes he doesn't.)



Something to thing about. Well, I do tend to be stricter, less playful whenever we are out in public, as I tend to be mindful of how our behaviour affects others. But while I can get away with that when we, for instance, go to the aquarium because he adores it. At home I am usually more playful. I even wrestle. And let the kids make a mess too. And jump on the couch (that horrifies people, but we don't have a yard,  have a small space, and I want my kids to get as much exercise as possible - if it means they have to jump on my old second hand couches, so be it - don't worry - they don't jump on other people's couches).

In church too some of the older ladies especially give the nastiest looks when kids misbehave, and I've overheard them, when they happen to be speaking in English, complain about some of the moms (which kills me - they never complain about the dads, which is especially galling since most of the moms have to work outside the home just as much as the dads due to the high cost of living here) and the way the children act.

I recently heard this same complaint about my own church.  I don't recall this happening when I first started going there and my DH and son came with me, even though my son was 2 and often noisy.  But a friend of mine ended up taking his family to a church in another city because of the looks and comments they got at our local church.  Our parish is aging fast, though the occasional small child turns up in DL, so we wonder if people there have forgotten what it's like to have a child in church.
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2009, 04:03:43 AM »

Is it just a stage that kids this age go through? My dad, who is not a Christian, as a very young child did have to attend church and it bored him silly - he keeps telling me that church doesn't have  any meaning for kids, doesn't really do anything for them, and why make them attend? - I, of course, do not agree.

Your father may be wiser than you think...the easiest way to get a child to eventually rebel against something is to force it upon them either physically or psychologically.

I'll post more when I get the chance.  Btw, both my sons (10 and 11) are proof that your father is utterly wrong that children get nothing out of Church.

LOL...my parents could have said the same about any of their upper middle class fervent Christian children at that age, but now we're all drunks, partiers, fornicators, and at least familiar with any number of illicit activities...even my 14 year old sister (who already has her 21st birthday in Vegas planned out...without our parents...I'm proud of her Grin); oh, and all of us over 18 have at least spent one night in jail (for alcohol related 'offenses', of course). Not to mention all five of us are either atheists, agnostics, or completely indifferent to religion of any kind. My parents are still fervent Christians, for which we all make fun of them when talking amongst ourselves. Give it ten years...or more likely three or four (I was an anomaly, not comming to my senses until my early 20's)...then we'll talk again about your 'proof'.
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2009, 10:49:13 AM »

LOL...my parents could have said the same about any of their upper middle class fervent Christian children at that age, but now we're all drunks, partiers, fornicators, and at least familiar with any number of illicit activities...even my 14 year old sister (who already has her 21st birthday in Vegas planned out...without our parents...I'm proud of her Grin); oh, and all of us over 18 have at least spent one night in jail (for alcohol related 'offenses', of course). Not to mention all five of us are either atheists, agnostics, or completely indifferent to religion of any kind. My parents are still fervent Christians, for which we all make fun of them when talking amongst ourselves. Give it ten years...or more likely three or four (I was an anomaly, not comming to my senses until my early 20's)...then we'll talk again about your 'proof'.

Just like you were influenced by your fervent Christian parents growing up, to no avail, I was influenced by the Soviet militant anti-theism, also to no avail. My belief in Christ and His Church is to some extent a product of my youth's rebellion against the Soviet officialdom. If I were forcefully taken to church every Sunday growing up... maybe I would hate it now, I don't know.
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2009, 01:28:45 PM »

LOL...my parents could have said the same about any of their upper middle class fervent Christian children at that age, but now we're all drunks, partiers, fornicators, and at least familiar with any number of illicit activities...even my 14 year old sister (who already has her 21st birthday in Vegas planned out...without our parents...I'm proud of her Grin); oh, and all of us over 18 have at least spent one night in jail (for alcohol related 'offenses', of course). Not to mention all five of us are either atheists, agnostics, or completely indifferent to religion of any kind. My parents are still fervent Christians, for which we all make fun of them when talking amongst ourselves. Give it ten years...or more likely three or four (I was an anomaly, not comming to my senses until my early 20's)...then we'll talk again about your 'proof'.

Just like you were influenced by your fervent Christian parents growing up, to no avail, I was influenced by the Soviet militant anti-theism, also to no avail. My belief in Christ and His Church is to some extent a product of my youth's rebellion against the Soviet officialdom. If I were forcefully taken to church every Sunday growing up... maybe I would hate it now, I don't know.

And I believe your example (and the example of kmm's father and perhaps her own live, I don't know about her mother but it seems she did at least rebel against her father's outlook on religion) provides evidence for the essence of my point. Human psychology, and especially the affect of early childhood psychology on later development, is not a simple thing. There is no formula you can follow to ensure your children will grow up to be exactly what you want them to be. However, I do think you can expect some degree of rebellion, if insufficent liberty is allowed they may rebel in the name of liberty and resent what was viewed as oppression; if insuficient order is expected they may rebel against this liberty and resent a lack of structure. Then there's the factor of social pressure, one can either seek to embrace or rebel against that, independent of their response towards their parents...there are numerous variables. Then again, they may grow up embracing the culture or customs in which they were raised (though, in my observation, this happens more often when raised in accordance with liberal society and without negative psychological factors in early childhood, the absense of either of those will tend to lead towards rebellion, but the absence of both could potentally lead to conformity...so there you go).

The bottom line is that there is no simple equation to follow or at least the equation is too complex to have yet been formalized and viable.
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« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2009, 04:25:18 AM »

My parents are still fervent Christians, for which we all make fun of them when talking amongst ourselves.

Sounds like you guys have really nailed it.  Wisdom!
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