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I went to Mass tonight, but the couple with kids a few pews up prevented most of us from hearing the readings and other portions of the Mass because the children were disruptive. The parents ignored the numerous looks from others (I could see the looks because I was behind the parents; the noise must have been worse for the ones sitting in front of the screamers). I don't blame the kids, but I do blame the parents who ruin the Mass for everyone else by not caring for their kids (a disruptive kid today turns into a socially inept adult tomorrow). I could not hear the readings, the sermon, or the Eucharistic prayer. It went on and on with them.

What to do? If the parents are not going to respond to disapproving looks by the people around them who are affected, is there something else we can do as a congregation to inform them that they are preventing others from participating in the Mass?


Mar 23rd 2014 new
Hi Jefferson,

I don't know what to do except pray for them. This happens a lot in my church. And other churches that I visit. Our past pastor would tell the kids to settle down and the parents to discipline them and it worked. But this pastor, as I love him, won't do it. People give them looks but they either don't respond or just a quick responses and than back to the 'ol behavior. Perhaps someone else has a wise answer. God bless. Praying
Mar 23rd 2014 new
(quote) Jefferson-712333 said: I went to Mass tonight, but the couple with kids a few pews up prevented most of us from hearing the readings and other portions of the Mass because the children were disruptive. The parents ignored the numerous looks from others (I could see the looks because I was behind the parents; the noise must have been worse for the ones sitting in front of the screamers). I don't blame the kids, but I do blame the parents who ruin the Mass for everyone else by not caring for their kids (a disruptive kid today turns into a socially inept adult tomorrow). I could not hear the readings, the sermon, or the Eucharistic prayer. It went on and on with them.

What to do? If the parents are not going to respond to disapproving looks by the people around them who are affected, is there something else we can do as a congregation to inform them that they are preventing others from participating in the Mass?


Once or twice I have said something. It is difficult for the priest to say anything because then they start tearing him apart. A few months ago I was sitting next to a family who had 4 children. 3 of the children were well behaved, the youngest 18 months was not only talking but constantly moving around. I was sitting right next to them. At the right moment I got up and moved my seat 2 rows ahead. I don't understand parents with children who act like this. What are they teaching them, to me nothing. Yet the rest of the congregation has the right to come to mass and pray. Especially when it today's day and age this is the only time they can get to church. What is so difficult to sit somewhere that if they have to take the child out they can without disrupting everyone. We even have a side room where they can go and see and hear the Mass and not interrupt everyone else's praying.
Mar 23rd 2014 new
Do you have a Children's Room in your church where parents with young or restless children use till their children are old enough to be quiet during Mass? Perhaps you could approach your priest and make the suggestion of building a Children's Room at your parish? Or another suggestion is if there is already a Children's Room, then for the Lector to make an announcement at the beginning of Mass. For example, the Lector at my parish usually starts off the mass with, "Good Morning and welcome to _________ Parish. It is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. For parents with young or restless children, please use the Children's Room. For those with cellphones, please turn them off and for those chewing gum, please refrain from doing so in the Church. Please stand and join us in the Entrance Hymn found on the overhead." I completely understand your frustration. The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago, but I was already in the Children's Room (no more seats, despite arriving early to mass), so there wasn't really much else I could do.
Mar 23rd 2014 new
(quote) Jefferson-712333 said: What to do? If the parents are not going to respond to disapproving looks by the people around them who are affected, is there something else we can do as a congregation to inform them that they are preventing others from participating in the Mass?


Disapproving glares are neither necessary nor appropriate. At the appropriate time, get the attention of an usher and have the usher deal with the situation.
Mar 23rd 2014 new
Eh, I disagree. Why is it not appropriate to make it known to the parents that they are trespassing on others' tranquility at Mass? I think we as the congregants have the right to make it known to the disruptors that we are being disrupted and that it is appropriate to give the proper "look" to the parent. There is no need to go get an usher to handle it. We are adults and can make appropriate disproving looks at the offenders.
Mar 23rd 2014 new

Some disruptions are to be expected, and I think some of them are excusable. It isn't always children either. More than one adult has had a horrible coughing fit during Mass that I have seen. Some are a bit more understandable. A child under the age of 1 that starts crying, well they don't know any better, and the parents can take care of that by taking the child out into the entrance, or into a side room to deal with the issue.

However, the worst disruption during Mass I have ever experienced was with 3-5 year olds and the parents had given them those talking books that make sounds when you press the button. Well, the kids were pressing the music and the sound effects, and the parents were just oblivious to the disruption, thinking that their kids were just so cute in pressing all the buttons. I came to Mass to pray, not listen to the sound effects from talking children's books. Seriously, the recordings were making sounds like "ptttt-oinggg" and fairy music. It is mind-boggling that parents do not know better than to allow their child a small quiet toy if they really must bring something to Church. The purpose of the toy should be to settle them down if they are acting up, not to stimulate disruptive behaviours.

Mar 23rd 2014 new
I think it really depends on the age of the child. Babies and small toddlers can't help it. Most parents take the kids out if they won't settle down. I've noticed a young disabled boy in a wheel chair at some of our masses, I think he has Cerebral Palsy. He sometimes makes noises during mass but he can't help it either. I think it's a positive sign seeing young kids at mass.

A few weeks ago, our pastor glared at a woman who walked back to her pew before one of the first Gospel readings. She came from an area that has a bathroom and really didn't notice the priest staring at her. He wouldn't begin the reading until she sat down. I thought the priest's behavior was a little unChristian. Maybe the woman didn't feel well. We're all human, after all.
Mar 23rd 2014 new
When in doubt, offer it up for someone or the souls in purgatory. Can't go wrong there!
Mar 23rd 2014 new
(quote) Anna-1061976 said: Do you have a Children's Room in your church where parents with young or restless children use till their children are old enough to be quiet during Mass? Perhaps you could approach your priest and make the suggestion of building a Children's Room at your parish? Or another suggestion is if there is already a Children's Room, then for the Lector to make an announcement at the beginning of Mass. For example, the Lector at my parish usually starts off the mass with, "Good Morning and welcome to _________ Parish. It is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. For parents with young or restless children, please use the Children's Room. For those with cellphones, please turn them off and for those chewing gum, please refrain from doing so in the Church. Please stand and join us in the Entrance Hymn found on the overhead." I completely understand your frustration. The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago, but I was already in the Children's Room (no more seats, despite arriving early to mass), so there wasn't really much else I could do.
I frequently attend a parish that uses the "announcement" before mass begins and sadly, it doesn't work.
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