Sunday, August 24, 2008

We need advice.

Today we tried a new church. One that is within walking distance, which is pretty cool. Its called Lake Country Baptist and has around 150 people I'd guess.

Right away we appreciated that we were noticed as newcomers and welcomed as such. Mom, you'll like this... as we were walking in, an older lady greeted us and asked about the children and such. When she found out how close E & G were, she said, "Oh, that is wonderful". Another greeter said, "My goodness your hands must be sooo busy with these three" and the lady said, "But its good, so very good". It totally reminded me of you. There was also a really good mix of old and young people, which is important to us.

We put Gwennie in her class (went in without a single look back at us), and Ethan joined us for the service until dismissal to his class after worship. This is where we need help. He was pretty bad. I had to take him out and into the bathroom for some serious discussion about his behavior. After that I tried to take him into his class and he acted much like he did last year at pre-school for the first month. Whiny, crying, pouting, dramatic and pretty much miserable. After trying to get him to warm up and play for 15 minutes, I decided to bring him back into the service. He then started acting up and talking, fake crying really loudly, pouting and being destructive. Jason took him out for a few minutes and when he returned he started kicking the chair in front of him. Needless to say, it was embarassing and stressful and I remember exactly one sentence of the entire sermon!

Its really the most I've felt like a complete dunce of a parent. Now, in all fairness, he had an allergy flare up this morning and was on Benadryl. I'm sure that didn't help. But this behavior is not abnormal. Anyone who knows Ethan has seen these things happen before. I realize he's 4, but his behavior seems immature for a 4 year old, at least to me. And worse, I feel like we don't know what to do to make it better. We punish him, especially in public, and he reacts even worse. If we try to deal with it by talking or distraction, the behavior really amplifies.

I feel like we're doing it all wrong, but I don't know how to do it right. Any advice? Post it in a comment or email me. I want to hear what others, outsiders, have to say.


Squaw Creek Ranch said...

Advice? Persevere. You are not a bad parent, we have all been there. All of us. Like I always say, my children are the biggest tool in my Lord’s hands for sanctifying ME. ;) In our church as soon as children turn four they are expected to sit in church with their parents for worship. When we first came, it was NOT easy. Our children were carried to the back for a "talking to" several times a service. The advice I received from older women was to not give in or let up. We sat in the back for the first six months, humiliated! Persevere. It hurt my pride because I was embarrassed of my child’s behavior because, like you, I thought it reflected my parenting. I guess it did, to a point. But the fact is it is all part of raising these children for the glory of God. What has worked for us is to have a half hour every day of quiet sit-down time to learn the art of bodily self control. That starts at age 2. Persevere with discipline and prayer every church service. Before we’d go to church we’d explain kindly but in no uncertain terms that they were expected to do ______ and if they chose to disobey daddy or mommy we’d end up in the bathroom. Then as soon as we ended up in the bathroom(and you know we did!) they were reminded of what we said before church and given biblical discipline. We can get so weary of doing this over and over with kindness on our tongues, but it WILL get better and they will happily give in and respect you for it. That was three years ago and our children, 4 and up, sit beautifully in the service with us and we hear every word. This too shall pass...

mrshoppes said...

Time, hugs, prayers, patience, perseverence, and humor will help you through.

Being a new church, he may not feel comfortable leaving the only familiar thing (you) to go with a bunch of people he doesn't know.

Maybe working out a compromise with him. This (next) week, he sits in service with you and the following week, you go in with him. Go back and forth for a few weeks and work your way to him being in his class without you by you leaving 10 or 15 minutes earlier than class lets out leaving him there without you the last bit.

As you said, he is 4. You also have a new baby don't forget. That is a big change for him and he is not getting the attention he used to even though he is the oldest.

Also remind him of the rules. "I expect you to behave. If you do ____, this will happen." (Yes, we spank.)

One thing that helps me with my children are difficult in church is the older moms remind me that they went through the same thing. One mom even held Hannah so I could give Bethany a spanking. Talk about parental support!

Remember, God gave you three beautiful children to guide into adulthood. No where does it say you are alone in this journey. Lean on Him for His support and guidance and you won't go wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hey, hang in there. At our church they have the Sunday school class that starts the same time worship and then you pick them up after the sermon. You may keep them in with you till after worship or send them sooner. Yes it takes time, but as you know they know how to get the attention, good or bad. I have found with Tanner that if I just ignore the tantrum or outburst it is not what the response he was looking for. I put him in church say hey have a good time,I will be back after my class too and then walk away. We have a number system that they put up if they need me. Now given my kids are older now and not a problem. Tanner does not like change so every year for a few years it was freak out time! Hang in there and find out if the teachers are willing to work with you. Love to hear the update on how it is goin. Denise

Anonymous said...

It helps if you give children choices.
For example, you can say to him "you can either sit here quietly with us or you can go in your classroom and play, your choice." That way he feels like he has a little bit of control, (within your limits) but he also knows what is expected from him.