problem child at mass

Question from laura on 1/13/2008:

Hi Father-please remember me and my kids in your prayers-I am going through more trials in my life. Here's what happened, at mass this morning I took my two adhd kids with me to the base chapel. They all know my kids-the good and the bad. This morning, my 5-yr-old daughter was very uncooperative. Behaving very badly. She wouldn't listen and was very out of control. At the start of mass, she was fine, at the time of consecration, she started to get out of hand. I took her outside in the corridors and had a battle of sorts with her. When she calmed down somewhat, I made her promise that she would behave and be quiet, no outbursts. We went inside and she started to shout angrily at me. I put my finger to my lips to shush her to no avail. The priest sent an alter boy over to my pew, saying the priest wanted to see my daughter. He ended up putting her in his seat at the alter, a time-out (he was kind and everything). I felt so embarassed and angry at my child. So angry that after mass, we didn't go to the social for donuts and coffee. We went to religion class thirty minutes later and she was somewhat calmer. My son was slightly disruptive yet overall was good. So, what do I do-one, take my 5 and 11-yr-old to the cryroom in the back, not allowing them to play, two, keep the 5-yr-old home with her older sister until I can get her on-track, or three, go to another parish that may have a nursery of sorts for her. She is on meds and overall, it seems to be helping yet at times, she can impossible to manage. I am coming down tough on her and consistent-she just seems to be the worse of my three kids lately. She will be 6 this year (Sept). Did you know of any parents in your parents with a similar situation who ended up getting a handle on their problem kids? What works? She did had a coloring book and crayons to keep herself entertain by yet even that didn't help. Thanks, Father. I am currently contemplating on whether or not to go to another parish or leave her home. Sincerely, laura

Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 1/14/2008:

Dear Laura, I am sure some motherly poster can help you and will, too. God bless you. Fr. Bob Levis

1 comment:

  1. Hello Laura,

    Has no-one replied to your post? My heart goes out to you.

    I think my kids might not have been quite so difficult, but at times two of them severely tried my patience - not adhd but allergic to artificial colours and flavours which is fairly controllable, but one also had a significant gross motor problem which left her extremely frustrated and needing to be in control - hard, hard work.

    My suggestion would be to avoid situations of conflict as much as possible and leave the fights for the really big issues that you just have to win - the cry-room might be an option even though they are not babies; taking your daughter out of Mass for a while when she is particularly difficult might also be an option on occasions; after all you have a duty of care to her as well as a duty to God - and I am sure He understands; is there anyone at home that you can leave her with while you go to Mass and only bring her say once a month? Is there some way you can attend Mass by yourself sometimes so that you can have uninterrupted time with your God?

    I have had to endure the frowns and judgemental looks of other Mass-goers and I did think to myself that everyone should have at least one hyper-active child so that they know what other people have to go through!

    I'm sure you are already taking the crayons, the Jesus books, the ordinary books, the snacks and anything else you know you might need to divert your child.

    The consolation - my children did improve - and did grow into fine adults.

    I hope things are improving for you a bit by now.

    Love and Blessings,