Of all the things about raising clergy kids, this is one of the most sensitive. How do you handle other people disciplining your kids at church?
Because our kids thought of church (even the sanctuary) as a second home, I let them run and play there. Many times, especially during the early years, we would be there with with Dad to unlock the doors and then we were often the last to leave--locking the doors of the church behind us. One of our churches was a very large, old, downtown church with lots of nooks and crannies. It even had a "secret" storage space where my husband kept some books. Needless to say, my child loved playing hide-and-seek in the church, in part because she knew all the best hiding places. So bottom line, my kids ran around, even in the sanctuary, which was fine with me. But it was not so fine with some other church members.
More than once, I heard a person call out to my children and admonish them not to run in the sanctuary. Most of the time, the kids complied, mainly because they respected authority, not because they thought it was fair. And sometimes, when I saw it happen, I would use the opportunity to remind whomever of the fact that I thought it was important to love being at the church even if that meant not being quiet all the time.
But I still didn't like the whole situation. I didn't want other people to think my kids were trouble makers and I didn't want my kids (or me) to get pushed around. And I certainly didn't want others disciplining my kids, especially when I thought the reasons were so off-based.
What do you do? What happens when other people discipline your kids, especially at church?