Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:52 PM
What worked well for me, and for everyone I know who actually tried it, is this:
If your child is under about 18 months old and gets disruptive, take him or her out into the foyer and calm them. Don't let them run around, but do let them play quietly, just as you would in the chapel. Children that young are mostly too young to try to correct.
If your child is 1.5-2 years old or older, encourage them to be still in the chapel. If they refuse to do so, take them out. Don't delay more than thirty seconds or so; they must stop misbehaving immediately or you take them out. And when you get out of the chapel with them, make sure their lives are miserable (relatively speaking). Don't be mean or cruel, of course, but DO NOT LET THEM RUN AROUND. Seriously, I cannot even count the number of parents who take their screaming kids into the foyer and set them loose. What are they (the parents) thinking?!
No, when you take them into the foyer, you sit them on your lap (or on the floor facing the wall) and require them to sit still, silent and with their arms folded. Approximately 30 seconds per year of age is sufficient. When they have successfully sat quietly with their arms folded for the appropriate length of time, ask them if they would rather return to the chapel. If they say "no" -- and several of mine have said "no" at times -- that's fine. They just have to keep sitting there, staring at the wall. Eventually, I guarantee you they will want to go back in.
At that point, calmly tell them that they can be in the chapel only if they are quiet and reverent. Then take them back in, rinse and repeat.
I have taken a child out as often as four times during a single meeting, though it's rarely more than twice. And if you do this consistently -- by which I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME -- it will take a short time, somewhere between a couple of weeks and a few months, depending on the child, until you don't have to take him/her out any more. And after the age of three or four, it's very rare to have to do it again (though I recently took my six-year-old out for misbehaving).
No need to scold or get angry. It's all natural consequences, and it is boring as Safeway vanilla to sit in the foyer. (Mainly for the child -- you can usually hear the speaker. But even if it is boring for you, that's the price you pay to be a good parent.)
As for what the neighbor of a noisy family can do, I can't be of much help there. You can always offer to help if they don't have enough hands, but it's highly risky to offer to discipline the child, even in a friendly way as you suggest. Many people are very touchy about their parenting (or lack thereof) and don't take criticism well, even when the criticism is unintended and merely implicit (or inferred).
As if anyone could knowingly commit sin without being changed both in spirit, body, and mind. Let me say this again, sin changes who we are! -james12
We cannot become like God without becoming like God. -The Folk Prophet
We are a society of the damned. -Just_A_Guy
Impenetrability! That's what I say!