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At what age should children not go to a funeral? - Page 2

post #21 of 43
The only person who has passed during my children's lifetime so far was DH's grandmother on December 23rd of last year.

We chose not to bring them (they're 2 and 4 years old) to the service because a) they hardly even knew who she was, and b) we didn't think they'd be able to sit still through the service, and didn't want them to interrupt.

We did, however, take them to visit with everyone after and that worked out just fine.

I absolutely think it depends on a lot of things. We would have taken the girls if they were really close to DH's grandmother, but sadly they don't even ask about her.
post #22 of 43
I've taken my kids to two funerals over the last year, but they were short and somewhat informal. I've skipped a funeral that I knew would be longer and more formal.
post #23 of 43
I've taken all my children to several funerals. But I think every family is different and has different "rules".
I think my kids have a healthy attitude towards death and have learned a great deal being part of the whole process.
However, if they were disruptive during any of the services I would leave immediately.
We just went to a funeral on Thursday and my boys asked lots of questions and showed a great deal of empathy towards our grieving family. And then they loved running around with their cousins afterward
I feel it is definitely a personal decision, probably based on our own views of death.
post #24 of 43
I tend to take my daughter everywhere with me, including funerals. Death is a part of life, I feel no need to shield her from that. Also, I have noticed- even when we were not especially close to the deceased- her presence has comforted people. Children, babies, represent our hopes for the future and remind us that life goes on.
post #25 of 43
I personally feel it is good to let children view death as they view everything else in life. Not attending funerals leaves questions that can breed fear of the unknown. I took my kids to their great-grandfathers funeral when they were 1, and 4. Its better to discuss death at a young age than older.
post #26 of 43
My kids will come no matter what age they are if they know the person.
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by averlee View Post
I tend to take my daughter everywhere with me, including funerals. Death is a part of life, I feel no need to shield her from that. Also, I have noticed- even when we were not especially close to the deceased- her presence has comforted people. Children, babies, represent our hopes for the future and remind us that life goes on.
:
post #28 of 43
nak.....so short...
It depends entirely upon the child. Dd (8) has been to funerals at almost every age; every kind from a home wake with open casket to memorial services. She's helping plan her Grampa's service right now in fact, at her request. In our family we feel that in general death shouldn't be hidden from anyone no matter what age any more than birth should. Not trying to say you did anything wrong of course. If we had a child who I thought would be disturbed by any of it we would adjust.
So you get where our perspective comes from we also live in the southern US where the culture of death is more open (not quite the right word perhaps). I'm also still at 36 hurt at being excluded from my Dads' death as a child.
post #29 of 43
My MIL recently passed away and all of the grandkids and great-grandkids were at the visitation, ages 18 months and up. Most of them stayed in a separate room across from the room where the adults were doing the visitation/where the body was. Someone commented that my DH's neices little girl (age 2) saw MIL and asked when she was going to sit up. It broke my heart.

The next day at the funeral none of the younger kids were there except for my DD (age 7) and DH's neice's son who is 4.5. They both did fine and didn't seem to be upset at all. We had a long talk with DD beforehand and she hasn't had any questions since and doesn't seem confused with any of it.

.
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrica View Post
I personally feel it is good to let children view death as they view everything else in life. Not attending funerals leaves questions that can breed fear of the unknown. I took my kids to their great-grandfathers funeral when they were 1, and 4. Its better to discuss death at a young age than older.
I agree. I'm pregnant and I think that helps people when grieving as well. So many people patted my belly and a lot of the relatives that live out of state were so thrilled to see that DH and I are expecting another child.
post #31 of 43
I think the question is different depending on which vantage point you are asking from. If it's what is appropriate for the children to realize happened, then I think it depends on the circumstances of the death, the nature of the funeral, and the sensitivity of the child, but I would not proscribe a No Children of X Age at Funerals. They can be fine at any age.

If it's what is appropriate, I think first that depends on who is grieving. I do not believe children between about the ages of 2 months and about 7 are able to control themselves well enough for a funeral(and should not be asked to), and were I to be the one grieving (say, if it was one of my parents), I would really hope no one would bring small children, if there was any way around it, and stay home if there wasn't. Obviously there are exceptions- if it's a grandchild of the deceased, it depends on whether the grieving child wants them there, or if god forbid it's a parent, of course the child should be there, etc. It would stress me out and interfere with the grieving process to have the funeral interrupted/threatened to be interrupted in that way, and I think the first obligation of funeral goers is to the bereaved. That said, I have thought about this issue a lot because my husband lost both his paternal grandparents in under a year, when my children were toddlers. We began to make plans for him to go alone, since there wasn't anywhere for us to leave the kids, but my IL's disagreed and asked us to bring the kids. They feel, like a lot of people upthread, that children bring new life and cheer to such a somber occasion. I brought them without another word, and I think that was the appropriate thing to do. I was hypervigilant about their disrupting the service, though.
post #32 of 43
i thnk it depends not only on the relationship, but the child themself. 1 child may be able to handle a funeral, wake, etc different then another child, so i dont think age is in itself a big factor for us.

We have lost a great many people in the last 6 years who were very close to my children, including both my parents. My children didn't go to any of the funerals. in fact, because of how i was reacting to my fathers death, i didnt bring my 2 months old with me, because i was not in a state of mind to proper care for my baby while mourning. I did, though, take a 2 month old to my grandfathers death. Different state of mind i guess... an unexpected death compared to one that was not unexpected.

For mty father, to whom my daughter was very, very close, i choose to not have him in his casket to be her last image of him (his death was very unexpected, 1 day fine, the next he was gone). I did take her to the grave site, even before it was "prettied up" with the headstone and such - it was just a mound of dirty and the flowers - heaped up almost as high as her. I also didnt take my children to see my mother in hospital just beforte she died to to alcoholism... not to the wake... which is when i had to decide to have a closed casket wake, due to... well....

but, i didnt think it was right for my children, in those specific situtations. If my grandmother were to die tomorrow, i may take my oldest (she's 10 1/2) but not my 2 youngest (6 and 3), because of their personalities in how they are, it would be more upsetting then... theraputic... for them to see her in such a fashion. My oldest, i think m ay be ok with it. My brother, who was 9 when our grandfather died, had (and maybe still has) issues with being forced to our grandfathers wake/funeral - he wasnt ready - i dont think most kids are at that age... and unless they are young enough to be clueless (so say, under a year old), i personally wouldnt bring a child to a wake/funeral.
post #33 of 43
For family members, the entire family always goes, no matter what age. Weddings, showers, funerals - we're very big on "family" here - no one gets excluded. Ever.
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by hempmama View Post
I do not believe children between about the ages of 2 months and about 7 are able to control themselves well enough for a funeral(and should not be asked to), and were I to be the one grieving (say, if it was one of my parents),
I know we all have our own feelings on this, but I feel that at age 7 a child is old enough to attend a funeral. My DD is 7 and loved her grandma a lot and I would have felt extremely guilty if I didn't give her a chance to go along to the funeral and grieve in her own way and say good-bye in her own way, just like the rest of us. No, she probably didn't get a whole lot out of it but I couldn't have left her with someone and gone without her. It was her father's mother who died and just disappeared on her. That wouldn't be right. My DD was saying good-bye to someone who played a very important role in her life since she was born.
post #35 of 43
A little bit further down I wrote about exceptions- Obviously there are exceptions- if it's a grandchild of the deceased, it depends on whether the grieving child wants them there, or if god forbid it's a parent, of course the child should be there

Grandparents are the most obvious and common one, though I think it varies based on the relationship and the child. My grandfather died when I was 7, and I wish I could have gone. One of my grandmothers died a few years later when my brother was 7, though, and he probably shouldn't have gone. He wasn't ready for it, and it didn't do anything for him.
post #36 of 43
I think it is important to take children, at almost all ages, to the viewing. That is a more casual thing where you can spend time with your child at the casket and explaining more what is going on, let them touch the body if they want to, and generally see that the spirit isn't there any more. That way there is time for them to say goodbye and to understand what is going on so they don't think the person just doesn't want to see them or whatever. The only exceptions to that, IMO, is if the child didn't know the deceased, or if they are in that window where they are starting to be aware of things, but not able to talk about it or process it...2s and early 3s for many kids.

The funeral itself it depends on the child. For dh's dad's funeral we had childcare for 7yo ds (autistic) who would have freaked out at the gun retorts (military funeral), but brought the 3yo to play with the other cousins off to the side (some friends of the local sibilings arranged to watch all the kids for the actual funeral part out at the graveyard...they had balls, played catch and just ran around...kids ranged from 2-8 or so) and a few of the kids were ok to actually come over to the burial.
post #37 of 43
IMHO and IME it depends on the child and the deceased.

Just a little over 3 mos ago, we lost DH's niece at age 17 very tragically. They currently do not live near us, but wanted to bury their dd in our area so the funeral was in our area. They then had a memorial service in their hometown the following weeks.

We received the call on a Sunday morning and it all happend very quickly and to put it lightly, we were devasted as was DH's whole family. DH and I had to put ourselves together to explain to our dds what had happend and how their cousin is in heaven. We then went to my ILs home as did most of my SIL/BILs which was very comforting. My DD who is 7, was very very sad, her younger sister who is 3 didnt really remember her cousin so was pretty much just caught up in the social part of seeing all the extended cousins and their kids etc which was nice.

DH said before the funeral plans he did not want his dds seeing their dead cousin in a casket and knew our girls would have nightmares. He remembered growing up his parents taking him to funerals and he said it gave him bad dreams. Later that week, two of my BILs confirmed the same thing and said- their parents "dragged" them to funerals and they also had the same issues, both felt we should leave the girls out of it. They were all under the age of 8 at the time growing up going to funerals.
My best friend who has kids the same age took them to their home for the visitation and then next following day for the funeral. It was a blessing, the kids had a blast and then after the buriel came to the gathering and hung out w cousins etc. It was also better for us, with our own grief plus DH was a pall bearer so a mass, long long long ride to the cemetary, the cermony there, plus watching their aunt/godmother and her grief was better to be missed. Nevermind the rest of the family and the grandparents.

OTH, my BIL/SIL who are older than DH have a dd who is also 6 1/2. I had offered them to bring DN to my friends home (they know her) but they were adament about their dd attending all the functions and I mean all. We were at the visitation from 5-10pm with the open casket, the following morning to close the casket, the mass, the long journey to the cemetary and then the final part. They were surprised we didnt include our two dds but my girls had seen their entire family the whole week grieving, bring relatives into our home etc so we felt a day playing was more in order. Their dd didnt really see anything until the visitation. BIL had also said, its a part of life and he remembered his parents taking him to funerals growing up. He was about 10-15 when they happend though. I shared what his younger brothers had said and he didnt realize that or the 1000s of morbid questions his dd would then ask of his family after the fact. Or the questions she would ask the surviving sister. UGH.

Now if it was their grandparents, yes I would have them attend to a point. They have been to visitations but usually they stay in the "social area" and DH and I take turns visiting the deceased and family.
post #38 of 43
As if this is issue is complicated enough, I think another major factor, if not THE major factor is how you predict you, yourself, your spouse, and the other mourners will behave.

Kids take their cue on how to feel about something, how to react to something, if something is scary or to be feared from us. If we are calm and reasonable, open to questions, willing to explain what is going on and generally just reassuring and stable, they will be fine, at any age.

However, if you have unresolved feelings about death, will be highly stressed, very negative and are just horrible at funerals, then it is probably going to be worth thinking about. Also, if you have people weeping and wailing and threatening to jump into the casket, best leave the kids home unless they are old enough to understand that some people really can't handle funerals.
post #39 of 43
I think that funerals are part of life and children are part of life. I'm not big on age segregation at any point for any reason. Well... ok, that's not true. There are things that I believe are 'adult only' but they aren't things that involve the normal parts of life.
post #40 of 43
I think it depends on the deceased and the immediate family of the deceased. For some, seeing children at the funeral can make the grief harder. That is really the only thing that should matter.
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