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How young is too young

Now I understand kids are resilient, and that children 2 and under typically don't remember much from that time when they get older, but my question is do you think it is age appropriate for a 4 year old to attend a visitation/viewing of the body and funeral for her great grandfather? A little background information: the child does know the great grandfather pretty well actually and knew he had been sick and said her goodbyes weeks ago. The child also has a hard time with separation, her parents split when she was 1 and although she doesn't remember the split she knows now they are no longer together, her dog died at the start of winter and she struggled for months, praying at bedtime that God would keep her dog safe and "writing his name" on every paper she got her hands on, she is angry her aunt is getting married because she fears the aunt will not ever come around anymore, she has nightmares about one of her maternal figures leaving her and moving away, etc.

Knowing this would you still take the child to see the body and watch the funeral or would you find something more "fun" for her to do during the grieving process?

Please share what and why

Answer Question

Asked by NessGuinness at 10:36 PM on Feb. 16, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 10 (414 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • No she does not need to go. I feel she is way to young.

    Answer by sta517 at 10:40 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • It could possibly give some very bad nightmares. No, I definitely would not take her to a viewing. People that have died are not easy to always look at. I am 32 and get the chills if I see a dead person at a funeral.

    Answer by wenona_mandy at 10:41 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • I took my 2 year old to a funeral 2 months ago. He was in the front room the whole time with my sister running around. Too young to understand what is going on.

    Answer by momavanessa at 10:42 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • I would say she probably shouldn't go..especially if she struggles with separation. She is still a little young to understand fully what is going on.. and it could be pretty traumatic. Maybe if she didn't have such a hard time with separation it would be different.. but when i was her age I had severe separation anxiety.. and it was a struggle to get me to leave my mom for school everyday.. i can't imagine how confusing a funeral and viewing would be for her. Best of luck.. lots of hugs!

    Answer by kaitilala at 10:44 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • I agree she is too young. I went to my first funeral at about 10 I think it was and it really traumatizing.... Instead how about doing something fun that her and her grandfather used to enjoy. Or take her to do something in Memory of him. Maybe make a necklace together that she can wear or a bracelet in memory of him. Or give her a nice picture of them together.


    Answer by June_Mama09 at 10:55 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • Thanks ladies, sadly I do agree with you all but my husband does not see a problem (well he does understand where I am coming from) but he doesnt see it as a major problem and I am only step mommy so I really have no say in the matter. Her mom is going to take her this weekend to the funeral and everything and I am just really worried about it. As step mommy she confides in me about scarey things she cant talk to her mommy about and so I know a little bit more about her fears but also as step mommy, mommy wont acknowledge that i know anything about her daughter...Im just really worried and looking for support

    Comment by NessGuinness (original poster) at 11:03 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • I went to my grandfather's funeral when I was five, and I remember it still. In truth, it gave me an understanding of what death meant because up to that point, I didn't completely get it. Seeing him in his casket, seemingly asleep, knowing that he was never going to 'wake up" again helped me comprehend what that meant. In my mind, witnessing this, death seemed a gentle passage rather than someone just not being there anymore.

    He died in a hospital and up until the moment I saw him in his casket, I didn't understand that he wasn't coming home. Since I lived with him and my grandmother at the time (and had most of my life to that point), the loss of him was very confusing for me. Being able to say goodbye to him was very healing.

    But that's just my experience.

    Answer by Guinhyvar at 11:19 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • My son attended his great grandfathers funeral when he was 4. My grandpa was a great part of our lives and I thought it was important for my son to be there. Death is a part of life, it's really only creepy if you make it that way. That being said I know each child is different so you have to do what is right for this child.

    Answer by skittles1108 at 11:48 PM on Feb. 16, 2011

  • She does'nt need to go, she is too young. maybe save her the funeral program for when she is a little older.

    Answer by 4theloveofTink at 7:37 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • You understand your child's reactions better than anyone so I would go with your instincts. If this is someone close you are still going to need to handle the grieving process. I don't think my 3 year old could handle a wake right now. I think it would have a very bad impact on him because of who he is, but I personally went to a funeral when I was very young for a close friend of the family who I called my Aunt when I was four. It was explained that she would look like she was sleeping and that she had gone to God and everything that would happen. I actually think that it was a good thing because dying was just part of the process of life for me and funerals never eeked me out.

    Answer by hotelmom123 at 2:42 PM on Feb. 17, 2011

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