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How young is too young to attend a funeral?

My younger two boys are three and almost five. The funeral for my dad is coming and I am not sure if they should go or not. We kind of sheltered them from how sick Papa was and didn't really make a huge issue of it. We always talked very calmly about what was happening and they didn't see him too much for the last few weeks. Before that we saw my parents at least once a week.
I know the youngest will not be going, we have already asked my FIL to take care of him.
So I guess the question is about our middle son. He is a very bright boy and perceptive, but he hasn't really been around too much of the sadness. When I told him about Papa dying, he was sad while we were talking about it, but then hasn't mentioned it again. I just kinda feel like he is too little to really understand it and it might scare him more if he went, to see everyone so emotional.
But then I remember when I was just a few months older then him and I wasn't allowed to go to my Papa's funeral and I was heartbroken. But we were also staying with family because we lived out of town and everyone got to go and I felt left out.

I don't know... I just need some advice.


Asked by SleepingBeautee at 6:34 PM on Jun. 22, 2011 in General Parenting

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This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • I would ask him how he feels about going. If he wants to go, I would explain to him what it will be like ahead of time. If he says no, I would respect his right to stay away. My grandma died when I was nine, and although I wanted to go, I still got to the funeral home and froze up. I couldn't go into the room. I didn't want to see her in her casket. I was SO glad that my mom and dad didn't make me go against my will. So I would talk to him about it and respect his wishes. If he wants to be included I would take him, if not I would respect that and do something yourselves to remember your dad, like sharing a favourite story about him, or writing him a letter, or making a special picture and frame of them with him. There are ways to remember without attending the formal funeral, so it's not an either/or kind of thing.
    I'm very sorry for the loss of your dad- that must be very hard. ((HUGS)) to you and the kids!

    Answer by Freela at 9:53 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • Thats his papaw, he should go. My kids are 9,5 and 2 and they all 3 have been to funerals of family. To see them one last time, and tell them good bye.

    Answer by Amberlovesher3 at 6:37 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I took my newborn and my 3 year old to my aunt's funeral. Only my family babysits my kids so they were all there. My sister took my 3 year old outside during the service so it worked out. My other aunt held my newborn the whole time he was asleep and when she got up to speak she would not give him back. She said he helped her to speak at the service. Good thing he slept hard.

    Answer by momavanessa at 6:40 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • There are no hard and fast rules. My daughter was less than a year old when she attended the funeral of her great aunt. My youngest son was 5 when my parents were murdered. He attended that funeral.
    I am personally a firm believer that children should attend funerals for closure, just as we adults need it.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 6:41 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • Plus... I guess part of me feels a little guilty that it would be easier for him to stay home and I wouldn't have to worry about taking care of him.

    Comment by SleepingBeautee (original poster) at 6:35 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I have always brought my little ones to the funerals. it gives them a chance to say goodbye. And, there is a life lesson that is learned by observing the adult sadness, and then seeing the adult move through and on with life after. You are setting the precedence that there is a place to feel sad and grieve, but then you rejoin life, heal and prosper.
    But, I do know some parents who do not bring kids to stuff like that, so it is really a personal decision.
    If you take them, be prepared for questions about death, afterlife, heaven, God, etc . . because those will come up, depending on the content of the service.
    Sometimes, when there are a group of kids there, one adult will "sit" the children in a separate room or keep them occupied while the service is happening . . .
    So sorry about your dad. hugs.

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 6:39 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • When my son was 5 he attended my grandpa's funeral. I wanted him to be there as my grandpa was such an important person in my life and I wanted my son to remember that. He hung out in the back and never went to the casket (which I would have let him if he asked). He did sit with us through the service. I just feel like death is an important part of life and I wanted my son to be able to process what the rest of us were going through.


    Answer by skittles1108 at 6:51 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • We don't shelter our kids from death. If we are going to a funeral they are going, too. The first one was when my oldest was 2 months old (my mom). The next one was when my fil's mother died. We actually missed the service (we were traveling from out of state) but made it to the graveside stuff. They were 4 months, 17 months and 2 1/2. Then a month later my fil died and all 3 kids went to the funeral. My husband's family is like mine. They would have been offended if we didn't bring the kids. They are part of the family and having kids there helped lighten things slightly (mine were the youngest ones there but there were a bunch of others). They missed the next 2 because we were too far away but would have gone and they were like 6, 5, 4 and 1 at the time.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 6:54 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • My kids have all been to funerals before, but I guess I am worried about how I am going to manage the kids while grieving. The other funerals we have been to have been for people that were we were not especially close to. I guess if he was really wanting to go, like I did, I would feel different about it. But he isn't.

    Comment by SleepingBeautee (original poster) at 6:57 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • So sorry about ur dad..hugs..I think u should let him go and let him know its ok to be sad :(

    Answer by devsmom98 at 7:59 PM on Jun. 22, 2011