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Should a 3 Year Old Attend a Funeral?

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Question: Woud you let him go?




Only If I Went With Him

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Total Votes: 510

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So...a while ago, my ex TOLD me that he was taking my son to a funeral.  I told him I didn't think appropriate...the argument was cut short when I found out that the woman (his paternal grandmother) hadn't even died yet!!!  This was two months ago.

Well...she died Friday.  The funeral is Saturday.

Since my last argument with my ex and his new gf (an escort) in early September, I havent heard from either of them about the funearl again.

Well my ex mother in law called me last night.  Not knowing any better, I answer the phone.  She proceeds to tell me that she wants to take Devyn to the funeral on Saturday and asked if I can meet her in Orageburg on Friday.

For the first time in my life, I didn't beat around the bush.  I flat out, I don't think its appropriate for a 3 year old to go to a funeral.  She gets quiet and tells me that she doesn't see a problem with him going and that I am welcome to come if I fear for his safety....clearly she isn't getting it so I ask her if Devyn has ever met the deceased...she says no...I say so...don't you think its strange to take a 3 year old to a funeral for someone he has never met?  She spends another two minutes or so justifying it and then tells me to think about it.

I have a pretty decent relationship with her.  I bring Devyn to her whenever she is in town and she does little things for him (sends him money a few times a year, buys him presents on Christmas and birthday) and I really hate to ruin the relationship but it also upsets me that she doesn't acknowledge that I as a mother am saying that I don't feel comfortable with it and she keeps pushing.

What would you guys do?

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:39 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM
1 mom liked this
I let my son go to funerals at that age. It was a family member, I think my uncle. When he was that young I would always sit near the door in case he couldn't sit there that long
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by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 3:17 PM
4 moms liked this

My daughter attended 3 funerals when she was 3 yrs old.  We had several family deaths right in a row.  I don't know about your ex's family, but my family basically only gets together for weddings and funerals these days.  I'd let your son go, but if you feel strange, go with him.  Explain beforehand what it will be like and why it is happening.  My daughter really was great with it all and I think it was a positive learning experience for her.  Plus, it really does seem to make a difference to the family, especially older relatives, to see the next generation of sweet little faces.

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 3:37 PM
4 moms liked this

My kids (ages 2, 4 & 6) have all been.  Deaths just a part of life and I dont feel that its right to keep it from them.   They have been to both the funeral home and the church.  In the case of the funeral home we do not make them go up to the casket although my son did want to come up with me at my Uncles funeral last year when he was 5 to say god bye.   The baby was only 1 and came up but had no idea what was going on.  My daughter was 3 and was very happy playing with my mom and dad while I went to pay my respects.   

If the deceased is older (which I am assuming they are) there will most likely be a ton of kids there.  At my one aunt funeral there were probably 20 kids there under 10 with half being under 5.  The grandchildren, great nieces/nephews.  

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 4:30 PM
2 moms liked this

I don't think it's appropriate, a funeral is no place for a child, especially where people are upset and grieving. 

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 6:49 PM
2 moms liked this
I would not. A funeral is no place for a 3 year old to be, especially for someone they have never met.
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by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 7:10 PM
1 mom liked this
I took my son to my dad's funeral 2 years ago when my son was almost 5 but he was very close to my dad. Otherwise I wouldn't have taken him. My son has lost a few relatives on his dad's side but didn't attend funerals because he wasn't as close with them.
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by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 7:37 PM

My kids went to two funerals within a year- one was for my husbands grandmother, who we were very close to and they loved her to death and vice-versa, and it was a VERY small funeral- us, DHs mom and stepdad, Greta's (the deceased) sister and her son, and her other brother and his wife and son, along with my husband, my children and myself. Greta herself told the kids what was going to happen to her, after we sat down and talked with her about how we wanted to go about it. My husband, MIL and I made it to the hospital literally 15 minutes before she passed- DHs stepdad was already there. (She was HIS mother, but as far as we are concerned, he is DHs dad.) She waited for us and asked for the kids to come say goodbye to her at the ceremony. They were 3 and 4 at the time. She was cremated, so there was no body to explain to them, and there was no viewing- she wanted to keep it simple and let everyone remember her how she was alive and (kind of) healthy. (It was cancer, by the way.) My father, on the other hand, had a sudden heart attack and died at home- the kids were supposed to be there that morning, actually, but things didn't work out for us to get them over there the day prior. I was VERY close to my dad. They went to his viewing (just a small family thing, and they are his only grandkids.) and they were at the funeral. They behaved incredibly well at both- we had explained to them what was happening, and they had sat with us through church many times prior, so they knew the rules, for the most part. My son did try to follow me to the podium for my speech at dad's funeral, but it would have been fine if he had, honestly. He was 4, and my DD was 5 for that. Other than that, no, we don't take the kids to funerals for people that they don't know or aren't VERY close to. I think that it's all personal preference, of course, but bth parents opinions should be weighed carefully, and so should the child's maturity level. I don't mean that the little guy can't act like he's 5, I hate when people try to force their kids to grow up faster than they need to, they're only little once! I mean that if he can't sit still during a church service or even on the way to the grocery store, you might want to reconsider not taking them to something as serious, and dare I say as boring as a funeral. If one parent isn't comfortable with them going to a funeral, then maybe the other parent should respect that. And if they argue "oh, there will be a nursery" well, isn't it kind of pointless to take them? I mean, unless they were very close to the deceased and you want them there for the reception afterward, and to give them a chance to understand what's going on. I feel that in OPs situation, her wishes should be honored without anyone getting their feather's ruffled- she even said- little guy had never MET the deceased. It wouldn't be disrespectful to them for someone they never met to not attend their funeral. Just my two cents.

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 8:01 PM
2 moms liked this
I would take them. My son's first outing was a wake!!! Also the boy is a grandchild and for the other family members to meet this child means so much. I know that my sons mean so much to their great aunt and uncle who can see their brother in them. Also children bring such joy to a sad time that its important. This is his family and unless its dangerous I would let him go. If it weren't for this grandmother you wouldn't have your son. People get really wacky at a time like this and your ex mil has suffered a real loss and if her grandson being there helps let him go or go with him.
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 8:05 PM

If I were you, i would stand up and tell them what you believe.

if they make a fuss then so be it. However, I confess, it depends on who the deceased person was. You are right not to want the child to go, especially since the person who died wasn't any one special in the child's life. I'm a grandma, we adopted one of our grandchildren. She is nine years old now. She she has been to one funeral. (I wasn't happy about her viewing the body though). My husband let her get closer to the casket of his brother. She didn't seem to bothered by it, but I confess, I don't think she should have been able to view the body. Anyway, my daughter in law took her with her own daughter, while my husband and I, continued on with the service part of the funeral etc. It is a choice only the parents can make for their children.

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM

see...i voted 'only if i go with him/her' but now that i read the situation, far as i can see, if he didn't have a really close relationship, then no...i'd also say no if it was someone outside my immediate family so only yes to gma or gpa, siblings, mom, or dad...not to cousins or uncles or aunts...

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