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Should a 3 Year Old Attend a Funeral?

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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 said...no, 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 (21-30):
AnnaNonamus
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:12 AM

I would compromise with a visitation, but not the actual funeral. I agree with you. My grandma died when my kids were 3, 6, and 9. They were all extremely close to her- saw her all the time, adored being with her, etc. I didn't take any of them to the funeral, because I didn't feel they belonged there.

iHay
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:15 AM
2 moms liked this

I took my 16 month old to my grandfathers funeral. I think its important for family to be together.

BaBeezandMe
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:17 AM

I think it depends on the parents, the children and the culture quite honestly.

When my husband's aunt died a few years ago, I wouldn't take them to the funeral but that was our decision as their parents.

When my husband passed away last year, I had him cremated and had a memorial service here at my house because....

#1 my 8 year old twin sons are Autistic and....

#2 he didn't want me taking them to a funeral home to say goodbye.  

This is the only funeral they have ever been to.  I don't think I would take them to another funeral, they were well behaved but I could see that all the people being in our house got to them.

Luv2BaMommy9809
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Stick to your principles, darling (personally, I agree with them, but that is irrellevant in my advice to you)!  You know what is best for your child in this particular situation.  I hear the concern you have about your relationship with your MIL and it should be cherished.  With that said, tread lightly and be extremely compassionate.  She is hurting, too, and in some way, perhaps, she feels Devyn could be of some comfort to her.  That is not unreasonable and should be considered or addressed.  I'm not saying you should DO anything about that per se, but your relationship requires it to be discussed...you owe each other at least that, right?!

May I suggest that you not attend the funeral services with Devyn (I wouldn't think you would send him off on his own, anyway), but that you attend the gatherings afterwards.  This is where Devyn can feel the love and the appreciation and both he and the deceased can be appropriately celebrated. 

Using my family as a reference, and some other families that I know quite well, too, I have noticed that the older folks really enjoy having small childre around.  It makes them happy, it makes them smile, it offers them hope for brightness in a time of darkness, and it reminds them that their is a future for them here still.  And the little ones just enjoy the extra hugs and kisses, knowing something isn't right and that is the looming sadness, but they, too, get a sense of peace because of all the love and support and kindness surrounding them.  They do a lot for each other in terms of dispelling fear during this very difficult time. 

Anyway, this is what I would do and have done with my own children and it has worked out well for everyone involved. 

GOOD LUCK, DARLING!!  You will do the right thing for YOU!!

ExquisiteMomof2
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:38 AM
1 mom liked this

My two boys have been to 4 funnerals in the last 3 months.

My mom died July 7th from cancer, was laid to rest July 13th. They were both there.

My best friend died August 27th from a drunk driver hitting him, was laid to rest August 31st. They were both there.

My Grandma Coni (Dads step mom) died September 10th from liver diese, laid to rest September 15th. They were both there.

My Paw Paw (Moms dad) died September 26th from Old age really but complicated by liver cancer, laid to rest October 5th. They were both there.


My boys are 2 (As of September 26th) and 5 months (As of October 5th).

They both handled it well. Me, not so well.

I think its good for grieving purposes. It's good to allow your children see you grieve and when they ask questions, you answer them honestly. My 2 year old tells me mama why cry? Or mama no cry. When he asks me why I am crying, I tell him. Honestly. I don't tell him that, that person is "sleeping". I tell them their body is no longer with us, that they are up in Heaven with God now. That we will see them again one day. When we go to heaven. That's it's sad to mommy because she misses them. Etc.

Oceana09
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:40 AM

It depends. I don't know your child or how well he copes with seeing people sad. My daughter was 3 this past February when my grandmother passed away. Unfortunately it seemed like she knew everyone in town, so no one wanted to watch my daughter because no one wanted to miss my grandmothers funeral, so we just took her with us. Honestly, it was one of the best things I ever decided to do. In the middle of the memorial service at the funeral home, during one of the quiet parts, my daughter piped up loud enough for EVERYONE in that room to hear "Mom, is nan in heaven drinking Diet Coke with her Angels?" and EVERYONE couldn't help but laugh. Put a light on what was, for most of us, a very dark day.

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LucyHarper
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:58 AM
2 moms liked this

I would take them, they are a family member. My son is four and has been to a few funerals. It's common in our town, kids come to funerals, we teach our kids not to be afraid of death and it's nice to have children around to be a pleasant reminder that life goes on, helps with the grieving. A few months ago we took our son to his friends grandmothers funeral. He didn't know her well, but she was fond of him, so we brought him to show our respects. We told him she went up to Heaven, so we should say goodbye and be there for his friend to comfort him. It sounds like it's something really important to his father and grandmother, but it's your call. 

chairhead28
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 1:20 AM
My son was 15 months old when he went to his first funeral. However, it was for my daddy. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my daughter as well...

If your son does not have a relationship with her, then no, it is not appropriate.
polkaspots
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 1:25 AM
I wouldn't. Babies are one thing, they don't get confused or ask questions. In my opinion, unless a little kid will miss the deceased, they have no reason to attend a funeral. Unless there's no other option. Taking a little kid to a funeral is much better than leaving them home alone, for example.
debramommyof4
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 1:35 AM

 It depends on the 3 year old.  If he can be quite and you can be there and explain what is happening I dont see a problem with it. My 3 year old son I would not take.  He doesnt understand how to be quite and respectful.  When my grandma died almost 3 years ago I didnt take my girls who are now 5 and 6.  They had never met her and I knew they would not be able to be respectful.  I took my son, he was 9 months but he stayed with my mom and didnt attend the actual funeral.  It really depends on your son and your ability to explain things.  I would tell his grandma that I didnt feel he would be able to show a proper respect and ask if he could just attend the wake after the funeral.  Then it is a compromise.

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