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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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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 (211-220):
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 9:57 PM

I would have let him go, it is good for children to know that everyone dies. It is good for them to know the real deal, I dont sugar coat things with my kids, they are older now and have much better perspective on life then some children. in your case I would say "mommy knows best"

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:04 PM
My son attended a funeral last year. He was 5 at the time. But he was EXTREMELY close to my grandmother. In your case i would say no the child should not attend the funeral.
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by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM
1 mom liked this
You are forgetting that the boy's father is ALSO his parent and has the same right to make a decision about a funeral as you do. In my husband's family (huge family) funerals are a time when relatives see each other for the first time in years. Maybe your ex wants some family members to meet/see his son.
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM
No its not wrong for him to go, i recently took my son to my uncles. I didnt have him go up to the casket or anything but its good for children to know about death. It didnt mess him up or anything it really didnt even phase him.

boy kissing mombootreat those that are older than you as your grandparents, those your own age as your brothers and sisters, and those who are younger than you as your children. the world is one big family. -master cheng yen-

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:07 PM

I haven't read the other posts, but wanted to respond.

I don't think the funeral will affect your son in any way.  However, his behavior will affect other attendees. If he's well behaved he will be a joy in a bleak day. However, if he isn't used to being in a church type situation and is distracting then it's not really fair or kind to the family/others.

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Your ex probably wants the comfort that children bring. I know first hand how how easily a young child can "cheer the crowd" at a funeral. My daughter is five, and she's been to just about that many funerals, and everytime I have so many people tell me "I am so glad you brought her! She is such a joy!" My 11 month old went to a funeral when she was 5 months old. I honestly don't see the problem. It is your ex's grandma (someone inmportant to him--I'm assuming) and he might just want something to distract him from a day of sadness...

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM

  my son was 2 when I took him to a funeral . But that was  my husbands funeral . in 2004 . My oldest was 2 when I took her to my uncles  funeral in 2000.   It's up to you if you want him to go .   

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:45 PM

We took two children under the age of 3 to a funeral. It was my MIL's, but still.

The kids were actually able to lighten the mood, because they made everyone laugh, in the middle of a speech (her best friend was getting choked up and my son goes "Mammaw no make me sit" or something like that, and it cracked everyone up). But that's what my MIL would have wanted anyway.

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:53 PM
In your case I would say no because he never met the deceased, (I am sorry for the family)
BUT I did take my children (4,2 at that time) to both my parents' funerals, a week apart. Not only for the lack of a babysitter (for the 2yr) but so my daughter could say goodbye, and I selfishly needed my children with me for comfort. They had a strong relationship with my dad, and a simpler relationship with my mom, we bought them a book about angels so they feel they have 2 special guardians just for them.
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by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Honestly that's a tough one-

My son was 3 and went to my step-son's funeral-we even brought him to the body at the start of the line. I had a friend bring him a little before the actual funeral so he didn't witness the emotions during family time. -and he didn't look at first-which we didn't push-, but he did give him a capri sun and some of his fruit snacks (it was one of those things -that when he was alive-he was constantly eating the fruit snacks and drinking the capri sun's that I would buy for my son) then when my dad showed up-he went straight to his papa (who was in line to view the body), and went with him thorugh the line-he looked then and said something to my papa about that he was going to miss him. Then he promptly fell asleep during the service.

The difference of course is that this was immediate family and someone he knew well (really only a year or so but Daniel lived with us) and he knew something had happened-he also happened to be in the room at the hospital when we were told he was dead and he heard the raw emotion of grieivng... I admit at first I was very hestiant about him going-but my husband and I discussed it and decided to let him go because it would have done Daniel a dis-service because they loved each other...

On the other hand this taught him a little about death and dying...but he did have some issues later on -like this past year where he was worried mommy was going to die too, but there were other changes going on in his life -he started kindergarten and I started working third shift so that might have contributed to it. He's gotten better about it finally-since he turned 6 in aug. He has asked questions about death and even at one point asked when Daniel was going to come home from the hospital-but he knows he can go see his grave any time and "talk" to his brother. (the grave is basically next door)

Now just recently-this past month-my husband's mother died-and he went to that funeral but it was up at the grave-site (same place as his brother is buried). he was more interested and talking to Daniel. He only met her a couple of times -both times while in the nursing home so really he hardly knew her-never really talked to her either. To him she was basically a stranger.

But as a mother I thibnk it is your decision ultimatly and weighing the pro's and con's of what it could do to your son or what good he might get from it. Him not knowing her-might make it easier on him, and help him later on down the road if someone he knows dies.

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