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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 (321-330):
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 7:35 AM
1 mom liked this

I think it is appropriate.  I see a problem in our society and the way people deal with death.  As if it's "bad" or "wrong" or something to be feared.  It is simply a passing, and entry into a new phase of life.  It is a time to honor the person.  I worked in hospice, so I just have a different, more spiritual sense of death and dying.  Elizabeth Kubler Ross did a wonderful job in her books.  IMO, children handle things in life (death, divorce, crisis, etc) the way the adults (parents) handle things.  They look to us for guidance even when we don't realize it.  They are always watching and learning from us.  Death is just another phase of life.  We allow children to visit babies, and celebrate that.  It should be the same with death and dying. 

Of course, as the mother, in this situation, you must do what you feel is in your heart.  What I wrote above is just my perspective.  Good luck.


by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM

why not compromise and go w/ him? if they want him there that bad, then why not attend w/ him. that way if he has any questions, you'll be there to answer. my 4 and 2 year were at a funeral last year for their unborn sister. granted, the funeral was for family that they were getting accustomed to having soon in the house, but i was an emotional mess. i had family there to keep them entertained. 

anyways, since you and your ex are no longer together, you are going to have to get accustomed to sharing your time. you may not be comfortable letting him go w/o you, so go w/ him. let your child be there for his father during the loss of a grandparent. 

by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM
1 mom liked this

I agree with you 100%.   I believe that to have rights the parent has to be present and consistent in the child's life.  I just see a lot of situations where after a divorce a broken hearted father is at the mercy of an Ex-wife to see his kids.   Most courts give custody arrangements of every other weekend to the father.   It is quite sad to go from seeing your child every day to seeing them 4 days a month based on a court's decision.    In my experience it is most beneficial to the child when the mom is flexible to allow additional visits, when appropriate. 

Quoting MsLogansMommy:

I agree with the part I highlighted in red but I also have a question regarding fathers rights not necessarily specific to this post but in general if a father is a dead beat (totally not saying this father is once again this is a general statement) doesnt pay child support doesnt make an effort to see his kid yada yada do you still believe he has the same equal rights as the custodial parent who financially supports the child takes care of the child when they are sick drives them to school helps with school work etc Im not trying to start an argument im just curious because I think our thinking is kind of similar regarding dads but maybe not completely

I feel if the father is present and consistent in the childs life and helps out financially or provides the medical or just contributes in a positive way then yes the father has an equal right to make decisions in the childs life but if the father comes around sporadically and never keeps his word would rather spend his money at the bar then buy his kid some shoes you know the type im talking about then I dont feel he has equal rights

Quoting FindersKeepers:

Because it is a FAMILY event. 

The father should also have the right to decide if HIS child goes.  There will likely be a lot extended family and family friends that it would be nice to be able to have his son with him. 

We are just going to have to agree to disagree.  I think kids should be at family events... even when the events are sad or boring.  Sometimes we go to things because they are important to show our support of others. 

Quoting specialwingz:

The point isn't about whether or not the child will be traumatized.  I never said they would.  The point is...the child doesn't HAVE to be at the funeral.  It's for a great grandmother than never even met the child.  The child's parents are divorced.  The child lives with its mother.  So, it's not like there is no choice but to take the child to the funeral.  I just don't get why some of you seem to think this child SHOULD be or NEEDS to be at this funeral!

Quoting FindersKeepers:

A 3 year old doesn't have the ablity to comprehend what is happening at a funeral.   Sticking them in a fancy out fit and making them walk alone down a church isle as a ring barer or flower girl is more traumatizing to a child than having them sit with someone in a church or outside at a funeral.  

I would not take a child to a viewing, but to a funeral would be the same as any other church event or holiday to a 3 yo.   There is normally food and socializing after the services... which honestly is good to have kids at.   They cycle faster and bring laughter and playfulness to the day. 

Quoting specialwingz:'s STRANGE to ask to take a 3 year old to a funeral at all.  There is NO GOOD reason why this child should have to go at all.

Quoting FindersKeepers:

The child's father and his family want to take the 3yr old to a funeral... it is not a stranger asking.

Quoting specialwingz:

I think it's more about someone asking to take the 3 year old to a funeral.  It's not like his mom is going to a funeral of a close family member and not sure about taking the child.  It's someone ASKING her to take HER child to a funeral.  I find that odd and highly inappropriate.

Quoting boeks:

I took my son to at least two funerals befor he was 5. He was very good for me. I think young children understand better what's going on and respond well. I've seen several small children at funerals and they seem to be more concerned with making people feel better then causing trouble.





by on Oct. 13, 2012 at 1:20 AM

Let me start by stating your ex should have approached this convo with you alone, in as much as the girlfreind is concerned she has no interest here, she's free to have a cup of coffee while the two of you discuss, but no way is this her time for input. secondly, you were entitled to feel the way you do, as is he, however force feeding it to you is without merit, when you said no that should have been the end of it, not hounding you until you resolve to say yes, this is not a contest of who's of the strongest in control. i think its great that she acknowledges him, however i think you need to stick to your guns in this instance and not sell yourself short regardless of what she provides, that's his grand and she's doing no more than grands do all over the world, if she pulls away then its her loss however, you need to stop her manipulative ways as well as your exs who should have respected you in the first place otherwise, every time she or he wants their way they will go right to the pocketbook labeling you materialistic, and taking it to that level of degradation every time they want their way, and I'm sure your better than a toy or a couple of bucks for him.

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 9:42 AM

If he has not met her, then I would say no.  The ONLY reason my 4yo dd went to a funeral is because it was her great grandmothers (my grandma) who was very active in our lives.  She knew her very well as she only lived 45 minutes from us.  But, if she had not met her then I would have found a sitter and not taken her.  

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 9:45 PM

say no and thats that

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 9:48 PM

let us know what u decided and how they reacted to your decision 

by on Oct. 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

If he didn't know her, then I wouldn't let him go. If he was very close to her, then I would let him go. That's just how I see it.

by on Nov. 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Wow! I dont know if anyone is still reading this. I do think that 3 is too young. My sister in law took her 5 year old twins to a funeral of a person they didnt know. I attended the funeral too. The kids were very upset. wanting to continue to touch the body and upset at how it felt and smelled. Asking if they were going to die. If they die will they be like that? What if they wanted out of the box to go pee pee or play. Can she get out of the box? I heard all of this as I rode in the car with them. .I left my daughter at home Who was just 6 months younger. Death is an abstract concept, like telling time on an analog clock. Its not just about there are here and now they are not.

by on Nov. 25, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Initially, I want to vote NO...(maybe a HELL TO THE NO), but the only way they're going to learn funeral etiquette is if they are exposed to the procedures. My son was such a little brat! He even told the priest to SHADDUUUUUP, and kept telling my mom he wanted to touch the "dead peoples". -___- I would say NO, and wait til the kid is older, but I can also see how going to funerals would help shape them to behave properly. Just take them out if they start being loud and moving all over. But for the most part, priests understand. They see it ALL the time.

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