“Should kids go to funerals”, is a question many ask. There are many concerns a parent may have about a young child going to a funeral. An open casket viewing can add to the questions. Will the kids be afraid or overwhelmed by seeing a loved one deceased? Can they really understand the finality of death? More so will they be respectful and not be disruptive as people grieve?
The answer to these questions vary depending on each individual circumstance. However the answer to the question, “Should kids go to funerals”?, yes. Kids should be able to go to funerals. Children experience the ups and downs of grief just as adults do.
It is important to take into account the needs and personality of each child. What was the relationship they had with the deceased. When a parent or sibling or someone they spent everyday with passes away it can be different than a distant Aunt whom they didn’t have as much connection with. It is especially important to consider these things when making a final decision.
Yes, Kids Should Go to Funerals. Here is why.
Chance to say goodbye
Young children may not understand and process death the same way that you do as an adult. However by the age of 7 the average child does understand the finality of death. Saying goodbye to a loved one is an important part of dealing with grief. Being present at a funeral helps convey the idea that they are gone but not forgotten.
Allow children to ask and receive grief support
When we grieve as adults it is easy to forget about the complexity of the grief our children feel. We may even assume they aren’t as affected because they still run and play. Kids may not express grief as outwardly, especially young children. However kids need grief support as well. Being able to see others sad and crying or joyful and celebrating life shows them that they can do the same. When they see people hugging and consoling they will see it is okay to ask for comfort as well.
Children are more capable than we think
It is so easy to think of kids as tiny humans who don’t know much. The reality is that many children are very emotionally intelligent, empathetic, understanding souls. Kids are more capable of processing and handing hard emotions than we may think. Kids deserve the chance to express their feelings and grieve someone they have lost. While it is important to have boundaries around what they see and what conversations they are a part of, it is also crucial that they experience life and learn that strong emotions are not a bad thing.
We so often want to protect our children from pain and harm that we don’t allow them to learn and grow on their own. Death is a part of life. We will all die someday. Grieving over a loss is a natural part of life. The sooner we can teach our children that sadness and grief is normal, the better they will be able to deal with it when it comes.
For additional grief support click here.