General Question

bunkin's avatar

What is an appropriate age to let a child attend a funeral?

Asked by bunkin (223points) July 27th, 2008

I recently had a friend pass away and someone who went to the funeral with me took her 2 young boys with us. I know being an adult it is pretty difficult, but I can not imagine how it must be for a child.

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13 Answers

trudacia's avatar

I think it depends on the child and the relationship they had with the person who died.

My parents kept my favorite uncles death from me when I was a kid and since I wasn’t aware of the death I obviously didn’t go to the funeral. I still think about that and regret not being there…even though I didn’t have a choice.

arnbev959's avatar

My grandpa died when I was eight, and my parents took me to the wake, but not the funeral. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to say goodbye.

My first experience with death had been years earlier though, when Speedy, my pet rabbit, died. My parents held a funeral for him in the backyard and we all put flowers on the grave.

I would definitely bring a child to a funeral. You have to learn about death sometime, and I think sooner is better than later.

bunkin's avatar

But what if the child had no idea who the person was?

arnbev959's avatar

All the better. It was really hard on me when Speedy died, because I didn’t know what death was. A stranger’s death is a good way to talk to a kid about death, as a kind of introduction. That way when someone that the child knows dies it won’t be as hard on them.

jballou's avatar

If the child has no connection to the person who died, then why bring them? Get a baby sitter. It’s not appropriate to use the death of a random person to teach your children about what death is. I wouldn’t appreciate that if it was a family member of mine who died and someone decided to bring their kids for no reason other then to show them a dead body and explain what death is.

SuperMouse's avatar

If the deceased individual was not a family member or VERY CLOSE family friend, I would not bring my children (9, 8, 6).

bunkin's avatar

I didnt really think it was a good idea either being as it was a girl we went to high school with over 10 years ago.

Adina1968's avatar

I would definitely not let a child attend a viewing but if it is someone they were close to I think that attending a funeral might me alright. Obviously a discussion should proceed attending the funeral so as not to tramatize the poor child.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Eh, people have lots of odd ideas when it comes to funerals. Not everyone can find a baby sitter, and who knows, maybe it was easier for her to bring her kids with her for emotional reasons. Maybe even stranger, she wanted who ever died to meet her kids for what ever reason, Or her kids to meet someone who was important in her life. I really don’t think any of us are in a position to judge this womans motives for bringing her kids to a funeral. I am sure her goal wasn’t to traumatize them or simply to only teach them what death is, that’s what gold fish are for.

trumi's avatar

There is a certain maturity that occurs in a child (we hope) around 7 or 8, AKA “School Age”. If the child has reached that age, certainly bring them to a funeral if you want to, or if they were close to the person. They know what death is and deserve to know what it looks like up close, since they see it on TV, and it is important to say goodbye. They will probably want to go.

Before that, the child probably won’t understand what is going on and won’t respect the attitude of the event. Explain that the person died, but hire a sitter.

btko's avatar

I think you should include children; gives them the opportunity to learn customs and experience emotions of other people. They get to see what death is about. I would take any age of child.

Life is death, death is life.

Mitsu_Neko's avatar

Many thought my Mom was wrong in Jan 06 to bring my almost 3 yr old brother to a funeral for my grandfather but who could have watched him when she only trusts family members to do that?

jdubu2two's avatar

I have two ways to answer this question.
First is the maturity level of the child, I have been to funerals where parents have brought very young children and they didn’t know what was going on and played and carried on. This is hard on the spouse and children of the person.
Second how does the child feel about the funeral, before bringing my children to a funeral I sat down with them and asked them their feelings about the person. My youngest was scared to go and I didn’t want to put them in that situation. But my oldest (11) wanted to go just to see his grandfather one more time and to just be there.

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