A loved one passes away, and the majority of people can anticipate that a funeral service will be held as a final goodbye in memory of the individual. While most adults feel attending a funeral service is important when they lose someone they know, it can bring about a few concerns if you have children that also knew the deceased.
Children deal with death on a different level, and some lack the understanding of what a funeral is or don't recognize the gravity of the situation. Nevertheless, it is important for a young person to get the opportunity to see closure and say goodbye. How do you handle this situation as a parent or caregiver? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Age is an important factor to consider when deciding if a child should go.
Naturally, the age of the child has a lot of bearing on how they will react to going to a funeral, seeing the deceased, and seeing people upset. Toddlers and younger children can have a harder time with these things. Infants can be fine at a funeral, but you also do not want to disrupt the service if you have a fussy infant throughout the event.
Invite the child but don't force them to go to the funeral service.
For children who are old enough to understand what a funeral service is, it can be best to invite them to the funeral but give them the open option to opt-out of going. Never force a child to go if they don't want to; it can be a rather traumatizing thing. On the same note, never shame a child for not wanting to go and don't just assume they shouldn't be there and neglect an invitation.
Take the time to explain what a funeral is and what happens at the event.
For a child who has never heard of a funeral, they can be a bit confused about the whole ordeal. Seeing you making preparations, getting dressed up, etc. can lead the child to believe they are going somewhere they will have a good time. Unfortunately, without parental guidance, this can lead younger children to be extremely taken aback when they get to a somber event where a lot of people appear to be upset. Take the time to talk to the child about what takes place at a funeral, why people may be crying, and who may be present.
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