48 answers

Children at Their Parent's Funeral

How young is too young to attend a parent's funeral?

A neighbore of mine just lost her husband in a work accident. They have 2 small children. She's asked me to watch the 1 year old during the funeral, but is planning on taking their 4 year old. I've offered to watch them both, but she wants her son to be able to say goodbye to his Daddy.

Of course, it's NONE of my business to interfere or suggest that she leave the boy with me again, but I'm just curious what you mamas would do. Would you want/allow your young children to attend the funeral of a parent (God forbid)?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks mamas. I know I'd want my children there too. It would just be too difficult to try and explain it all to such a small child. He's a wonderful little boy and my heart is breaking for all three of them.

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I would most definitely let a 4 year old come to a parent's funeral. The one year old wouldn't be able to sit quietly and would not understand, but a 4 year old does understand and I agree, needs the chance to say goodbye. Just my two cents.

6 moms found this helpful

The 4 year old should DEFINITELY be there! What a sad, sad thing. Little John-John Kennedy (JFK Jr.) was only 3 when his father was killed, and that's a photo etched in history forever -when he stepped forward as the funeral carriage passed and saluted (huge lump in throat just thinking of it). As a mother, if my husband died, I would have the one year old with me too. My son was 3 when my mother died, and it took him awhile to fully understand it, but he did understand that she was dead and grieve over her. A child should go to his/her parent's funeral.

4 moms found this helpful

I was 5 years old when my mother died. I went to the funeral, as well as my sisters who were 6 and 9. I still remember it. At the end of the funeral my father had all of us lean in the casket and kiss my mother goodbye. I know that sounds morbid, but to this day the thought that I got to kiss my mother goodbye brings me comfort. I am glad that I was there. I was old enough to understand and 30 years later I am grateful that I was there. I miss my mother terribly and I am grateful that I had my chance to say goodbye to her.

4 moms found this helpful

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My 5 Year Old daughter passed away suddenly 4 months ago and I brought my 3.5 year old to the funeral. We did a lot of explaining what she would see including her sister in the open casket and that her eyes would be closed because her sister doesn't eat anymore, sleep anymore or breathe anymore. We told her she would be in a special box and that people would be sad becasue they miss her sister. From everything I read, it is important for children to be involved in the funeral for a significant person because they need to say goodbye - just like everyone else. Otherwise, the person just leaves and that's hard to understand too. My daughter still talks about the funeral, the special box and the parade for her sister (funeral procession to the cemetary) but it's not in a bad or scared way - just matter-of-fact. I'm glad she got to say goodbye to her sister and I feel she is adjusting as well as can be given the circumstances.

7 moms found this helpful

I would most definitely let a 4 year old come to a parent's funeral. The one year old wouldn't be able to sit quietly and would not understand, but a 4 year old does understand and I agree, needs the chance to say goodbye. Just my two cents.

6 moms found this helpful

My husbands best friend died in March and he had a 3 year old son. He was there, in the front row. I think it was good for him to be there, to see him there and to also see where they took him (burial site). Had he not seen it, I don't know what he would have imagined happened to his father. During the beginning of the funeral, his son had a basket of items that he could place in the caskett if he wanted to. He placed a lollipop, a picture of the two of them, a stuffed bear, and a locket of his hair in there. It was quite sweet. At the burial he asked, "Mom, is dad in there?" His mom said, "Yes, he is." Then he said, "Cause his body don't work no more, right?"

It was a hard day, but in my opinion it wasn't traumatic for him at all. He was hearing great things about his dad and was surrounded by people who loved him greatly.

5 moms found this helpful

I attended one at 6 for my best friends dad. He had cancer so we kinda knew it was coming. I would let a 4 year old come.

4 moms found this helpful

I was 5 years old when my mother died. I went to the funeral, as well as my sisters who were 6 and 9. I still remember it. At the end of the funeral my father had all of us lean in the casket and kiss my mother goodbye. I know that sounds morbid, but to this day the thought that I got to kiss my mother goodbye brings me comfort. I am glad that I was there. I was old enough to understand and 30 years later I am grateful that I was there. I miss my mother terribly and I am grateful that I had my chance to say goodbye to her.

4 moms found this helpful

The 4 year old should DEFINITELY be there! What a sad, sad thing. Little John-John Kennedy (JFK Jr.) was only 3 when his father was killed, and that's a photo etched in history forever -when he stepped forward as the funeral carriage passed and saluted (huge lump in throat just thinking of it). As a mother, if my husband died, I would have the one year old with me too. My son was 3 when my mother died, and it took him awhile to fully understand it, but he did understand that she was dead and grieve over her. A child should go to his/her parent's funeral.

4 moms found this helpful

Yes, I would have the 4 year old come. I would never want to deny the opportunity to say goodbye to daddy. How terribly sad for your neighbor and the kids.

3 moms found this helpful

Jacqueline Kennedy did...and who better to make a judgement call then her?

3 moms found this helpful

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