21 answers

What's an Appropriate Age to Attend a Funeral?

Hi, My name is K. - I am new to Mamasource - but love the concept! My son is 6 years old. His Great-Grandfather passed away this week. My son didnt really know his great-grandfather, they had only met 3 or 4 times. I think my ex-husband is planning to take my son to the funeral. I dont know how much "say" I have in this with my ex-husband, as the funeral is during his visitation. But, has anyone ever been faced with this? Should a 6yr old be going to a funeral? Thanks K.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the input - It was such a relief to hear some other point of views. As it turns out my ex-husband was not getting along with that side of the family when the funeral came around, so he decided not to go after all.

Featured Answers

It's part of life. Let him go. He has to learn someday we wont be here very long. Besides I think its very disrespectful if you wouldnt allow him to go. That is his great-grandpa you know. Just explain what's going to happen there so hes ready for it.
Take Care sorry for the loss

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sorry I think taking a 6 year old to a funeral is inappropriate. #1 The dont really have a good grasp on what death is, and if they show the body, that could give him nightmares #2, You cant expect a 6 year old to sit still in a funeral, and this is a somber time, not a time to run around. It should wait until the child is old enough to understand the concept of death, and that its sad. At 6 I dont believe he is old enough to grasp the concept.

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Hi My name is A. and my son is 8 yrs old. Our stories are very simular. The first funeral my son went to was his Great-grandfathers 3 1/2 years ago this last January. He didnt know him well either but he had met him twice. My son had just turned 5 the previous October when this all occurred. My son is mature for his age, but i feel most kids like him know thier boundries. He didnt want to see the body but did want to be there. it was a little upsetting. People were crying and would say what a great man he was and how fast it happened.. so my son repeated alot of what he heard when he talked to me bout his feelings. The important thing is to let him talk and express his feelings. dont push for them but reassure him your thier to answer anything and do not get upset whatever the question may be. My son did cry but I have to say you should definitly let him attend this one. My father passed away 4 1/2 months later. I was SOOOOOO thankful he had a "practice" funeral. (Someone he wasnt so close to ) Because my father had been living with us for just over 3 years. My son and him were "partners" in crime. They were very close. My son was so upset that i didnt wake him up to say goodbye the night he passed way. I was in bed with my dad when he took his last breath. I have always hated myself for listening to my mother and i didnt wake my son up cuz she said i shouldnt he would be "upset". Well my son woke up and his "Ree" (that was what he called my dad/his grandfather) was "gone". He was soooo mad at me. He wanted to go to the funeral. He knew what to expect. I let him. This is the best age. Go to the library and get a book call "Grandpa and me" its a book about a boy and his grandpa who died. Its Fabulous! Hope i helped you fel a little better. Kids are much more resiliant at this tender age. If my son hadnt attened the 1st funeral I thnk he would have had a much harder time when someone he actually was close to passed waya. He still has thoughts of his ree of course but he never mentions the funeral. Your son will be just fine. Im more than sure of it. If you never talk about death they will never get an oppurtunity to learn how to deal with it. No age is a great age. Its death. It saddens everyone at any age.
~A.~

2 moms found this helpful

I think 6 is an OK age to attend a funeral. My 6 yo granddaughter's grandmother died but because her funeral was in AZ we didn't attend. My granddaughter had never met her other grandmother at an age when she could remember but she still talks about her and her death over a year later. I wish we'd been able to take her to the funeral. Death is a part of life.

We did take her to my mother's funeral when she was 3 or so. She didn't have a concept of death then and her presence was more of a comfort to our relatives. She is a symbol that life does go on; sort of a connection between life and death.

We used this opportunity (at age 5) to tell her that Grandma is happy in heaven. And to reassure her that although we all die someday we die only when it's God's time. I'm her grandma too and she was concerned that I would die. We assured her that she was in God's hands and He would see that she is always taken care of.

Your son is aware that his great grandfather died and he will be able to handle it better emotionally if he's included in the grieving process at a level that is appropriate for his age. If people will be hysterical and unable to tend to his needs then he shouldn't go. But if his father or other people in attendance will be there for him, helping him to understand what is happening, answering his questions, I believe the death will be easier for him to understand and therefore accept without fear.

2 moms found this helpful

I think your son should be given the chance to say goodbye. My great grandfather (Packy) passed when I was really young (between 3 and 5, I'm not sure). I have very limited memories of him, but I do remember not being allowed to go to teh funeral because everyone thought I was too young. That one hs stuck with me because I wanted so badly to say goodbye. Packy had cancer so we were expecting his passing and I understood that he was gone and understood that a funeral is the time to say your goodbyes.

My stepmom passed a few years ago from brain cancer and I took my children (2 and 5) to her funeral. They went with me to visit her in the nursing home and I explained to them from the beginning what was going on. I doubt my daughter remembers her, but I know my son does and going to the funeral helped him understand death a little more.

Maybe you should discuss your concerns with your ex and maybe suggest if it appears to be too much for your son that he can take him out of the room and give him a break. Also, I don't know how close you are with your ex now, but maybe you should pay your respects too and that way you can be there for support for both your son and your ex.

2 moms found this helpful

I think that just about any age is an appropriate age to attend a funeral, although I am sure there are very many view-points. It has been brought to my attention since I was very young that death and the traditions people have surrounding death are a very normal part of life, and we should learn to try and understand and accept all of these traditions.
In my perception it's like how I try to have my child around all types (I have my exceptions) of people. My girlfriend, with whom I raise this child together with has different opinions of who our child should be around, and different ways of raising our child as well. All of these differences our respected, which in turn I do hope will teach our child to understand all of these differences.
In my opinion if your ex-husband wants to take your child to his great grandfathers funeral you should respect his desicion, it doesn't sound like there is any harm to be done here and only good might come of it. Since your child is six you should be able to ask him questions and see what his view on his great grandfathers funeral was.

Although, it is your child and it is in your hands altogether...
Keep those rewards coming!

1 mom found this helpful

I think its just fine. Don't forget, we live life at every age, and anytime there is an opportunity for explaining parts of, it should be considered as golden.

I have a six year old so as well. He is the coolest kid to have "in depth" conversations with. His wheels really turn when we talk about things he inquires about. This could be a great learning opportunity for your son, and the two of you can talk about it when he comes back home. I would ask him questions about it...get a feel for what he thinks and then elaborate from there to help him gain a real understanding about this part of life.

1 mom found this helpful

I believe all children no matter what age they are should attend funerals of their relatives. Kids are tougher than you give them credit for. They also need to learn that death is part of life and not something to fear. Now I wouldn't force a young child to a viewing. That may give them nightmares. Kids need closure like us adults. Since your son didn't know his great grandfather this a way he can learn about who he was.

1 mom found this helpful

It's part of life. Let him go. He has to learn someday we wont be here very long. Besides I think its very disrespectful if you wouldnt allow him to go. That is his great-grandpa you know. Just explain what's going to happen there so hes ready for it.
Take Care sorry for the loss

1 mom found this helpful

It's my belief that funerals...are...well...part of life. We all die, and it's up to us to explain this to our children at ANY age. My son has been to 2 funerals, and he's only 2 1/2. He was at my grandfather's funeral when he was 15 months old, and at his great-uncle's funeral about 4 months ago. While he may not understand about death now, we still explained it to him anyway. I would suggest, perhaps, explaining it to him BEFORE he goes, that way 1. he's not in shock, and 2. you then have some control over how you want it explained...rathr than letting your ex do it.

1 mom found this helpful

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