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Should children attend funerals?


4ofus
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105 members have voted

  1. 1. Should children attend funerals? (to exclude funerals of immediate family)

    • Yes
      92
    • No
      13


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What say you & why? I'm trying to sort this out objectively & well, my judgement is cloudy right now. Looking for some sound input. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

I'm copying & adding post #46 to this opening post to clarify for anyone who might be coming in to take a look~

 

 

 

Thanks all for the responses. This is for an uncle~great-uncle for the kids & they did not know him. Dh feels very close to his uncle despite not having much contact the last many years. There wasn't lack of contact due to discord, rather due to miles & life. The family didn't continue to get together much after the grands died several years ago. It's a no-brainer that dh is going. On the one hand he'd like us all to go just b/c he likes us to be together. He travels with work & we're apart enough already. This is a family affair & we are his family. On the other hand, he knows we'll be driving 500 miles 2 ways to meet him there while he flies in & out from/to work locations. Furthermore, the boys don't know this family & are enmeshed in sports & activities here that they'll be missing. On yet ANOTHER hand, that's all the more reason he'd like them to be there. To seize a rare opportunity for them to mingle with a part of the family we rarely see AND to demonstrate that some things are more important.

 

I think I'm overthinking this due to my own negative experiences in my youth.

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To big of a question to be minimized down to a yes or no.

 

Some kids could/should/would benefit from attending some funerals. Some would not.

 

Some funerals could/shoud/would benefit from having children attend. Some would not.

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I said no but the situation depends. How old is the child? What closeness did the child have with the person etc. Do they really understand it at their maturity level? Years ago when I was 13 my cousin commited suicide. Everyone attended the funeral. Babies, toddlers young kids etc and it was horrible. The weather was chilly, the baby kept crying. One of the toddlers continued to sing Sesame Street and another two little boys were running all over pretending to shoot each other. They ran into the coffin and tried to climb over it. So my answer is mostly no. I have friends who were taken to wakes and funerals who grew up traumatized from it.

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I said no but the situation depends. How old is the child? What closeness did the child have with the person etc. Do they really understand it at their maturity level? Years ago when I was 13 my cousin commited suicide. Everyone attended the funeral. Babies, toddlers young kids etc and it was horrible. The weather was chilly, the baby kept crying. One of the toddlers continued to sing Sesame Street and another two little boys were running all over pretending to shoot each other. They ran into the coffin and tried to climb over it. So my answer is mostly no. I have friends who were taken to wakes and funerals who grew up traumatized from it.

 

 

 

sounds like a shocking lack of parental supervision of the children.

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Wow - I can't answer, way too many variables. Depends on the temperament of the child, the age of the child, the relationship of the child with the deceased, the relationship of the parent with the deceased (could be too emotional or draining to have a child there). I tend to think death is a part of life, and exposing kids to funerals when it is meaningful is probably a good idea. My daughter attended my grandmother's funeral at age 6. It was actually great - she asked a lot of questions and got a bunch out of it. She was close to this very sweet grandma too and still brings her up 2 years later. I chose not to bring my kids to my aunt's funeral a couple years earlier. It would have required a 4 hour drive and an overnight stay without my DH. None of us were close to her and I'm not close with my aunt's daughters either. It would have been meaningful to my mother and grandmother, but we couldn't pull it off at the time.

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sounds like a shocking lack of parental supervision of the children.

 

Yes I agree it was. It was also not a place for young children who didn't understand. I knew the adults were grieving but there comes a point you either stay home or find a sitter. We don't expect small children to sit in classrooms for hours on end why have such little ones at a place full of pain and tears?

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I can't imagine not taking kids to funerals. Like a previous poster said, it's part of life.

 

Admittedly, most people consider my family's treatment of death, both as a concept and a reality, to be a bit odd. We talk about it regularly. Not in a morose or macabre way, but just as matter of fact. I call my elderly parents more than my brothers and sisters and I usually tell whoever answers the phone I'm doing my weekly vital signs check! We joke about what to do with our bodies when we die. We talk about keeping the urns on the mantle just to freak people out. We're just very open about the whole thing.

 

I guess that's just what I've always known, so it's what make sense to me. Including the funerals.

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I think it should be left up to the child....with appropriate parental guidance, of course. And I say this as a seminary-trained pastor. Keeping children in the dark about the realities of death and keeping them from attending funerals can create many, many problems. However, no child should attend a funeral if he/she was not prepared to do so - they should know what to expect.....where will it be, who will speak, will there be an open casket (and whether or not to look in an open casket should DEFINITELY be left up to the child.....it is fair to have them go up and greet the family politely if that is part of the local tradition (some places have the next of kin standing by the casket, some places not) but no child should be forced to view a dead body. Because the person is not "just sleeping" and that can be scary to kids) and so forth - and then let them decide. But I strongly feel that the funeral service is part of how we process grieving for a loved one - and to exclude children from that to "protect" them is harmful to them long term.

In an ideal world, there would be caring adults who are not in the immediate circle of grieving family members who would be there to watch the children and take individual ones out from the service if the need arises - particularly for children under say age 7 or so - think a well-loved neighbor or Sunday school leader or scout leader - someone the parent trusts and who can be empathetic with the child. That way, if the child changes his/her mind at the last minute, the parents have the back-up they need so that everyone is taken care of.

Please feel free to pm me if you want more - as a pastor, I have counseled many families who are grieving and wanting to help their children and would be glad to give advise from a distance about a specific situation. HTH

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It depends on the child and the age. I do think though, that death is a part of life, and that hiding it does children no great service. If it is simply accepted, I think it becomes less scary. My oldest took a little longer before he was mentally able to think through and understand what was happening and because of that I didn't push him and I skipped a couple of funerals. My youngest has been able to understand it a lot earlier. I suppose in some ways it's easier for them to see because we have farm animals and they see death with them.

 

I think with all that though it is a good idea to teach kids what mourning can look like and that it's healthy to mourn. I've seen a lot of people that think that because it's natural that means that they need to just accept it and move on leaving a lot of shoved down emotions that eventually come out in unhealthy ways.

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Well, I think it depends on the age and the circumstances. It depends on what is going to happen to the child at the funeral as it pertains to the expectations and actions of others. I was forced at the age of five to kiss my dead great-uncle while he laid in the casket. My unbalanced aunt thought it was vital that I say goodbye in that manner. I didn't want to and was dragged up there crying and begging not be taken near the dead body. Forced, literally forced, in order to get out of her arms. My parents then took me out in the hallway and disciplined me for being disrespectful to my elder. My parents were otherwise great people and wonderful parents, but frankly, they are ridiculous at funerals...absolutely, positively, NOT critical thinkers. They have some trauma in their own past related to the loss of relatives and their own family traditions that are downright creepy, and so unfortunately, my brother and I were on the receiving end of some strange, death related stuff despite otherwise having the world's best parents. Hey, nobody is perfect! However, on this issue, parental failure can cause a bit of emotional suffering.

 

Therefore, I'm leery. Very, very leery and especially for young children who can't speak up so well when they are feeling creeped out or emotionally put upon by the nutsy adults around them.

 

Part of my issue is that funerals aren't really all that, well, natural. Death is a natural part of life...three days of wakes, viewings, hanging around the dead body isn't and I'm not certain that embalming, make-up, hair done, nice suit, putty and fillers to make the person look "alive" lends itself to accepting death - not that I'd be a fan of three days with a skeleton is the answer either. It seems kind of obsessive to me. I'm a big fan of more direct burial or quicker services whenever possible...you know...the good ole days.

 

So, our compromise was that dh and I NEVER took our young children to a funeral home alone. One of us always stayed in the back with the kidlets. It allowed them to kind of get used to the concept without being around some of my relatives, well his too (he had a grandma that was so morbid she made the Adams Family seem normal), that would not be good to have around impressionable young children. Now that the boys are teens, we let them tell us how they are feeling and whether or not they want to attend a funeral or view someone at a showing or whatever.

 

As much as I love my mom, the trauma she endured as a child pertaining to dealing with death has left her completely unable to think clearly about funeral culture. There is a morbidity that she exudes that creeps me and my brother out! My sister, however, majored in psychology and is getting her master's. Whatever she learned in her classes has made her far more capable of dealing with mom than any of the rest of us. So, unfortunately for her, mom is her responsibility whenever a close relative dies.

 

I think it's okay to take children to a funeral so long as the parents are protective and the exposure is appropriate. I also think people need to think about the time issue. If you take them for the viewing before the funeral, sit through the service, go to the graveside if there is a service there as well, and then to the luncheon/dinner, this is a very, very long day under trying circumstances and grieving people. I think that is too much.

 

Faith

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In general, yes, but I agree with the PP about there needing to be someone willing to take the child outside if he/she starts crying or acting up. My kids attended both of my grandmothers' funerals. At one, oldest DD was 4 1/2 and DS was 7 months. At the other, the kids were almost 8, almost 5, and 9 months. My mother-in-law came with me to mostly help me with the kids but also to pay her respects.

 

ETA: I do not take children to wakes. I felt rather traumatized by having to go to several of my great-aunts' and great-uncles' wakes as a child and say my good-byes to them. Even as an adult, I still find the practice rather morbid and skip them if I can find a legitimate excuse to get out of attending.

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I think funerals are important. To kids they seem much like a Church service, just with a "topic" of somebody's life and death.

 

I also think they should attend the 'not too bad' ones (elderly Church members, etc) so that their 'first one' isn't an occasion of heart-rending proportions... More like a farewell to a friendly acquaintance. It also allows the not-too-stricken parent to attend to their preparation, supervision and questions.

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death is part of life , and children should not be excluded from it. attending the funeral is an important part of the grieving process.

This. I had an interesting conversation with a psychologist who has done a lot of work in third world countries and she said that people in those countries do a much better job grieving death, and they accept it as part of life. While Americans have tremendous hang-ups regarding the topic of death, healthy grieving, etc. I take my kids to funerals.

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I said "yes," but that's because there was no "it depends" choice. I agree with those who would decide on a case-by-case basis. ... My close friend's dad died when my kids were about 3. They had met the guy, but he wasn't really important to them. They were not reliable enough to be sure of not disturbing the mourners. There were not likely to be other kids as this was an old guy and he didn't have any grandkids. However, just last week the same friend's mother died, and my kids did have a special relationship with her. They are 6 and able to control themselves for an extended time period. They are old enough to understand what it's about and accept that death is part of life. I'm taking them to the calling hours tomorrow. I won't be taking them to the funeral because it will be in another language and they will be better off hanging out at day camp through that time.

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I couldn't answer because as others said it depends. When my sil died, I took my 15 year old ds and 5 year old dd. There was no viewing, just a memorial service. I remember that I could not bring myself to tell my dd that her aunt had been murdered. She found out from my 5 year old niece (the daughter of my late sil). Obviously,in hindsight that was not the ideal situation, but I'm only human. When our oldest died, my dd was 11 and my youngest ds was 5. They attended with our entire family. There was no viewing as his injuries were too severe. Neither one of them really talk about it nearly 3 years later. I don't think it traumatized them, but I think it ranks up there as most awful day next to the day he died. I honestly don't know what I would have done if there had been a viewing. I don't think I could have had my kids there. I think I would have wanted to spare them that. All this to say... It depends.

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What say you & why? I'm trying to sort this out objectively & well, my judgement is cloudy right now. Looking for some sound input. Thanks.

 

 

I can't vote. I don't think anyone should make "rules" about whether or not children can attend funerals. I think that is something that a parent has to decide for each child in each situation. Sometimes, it can be very appropriate for children (even young ones) to attend a funeral. Sometimes, that might be a very damaging thing for the child to do.

 

There is no single answer.

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you need an "other", because it really does "depend" upon the circumstances. If the child is related to the deceased (or very close friendship), you still need to take into account if they can handle the two or three or even four hours of what goes on. the viewing, the funeral, the graveside burial, family dinner, etc. if the child is not related and doesn't know the person really well - no, I would not take them. it also depends upon the age of the child.

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Answer: depends. :/

 

My dad died last year. DS was 2.5 and DD was 5 mo. My amazing MIL and not-local BFF drove 6 hours (separately) to support me and watch my kids.

 

Had they not done so, DH would have watched them, and I would not have had him for support (and he wanted to be there anyway, he liked my dad).

 

There's no way my kids would have done well sitting in the funeral, which was also a full Catholic Mass.

 

But had they been older, say 5 and 7, I would have expected them to be there.

 

I attended my grandfather's funeral at 7 and my grandmother's at 11.

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Another other vote.

 

IMO, it depends on the child, the circumstances surrounding the death, the way the other mourners are likely to react, perhaps the setting, etc.

 

I have always taken my dd to the funerals we have attended. I explained to her our religious beliefs regarding what happens to the deceased person's soul (in an age appropriate manner). I also thought it was important to let her know that there would be sadness there and people might be crying, but that it was okay and that she had nothing to fear. I also told her that I might even feel so sad that I might cry, but that I was okay and that after I let my sadness out with my tears that I would feel better.

 

When she was very young, 3 or 4, I didn't take her up to actually view the body. However, when she was 5 she asked if she could go up with me to do so and I allowed it. She has not been to a funeral for several years and honestly, I think I would be more reluctant to take her as a hormonal, emotional, dramatic teen that I was to take her as a young child. As a child, she seemed to be rather matter-of-fact about it and mildly interested. But I fear that as a teen, her emotions would take over and I could envision that becoming more drama-induced rather than an honest response to death. I don't mean to imply that I think she would overreact intentionally, but it never ceases to amaze me how volatile her teen girl emotions are and I'd rather not risk it.

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I can't imagine not taking kids to funerals. Like a previous poster said, it's part of life.

 

Admittedly, most people consider my family's treatment of death, both as a concept and a reality, to be a bit odd. We talk about it regularly. Not in a morose or macabre way, but just as matter of fact. I call my elderly parents more than my brothers and sisters and I usually tell whoever answers the phone I'm doing my weekly vital signs check! We joke about what to do with our bodies when we die. We talk about keeping the urns on the mantle just to freak people out. We're just very open about the whole thing.

 

I guess that's just what I've always known, so it's what make sense to me. Including the funerals.

 

Glad to hear other folks act this way in their families. My mom already has my dad's urn picked out and she said that she will put him in his chair and they will watch tv together. Makes us crack up each time.

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my boys have both attended funerals starting at a young age. I don't remember the first ones.

 

We are not close to extended family but we had a church that we were very close to people. So the boys would go with us to the funerals. Both boys have been to 5+ funerals if not many more.

 

The boys were also acolytes at our church. My oldest helped with many funerals. There were some we didn't' know but because we hsed we were able to help out the pastors.

 

My oldest lost several significant people in his life at a young age. He lost a soccer coach-he also acolyted for that funeral. It was very special to the family.

 

Both boys in one year went to Funerals of significant friends, on their birthdays. One was a dear friend of mine, through our children's swimming. Then the other we lost a friend in the VT tragedy and her funeral was on my oldest birthday.

 

I'm thankful that they had been to funerals before for other people before more significant funerals and deaths.

 

My oldest also was one of the speakers at his former youth director's funerals. My son was a freshman in college. He did an amazing job.

 

This past summer my boys were the pallbearers for my dad's funeral.

 

My friend that I spoke of above had 2 children 6 and 12. It was devastating and there were many children at the funeral. another mom and I sort of helped out especially with the 6 yo. We were her buddies so that the dad could focus. We were prepared to take her out and almost had to when a stick of gum saved the moment.

 

So yes I do think children should attend funerals but they should also be prepared for the funerals too.

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My then-dd5, two ds3s and ds (4 months) attended my father's funeral and wake. They even brought up the gifts during mass, with my help (well, not the baby. Dh had handed the baby off to an older aunt in the back of the church as he helped my brother, who had the stomach flu, find the bathroom, LOL, while I was herding the kids up with the gifts).

 

My boys don't remember it - they're 10 now. I don't know whether dd12 remembers.

 

I can't imagine not bringing them to their grandfather's funeral unless there were a travel issue. When their elderly great-grandmother died recently, I did not fly my six kids across the country with connecting flights; I went by myself. Other cousins brought their babies, who were very welcome.

 

If it had been someone they didn't know personally, then I'd probably have found a sitter or had DH watch them while I attended.

 

It seems to me that their great-grandmother's death when they are 12 and 10 y.o. had a much greater impact on them and their thinking about death. Some were sad and some were a little freaked out. If we had been geographically closer, I would have brought them.

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In all honesty I think it depends on the expectations that will be placed on the child. My children did not attend their uncle's or grandfather's funerals because we knew mil would expect them to deliver a level of comfort to her that a 5 and 7 year old can not provide. Plus it took all the strength dh and I had in us to survive thoses funerals without having to worry about how our children were reacting. Taking care of mil was a huge job those days.

 

I was taken to every relatives/family friend's funeral from birth and had a long series of repetitive nightmares that I did not want my children to experience.

 

Last year one of my best friends died. Both children knew her well and loved her. They also knew she was dying. We spent one day a week with her family while she was ill and our ds's are bf. That funeral we attended. Her children had to go so their friends all attended. It was our first traditional British furneral and absolutely heartbreaking in every way. We walked her to the church-- we a horsedrawn hearse carrying the casket. Watching dd cry at the gravesite was the worst. I had no comfort left to give, literally all I had were tissues to offer. I had no words and had been the one crying throughout the service.

 

While I have no regrets in taking them I am not sure that we served any purpose other than support to my friends family. Because we spent so much time with her and are still with her family frequently I just don't think that day changed a thing. We still miss her. If it wilk be hard for you to take the children along they belong elsewhere. If you know that the children will not behave well once again they do not belong.

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I am not sure. If it was a close family member then yes the kids would come but for more distant members & friends then maybe not. My eldest has been to several funerals when she was a toddler but she would sit still fine. I probably wouldn't take my son to any funeral other than an immediate family member as he is a noisy fidget and would be disturbing to other people. The last funeral we could have attended was that of a friend who commited suicide last November. I didn't take my kids. My eldest knew him a little but and she is pretty sensitive I thought it would be all too much.

 

I remember going to my grandmother's funeral when I was 5 and finding it absolutely terrifying. I had nightmares after it and can still remember my scary impression of it all.

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Absolutely other for me. I don't think children should be forced to attend funerals if they are uncomfortable, but I don't think they should be denied, assuming they can behave. Parents (or someone else, if they are distraught) should look at all circumstances. If the children are old enough to understand, they can decide for themselves.

 

When ds was 3, he did not attend his baby sister's funeral. We thought it best he not see me that distraught. He understood what happened, but only in a 3yo kind of way. There were other families with children and babies there (it was not open casket), and I don't remember any behavior issues.

 

When my mom, who was truly a second mother to ds, died last year, he chose to go. He was 14. It was very hard but the closure was good for him. She lived with us and he spent hours with her every day. There is still a huge hole in his life 9 months later, that none of us can come close to filling.

 

When MIL died a couple of months after Mom, he went to visitation and the meal, but just couldn't do the funeral. He didn't know her very well, but it was just too soon for another funeral, ripping open the fresh wounds. Again, his decision.

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Another non-vote. It depends on the kid, their relationship to the deceased, and the circumstance of the death for me.

 

When my oldest was in elementary school, one of her classmates died over a weekend. She did not attend the funeral, as she was struggling with the very concept that a child she saw on Friday could just die in her sleep Sunday night. She did not need the stark visual to deal with at that time.

 

My younger three attended my grandmother's funeral when they were 8 & 4. That was an end of life situation that is part of the cycle and our family is pretty pragmatic about those sorts of things; no wailing and rending of garments, we just celebrate the person who has died. (And often with great laughter and merriment)

 

So I'm in the camp that says it just depends. On the kid, on the circumstances, on the way the family/community approaches death.

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ETA: I do not take children to wakes. I felt rather traumatized by having to go to several of my great-aunts' and great-uncles' wakes as a child and say my good-byes to them. Even as an adult, I still find the practice rather morbid and skip them if I can find a legitimate excuse to get out of attending.

 

 

I agree with this. I know it's a very personal decision, but for me, the whole idea of viewing a dolled-up dead body is completely unappealing. There's no one there. It's just flesh.

 

Even when I go I don't necessary approach the casket, and I certainly would never force my children to, either. I've seen some parents do that and I couldn't understand why, or what point it served.

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I'm with you! You know what is weird about my family? Some of my family members take pictures of the dead body. WHY?! That is not how I want to remember someone.

 

My FIL passed away over a year ago. He lived in Germany. They don't tend to do wakes, but they did one for us because we couldn't make the funeral and my MIL wanted it. Well they made almost no effort to make my FIL look good. Meaning no make up, no nothing. That was pretty um...eye opening for me.

 

 

My oldest sister did the take-the-picture-of-the-dead-person thing at my grandmother's funeral. Bizarre. Years ago I used to sell jewelry in people's homes, like Tupperware party style. I noticed that A LOT of the African-American families had pictures of the dead people in their caskets sitting on a table or hanging on a wall. What is that about?!?!?

 

Seriously, though, if you insist on doing it, they need to put some makeup on the bodies. That's just disturbing.

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If they are old enough yes. I had no one to call when we had to attend mil funeral and no one offered to help me with my boys who were jsut 3 and 1 at the time so I could sit with my dh. I ended up taking the boys out to the parking lot and was chastised by sil's Christian mother, who also did not offer to help me. It was a bad experience. I did the best I could. My other sil let her 4 year old sit in the pew and play around and did nothing.

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If they are old enough yes. I had no one to call when we had to attend mil funeral and no one offered to help me with my boys who were jsut 3 and 1 at the time so I could sit with my dh. I ended up taking the boys out to the parking lot and was chastised by sil's Christian mother, who also did not offer to help me. It was a bad experience. I did the best I could.

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Another vote for it depends.

 

My mother passed away when my children were 4, 2, and 5mo. I asked the people at my mom's church to find someone to watch the kids in the nursery during the services. They were just too young to get it, and couldn't sit through church services quietly yet.

 

Four years later, my (then) 4yo's best friend died suddenly from illness. All the kids came to that service. Including the baby, who dh was assigned to take out if she fussed at all. I felt like it was important for the kids to be at that funeral and participate in saying goodbye. They understood what was going on, and they behaved beautifully.

 

Any other funeral I have attended was without kids, because it was someone they didn't know personally, and there was no reason to drag them through an unknown person's funeral service.

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Agreeing it depends.

THere's a difference, too, between wakes/visiting at the funeral home, and a "church" service funeral. And, a difference between open and closed casket. At our church, the funeral is very much like a regular service, with readings and communion, and there are no open caskets. The burial sometimes happens after, with a graveside service, and sometimes happens later or not at all (or it's private).

I don't like open casket.

 

I do think kids absorb our attitudes regarding death, and the very first years are when those attitudes are formed. We "practiced," by always having little funerals for our gerbils/fish/pets. Ritual and grieving in community is important in my personal culture, so I invited my kids into that culture.

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Depends on the child and the funeral. No vote option for me.

 

I've known children to do well and some others have been distressted, bored and or disruptive. I've also attended funerals that went on for hours and were stressful to adults attending.

 

Parents should always have a plan in place to ensure the child has someone to take them out if they need to leave.

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In my family growing up, we always went to wakes and funerals. We were never forced to go up to the casket or even be in the same room with it. I often would only go in far enough to talk to the family of the deceased or would wait outside the room. Most funeral homes around here had a place for family and small children to escape if they needed to. Seeing children there reminded us of the circle of life. There is death, but there is also life. We also never treated wakes as totally solemn events. For many of us, it was a chance to catch up with relatives and old friends that we didn't get to see as often as we would like, so there was some joy along with the sorrow. Our funeral mass is about an hour so most children can sit still for that long. For littles - like toddlers, we always had someone available to take them out if they needed a break. I don't remember my parents ever explaining things, but I am sure my older siblings clued me in on what to expect.

 

At my dad's funeral 14 years ago, we had tons of nieces and nephews around. They weren't all sitting quietly, they were mingling, sometimes getting into mischief, but it was all good ... joy and pain. I was getting annoyed that they were running up to the casket and tossing things in there and running away. I went to investigatel, expecting to chew them out for being disrespectful. As it turns out, my one niece (who was maybe 11 at the time) had organized a bunch of the littles into writing small notes or pictures for Grampa to take with him to Heaven. They were running up and tossing them into the casket because they were too wary to come closer. It was actually very sweet. My mom was very touched.

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Thanks all for the responses. This is for an uncle~great-uncle for the kids & they did not know him. Dh feels very close to his uncle despite not having much contact the last many years. There wasn't lack of contact due to discord, rather due to miles & life. The family didn't continue to get together much after the grands died several years ago. It's a no-brainer that dh is going. On the one hand he'd like us all to go just b/c he likes us to be together. He travels with work & we're apart enough already. This is a family affair & we are his family. On the other hand, he knows we'll be driving 500 miles 2 ways to meet him there while he flies in & out from/to work locations. Furthermore, the boys don't know this family & are enmeshed in sports & activities here that they'll be missing. On yet ANOTHER hand, that's all the more reason he'd like them to be there. To seize a rare opportunity for them to mingle with a part of the family we rarely see AND to demonstrate that some things are more important.

 

I think I'm overthinking this due to my own negative experiences in my youth.

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I'm with you! You know what is weird about my family? Some of my family members take pictures of the dead body. WHY?! That is not how I want to remember someone.

 

My FIL passed away over a year ago. He lived in Germany. They don't tend to do wakes, but they did one for us because we couldn't make the funeral and my MIL wanted it. Well they made almost no effort to make my FIL look good. Meaning no make up, no nothing. That was pretty um...eye opening for me.

 

I think it's an 'old country' custom. My family does the same. It does seem 'normal' since it's what I grew up with, but I still find it creepy.

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Dear uncle is being cremated, so the service is actually more of a memorial at his tiny childhood church. No casket, no body. Nearly the entire small community is made up of the various branches of this family so definately a different dynamic than what our boys are familiar with. We live nowhere near our family on either side & have had to build communities from other sources. I've asked dh how he thinks the tone will be. He doesn't think it'll be high drama. He tends to think it'll be low-key, country folks having potluck at the church swapping stories about dear old uncle :).

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