Despite the consensus, it is perfectly okay to bring your children with you to a funeral service, especially if the deceased is someone close to them. This gives them a chance to say “goodbye” to the person and learn about life and death in the process.
However, it is important that you prepare them for the experience. Here are a few things you can talk about with your children when going to a funeral service:
Very young children who have limited understanding about death may find funerals confusing. Hence, it is important that you discuss the ceremony with your children before you go to the funeral.Let them know what happens during the funeral, and the purpose of each ritual that takes place. Thiswill not only help them understand the why a funeral is held, but also give them a few insights about death itself.
Discuss death with children
Funerals can be a perfect opportunity for you to discuss about death to your children. But while it is important to consider your child’s age, experience and level of maturity when discussing death, it is also crucial that you explain the concept as truthfully as possible. Sugarcoating death by telling them that Grandpa will going on “a long journey” won’t help them understand the concept of death or the grieving process.
Explain to them that all living things will die someday, and this can have an impact on those who were left behind.
Your own feelings
Don’t suppress your feelings. Allow your children to see you cry. By verbalizing the pain you feel, this lets them understand that grieving is a natural part of losing someone.
Death can be a scary and confusing thing for children. Hence, it is important that you validate their feelings and observations on the event. Always be available to answer all of their questions, and give them comfort and reassurance following the death of someone they know.
By allowing your children to go to the funeral, you are letting them know that they are not excluded in the mourning process. It will also help them come to terms with future losses and sorrows in a healthy way when they grow up. However, should your children wish not to attend the funeral, don’t force them. Instead, allow them to say goodbye to a loved one who has passed on in their own way. If they want, they could write personalized funeral quotes or poems dedicated to their “Nana”, which you could bring to the funeral.