A common question among family members is whether they should bring their children to a funeral. You might be struggling with this issue. The decision being made depends on the age and maturity of the child being considered. For example, you might not put young ones in a situation that can become a traumatic experience.
Why should children attend funerals?
Children should be allowed to attend a funeral or burial because these types of events are crucial family rituals which teach them about the concept of life and death. If the deceased is someone they know, it gives them the chance to say goodbye.
At the same time, you should never try to force a child to attend a funeral . Always make it a point to give them the option and if they say no, try to delve deeper to find out the reasons as to why they don’t want to be a part of this event. If there are questions or fears, you should address them, helping them overcome these obstacles.
Preparation is key
As the adult, you need to make sure your child knows what is going to happen at the funeral, especially when it is his or her first time. Talk about how the room is going to be set, what kind of behavior is expected, even the appearance of the deceased if there is going to be an open casket.
Your child should know that certain individuals at the funeral are going to cry because they miss the person. Let your child know that it is okay to cry or not to cry at the funeral. At the same time, there will be some people who laugh or smile as they recall the memories shared with the deceased.
Be sure to pay extra attention to your child during this type of event. You don’t want your child to feel like he or she is forgotten or you are neglecting his or her needs.
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Death is something that even adults find difficult to process. It’s something that you can never prepare yourself for, no matter how many loved ones you have lost. If it’s so delicate and confusing even for adults, imagine how it must be for children.
It’s no wonder that children often have so many questions about death, and often, these are questions that are difficult to answer. To help you out, here are some of the most common questions that kids have about death and how to answer them.
Why do people die?
One of the most common questions is the why of it all. When a child asks you this, it is essential to be straightforward and factual without complicating things. Let them know that people die because of accidents, illnesses or because of old age. Make sure that they know their thoughts and actions have nothing to do with the person’s death.
Where do we go when we die?
The answer to this question depends on your cultural views. If you are someone who is religious or you want your children to grow up with a religious background, tell them your religion’s belief on death and the afterlife. If you are not particularly religious and you aren’t sure of the answer, there is no harm in being honest.
Will I die too?
It’s common for children to ask if they too will die. You must be honest with them, but remember to explain gently and in terms that kids will understand. Tell them that at some point, all of us will die and even though it can be difficult to understand, death is natural.
Will I see the person who died again?
The answer to this depends on your answer to the question about where we go after we die. For instance, if you are Christian, you can tell them that they will see them again when they go to heaven.
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Most parents are overprotective when it comes to bringing their children to terms with the idea of death. But that doesn’t mean that children should be left out of the last rites of a beloved family member and be expected to learn to handle their emotions on their own as they grow older.
It is crucial that parents educate their children about the concept of death at an early age. Teaching them gradually about the physical and emotional aspects of death will enable them to handle their grief better, even as adults later in life. It also makes them feel involved and responsible.
When attending a funeral service, the child must know the etiquette that he or she is expected to follow. Teaching a child to be respectful at a funeral is very important, not just for that particular day but also for molding the child’s personality as an empathetic individual.
Talk to your child about what to expect at a funeral. If your child has never been to one, he or she may not know what exactly happens at a funeral service. It is essential that children know who will be in attendance and what events will be held during the service. Taking them to a funeral without any prior knowledge may be a little overwhelming for children.
Once they know what to expect, discuss what is expected of them at the funeral. Tell them how they're supposed to dress for it and how they're meant to behave. Tell them that they should not be loud while talking and shouldn't run around the place. Teach them to be respectful to the deceased and the family as well.
More importantly, set an example for your children by showing them how to behave appropriately since children learn better by following your lead rather than instructions.
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As humans, we tend to avoid talking about topics that make us upset, which is why talking to children about death is so difficult for adults. On top of this, we do not know all the answers when it comes to death which makes explaining the concept to kids so challenging. You want to tell your child what exactly happens after people die and whether he/she will ever see them again, but you do not know for sure.
Explaining death to children may be difficult, but you will certainly have to do it at some point. Especially if a loved one has died, children are more likely to have plenty of questions about death. Here are some tips to help you answer these questions about death:
If you have lost a loved one, you will be grieving. Explain to your child what has happened instead of beating around the bush and making up stories. Telling the truth directly helps them understand why you are in pain as well.
It’s common for parents to use phrases like 'passed away', or 'went to sleep', or 'crossed over' while explaining death to kids. Sometimes this just confuses them even more. Besides, research shows that using realistic words like “dead” and “died” has been shown to help kids in the grieving process.
You won’t have the answers to all the questions that your child asks, and at such times, it’s okay to reveal the fact that you don’t know. Admitting that you don’t know something helps children understand that death is an elusive topic that is, often times, hard to process even for adults.
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Today, parents want to shield their children and offer protection from the world. This might include boredom, losing, suffering the consequences of their own actions, and also rituals of life and death such as funerals. Many parents think that children should not be allowed to attend funerals as they believe it is simply too much for them to handle. As such, youngsters are often barred from funerals of their dear ones, even if they express their wish to be present.
It is true that funerals can indeed be confusing and harrowing for children, especially if it is not planned properly or the child is not given an explanation of what exactly is going on. However, it is also true that when done right, funerals can be an important experience for kids, helping them understand death as a concept and thus allowing them to mourn properly.
Here are a few things that adults must keep in mind when it comes to kids and funerals:
First, it’s important that the child knows the purpose of a funeral. Tell them what to expect, what rituals are involved, and how people may react. Once they understand funerals as a concept, it becomes easier for them to decide if they want to be a part of them.
This is the most important part. Adults must allow kids to choose for themselves. Once you carefully explain to them everything they should expect, leave it up to the child to decide if they want to attend a funeral or not.
It’s important to realize that funerals can be therapeutic for people who have lost a loved one since they offer a physical, tangible point of farewell. This allows you to mourn in a healthy manner.
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