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24 Nov 2005

Funerals
hi

at what age should kids be allowed to go to a funeral? A family friend died on Tuesday and my neice age 7 (and a 1/2 ) has asked if she can be allowed to attend the funeral. Would it help her? I don't think there will be an open casket.

Thanks
K
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

I think Ne is a special example, in that it would be harder than usual to discuss with her what has happened to your aunt. Buzz's example is more generalizable --- and what was done was correct. Children at least from 7 or so onwards, and often younger, can understand enough of that is going on, to be able to appreciate and share the occasion. Yes, it's a bit alarming to see the adults crying --- but the kids will see that anyway, and with far more of a mystery about what everyone went away and did, while they were left behind. What most troubles kids is when the adults don't really explain what is happening, and they fill the vacuum with their own fantasies, usually far more frightening than the truth.
The other relevant factor in your question, is that the child has actively asked to attend. I would sit with her and talk about WHY she wants to attend, and what her thoughts are on the subject, but if her reasoning seems sound, would allow her to attend.
There are two great facts of life you can't ultimately keep from kids, sex and death. By choosing an early time to open the ongoing discussion with them, you can keep better control over the situation than leaving it to chance, and the often wildly worrying and misinformed comments they're bound to receive from other kids.
AGM's example is excellent and important.


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