Children & funerals(61 Posts)
This isn't really an AIBU more of a what would you do.
My grandmother died at the weekend. My children are 12 & 14. They wernt very close. She didn't really recognise them but they visited once or twice a year maybe.
My mum was her main carer. She visited twice a day. My grandmother was in constant pain so it's a blessing really.
Ds has told us that he thinks he's old enough to go to the funeral & pay his respects. He's a very sensitive child. My mum doesn't want him to go. She thinks children shouldn't go to funerals until ar least around the age of 15.
So what should I do. Whose wishes do I respect?
I think 12 and 14 are perfectly acceptable ages to attend a funeral. Death is a fact of life.
Personally I would bring him. I wasn't allowed to go to my grandfather's funeral as a child and it really upset me.
But it depends how upset your mum will be if you do bring him. Is there any chance you could talk to her and explain what it means to him to be allowed to pay his respects?
I think 12 & 14 are easily old enough to attend a funeral.
Much better imo to go to your first funeral where you aren't extremely close so it prepares you for a more important one later.
My uncle passed away when my DDs were 9 and 14, we took both of them and it was absolutely the right thing to do. The next funeral is likely to be for my DF.
If your DC want to go, you should let them go and say goodbye.
Gosh, where I'm from children would always be brought to the funeral of a family member, from a much younger age than your two are. If your children want to attend then I don't see any reason to stop them. There's nothing inherently traumatic about a funeral.
I opened the thread thinking you might be talking about very young children, 4 or 5 years old at most.
Of course 12 and 14 is plenty old enough to attend the funeral of a very close family member. I'm surprised you even have to ask!
12 and 14 is fine to attend, it's not like they are 2 and 4.
If they want to go I'd let them.
Sorry for your loss.
I think they are old enough, the issue to my eyes is how upset your mum will be. I'd had a chat with her about it, if its upsetting her, I'd maybe leave it.
Or suggest a comprise - maybe DS could come to the wake, and take some flowers to the grave in private to say his goodbyes?
If they were close, I'd say they should go, but it doesn't sound as though they were.
My DC have been to funerals since they were babes in arms (I exhausted them first so they wouldn't cry/run around). If they wanted to go to a funeral there is no way I would stop them if they were the age of your children.
But I would try to find out your mother's problem is.
Does she think they will be too upset? (Mine wouldn't be, and it is less distressing than not being allowed to say goodbye.)
Does she think they will misbehave? You can reassure her.
Does she want to rely on you for support? Can their father support/care for them? Or could a friend come to supervise?
My DC have all known children or parents of friends die whilst they were at school (and the odd member of school staff too). One has a good friend with a life limiting illness. Death is unfortunately part of most people's lives, even children and teenagers.
My Mum is of the same opinion on children at funerals. I think since your DS has expressed a wish to go then you need to talk to your Mum about it. It is difficult as I always feel the chief mourners should get to say how things go.
You need to put her mind at rest about whatever issues she has with DC at funerals. I know I will have this with my Mum at some point in the future.
Children should be at funerals, if they want to be there.
However your mum's feelings are very important here. I would tread carefully. Does she know they want to be there? And does she have real concerns or is it just about a blanket age ban?
My mum died 3 weeks ago. My children are between age 9 to 16 and they all went to the funeral - at their own request. They even got up and did readings / prayers, again at their own request. I would not have forced them to go if they had not wanted to, but equally I wouldn't have stopped them from going when they did want to.
However, my brother's 9 year old did not attend - they felt it would be too upsetting for him. Equally, my best friend did not let her 10 year old attend his granddad's funeral a couple of months ago, each to their own.
Why does your mum not want your son to attend?
Let them go. I wasn't allowed to go to either of my grandad's funerals as I was under 10 when they died. I feel that I never got chance to say goodbye and I think attending the funeral is part of that process of achieving closure. Even if they weren't that close I think they should still attend.
My kids are 6 and 10 and have been to loads of funerals- mainly cause they have all been family and we have no childcare. I would definitely take them if they want to go.
Definitely should go. I wasn't given the choice and didn't go to my grandparents funerals and I was in my early teens with my GF and late teens with GM.
Unfortunately, the first funeral I attended was my DF when I was 21 and it was quite traumatic. It was a crematorium and the coffin went downwards at the end and that was the biggest shock. I'd seen tv shows where curtains draw in front of the coffin so that's what I expected. Apparently, I screamed very loudly.
I've since been to several funerals including my DM and my MIL and I'm fine with it all now.
I would definitely talk to your DM and explain how important it is for children to see what happens when someone dies. I would take children along no matter what age, probably. My DS was a toddler when I attended my DH's ex-FIL funeral. (Lovely man). DS got fidgety so I took him outside but otherwise we all attended.
We took my DSD(6) to a funeral three weeks ago - it was a close family friend on my side who she adored. I think if your DC are old enough to understand death and what it means, they are old enough to attend the funeral. Especially if he is a sensitive child - yes it will be upsetting for him but if he wants to go and you support him in going, then it will do him the world of good and help with his grieving process.
No advice on how to phrase this with your DM though - perhaps just let her know that you appreciate her concern but your mind is made up.
My FIL is on his last legs and we won't take any of the children 10,8 and 5 to the funeral. My grandfather died when I was 11 and I felt really traumatised by the funeral, with hindsight it would have been better if I hadn't gone. I was quite a sensitive child though and was perfectly able to cope when my grandma died 4 years later.
We didn't take the children to my Dad's funeral either, but then they were very small.
Can you let your DS talk to your mum directly and put his case himself? If she sees that he really wants to go and is mature enough to explain why then perhaps it would put her mind at rest. If she really thinks he shouldn't be there then she could explain why to him.
Ds hasn't actually spoken to me about it yet. He was at my parents house the day after he died & he told my mum directly that he thought he was old enough to go. She warned me in case he asked me about it & told me that she didn't think he should go.
My three were 9,7 and 5 when Dd2 died. They all went to her funeral. In fact they all saw her body and jumped at the chance of helping the funeral director put the lid of the coffin on and screw it down. Following the advice we were given we let them experience whatever they wished to at the time and respected their wishes. They, surprisingly have happy memories of the day. Nothing was taboo. One thing we were told is to be honest and open because what a child imagines is often far more terrifying than reality.
However, if your mum was closest, maybe she would feel like her grief would need to be concealed a bit 'for the sake of the grandchildren' maybe if you reassure her that it is ok for the children to see her upset she might change her mind.
If she doesn't I think you need to respect that, as she will need the funeral to process her own emotions.
So sorry for you loss
My Dd has been to three funerals. She was 3 months, 5 & 6.
I don't think funerals should be forbidden to kids. They are part of life.
I have always taken my DC to funerals if they so wish. When my MIL died my sensitive 9 year old was seeing a clinical social worker for counseling. He was of the opinion that attending the funeral was essential
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