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To ask would you take young children to a funeral?

(185 Posts)
LinkyPlease Mon 15-Jan-18 23:21:10

Just wondering what the general view is on taking a baby and a 4 yr old to a funeral. It's my granny's, she is 93 and has been given just a few weeks more in all likelihood.

For some reason my brain is processing this by trying to work out if I should bring my children to her funeral. She's had a lovely long life, so while people will be sad it won't be a sombre tragic occasion, more a celebration of a lovely life by all her descendents.

Of her children one (my uncle) thinks children probably shouldn't attend, whilst the other (my mum) is more inclined to think children should be included so as to demystify and so they don't worry and imagine all sorts of weird goings on.

I'm not sure. I'm tempted to say baby can come but 4 yr old might be whingy and potentially make a scene by being bored. She's pretty well behaved compared to most 4 yr olds... but she is 4! Family we haven't seen for years will be there, and I'd like my daughter to meet them. But using a funeral as an excuse to show off my lovely children doesn't seem right.

Please don't flame me. I'm just wondering how many people think no and how many yes


Branleuse Thu 18-Jan-18 20:54:39

At my nanas funeral, my mum got a lot of comfort from my 6 year old being there.

TheClaws Thu 18-Jan-18 23:58:12

I wouldn't force anyone to take a child if they don't want to but I think it's sad we aren't prepared to allow children to be a part of the ritual, especially if they want to

Possibly taking GottaGetMoving out of context, but many posters, when discussing taking children to funerals, were having to keep them occupied with colouring, snacks, stickers, drinks, BF, reading, etc., so they wouldn’t make a fuss or get upset. How does that fit with “being part of the ritual”?

Megs4x3 Thu 18-Jan-18 23:59:39

Heavens! That sounds awful and really disrespectful.

Megs4x3 Fri 19-Jan-18 00:01:14

Oops! Forgot to tag @YourVagesty

PinkSparklyPussyCat Sat 20-Jan-18 16:44:10

@FuzzyCustard I agree with everything you’ve said. DM was 86 when she died and I fell apart and I still struggle to talk about her without crying. I didn’t want some kid being brought along to be taught about death or, even worse, to provide some light relief.

Grief does make you selfish. My Mum’s funeral was about what I wanted and what I hoped she would have wanted (she left no instructions) and I make no apologies for that.

caffeine99 Sat 20-Jan-18 21:42:18

Mine are similarly aged and I was in a similar situation to you... when my grandmother died I sent the children to crèche as normal on the day of the funeral.

It would’ve been nice for the children to see all of their extended family but having them at the funeral would’ve been difficult for me as I would’ve been focussed on them instead of the funeral.

Would it be an option for someone to look after your children during the funeral but then bring them to you afterwards so they could spend time with the extended family? I’ve seen that option work well with children and families in the past

Hillingdon Tue 23-Jan-18 11:14:06

Here Here Pink. I agree with you. This isn't about teaching children about death at your expense.

Don't get me started on children at weddings but that is another thread entirely!

Brighteyes27 Tue 23-Jan-18 11:23:52

No. Personally, I think the child needs to be old enough to understand and behave appropriately.
Last year at a family funeral my two 12 and 13 found it hard enough. Their nephews came the 4 year old was completely running a mock and understandably didn’t understand. His 6/7 year old brother was a bit better behaved but mid service he let out the most horrendous really loud crying sounds. It was an extremely hard day for him.

MuddlingThroughLife Tue 23-Jan-18 11:30:13

Sorry for your loss.

I would say that 4 might be a bit too young unless you had someone who could take her out if she gets upset and/or noisy.

We held my 10 year old son's funeral last week, so had quite a few children there who were mainly his age, some younger. They were all very upset.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Tue 23-Jan-18 13:44:20

I think it has to depend on the child and the circumstances. In our case, we feel it worked well bringing our children to my father's funeral, despite them being young - but we knew they would behave, and had brought my MIL with us, so they could be taken out if necessary. In the event, they all behaved very well (but as I said, we were regular churchgoers, so they knew how to behave, and we didn't need to bring books or toys to keep them quiet).

We had also talked it over with my mum and my sister beforehand, and both were happy for us to bring the boys, knowing that we would make sure they behaved and were quiet, or they would be taken outside.

Unless it is specifically decided in advance, and everyone is OK with it, I do NOT think it is acceptable to bring children in fancy dress costumes, as a previous poster described, or to bring anything to entertain them that would create a disturbance at the service - so a book might be OK, if the child is one who will sit quietly and read, but not a noisy toy, or a lot of different toys, the getting out of which will be a disturbance - if that makes any sense.

I also think that, if you know your child is likely to be noisy or disruptive, or to get upset at what is happening, then it is better for them not to go - for their sake and for the sake of the other people there.

I do also think that funerals vary - some are very sombre, quiet occasions, where any noise from a child would be noticeable and unwelcome, and others are less sombre, more a celebration of the person's life, and there a child's presence, even if not quiet and unobtrusive, would not be a problem.

So, in short, you need to know what sort of funeral it is, what sort of child you have and how they are likely to behave at the funeral, the views of the other close relatives of the deceased, and what support you will have - and then you can look at all of these factors together, and decide whether it is appropriate for this particular child to attend this particular funeral.

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