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Should my kids go to a funeral?

(20 Posts)
Joberman Tue 27-Aug-13 06:35:25

My ex's girlfriend's 21 year old daughter has tragically died and my ex is insistent that they go to the funeral. My boys are 11 and 13 years old and will be 3 days into the new term and for one of them, it's a new school.

I personally don't think they should go and see all that grief, as its a young person, but I'm going to need some strong evidence to convince my ex as he's adamant.

Really appreciate your advice!

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Tue 27-Aug-13 07:11:12

If they knew the young lady then yes they should go. They are old enough to cope and understand. I understand why your ex wants them to go. I would explain to them beforehand what to expect. As for school, it's one day, the new school/ term argument is a pretty poor one. If you are so worried could you go too.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Tue 27-Aug-13 07:15:08

So it's their sister? In that case yes it will be very important for them.

pinkbear82 Tue 27-Aug-13 07:20:05

It's natural to want to protect them from upset - however death is not something that can be avoided.

Talk to them about it and ask them if they feel they want to go. They are old enough to make that decision. It's a final way of saying goodbye and knowing its ok to grieve. Unfortunately it's something they have to experience at some point, far better with you there to support them.

PattieOfurniture Tue 27-Aug-13 07:22:23

So it's his their sort of step sister? How well did they know her?

Spottypurse Tue 27-Aug-13 07:32:31

It depends on the kids at that age. Ask them.

Jaynebxl Tue 27-Aug-13 07:40:26

Definitely ask them. They are old enough to decide. How close were they? They may feel they need the closure or they may feel they've moved on.

Hassled Tue 27-Aug-13 07:43:21

I think they should go. I think funerals are a very, very important part of learning how to cope with death - there's a reason why every culture has its own rituals around death; a funeral gives you an opportunity to acknowledge the loss, celebrate the life, the start of some sort of closure. And certainly at 11 and 13 your boys are old enough to benefit from all that. My DCs have been to funerals when much younger (my father and another relative) and I do think it helped them.

You don't say how close they were to the stepsister but either way, someone who was part of their dad's life has died - let them go.

Sunnysummer Tue 27-Aug-13 07:44:26

They should absolutely go, or at less the 13 year old,

Sometimes when someone dies so young, with no full life or descendants to carry on their legacy, it is even more important that people whose lives the person touched attend, to show the family that yes, their child mattered, their child will not be forgotten.

By attending your children will be showing support for their family and will also have an opportunity to see and recognise the grief that they will be exposed to in any case by spending time with your ex and his grieving partner.

What do they think? Perhaps this is a good chance for you to discuss this death with them, and to make sure that they have a chance to air any concerns (which may happen with a close death like this regardless of whether they attend the actual event).

Dackyduddles Tue 27-Aug-13 07:46:32

Have you asked them? For me it entirely depends on their view.

Or as a compromise (eg if its a burial and you really object) could they go to the wake only? I didn't go to my nans burial as I wasn't sure at 12 but I was interested by and glad I went to the wake and helped with food prep etc.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Dackyduddles Tue 27-Aug-13 07:48:42

I disagree with keeping wider family views as important. That's just bull. It's the individual who is expressing their love of the dead. So if neither child is moved at this age ehere they are old enough to decide for themselves neither child should be there. Equally if one is, then one goes.

Dackyduddles Tue 27-Aug-13 07:49:39

And this isn't school. You don't rock up to random funerals for education elements ffs!

northernlurker Tue 27-Aug-13 07:58:19

I would caution against asking them. When my bil died dd1 was nearly 13 and dd2 10. I asked them and dd2 said she wanted to go. She found it very sad. She was right. It was awfully sad. Her reaction was reasonable and I can't protect them from being sad.
With dd1 I had a problem - she is very reserved and hates getting upset. Her reaction then was to protect herself from a loss of control and from the sad feelings she found hard to manage. She said she wasn't sure whether she would come or not. I left it but as the funeral approached I realised I'd made a mistake. I'd assumed she would come and I could pat myself on the back for being a lovely liberal parent. There was now a risk that I'd allowed her to run away from her feelings of grief. I don't believe that would be at all healthy for her lifelong. In the end I left it to dh and he persuaded her to come. She managed pretty well and as far as I know doesn't regret coming. The next family funeral was an older relative. Dd2 who is very emotional got in the church and felt very anxious, having been so upset by the other funeral. SO I sent her to play with her little cousins in the creche. Dd1 managed fine. So we'll keep on working through both their issues as funerals sadly come up but I would never offer a choice as such again for the funeral of close relatives or friends. I'm the parent. It's my job to raise as well rounded people as I can and funerals are part of life. The first funeral I ever attended was a school friend who'd died in a horrible car smash. Life is brutal. I need to equip my girls to cope with that and avoiding funerals beause it's too upsetting is not equipping them for anything. Take your sons to the service and accept that visible grief is healthy and represents a progression through mourning. By all means though they can avoid the committal if you think that's best.

nooka Tue 27-Aug-13 08:14:53

I think it probably depends on the relationships involved. It's difficult to tell from the OP whether the girlfriend is short or long term and whether her sons knew the daughter well or really not at all. If they were really just acquaintances then I can understand that the OP might think that school is more important, otherwise I would have thought that they should be there.

My children were 12 and 14 at their grandfather's funeral this spring. ds found it all very hard, but dd did one of the prayers and helped carry the coffin (as did I). I hope that my mother appreciated dd's involvement, I was certainly very proud of her.

Funerals of younger people can be very emotional but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily bad experiences. When my niece died at 23 her funeral was both incredible sad and very uplifting (my children were 5 and 6 then and spent most of the service in a separate room but that was more because they found sitting still difficult).

valiumredhead Tue 27-Aug-13 09:01:41

I think they should go of they knew her. Funerals are important, people are far too frightened of others showing their emotion, its not something kids need to be protected from.

Bowlersarm Tue 27-Aug-13 09:05:17

I think if they knew her they should go.

Although funerals are truly truly awful, it will give them closure for the future, and they should be able to move on easier, in time.

Pachacuti Tue 27-Aug-13 09:12:00

If they knew her properly then they should go.

CockyFox Tue 27-Aug-13 09:19:52

I don't think I would I base that on my 14 year old brother getting up and walking out of my Gran's funeral whist my dad was speaking because he couldn't cope with it. He walked home from the crematorium and wouldn't come out of his room when we all got back for the wake.

valiumredhead Tue 27-Aug-13 09:24:42

That doesn't mean he shouldn't have gone though cocky, it just means he was dreadfully upset. Which is understandable.

CockyFox Tue 27-Aug-13 09:28:46

Maybe not but it would be a a consideration for me. My mum had told him he could go outside if he needed to.

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