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What age for a child to go to a funeral?

(14 Posts)
Rarrie Mon 11-Apr-05 02:49:26

DH's grandma has died, and MIL wants my 17 month old baby to go. I don't think its appropriate and have said no. Her argument is that she wants DD there, and DD is too young to be upset by it. My argument is that she is too young to know how to behave properly, but is old enough to know people are upset and crying. I think it would be confusing and upsetting for her. What do you think... should I send DD to her Great Grandmother's funeral??? Would you?

FairyMum Mon 11-Apr-05 07:00:26

I personally take my children no matter what age. We have only really been to funerals for old people and noone has really been that upset so not too much crying. I probably wouldn’t take my children to a more traumatic funeral, for example if a young person had died. I don't think it does any harm for children to see people being a bit sad and I also think children can really lift the mood in a funeral as it reminds you of new life and hope.

Elf1981 Mon 11-Apr-05 07:26:30

Rarrie, it depends on the child. If you think your DD is able to cope, I'd take her, as FairyMum is right to say that children can lift the mood in a funeral.

It really does depend on the child. A friend of mine lost her young cousin to a brain tumour, and her DD (who is 7) was very confused about the whole thing, and frightened that anybody could be taken at any time. She didn't attend the funeral, which I think was a good thing. She became a little obsessed with death for some time after the event and I think the funeral would have been too much for her.

chenin Mon 11-Apr-05 08:01:09

Having gone through both parents funeral last year, I have to say I don't think it is really right to bring a young baby to a funeral. Both were very moving services, and if a baby had started crying in the middle, it wouldn't have really lifted the spirits. It is too solemn occasion for a young baby - they don't need to go because they don't understand anything. All the grandchildren went and the youngest was my DD2 who was 13.

Nemo1977 Mon 11-Apr-05 08:11:59

MMM its a hard one ...i think that if it was me and knowing how my 18mth old is i wouldnt take him as he would be trying to run about etc..I wouldnt mind about them attending say if it was their parent or very close relative eg grandma but other than that i dont think its a place for kids...they can however go to the wake afterwards if one is being had.

nailpolish Mon 11-Apr-05 08:18:14

rarrie, i wouldnt take her. when my MIL died, my mum looked after dd, and she brought her along to the 'tea and sandwiches' afterwards in a hotel that everyone was at. by then everyone was not crying etc, when she toddled in the mood was lifted, esp for FIL, and people were having a laugh also by this time

i think its completely inappropriate before even the age of 10 or 11, sorry to disagree with others

also, i think it would be better for you too, not having to worry about dd, whether shes hungry, needs a new nappy etc, you can be there for dh

dd might not be on her best behaviour too, esp if she is bored
have you someone who can look after dd?

breeze Mon 11-Apr-05 08:21:52

Think you should do what you think is best for you and your DD. You dont want to be worrying about her crying in the middle of it all on this sad time.

stitch Mon 11-Apr-05 08:56:49

i am 32 and have never been to a funeral in my life. does that count?

LIZS Mon 11-Apr-05 09:05:14

What does dh think ? If he is likely to be upset or needing to comfort his mother then I don't think it would be fair on you to have to take single handed responsibility for your dd and support them. Could you compromise and not take her to the service but perhaps the do afterwards, if appropriate.

muminlondon Mon 11-Apr-05 09:51:31

LIZS's suggestion sounds about right. The wake afterwards can sometimes benefit from a bit of light relief or at least a distraction and another topic of conversation. If she was any older I wouldn't take her though.

suedonim Mon 11-Apr-05 12:50:05

We took dd2 to a funeral when she was a year old - had no choice in the matter. Everyone was thrilled to have a baby around, reminding them of new life etc. We sat near the back so we could leave if necessary but dd was as good as gold. Dd also went to my dad's funeral when she was two and last year at age 8 she attended a elderly friend's funeral. All were for people in their 90's and the services were as much celebrations of their lives as about death. I don't think my dd has been damaged by attending, it's a part of life, and children can think a funeral is something very bad if they aren't allowed to go. But there again, it depends on circumstances. I wouldn't have taken mine to a certain friend's funeral because I was so upset myself. Another thing is where the service takes place. There is one crematorium I've been to which is a gloomy, depressing place but others have been calming and soothing places of reflection. In the end, though, you have to do what you think is right, there's no one correct answer.

WestCountryLass Mon 11-Apr-05 19:56:04

I have taken my kids to two funerals because a) I have no choice and b) death is as much a part of life as life itself. My DS was quite young when I took him to my GMs funeral and started babbling so my DH took him out of the service but he came to the wake afterwards and lifted the mood just by being there. When I was young my GD died and children were excluded from the service and we knew something was going on and it was sad as GD had died and we were quite confused about the whole thing, kids do tend to make up the rest if they don't know the whole picture.

barbaloot Mon 11-Apr-05 20:29:33

Ds at 17 months came with me to my mothers funeral - a crematorium service followed by Thanksgiving service. I felt it wouldn't have been right for him not to have been there, and there wasn't really a lot of choice in any case. As I recall (he's 11 now) he was pretty much his usual self - kept quiet for the important bits by distraction with his favorite toys etc - I'd have taken him out if he'd been really troublesome.
It was a different matter for me - the stress of it sent me into premature labour and dd was born later that day much to all the relatives delight.
Both children have been to other funerals over the years too (dh's granny, my uncle and my aunt). As they've got older they've asked more questions, but haven't been unduly distressed.
When I was 5 & 7 I wasn't allowed to go to my granny and brother's funerals and was quite upset about it to be honest.

Rarrie Mon 11-Apr-05 21:48:10

Thanks - we've decided not to take her, as I don't think she'd stay still for 5 seconds, let alone the service. Its a good idea about going to the wake. Unfortunately, the service is an hour from where we live, and so not practical to take her only to a bit of it!
Thanks for the advice!

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