The death of a loved one is a painful, and often
overwhelming, experience at any age. Amidst coping with your own grief, you may
be faced with talking to your child about death and dying, and might find that
you struggle with the question,
“Should my child attend the funeral?”
Debunking Common Myths
As a parent or caregiver, you may worry that your child is
too young to care about, or understand, what happens during a funeral, or why
we have them. You may wonder if your child will remember your loved one.
Perhaps you believe that funerals are only intended for adults, and are too sad
or traumatizing for children. Or, like many, you simply don’t want your child
to see you cry.
But it is important to understand that your child will feel
the death of a loved one intensely, and that he or she may feel forgotten if
left out of such an important family event. Your child may feel resentful for
many years if he or she didn’t get to say goodbye.
Exclusion from the memorialization process may lead your
child to create fear-based fantasies far scarier than what actually takes
place. He or she will also miss out on receiving the comfort and support that
connects friends and family during a funeral.
So the answer is YES, it is appropriate for youth to attend
Saying goodbye to a loved one who died is never easy, but experts agree that
children should be given the choice to attend the funeral, and participate in
the memorialization process, in ways that feel meaningful and important to
The information in the Youth & Funerals section of this website is available to read in an e-book format.