- DR. MARION'S METHOD
- CAREGIVER TRAINING
Dr.Marion Talks About Children and Funerals
My mother is about to pass away after a long illness, and I’m not sure if I should bring my 11 year-old son to her funeral. Do most people bring young children to their grandparents’ funerals?
Geoff in North Carolina, 41
Although children may not completely understand death or the ceremonies surrounding it, you can involve them in the experience if this seems appropriate. Doing so can help establish a sense of comfort and the understanding that life goes on even though someone in their family has died. Since the funeral is a significant event, I recommend that children be given the same opportunity to attend as any other member of the family, as long as you and the other family members agree. But never force them to attend. Some parents might need help explaining the purpose of the funeral. This is an opportunity to help support and comfort each other, as well as a time to honor the life of your elder loved one who has passed away. We all need the opportunity to say goodbye.
There are some other things to think about:
* Don’t assume every child in a certain age group understands death the same way or has the same feelings.
* Don’t lie of tell half-truths to children.
* Don’t wait for one big moment to tell children what is happening. Keep them informed along the way.
* Encourage children to ask questions about death.
* Let children know that you want to understand their thoughts, concerns, and feelings.
* Children’s bodies react when they feel grief. Allow them to feel it.
* Don’t feel that you have to have all of the answers about death and grieving.
* Keep information age-appropriate.
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