Funerals and kids

Discussion in 'All Other Discussions' started by Salty, Nov 23, 2009.

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What is the youngest age a child should go to a funeral

  1. 3 years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 5 years

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  3. 6 years

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  4. 7 years

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  5. 8 Years

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  6. 9 years

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  7. 10 years

    0 vote(s)
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  8. 11 years

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    0.0%
  9. 12 years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Other answer

    5 vote(s)
    71.4%
  1. Salty

    Salty
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    #1 Salty, Nov 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2009
  2. Crabtownboy

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    I seen no problem in taking children to funerals. Death is a part of life and they need to know.
     
  3. Johnv

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    Young children, generally, no. The death experience is traumatic, even for the mature and discerning adult. We should not be including children in having to deal with that trauma.

    Children older than, say 9 or so, it depands on the situation and the child.
     
  4. swaimj

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    My oldest son is 3 and my youngest is 21 months. Recently, when our assistant pastor passed away, the boys stayed in the nursery during the funeral. However, I took the oldest through the line to see the body because my son had been praying for the pastor for several months, and did this voluntarily. We stopped briefly and I told him that our pastor looks like he is sleeping, but he is with Jesus now. I don't know if he'll even remember this when he is older, but I see no reason that he should be traumatized by seeing the body.
     
  5. RevGKG

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    I disagree with hiding death from children. Children need to know why a person will no longer be around. It will be more traumatic to them later and could cause some distrust problems later. I took my 1 yr old granddaughter to my mother's funeral and it had no adverse effects on her.
     
  6. Johnv

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    Not to cause an argument here, but explaining death and witnessing a funeral/deceased person aren't the same. It's not necessary for a child to witness their parents engaged in a sexual act to talk to them about sex. It's likewise not necessary for a child to view a dead body or go to a funeral to talk to them about death. It won't to any damage or trauma to them to not have them attend a funeral. But that's truly up to each parent to decide.
     
  7. Jim1999

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    In my early days, the viewing of the body of a deceased relative, was done in the living room of the home. The casket was closed after supper and opened again in the morning. I can't recall any great trauma from facing the reality of death.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. SaggyWoman

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    I think it depends on the child and the relationship to the one who has passed.
     
  9. annsni

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    And how the parents handle it.

    My girls experienced the death of my grandmother when they were 3 and 5 years old. They sat on her bed the day she passed away and sang to her. When she passed away, they saw her in the hospital bed and then they saw her in the casket at the funeral. They processed the whole thing quite well and we were just honest with them about the process which I think helped a lot. The ONLY thing that was hard to understand was for my 3 year old who asked "Where is Ee-Ee's head?" when we told her that people were going to bury Ee-Ee's body but the part of her that made her "her" was in heaven. We finally got it that she thought the body and the head were two different parts. :) But otherwise, they did fine.

    So I think how the parent helps them to process it is fine and I don't see how any child should be traumatized by death since it's such a natural part of life.
     
  10. abcgrad94

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    I agree. Shortly after my dh became a pastor, a church member died. My girls were only 4 and 8 at the time and they didn't know the man who died. I did not make them participate in the funeral. It would have caused them nightmares and fear.

    Instead, we just talked about it and I told them they could go to a viewing or funeral whenever they felt ready. This summer (4 years later) our neighbor died and they wanted to go, to be with the wife and comfort her. I'm so glad I let them make the decision when they were ready instead of pushing them into it. Their sincere caring was a blessing to all who witnessed it.
     
  11. RevGKG

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    Your allege comparison to the sexual act is totally off topic and uncalled for!!!
     
    #11 RevGKG, Nov 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2009
  12. donnA

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    it is not the place for young children, and I agree with saggy, it depends on the child and the relationship to the deceased.
     
  13. RevGKG

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    Why is it not the place for young children?
     
  14. Johnv

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    If that's how you feel, then report it, and let a moderator decide.

    I agree with the comments above. A funeral is not necesarily the place for young children. Older children, perhaps. It's case by case. It truly depends on the child and the relationship to the deceased.
     
    #14 Johnv, Nov 24, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2009
  15. rbell

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    As a child, I was "protected" from funerals. I have no doubt my parents did what they thought was best...however, in hindsight, I think my parents did me a disservice when at age eight they kept me away from my grandfather's funeral.

    I like how swaimj handled things. Obviously, there needs to be great care taken, especially on the young end of the spectrum. But, it's a great place to teach them (in a small, brief, controlled way) the lessons of life and death, and (if the deceased was a Christian) about the great hope we have.

    When my wife's grandmother died this past year, we handled things with our two kids (7 and 4 at the time) this way:

    The girl (4) did not go (it was a long trip, and she had recently been sick). However, we told her what was being done, and gave her the very simple explanation (Her great-grandmother was a strong Christian). Now...I know she won't get a lot, and age 4 has no concept of the permanence of death...but we felt it important to explain.

    My son (7) went with us to the funeral. We had him some things to play with, and we didn't expect him to hang out with the family in the FH (we hired a family friend to babysit in a nearby room, and he brought some toys). But, I did have him come with us briefly in the visitation room. And I gave him a choice about seeing the body (I explained that for some people, it helped them...but that I wouldn't make him do that). We then had a good talk about death, and life afterwards for a believer. He did attend the funeral (he's not an extremely emotional kid, and I knew he could "handle" it).

    There are some cases in which I think it's wise to restrict kids...maybe a tragedy such as a murder...or the death of an unbeliever (depending on the age & sensitivity of the child)...or if the funeral/visitation will be chaotic or so emotional as to scare the kids.

    But (and I'm speaking as a Christian and a minister here...I hope you know what I mean) if it is an "easy" funeral (please understand how I mean that...such as a death of an older saint who was suffering physically), it's a good place to have discussions.

    But we should keep in mind:
    1. The age & developmental stage of the child (such as younger kids not getting the permanence of death);
    2. Sometimes children are more disturbed by the reactions of the grieving than they are the actual death/casket/viewing;
    3. I think it important to teach the Scriptural truths of death...but to also stress to the child that people grieve differently, and as long as it's not against Scripture, that's perfectly fine. (One example: I told my son...some cry a lot, some don't; it doesn't mean one person loved Granny more than another).
     
  16. Tom Bryant

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    Good stuff. I am printing that to use to talk to people about this issue. You handled that well with your children.
     
  17. faithgirl46

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    I disagree with Dr. Laura. Kids should be atthe funeral of their grandparent, aunt etc. It helps them with the grieving process.
    Faithgirl
     
  18. Salty

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    I may have been a bit off, I think (as now I recall) Dr. Laura is more concerned about a young child seeing the body in the casket.

    Would that make a difference in anyone's thinking?
     
  19. annsni

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    Honestly, thinking through history, death was much more a matter of life than it is for us today. Children of all ages saw death and were not removed from it. Bodies were typically prepared for burial in the home and were laid out in the parlor or nice room of the house for viewing. I think it's only recently that we have had funerals as we know them today. Did it scar children in the past?

    As I said, my girls were very young and saw death and were not scarred at all. I think it's important for children to understand what death is so that they are not frightened by it and that they can begin to put together the truth of what life and death are.
     
  20. JohnDeereFan

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    Yes, I would bring my children to the funeral of a loved one. Children need to grieve and to have closure and an opportunity to say goodbye, too.
     

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