Children and Funerals – a perspective.
Children from 1 to 18 + react very differently to death and funerals – as do adults.
One child we know was gently forced to see a dead relative and suffered badly from the experience. Another might find it comfortably. Perhaps it is important to let the child make the decision and not to be “led” by an adult? Who knows what is best – certainly not the author! Anyway, we thought these US resources might be of interest in opening up a discussion before any decisions are made.
Children and funerals – plan the discussion in advance.
Children probably simply prefer straightforward, honest information. They need to understand what has happened as much as it is possible for them too. When they are older, they may not remember the full details of the funeral but they will ideally remember that it was a meaningful, non-threatening experience and that they were involved and included in it.
Actually seeing the dead body may be more than they can cope with, especially if they are not carefully prepared for the experience and not thrust unsuspecting into a room with the body of a person they loved. Without careful planning and explanation that can be a horrific experience, perhaps thrust upon them by a well-meaning but distraught parent who may not be thinking clearly.