Young Children Witnessing a Funeral or Memorial Service for a Loved one – Yes

A funeral or memorial service is often the very last opportunity for a young child to say good bye to a loved one. However, young children should be guided through this process by their parent(s), family members or, in special cases, a bereavement counselor might be helpful to explain this sad occasion to them.

The cycle of life must be explained in terms that a young child under 10 can comprehend.  Children are resilient and understand these events in their own time. Children should be exposed to everything that this life entails, that’s including a funeral or memorial service for a departed loved one. 

Some people might believe a child should be kept from attending a funeral of a loved one. What is the alternative to explaining this fact of life to a young child?  Acceptance is the first step in the grieving process.  A memorial service or funeral, as some people still call it, is designed for the living to offer support and encouragement to one another during this sad time. A young child might learn that they’re not alone in their feelings. It’s also very helpful for the child to have family and friends gather around them and offer support, encouragement,prayers and console them in their loss. 

Undoubtedly, there will be hard to explain occurrences in this life. Alas, the life cycle will have to be explained at some point in time. A young child should never be forced to attend a funeral or memorial service.

However, if careful consideration and attention is given to young children before the service takes place, this occasion might even be considered a learning experience later in their life. They had the opportunity to say goodbye and participate in the service for their loved one.

A truthful explanation of this event is mandatory to help the child accept and comprehend the reason for this relevant, important service. This service honors the living as well as the deceased person.

A funeral or memorial service usually takes place on just one day. The young child may understand that the feelings that they have are lasting much longer than that one designated day. Yet, a funeral or memorial service may signal the end to the grieving process for that young child. The loved one that has died would want the child to continue on with their life and remember the good times that they may have shared together. 

The eulogy often reminds the people that are attending the funeral or memorial service  how the diseased person lived their life. In essence it’s a reminder to cherish  and value life. Some religions even view it as a celebration of life. This celebration of life is a home going celebration. Even young children need to be a part of this celebration.