When the death of a loved one occurs, adults are faced with difficult choices about whether to include children in death rituals such as funerals and memorial services. As a general guideline, children should be allowed to attend a wake, funeral, and burial if they want to.
Children can also be involved in the funeral planning. Joining family members for these rituals gives the child a chance to receive support from others, and it offers them a chance to express their grief in their own way.
Children should never be forced to attend a funeral or memorial service. It is important, however, to understand the children’s reasons for not wanting to attend, so any fears or questions can be addressed.
Questions might include:
- “What is the thing you are most afraid of about the funeral?”
- “What do you think you might feel if you were to go to the memorial service?”