A funeral is a somber event that may be extremely hard for those who were closest to the deceased person. Unfortunately, in a world where everyone loses people they love, funerals are going to inevitably be a part of most people's existence. If you find yourself in the position of taking your children to a funeral for a loved one, it is important to teach them that there are things to learn and appreciate about a funeral. While they are not likely to enjoy it, there are things that should be observed.
All in Attendance Should Defer to the Immediate Family Members
Even if a child does not know the deceased person very well, they may start making requests, such as a desire to leave flowers at a certain place in the chapel or a desire to see the deceased person up close. Make sure that your child understands that everyone needs to be focused on making things easier on those who were closest to the deceased person. Talk to your child about the importance of considering others' feelings. It is an ideal time to have a teaching moment about sensitivity and when one must put others' feelings before their own.
The Memorial Service Can Be a Celebration of Life
The funeral is not meant to be all doom and gloom. Although this serious ceremony does mark their death, the person's entire life should be celebrated at their funeral. Show your child the joys that can be experienced within a funeral. It's okay to appreciate the beautiful flowers, the fond memories of the person, thoughts of things they would have loved about the event, music that is played, the companionship of fellow mourners, and the outpouring of love and support that can be very present at a funeral.
Emotions Should Be Sensitively Expressed at a Funeral
No matter what your kids feel, let them know it is acceptable to have any feelings that come up. However, also teach them the importance of proper decorum at a funeral. For example, if something makes the child feel giddy, it's important that they know that they should feel that inside, but it should be expressed only when you leave the event.
Finally, keep in mind that kids may have many different feelings and reactions to a funeral. Use your best judgment to determine if your little ones are ready for the responsibility of experiencing a memorial service. If they are, be prepared to guide them through the process, and be sure to expect the unexpected.