Is it okay to bring young children to a funeral or visitation? I’ve heard it would be too traumatic for them, especially if they see their parents crying.
Yes, it is not only okay, but highly encouraged to bring young children to a viewing or service. In fact, psychologically, it can actually be harmful to a child’s emotional health if they are excluded from that part of the grieving process.
One of the parent’s major responsibilities is to teach their children how to process feelings. Thus, when a parent cries in the presence of the child at visitation, it is demonstrating to the young one that it is okay to feel sadness, anger…any of the emotions surrounding grief. By keeping them away and hiding one’s emotions, the parent is instead teaching them that the right thing to do is to ignore reality, and suppress their thoughts and feelings.
Interestingly, children adapt far more easily than adults to the major change a death brings to the family dynamic. It is not unusual for them to exhibit little to no sadness, but rather to ask matter-of-fact questions, like “Does Grandpa still need to go to the bathroom?” Surely, witnessing a child in grief is heart-breaking, especially to parents. Whatever their reaction may be, it is vital that children of all ages join the family in saying goodbye.
It will help your child as they grow
In the end, it will help them move forward developmentally, not backward. And it will help them remember fondly all of the good things they loved about the person who died.