It is the instinct of every parent to protect their children from harm. While it is commendable that you wish to shield your kids from the pain of losing a loved one, you should understand that hiding the death of their relative can be harmful. It is pivotal for children to understand the concept of death as early as possible. Doing so can help them deal with the reality of death.
HoweGver, before you let your children attend a funeral, you should prepare them, so they know what to expect. Allowing them to participate in the service also allows them a final opportunity to say goodbye to the deceased. So if you feel your children are ready to attend a funeral, let us share three tips you can consider to help them prepare for the ceremony.
1. Informing your child is paramount
If it is your children’s first time attending a funeral, it is imperative that you inform them of what is going to happen and what to expect. There are specific rites and customs to follow when attending a funeral. These rituals vary depending on your loved one’s religion. A Taoist funeral is drastically different from a Buddhist funeral service. By preparing them beforehand, you can ensure they adhere to the various customs and rituals.
In addition, you may want to take your time to inform them about how the departed may look, especially if it is an open casket event. Young children may be troubled by the deceased’s appearance if they are not adequately prepared.
Crucially, they need to know that funerals are not joyous events. They are meant to be solemn, quiet, and emotional affairs. Therefore, your children need to be made aware that it is rude to talk loudly or interrupt the ceremony during a funeral. The more open you are to talking about funerals with your children, the better they will grasp the enormity of the situation.
2. Don’t force them to attend if they are uncomfortable
It is never wise to force your children to attend a funeral. They need to be given the final say on the matter. If your children do not feel comfortable attending a funeral, offer them another option, such as letting them know they can stay at home with a familiar family member or babysitter.
You should avoid offering a joyous alternative to attending a funeral. Tempting your children with trips to the amusement park or arcade before or after the funeral are not suitable alternatives. Doing so can set an unhealthy precedent as they will expect a similar reward when asked to attend a future occasion.
3. Make sure that your child is supported
Try to keep a close eye on your children, especially when it is their first time attending a funeral. Kids are naturally inquisitive, so they are likely to have many questions about the ceremony. It is essential for you to answer them truthfully so they can better understand the concept of death.
While it can get busy during a funeral, do not neglect to take your child for a walk for a little respite occasionally. Funerals are a sombre affair, and the service may get overwhelming for them. These breaks allow them to escape and process their feelings. They are also likely to be upset about the death of their loved one so if they cry, let them. Offering support to your children is the best thing that you can do. By being there for them, you are letting them know that what they are feeling is natural.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is a challenging process for adults, let alone a child. Therefore, it is ok to let your children know they should not bottle up their feelings during a funeral. Crying is a natural reaction to grief, and doing so can allow everyone to process their emotions naturally. Ultimately, part of a parent’s responsibilities is to guide their children through the difficult moments in life so they are better equipped to deal with them in a healthy manner.
It can be challenging to juggle planning a funeral and preparing your children to attend one during this trying time. As such, you should not hesitate to approach a trusted funeral company to assist you with the funeral arrangements. If you are struggling to decide on a suitable funeral package, allow our consultants at 1Stop Buddhist Funeral Services to advise you on the matter.