CHILDREN AND FUNERALS: THE BIG QUESTION
Updated: Jul 29
New Service Helps Parents Help Children
By Jill S. Cohen, NYC family grief counselor
Talking to children and teenagers about death can be very challenging. Is your family experiencing a difficult situation involving the death of a loved one – a family member, a special pet, a teacher, a relative, or a friend?
In my grief counseling practice, I am so often asked, “Should my child(ren) attend the funeral?” Or afterwards, “Was I right or wrong to have decided to let the child attend or not attend the funeral?”
Here’s the good news: There really is no right or wrong. Everyone does it differently and hopes it was a good decision. Much of it depends upon the maturity of the child, the relationship to the deceased, the type of funeral, the amount of support surrounding the family, and input from the child.
If the questions below are running through your mind, it’s completely normal.
How much should you reveal about the situation?
Should children rush to see the loved one if they are away or at school, camp, college, or on vacation?
Will you break their trust if you downplay the situation or don’t talk about it, in order to protect them?
How can you protect the child from the anxiety inherent in the death or the illness of a loved one so that it doesn’t cause extreme stress for the children?
How do you keep things “normal” while allowing the child a chance to grieve?
How much do you expose children to hospitals, hospice care, and funerals?
If you are struggling with these questions, you are not alone.
I know how hard this can be. When a family is in crisis mode, parents often come to me, looking for some short-term solutions quickly.
To help with this, I am now providing Grief Strategy Calls.
This is a one-hour session by phone in which you will share with me “what’s going on” and together we will brainstorm the best way to handle the situation in your family with regards to the children. I will also provide a “guideline” reference/resource sheet for you, and will a follow-up email to discuss the outcome from our strategy.
This opportunity helps families strategize these situations --- pertaining to children, death, dying, and bereavement. It’s a good way for parents and caregivers to get some expert guidance when they find themselves in the middle of a difficult decision-making time.
The HUFF POST recently wrote a smart article on the subject of children attending funerals, and I was interviewed and quoted. Click HERE to read the article!
You might benefit from a Grief Strategy Call. Click HERE to schedule yours now!
And, for more information, go here to download a free resource guide about children’s grief.
Or call me at 212-721-4720 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.