Children And Grief

Let Your Child Decide On Their Level Of Involvement.

Whenever a death occurs, ask your child (4 years or older) if she wants to be involved. Be aware of the difference between asking your child to attend and forcing your child to be present. If your child decides not to attend, avoid placing any “shaming” pressure on her. If your child does attend the funeral, do not coerce her into participating in anything uncomfortable, such as “kissing grandmother goodbye.”

Explain The Ritual In Advance

Your child will be less anxious if she knows what to expect in terms of the setting, the number of people and the structure of the ceremony. It may even be a good idea to take her to the funeral home in advance of the event to see what it will be like.

Prepare Your Child For Having Their Feelikngs.

Its a good idea to talk about the range of emotions that your child may experience, such as sorrow, guilt, loneliness, anger and denial. Explain that all of these feelings are natural. Encourage your child to talk about their feelings with you.

Tell Your Child That People May Cry.

While children themselves often cry, they may be upset to watch adults cry and be vulnerable. Explain that everyone cries, especially when they’ve lost someone they love.

Make Sure That Your Child Is With Your Or Someone Else He Or She Is Close To.

Other family members and close family friends can ensure that your child doesn’t feel isolated and alone. A child will derive comfort from a funeral if she feels physically secure. Hold her hand throughout the proceedings.

Limit The Time Of Your Child’s Participation.

There are natural limits as to how much participation in a funeral you child can tolerate. Young children, under 7 years of age, should not be expected to sit through a lengthy religious service. Perhaps they can participate in other ways at the reception afterwards.

Involving your child in the ritual of a funeral will help her/him become accustomed to the reality of death. Experiencing mourning as a family will help you and your children feel less alone.

Copyrighted By Victor M. Parachin.
(From ” How to Overcome Loss And Live Again.)


  • Victor Parachin, an ordained minister and writer living in Claremont, California, is the author of "365 Good Reasons to Be a Vegetarian," Daily "Strength for Daily Needs Series 1: One Year of Biblical Inspiration," and a host of other books to inspire and heal you.