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How Old Do You Have To Be To Attend a Funeral?

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Published 28/12/2020
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A funeral is an opportunity to pay your respects, share memories and celebrate the life of a loved one who has recently passed away. However, it is also a challenging and emotionally difficult day for all involved. This will be especially true for younger people, which begs the question, should they be attending the funeral at all? In this blog I am going to attempt to answer that very question: how old do you have to be to attend a funeral?

The Very Young

The question of whether or not to attend a funeral with an infant child (0-3 years old) may not be based on whether or not it may distress them. More often than not, a child that age is unlikely to understand the gravity of the situation and what is going on, so it is unlikely to have a profound emotional effect on them.

For children in this age range, what should be considered is if they may inadvertently disrupt proceedings. As mentioned, they are unlikely to understand what is taking place, which means they may be loud and perhaps even begin to cry, which could take away from the funeral. Most parents will opt to not take a child that age to a funeral – particularly during the current Coronavirus restrictions on attendee numbers – for this reason.

The Slightly Older

In the United Kingdom, there are no set rules in place about younger people attending funerals. The Bereavement Advice Centre advises the following: “Children old enough to know what is happening should generally be given the choice to attend and their decision respected.”

When I was 15 my grandmother passed away, and I decided not to attend the funeral as I thought it would be more of an upsetting experience than a positive one personally. However, some 8 year olds for example may wish to attend the funeral of a loved one who as passed away, feeling that they wish to pay their respects, share memories of the person who has died, or simply because they may regret not attending later on in life.

Some children and/or teenagers who wish to attend a funeral may be stopped from doing so by their parents. As a parent, it is natural to be concerned about the emotional toll a funeral could take on your child, particularly if they have already found the death of a loved one hard enough. Whilst you cannot legally stop your child from attending the funeral, it may be worth sitting down with them and discussing what will take place; making sure that they’re prepared for how difficult it may be for them.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog on how old do you have to be to attend a funeral today, I hope you have enjoyed it. For more blogs, please visit
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