Helping a Child with the Loss of a Parent: 3 Things to Consider When Planning the Funeral

When a young child loses a parent, there is more to consider than just planning the funeral. It's important to make sure the child's feelings are taken into consideration at every step of the planning process and throughout the funeral service itself. Your funeral-home director can help you to make choices that can provide some level of comfort to the child while still paying tribute to the parent. Here are some things you might want to consider if you are ever in this position.

Ask the Child for Input

Depending on the age of the child, he or she may be able to offer some ideas for how to honor the memory of the parent. Ask about any favorite songs, books, or poems the child shared with his or her parent, and look for ways to include some of them in the service. You may also want to have the child help select the floral arrangements, as this is a relatively simple task that won't be as emotionally difficult as selecting a casket or burial clothes. Make the child feel like he or she is part of the planning process.

Don't Push Involvement

While it's important to give the child the option of helping to plan the services, don't push for involvement if he or she is not willing. The child may simply want to be left alone to grieve, or the child may find that being involved in the arrangements is too painful. Similarly, you may want to provide an option for attendance at the wake or funeral service. He or she may feel comfortable attending the funeral but not spending the day of the viewing at the funeral home.

Include the Parent-Child Relationship in the Services

Whether you are having a religious service or a series of eulogies, be sure that the speakers include the child in their readings. Hearing others talk about how much the child was loved can help him or her to feel closer to the parent who has passed away. You can ask family members to share stories about the child's birth or other stories he or she may not have heard. Remember that grief doesn't end with a funeral. Talk to your funeral-home director about grief counseling or support groups you can involve the child in to help deal with the grief of losing a parent. The funeral director may also have a few helpful tips about talking to the child during the grieving process. Giving the child emotional support at every step will serve as a reminder that he or she is still loved.

Talk to a professional at a funeral home such as Shepherd Funeral Home for more ideas.