Tips For Talking To Your Teenager About Attending A Funeral

Relationships & Family Blog

By their teenage years, some adolescents have attended a funeral and others have not. If there's a passing in your extended family and you're starting to make plans to attend the funeral, you might automatically plan to take your teenager with you to the chapel or funeral home. In some cases, the teenager will show a significant amount of resistance about doing so, and it's important to gently hear the teen's reservations instead of automatically assuming that he or she simply doesn't want to be bothered with the process. Instead of telling your child that he or she will attend the event and that there will be no debate about it, it's effective to spend time talking to the teen about the funeral and understanding his or her hesitations about attending.

Try To Get To The Core Reason

The reality is that many teenagers will try to avoid going to a funeral because it can be uncomfortable. At a time in their lives in which fitting in is very important, feeling out of place when surrounded by grieving people can be challenging and emotionally taxing for many teenagers. Be gentle as you try to get to the real reason that the teen doesn't want to attend. It could simply be that he or she is afraid of crying in front of people.

Discuss Tactics For Overcoming The Apprehension

While you might simply think about allowing your teenager to stay home, there are some people who might frown on your decision or even be critical of the teenager for showing an apparent lack of interest in the funeral. If you're concerned about this and want your child to attend, take some time to discuss how to overcome his or her apprehension. For example, the teen might not know that it's perfectly acceptable to step outside to get composed while feeling overly emotional is completely fine. Armed with this knowledge, your teen might feel more comfortable to attend.

Develop A Plan For Conveying Condolences If The Teen Won't Be Attending

If you and the teenager have decided that he or she will not be attending the funeral, it's important that you come up with a plan to sending condolences to the grieving family. In many cases, it's best to have the teen write a sympathy card and mail it. This is better than sending an email or text message. A teen who can put some thought into a polite expression of sympathy can still support the bereaved family even without attending the funeral.

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