Should children attend funerals?

Recently I caught part of a discussion concerning the question, should children attend funerals? Having not been allowed to attend funerals as a child myself, and having vivid memories of my feelings at the time, it is a subject on which I have quite stong views.

I think it is important to allow children the opportunity to say goodbye and to include them in the grief. It helps to take the mystery and fear away and is comforting and reassuring even if the sadness must be felt. But, interestingly, on the Woman’s Hour show, views were mixed. One man who, as a child, was made to attend his father’s funeral has never quite forgiven his mother for making him go. Other callers had experiences similar to my own. What they all have in common is the vivid recall of how they felt as a child, and even 40 or 50 years later, they still have regrets.

Woman’s Hour is a very good show and well worth checking out on iTunes if you’re passing.

What do you think? Should children attend funerals?