Should i let my 6 year old step-son go to his moms showing? I'm absolutley terrified it's going to give him nightmares.

Michelle - posted on 01/30/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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He lives with us and has for the past year. He hasn't seen his mom or talked to her really since just after thanksgiving. They used to be close, but not so much anymore. When i told him she passed away, his response was "atleast i have a step-mom". And he's acting as though he's not phased at all. He's aware of what death is, his great grandma (whom he was very close to) just died several months ago, and he's well aware that she's gone forever physically. I asked him if HE wanted to go but i'm starting to second guess it, as i'm TERRIFIED it's going to haunt him. The image of his mom dead in a caskett. I need some advice, FAST. the showing is today (wed, 1-30).

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/30/2013

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If you don't let him go, be prepared to face him in a few years asking you why you withheld him from his mother's service. They may not have been "close" as you say, but she was the boy's mother, and she did raise him up until the past year.

And, unless you were privy to every interaction between the two, your assessment of how close they were is not going to be accurate. And his response to her passing was a very age appropriate response. In his mind, he's lost his momma, but he still has someone he can depend on.

There is no question of "let" in my opinion. Take the boy to say goodbye to his mother. It's the least you can do for him.

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Rebekah - posted on 01/30/2013

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Did he say he wants to go? If he wants to, then I think its ok to let him...just be close by and supportive in whatever response he has. He shouldn't feel forced to look at her body or anything like that. What does his dad think? Did your stepson go to his great grandma's funeral, or any other? Lots to consider.

Personally, I hate viewings, and I have those images in my head too. I don't think I need to view a body to get closure or the reality of someone's death, but that's just me. Viewings have been part of the culture for ages and most people can deal with it, kids too. Though I'm sure it depends on the personality of the kid and the relationship and the circumstances around her death...

I guess what I keep coming back to is, let him voice his preference. If he wants to go but you keep him from it, will that be a source of tension or resentment later on? Perhaps he could attend the event, but if he doesn't want to approach the casket, that's fine too. Getting the support from family around you at that time is so much more important than confronting "the body," in my opinion.

If he chooses not to go, there are other things he can do to process her loss, even if their relationship hadn't been as close lately. Its still a loss. He could write her a letter, or plant a tree in honor of her, or gather a collection of her photos or quotes from her, or things passed on to him from her. Pay attention to his responses...even though he seems to be nonchalant at the moment, other emotions may emerge later.

I hope all goes well...not an easy day, for sure.

Amy - posted on 01/30/2013

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I think he should be able to attend if he wants to. At some point he may need counseling regardless if he attends or not afterall he lost his mother. I would just have someone on standby to take him home if he decides its too much or doesn't want to be there anymore.

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