Funerals are no fun. And when you're a kid, just the prospect of a funeral can be terrifying. You probably just learned about death and are still trying to come to terms with what it all means. And then, suddenly, you're expected to partake in this strange custom. It's hard.
One parent royally messed up his son's relationship to funerals and death by the way he handled the instance of his father-in-law's funeral. In a post on Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" subreddit, a dad explains that he punished his 8-year-old son for changing his mind about attending the funeral. But when you hear how it all went down, you'll understand who the real villain is in this situation.
OP explains that his wife's father recently died. He was very close with their 8-year-old son, and the kid was upset (obviously) that his grandfather had passed.
OP and his wife gave their son the option to attend the funeral, and he said yes. Then, on the day of the funeral, while they were already in the car on their way there, OP mentioned that it would be an open casket, and their son asked what that meant.
When OP explained that it meant his grandfather's dead body would be on display so everyone can "face him and say final goodbyes," the kid obviously freaked out. He "went into hysterics" about how he didn't want to go and didn't want to see the body.
And I don't blame him. How do you not warn an 8-year-old child about an open casket ahead of time?! In any case, OP got mad, slammed on the brakes, and turned around to take his son home. "I was yelling at him for changing his mind the whole way back while he sat there doing his crying act," OP wrote.
So yeah, he's a monster! They dropped their son off with a neighbor and then went to the funeral, but by then they were late. "I was livid and my wife was upset being that it was her father's funeral."
When they got home, OP grounded punished his son (three weeks no screens, etc.) He blames his son for his wife missing most of her father's funeral. But as the rest of Reddit let him know, this was clearly OP's fault.
"As a parent, you failed to prepare him by telling him what to expect until you were in the car on the way to the service. You're the one who should be punished. That poor kid," one commenter wrote.
Exactly. You sit your kid down before the funeral, you tell him exactly what to expect, and you let him make a decision (and change his mind if he chooses!). He is a grieving 8-year-old.
I am Jewish, and we don't do open casket funerals. When I had to attend my first wake (I think I was in high school!), my mom sat me down and explained what it would be like. And I was probably 15! This kid deserved way more than the bombshell about having to "face" the body of his dead grandfather while they were on their way there. The trauma!
He also claimed his son "forced" him to turn the car around and make them late for the funeral. But this is so far from the truth. There were multiple options.
He could have dropped his wife off first and then took his son home. He could have waited outside or in the car with his son (or gotten someone else to trade off watching him while he went inside to be with his wife!). He could have expressed the teeniest bit of empathy for his son and stood at the back of the room with him, not forcing him to look or go near the body.
But he did none of those things. "You chose to turn the car around instead of being a decent parent and reassuring your distressed child and explaining to them what to expect and how it's OK to be upset," one person wrote.
In the comments, OP replied several times, still claiming that his 8-year-old son who'd just realized he'd have to look at the dead body of his beloved grandfather was to blame for "making him" turn the car around. It doesn't seem this dad has learned how horrible his behavior is. I feel for that kid.