This is an issue that I've been struggling with for the last few months, because three of my friends have lost a parent this year.
Even though I'd only met said parent a few times (when I'd known the friend for many years), I went to the funeral because it seemed the best way for me to offer support to the friend. After all, I can't whip up a casserole and I'm really no good at touchy feeling hugging (it's my Chinese upbringing probably).
Surely if they didn't want me to go to their parent's funeral they wouldn't have passed on the details to me? But when I was there I'd felt quite awkward because, unlike those who got up to speak, I had no stories about this person. There was little connecting me to them.
The boy thinks that it's morbid and not really right to go to a funeral unless you know them reasonably well.
But a couple of years ago when one of my workmates lost his dad, our whole office closed up for the afternoon to attend the funeral even though most of us (maybe all of us) had never met the dad. In that case, the colleague seemed genuinely pleased to see us.
I really don't know whether there's some definite protocol about this situation. Is it different depending on the country?