Parents Force Daughter To Go To Summer School After Her Cat Passes Away — 'In The Real World You Still Have To Go To Work & School'

The loss of a pet is a life-changing event that anyone would likely need time to process.

woman holding cat and sad woman laying down Africa Studio via Shutterstock / M. via Unsplash

After a grief-stricken teenager asked her parents if she could take the day off school to deal with her emotions, her request was declined. 

According to her parents, they are trying to prepare their daughter for the “real world” where people are expected to return to work and school despite personal tragedies. However, other people believe that the real world also allows us the time and space to process grief, even if it means pausing our work. 


The teenager wanted to take a day off from summer school after her family cat passed away. 

Sharing the story to the subreddit, r/AmITheA–hole, the girl’s mother revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is currently enrolled in summer school due to falling behind during the year since she was suffering from long covid. Thankfully, her mother reports that she has since recovered. But during one summer weekend, the family cat passed away due to a heart condition, leaving the teenager devastated.

“She was grief-stricken, as we all were,” her mother wrote. 

However, when the girl asked if she could take a day off from summer school to deal with her grief, her parents told her no. 


“She’s almost an adult, and in the real world barring serious illnesses you still have to go work (in her case school) even when life gets hard,” the woman explained. “We too are grief-stricken but are still going to work.” 

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The woman claims that she and her husband are trying to prepare their daughter for the “real world.” 

woman holding a catPhoto: Africa Studio / Shutterstock 


Many Redditors disagreed with the parent’s decision, noting that grief was part of the real-world experience and that most employers understand that. 

“I know plenty of people who have used personal days when their pets have passed away. That's why you have personal and sick days,” one user shared. 

“Believe it or not, even if the real world we take days off whenever we're sick or going through a loss of any sort. Have some compassion,” another user wrote. 

“I am 35 and I just took a day off work because my cat died. The real world doesn't always work the way you think it does,” another user revealed. “She's a child and she's heartbroken and all you've done is make her feel worse.” 


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Suppressing grief for the sake of attending work or school is unhealthy and negatively affects one’s physical and mental well-being. 

“Suppressing your emotions, whether it’s anger, sadness, grief, or frustration, can lead to physical stress on your body,” provisional clinical psychologist Victoria Tarratt told Health Agenda. “The effect is the same, even if the core emotion differs.” 

Additionally, not allowing yourself time to process grief can also lead to issues with “memory, aggression, anxiety, and depression.” 

Grieving the loss of a pet is a natural and necessary process for many people, much like grieving the loss of a human loved one. It is an emotional life event, as your pet most likely played a significant part in your life. It is healthy to take a few days off of work and school as you navigate the loss. 


If the teenager’s parents want to teach her about living in the real world, they can start by helping her understand her emotions and allowing her the time off that she needs to acknowledge her beloved late cat.

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.