Dad Prioritizes 'Academic Performance' Over His Daughter Taking Time Off School To Grieve Her Mom’s Death

He explained he didn't want to jeopardize her chances of getting into a good college.

Dad Prioritizes Daughter's Grades Over Grief After Mom's Passing Ground Picture via Shutterstock / sd619 via Canva

A grieving father asked Reddit users if he was wrong for the decision he made regarding his daughter’s education after her mother’s death.

The passing of a loved one can take a devastating toll on those left behind. Trying to move forward while dealing with the emotional aftermath is a challenge. One father’s story proves that people can react very differently to loss. He shared the story on Reddit’s “AmItheA-hole” (AITA) subreddit, which is dedicated to people asking others if they acted appropriately in a situation.


The father asked if he's in the wrong for how he handled his 16-year-old daughter's grief over her mom's death.

“Dealing with my own grief while trying to provide for her has been a challenge,” he wrote in the post. Understandably, his wife’s death had a massive impact on both him and his 16-year-old daughter. He writes that his daughter was “extremely, extremely distraught” and "struggling emotionally," and asked for time off of school while she worked through her grief.

“I ended up prioritizing her academic performance instead,” he explained, admitting that he has "always been a stickler for education," adding that he feared that taking a break would potentially impact her academic performance and future prospects. “I suggested that she continued attending school and told her that I believed that maintaining a routine and focusing on her education would provide stability and keep her on track,” he wrote.




Understandably, his decision didn’t sit well with his grieving daughter. She felt her father was dismissive of her emotional needs and was more concerned about her academic performance than her well-being. She viewed his decision as insensitive, sidelining her need for healing and recovery. He asked the community whether he was in the right or not.

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People overwhelmingly sided with the daughter, agreeing she needs time to process her grief.

One person felt that if the father wants his daughter not to fall behind academically during this challenging time, he should step up to the plate to make sure that doesn’t happen.  


“She needed time to grieve. A couple [of] weeks out of school won’t ruin her academic results,” they wrote. “I know this is hard and I am sorry for your loss, but you need to stop being lazy. Get her teachers involved and make sure she can take the rest she deserves while staying on track with school.”

dad prioritizes grades of daughter's grief reddit commentPhoto: Reddit

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In a comment, he clarified that his daughter wanted three weeks off from school, but he felt she’d had enough time to grieve. “Wife passed away 2 weeks ago. She asked for 3 weeks. She wants more time OFF than has already passed since it happened,” he wrote.

Many people asserted that she needs to have some form of counseling. The father replied that there are options for that at her school.

Hopefully, she’ll take advantage of those resources, and, more importantly, he’ll empathize with how she feels and help her through this time rather than worrying about grades.

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There are ways for parents to help their children through the grief process.

Though schooling and grades are important, the death of a parent is a trauma that can easily unravel success in the future if ignored in the present. While getting back to routine is important after a death, children and teens often experience academic setbacks in the aftermath of a death so expecting the same academic excellence they achieved before isn't always wise.

According to grief counselor Kenny Scott, there's no right or wrong time to send your child back to school after a death. "To help determine when your child should return to school, the best thing to do is to speak to them directly, and ask them if they’d like to go back to school and see their friends and teachers," Scott has said in an article. "The most important thing is to give your child options and explain what is happening."

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Ethan Cotler is a writer living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news and human interest stories.