A woman who replaced her four-year-old daughter’s pet after it had died has shared her story on a Reddit thread to get some opinions on whether she did the right thing.
She explained that after one of her children’s pet duckling had died, she went out to buy a new one to replace it.
The user, Visual-Country8859, said: “We recently moved to a new house with a pond in the backyard and we decided to get some duckling eggs for the girls to hatch as an introduction to life processes.
“A few weeks later the eggs began hatching, three hatched on the same day but one my daughter’s eggs didn’t hatch until a few days later.
“As soon as her duckling came out it just….didn’t look right. It was like it hatched prematurely or something, it ate and drank fine but just looked off.”
Thankfully, the woman explained that her daughters had not noticed this, and she called a vet in the meantime.
The woman continued: “She said that it was most likely a genetic condition and there wasn’t really anything that could be done.
“Yesterday I woke up and I went to check on the ducks before I got the girls up and Debbie had died.
“My husband buried Debbie while I got them ready for school and luckily I was able to avoid them seeing the ducks.”
While the woman’s daughters were at school, she went and purchased another baby duck that looked like Debbie so she didn’t have to tell them.
She said: “None of them noticed that Debbie wasn’t Debbie.
“I know death is a part of life but I don’t want to ruin a fun educational thing for them because those ducks are going to live for a while in the pond and my daughter wouldn’t have one.”
After calling her mum for some advice, she insisted that she shouldn’t have replaced Debbie because it ‘avoids the topic of death’.
The woman continued: “I tried to explain that these ducks were going to live in our backyard for years and my daughter would always feel left out because her duck died.
“I’m feeling like we made a mistake and we should have ‘used’ Debbie as a teaching moment to the girls, but I didn’t want to ruin a fun experience for them.
“AITA for not wanting to teach my daughters about death?”
Interestingly, the internet were not happy at all with the woman, with the majority labelling her as the “a** hole” in this scenario.
One user said: “Your mum is right, you can’t shield your children from a basic fact of life. You missed a very good opportunity to allow your children to grieve and accept that death is a part of life.
“While your intentions were good, YTA. Death is a part of life, better that the realisation start with a pet, rather than a loved relative.
Another added: “Couldn’t you have explained what happened and also bought a new duck? If you’re so keen on teaching them “life processes”, you have to include death in that lesson.
“Or are you going to be the kind of parents that tell their kids their dog went to live on a farm instead of saying the dog died? Lying isn’t a way to teach anything. YTA”
Not all the comments were as harsh as this though, one Reddit user said: “4 years old is too soon. Trust me.”
Another user tried to see both sides, and said: “You aren’t the AH for wanting to shield your young kids from death, at least for a bit.
“But your mum is also right – and young doesn’t equal dumb. They already know something is up and that’s not Debbie, and it’s just a matter of time before some older kid tells them, or they figure it out.”