S#it hit the fan: Tips to breaking bad news to the rents

As much as parents want us to be completely honest with them, we can’t always be. We try to convince them that everything is always fine no matter how badly we screw up. But sometimes our mistakes are too big to fix on our own. So, how do you break the news to them? Here are a few tips on how to tell your parents the bad news.

  1.      Prepare: Do not go into breaking bad news to someone blindly. Have a thought-out plan about what you are going to say. Make sure you have the wording, order and word usage perfect before you open your mouth.
  2.      Choose your approach: Decide ahead of time how you are going to bring it up and who you are going to tell first. You want the way you start the conversation to avoid the hardest blow.
  3.      Explain: Thoroughly explain your reasoning and thoughts behind your actions. Try to be as mature about it as possible.
  4.      Admit: Don’t try and defer the blame. Man up and take responsibility.
  5.      SHUT UP: When you are getting yelled at do not speak. Allow your parents to get their frustrations out and just wait. Don’t try and defend yourself because you will not win.
  6.      If all else fails: If you absolutely feel like it’s necessary make some tears and apologize on hands and knees. This should be saved for special situations and only as a last resort.


Meet The Parents: Although there are basic ways to break bad news to people, there are so many different kinds of parents out there. So, here are a few tips that might make it easier for each kind of parent.

  1. The overprotective parent: These parents already have a hard time loosening the reigns, so when you have to break bad news to them, it is almost impossible. They will usually blame everyone around you, which might sound good if you think you won’t be punished, but that’s not the case. These are the parents that will ground you and then have you kiss your friends and life goodbye.

       Tip: Try to divert the blame back to you. It might sucks at first, but in the end they have to forgive you, they don’t have to forgive your friends.

  1. The understanding/ loving parents: These are the parents that will support you no matter how badly you mess up. They have your back and will laugh at your stupidity. However, be careful how you break the news to them because you could easily shatter their hearts.

       Tip: Here is where the crying will be the most effective. These parents might hate what you’ve done but they hate seeing you hurt even more.

  1. The strict parents:  These parents are the controlling parents. It is their way or the highway. You have little freedom and now that you have just screwed up good luck every having freedom again.

      Tip: There is no escaping the yelling from these parents but just sitting quietly is the best thing to do. Don’t fight these parents just take it and apologize like hell.

  1. The helicopter parents: It’s even harder keeping a secret when your parents are always in your business. These parents are a mixture between overprotective and strict parents. So hopefully these parents are so involved they already know and are just waiting for you to make a move.

Tip: The best way to approach these parents, if they don’t already know what you have done since they are so involved, is to already have a plan to fix your mistake.

When the S#it hits the fan you know it’s time to finally tell your parents. Stay calm and follow these tips to make it easier breaking the bad news to your parents. Good luck!


Here are what some students had to say:

VOX: “If I had to break terrible news to my parents I’d definitely wait to do it at the right time. I want to make sure they aren’t already angered by something else. I’d make sure to break it to them at the same time to save myself from getting berated multiple times, that way I don’t add to their frustration. But most importantly I’d try to stay calm because panicking is only going to make it worse for all parties involved.” – Blake Crowder, Junior

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VOX: “I just approach my mom when it’s just the two of us and ease into the conversation. Sometimes I’ll just bring up a story that has to do with the news I need to break to see what her reaction is.” – Lexi Bordewisch, Freshman

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VOX: “Whenever I do have to call, I always have a pre planned course of action. Like Bad news mom but I have a solution.” – Aubrey James, Junior

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VOX: “Try to draw pity out of the situation. It’s always better to have your parents on your side. So let go of your pride and get them to help you with whatever the issue may be.”  – Jacob Poer, Junior

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