How to Tell Your Parents That You Broke Something

Steve Baccon/Photodisc/Getty Images

No matter what age you are, telling your parents you broke something is an uncomfortable, daunting task. However, when you plan ahead, tell the truth and remain calm, you may have an easier time explaining what happened and working it out. Even though it is hard to own up to your mistakes, your parents will appreciate your honesty and willingness to take responsibility for your actions.

Take Responsibility

One minute you were having a great time and then, all of a sudden, something was broken. You might not even be sure how it happened, but it did, and you were responsible for it. You know your parents are not going to be happy, but taking responsibility for your actions, according to Lisa Stamps, Ph.D., develops trust and teaches you a critical life lesson about accepting the consequences of your actions. In her article "Responsibility: Raising Children You Can Depend On," Stamps says that learning responsibility early is important for success in life.

Tell the Truth

Being honest with your parents about your situation is always the best path to a solution. You may be tempted to lie and cover up your mistake, but, in the end, your parents will be less angry because you told the truth from the beginning. The TeensHealth website suggests that you first know what you want from a difficult conversation -- in this case, calmly owning up to what you did. You will want to pick a good time to talk, making sure there are few distractions and that the mood is right. When talking to your parents, identify your feelings; if you feel terrible, let them know.

Offer to Replace the Item

One way to make amends with your parents is to offer to replace the item you broke. Before talking to them about the incident, make a plan as to how you could earn the money to restore the item or compensate them for their loss. Even if your parents do not expect you to repay them for the broken object, they will likely appreciate the gesture and see it as a sign of maturity and responsibility.

Learn From Your Mistakes

In a world where mistakes are frowned upon, society seems to encourage covering up your errors. However, in a 2009 study published in "The Journal of Experimental Psychology," Nate Kornell, et al, reports that making a mistake can enhance the learning process. While much of this information is connected to academic learning, you can also apply this concept when dealing with personal situations. Recognizing what went wrong and admitting your mistakes are important steps in using grim situations as teachable moments, turning them into valuable life lessons.