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How to Tell Your Parents You Got F on a Test

Okay, relax, you got an F on the test and now you’re searching online for tips and tricks to telling your parents and coming out alive. First of all, you’re not the first person to fail a test and you won’t be the last. It happens. In this article we’re going to go over the ideal strategy when it comes to dealing with mom and dad. Let’s get started.

1. Don’t Lie: Just Be Honest

Yep, there’s no reason to lie. It’s not worth it and in 99.9% of the cases or scenarios we could come up with being honest will work out better for you in the end. Trying to lie and avoid things will only make everything much, much worse. When you tell your parents, just be perfectly honest and keep the initial saying really short. For example, this will do just fine:

“Mom/Dad, I got an F on the test.”

Once you say that just keep your mouth shut for a second and let mom or dad digest the information. They might blurt out something like, “OMG!” or, “Come on! Why?” but don’t be quiet to reply. Wait at least 3-5 seconds to see if their finished. Gauge their current attitude. Hey, are they having a good or bad day in general?

2. Prepare Your Explanation Beforehand

Even though you’re going to be brutally honest, you shouldn’t wing it. The more coherent, logical and thought-out your explanation the more they’ll take you seriously. If you found the class incredibly boring and partied instead, then tell them that without being a child about it.
If they interject, that’s fine. There’s no reason to get into an argument. That won’t help. Just calmly make it clear you’re telling them the honest truth and do it with some forethought.

3. Take Their Reaction In-Stride like an Adult

Resolve yourself beforehand to take anything they say or do in-stride. Meaning you’re willing to take your lashes. This isn’t the end of the world. It doesn’t mean you’ll be a failure in life. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to have to drop out. It just means you need to make some changes (more on this momentarily).

Don’t protest. Don’t try to defend yourself. Agree with everything they say and do without hesitation or resistance. Trust me, it works wonders. If you agree with everything and erase any possibility of argument, they’re far more likely to see things from your perspective instead of theirs.

4. Be Ready to Tell Them What You’re Going to Change

When they ask you what you plan to do about it, have something prepared. Don’t be like, “I dunno /shrugs.” Instead you should show them you already have a plan of action. And mean it! Be sincere! 80% of human communication is unspoken and most parent’s a highly attuned to their own child’s BS.

  • You’re going to study harder and take the course work more seriously.
  • You’ve arranged a meeting with the professor to go over your options.
  • You’ve joined a study group to make sure that you pick up the slack for the rest of the class.
  • You’ve spoken with your advisor and there’s more than enough room to retake the class and still graduate on time.
  • You’ve nailed down what went wrong and you know exactly how to fix it so this doesn’t become a bad habit.
  • You’ve talked to the grant people and are taking the necessary steps to stay eligible.

Failing a test can be a pretty substantial eye-opener so let your parent’s see how much wider your eyes are now.

5. Practice Being a Good Listener but be Confident

Listen to what they say, but if they’re way off the mark in how they react you need to be confident. If they go off the deep end then you need to take this chance to be independent and call your own shots. This is, after all, your own life and your own education. Listen intently and when you reply, make sure they understand you heard them. But, don’t let mom and dad walk all over you in their quest for the perfect son/daughter.

“I appreciate your advice, but I need you to know I got this.”

There’s a big difference with taking your lashings and letting yourself get walked all over just because you made a bad call. College is a time to learn from our mistakes on our own and mom and dad need to understand this.

6. Follow Through

Unless you plan on dropping the class, follow through on what you said you would do. If you don’t, then you risk making things 10 times harder should something like this come up again. It’ll be a learning experience that in more ways than one helps to set the tone of your adult life after college.

How did you deal with telling your parent’s about the last time you failed a test? How did it go? Share the experience and help others when it’s their time up to bat!