It’s almost 11pm on a school night and you’re having a blast at your BFF’s house. The only problem? You’ve broken curfew and ignored three ‘Where are you?’ texts from your mum. Oops.
Not sure what to do next? Don’t sweat it. Sure, your parents will be worried, maybe even furious, but here’s the good news: if you learn to handle the fall-out from your mistakes in a mature way, you can actually rebuild their trust (and maybe even strengthen your relationship), no excuses, tantrums or lies required.
It’s all in the timing
Picking the right time to chat is essential. “If your parents are raging mad, then they won’t be open to a positive discussion,” explains psychologist Catherine Boland. The best tip? Acknowledge your mistake immediately then suggest a time to sit down and talk when everyone, including you, has calmed down. Preparing a few notes or talking through your situation with an adult or trusted friend beforehand could help too, says Dannielle Miller, CEO of Enlighten Education.
Own your mistake
Believe it or not, often all it takes to diffuse a fired-up situation is for the other person to hear a simple, “I was wrong, I am sorry”, says Dannielle. Now, there is an art to an impressive apology (check out our oh-so handy break-out box below), but another vital part of this Very Important Conversation is talking about your future behaviour. Your parents will need reassuring (probably for a while) that you won’t make the same mistake again. Showing them you’ve a) learnt your lesson and b) genuinely feel so bad you’ll never ever, like ever, do it again goes a long way. “Not being a repeat offender is the number-one key to regaining back your parents’ trust,” Dannielle agrees.
Brace yourself: these sure-fire ways to winning over your parents work, but they require patience. If you’re frustrated because you’ve been grounded for a weekend (or three), then imagine a time when a friend or sibling has broken your trust – it’s pretty devastating and not that easy to bounce back from, right? “It’s no different for your parents,” says Catherine. “They need time to heal, but it will get better.” Need to know more? Visit au.reachout.com.
How to: give the perfect apology
Sorry can be the hardest word to say. But tackle it right and it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3…
Express regret: don’t make excuses. Keep it simple by saying you’re sorry and meaning every word. If you don’t mean it, you can’t expect the forgiveness.
Be responsible: acknowledge that it was your fault – even if other people were involved. You, and you alone, make your choices.
Acknowledge your parents’ feelings: make it clear that you understand your behaviour has hurt them, and let them know you’d like to earn back their trust.
Celebs who clash with their ‘rents
Got the family dramz, huh? We bet your probs with your parents aren’t anything like these famous peeps.
Any kid whose name starts with ‘K’ vs Kris Jenner
Keeping up with the Kardashian/Jenner klan [Kels – intended] must be a non-stop pain for momager Kris whose life is basically drama-rama.
Miley Cyrus vs her dad Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy has said he’s tired of copping the blame every time his girl does something cray (so: often) and Miley has hit back at her pa on Twitter for being uncommunicative.
Lindsay Lohan vs her dad Michael Lohan
LiLo has been heaps mad at her father for speaking publically about her and the Lohan fam. “Let’s not forget … that my father is crazy,” the star has Tweeted.