How to Tell Your Parents You Have After School Detention

It may not be easy, but be honest about the after-school detention.
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When you have to tell your parents that you have after school detention, how you tell them is going to influence how they view the situation and how they feel about it. Don't distort the truth to avoid trouble, or justify the behavior that earned detention and don't blame others. Those tactics will make the situation worse. Instead, tell your parents honestly and in a way that enables them to respect you.

1 Timing Can Be Everything

This is going to be a conversation that involves a bit of presentation, so you need to choose the right time to sit down and talk. It should be a time when your parents can give you their full attention, not in the middle of cooking dinner or when rushing around trying to get everybody ready for work and school. Try to be considerate about the time you choose. Don't have the conversation immediately after they get home from work or when they're stressed about household matters. Let them have a little bit of time to relax. If they are busy people, schedule a time. Ask your parents when they can sit down with you.

2 Honesty Really is the Best Policy

Parents respect honesty, especially when you've made a mistake or done something wrong, because it is harder to be honest in those situations. Just calmly tell the truth – the whole truth. Don't try to minimize the actions that led to being given detention and don't blame anybody else. Own every bit of it. This is important. It demonstrates maturity and builds trust. If you aren't honest, and your parents find that out from school officials, you may have more than detention to contend with. Your parents may add further consequences for being dishonest than they would have for the behavior that earned the detention.

3 What You'll Do Differently

This is the most important part of your presentation, and will be a strong influence on how your parents react to the situation. Honesty is great, but explaining what you learned and what you'll do differently in the future is better. If you got detention for being late to class or if you are late with an assignment, then have a plan for better time management. If you were texting or talking in class, make a commitment to keeping classroom time for learning, using time out of class for personal matters. Taking steps to correct your own behavior shows that you are trying to take responsibility for your actions, which is an important sign of maturity.

4 Listen Respectfully, Accept Consequences Gracefully

Your parents may still be upset, but when you tell them like this, they'll be a lot less upset. If you are speaking calmly to them, they are likely to also be calm, though they are still going to have a few things to say. Listen to them respectfully. If they decide that they need to add consequences to the detention, then accept those consequences gracefully, without arguing. Everything in life has consequences, good and bad. That's how we learn to make better choices. Being honest about what you did and sincere about what you'll do differently will impact how your parents handle the situation. You may even be surprised by how understanding they'll be when you take this approach.

Sharon Secor began writing professionally in 1999, while attending Empire State University. Secor specializes primarily in personal finance and economics, and writes on a broad range of subjects. She is published in numerous online and print publications, including Freedom's Phoenix, the ObscentiyCrimes and the American Chronicle.