How To Tell Your Parents You Broke Something Expensive (9 Ways To Take Full Responsibility For Your Actions)

Last updated on June 13, 2024 by Michelle Devani

You may be a confident, smart, and mature teenager, or maybe you haven’t reached your teens yet. It still takes a lot of guts to admit that you have made a mistake. Delivering any type of bad news is generally a difficult conversation to have. So, should you lie about breaking something expensive instead? 

Absolutely not. The truth usually comes out in the end, no matter how much you try to hide it. Plus, this is another reminder that you shouldn’t try to hide what you have broken either. The first thing to do is calm down. When you’re extremely afraid, tense, or desperate, it’s hard to make the right decisions. Talk less of taking responsibility for your actions. 

Panicking about the situation will only make things worse. The best way to go about this is to tell your parents the truth. They will certainly appreciate your honesty, no matter how angry they are. So, if you’re worried about how to tell your parents you broke something expensive, here are some tips on how to go about it. 


9 Tips On How To Confess Your Mistake To Your Parents 

1. Practice your confession

Delivering bad news is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when you’re standing in front of two stern-faced parents. That’s why it’s best to practice what you’ll say before they get back. Please note that this is not an opportunity to come up with the best lie. You have to be honest. Sometimes, when you think you’re smooth, parents can see the loopholes in your story. 

So, this prep talk is simply to calm your nerves and prepare for the conversation ahead. If they are very upset, how will you respond? If they start shouting, how do you manage the situation? These are the kinds of things you should practice when going over the confession. 

2. Be honest

be honest

No matter how upset you feel your parents will be, it’s crucial not to leave out any information. Your dad or mom will only get more mad when they find out you’re not telling the whole truth. Yes, it seems hard, but you have to accept your fate. Everyone makes mistakes, and although you don’t feel like it, this isn’t the end of the world. 

Just calm down and go about this with maturity. Remember, fear is the major trigger for deceit and you don’t want to lose your parents' trust. If this was an accident, explain what happened in detail, and also think of ways to compensate them. 

3. Take responsibility

No parent likes dealing with an irresponsible child. The name tag may seem harsh, but more stern words may fly around if your parents are really upset. That’s why it’s best to discuss compensation right after you have explained in detail what happened. Taking responsibility could mean using your own money to replace what was broken. 

It could also mean offering to give up your allowance money for some time to allow your parents to replace what you broke. If you are working, offer to take on more shifts or get a side gig so you can raise the money to replace the broken item. 

It’s important to have this conversation because your parents won’t be as mad when they see how maturely and responsibly you’re handling things. 

4. Explain your motive

Now will be a good time to let your parents know why the accident happened. Did you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Were you disobeying direct orders? The answers to these questions will give more clarity to the situation. Everyone makes mistakes, but you must be able to prove that you broke this expensive item unintentionally. 

To parents, children will always be children, but as you grow and mature daily, it’s up to you to remind them. When they calm down and realize that this was hopefully a pure mistake, they’ll deal with the matter like any family should, with love, mercy, and kindness. 

5. Don’t shift the blame

When people don’t want to take the blame for their actions, one of the first ways they react is to blame others. “I wouldn’t have broken it if Jared didn’t push me” or “it broke because the sales attendant kept following me around”. At this point, you shouldn’t bring a third party in unless your parents ask you. 

They will be disappointed if you start out by shifting the blame to someone else. Rather, promise them it won’t happen again. Even if there was a third party involved, you guys can discuss that later.

6. Act apologetic

act apologetic

If you have to write out an apology letter, do that. Your parents have to know how truly sorry you are to remain calm about the situation. That’s because the way bad news is delivered is important. If you simply say “sorry I broke it.” They may not think you’re genuinely apologetic. It’s best to be sincerely apologetic, and back that up with the willingness to compensate them. 

Let them know you are willing to pay back any money they spent on that item. Don’t worry, if it’s extremely pricey, they won’t expect you to pay that much or anything at all. 

7. Don’t procrastinate

Now is a good time to tell your parents about the broken item. Keep reminding yourself of this statement. It’s so easy to keep pushing things forward, or trying to avoid the situation. However, it’s best to let your parents know first. Don’t let them find out from someone else or figure it out themselves. 

If you deliver the bad news first, there’s a better chance of controlling the narrative and managing the situation. 

8. Don’t be arrogant

It’s so easy to be respectful to parents, but you have to be careful about doing so. They are your family, that doesn’t mean you should take them for granted. Regardless of how perfect or imperfect they are, they have your best interests at heart. So, don't report the matter with a bad attitude. Be humble, apologetic, and truthful.

9. Accept the consequences

Your parents may look for ways to punish you. It could come in the form of seizing your phone, limiting your outings, or suspending your allowance. This isn’t the best time to argue. 

Take any punishment they pronounce humbly, and let them know you are deeply sorry, and will certainly be more careful in the future. When they see how humbly you’re taking everything, they may soften the terms of the punishment, who knows?


Should I tell my parents I broke something?

One of the major reasons people lie is because they feel the truth will never be discovered. However, in this case, if something expensive is missing, your parents will surely find out. Honesty may not seem like the easiest option, but lying or withholding information isn’t without its consequences.

The deed has already been done, so even if you feel like your parents will be angry, it’s still important to admit your mistakes. In fact, try letting them know on that same day. Procrastinating may not help you in this situation. 

How do you apologize for accidentally breaking something?

The first step is admitting that you are wrong. Parents can usually tell when their child is genuinely sorry about something. If you can, practice what you will say in front of the mirror before approaching your parents.

This will help you get all the facts right without leaving anything out. You should also try to be as clear as possible; talk about what happened, how it happened, and how sorry you are. Simply stating the obvious and saying sorry may not cut it.

How do you tell your parents you did something bad?

It’s always important to wet the ground before dropping some bad news. You don’t necessarily have to flatter your parents. However, showing some appreciation for how well they have raised or taken care of you may warm their heart up a little bit. Let them know that you don’t disrespect or take their love for granted.

Then go ahead to state that you made a mistake, and hope they find it in their heart to forgive you. Remind your parents that you haven’t changed, and truly regret your actions. It’s also important not to whine, talk back or complain when they are speaking. Let them vent first, then reiterate your apology.

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What happens if you break something in a store and leave?

If you broke something in a store and decide to leave right after, the owner may pursue compensation for damages. If you are a minor, the store will probably contact your parents first, or involve the police.

It all depends on your attitude right after. Most stores ask for immediate compensation. The ‘break it and buy it’ policy applies to everyone. However, some store owners may let you walk and then take full responsibility for the damages.

How do you confess something bad to your parents?

First of all, you have to be honest about what you have done. That means being sober and humble and not showing any signs of arrogance.

Just be clear about what you did and let your parents know how sorry you are. It’s also wise to let them know that you’re aware there will be consequences. And you are ready to take responsibility for your actions.

To Conclude

Taking responsibility for your actions is no easy feat, but it’s the right thing to do. As daunting as it may seem to face your parents with such bad news, the earlier you get it over with, the better. Simply follow the tips above, and don’t forget to tell me how it goes. Feel free to leave your comments in the section below, and share this with others it could help. Good luck!

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Michelle Devani
My name is Michelle Devani, and I've been helping people with their relationships since 2003. In 2017 I decided it was about time I started a blog on the topic, and since then more than 2 million people worldwide have read my relationship advice. Drop me a comment below to let me know what you think.

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