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You’ve Made Your Bed: Breaking Bad Grades to Parents

Editorial Staff

College Bed Anyone?

College grades looking bad? Strategies for dealing with the parents

Many students this year are dreading the holidays. Full stop. Its raining cats and dogs, go hide under the college bedding and stay there for three weeks, dreading…it.
Now how do you explain to your Dad, Mr. Nova, that you failed Chem. 101? Here are the options:

1. You’ve made your bed now… lie in it.

Not the best option but the one many college students opt for: lie. This is problematic and possibly dangerous because they (the parents) will eventually find out. Some students opt for a half-truth: “My roommate (instead of ‘I’) partied all night and the final was a disaster.” or “There were 2 labs a week and I sprained my ankle and couldn’t get to them.” Now lets be honest, do you really think they are going to believe either of these turkeys?

2. You’ve made your college bed… now lie in it?

Technically you probably aren’t exactly certain yet what your grades will be. You may suspect that a horrible cyclone is on the way but just like any storm you might get lucky. Maybe the entire class did horribly and the professor will be forced to curve the grades. Now is not the time to go begging forgiveness if things (against all odds) turn out to be ok. Holding your tongue until you know for certain that a deformed E is on the way has its merits. A simple, “I really don’t know,” might get you through most of the holidays unscathed. Ho, ho ho?

3. You’ve made your bed… now lie in it.

Option three is by far the hardest but it is the safest path. Just tell them the truth. College is hard. Guess what? It was probably hard for your parents too. Rather than worry endlessly about all the trouble you are in, understand that it is in your parents’ best interest to see you do well in college. They probably don’t want you moving home again too soon.

The power of the truth is all in the approach. Ask forgiveness and then enlist their help. Most importantly ask your parents for tips about how they made it through hard classes in college. Parents are usually full of suggestions and strategies. Many of them are pretty clever and even eyebrow lifting. Turning your parent into an ally also makes you both adults and that is pretty cool.

Coming back from college with bad grades is especially common for college freshmen. College is a learning experience- a life learning experience. At college there is a lot more to learn about than just grades, even Mr. Nova will probably acknowledge this. In addition, remind them that next quarter or semester will bring an entirely new set of classes and professors. A bad grade, even several bad grades aren’t going to follow you around forever. Lie down, accept it and then get right back up. Learn from your mistakes and do a better job next time. How you deal with setbacks is the important part. Learning is just that, learning.

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