Your mother’s dead. Sorry, I didn’t mean to just blurt it out like that. Regardless, here are some tips for giving bad news so that next time her death won’t be such a buzz-kill.
Make it into a game._
Father: I hope you been having a good birthday son, I know you always wanted to be an actor, so I have a great surprise for you.
Timmy: Really? What is it?
Father: Our whole family is going to be in a film!
Timmy: We are!! Oh boy!
Father: The plot is as follows: your mother and I are going to get a divorce because you are a selfish little brat that has ruined our love life. The movie should take about twenty years to film or until you kill yourself, which ever comes first. It starts…now!
Timmy: [wide-eyed] Bu-but I don’t see any cameras.
Talk about a related topic._
Fred: So I get to meet Magic Johnson after the game right?
Father: Oh yeah, for sure. I called Magic last night. It’s all worked out.
Fred: Yippy!! I’m going to shake his hand and get his autograph and…
Father: Your mother and I have AIDS.
Deliver the news when they feel sorry for you._
Jimmy: Dad…this bone marrow transplant procedure…I’m really nervous. You know I heard that it is kind of dangerous.
Father: You know son, you don’t have to do the transplant procedure for me anymore.
Jimmy: I don’t! [face brightens] You mean they found another donor?
Father: No son, you’re adopted.
Tell them they won something._
Dr. Stern: Congratulations Sarah, you have won 120,000 dollars to be paid over a period of four years.
Sarah: What?? Who is this? 120,000 dollars! How did I get that?
Dr. Stern: By not getting into Harvard Medical School.
Sarah: But wait, that means–
[Dr. Stern hangs up]
Give them hints of the bad news in the form of presents._
Father: Happy Birthday Lisa! Eight years old…wow! Come on and open your presents.
Lisa: Yippy!! [Tears open first present] Cool! It’s a ball of superman’s hair!
Father: No Lisa, that’s a wig. Open this one.
Lisa: [tears open next present] Wow, cool! A bunch of dishes filled with paint. I’m going to draw a dino-doggy!
Father: Actually, that’s some of your father’s platelets. You might want to put that somewhere cold.
Lisa: Oh…well, I’m going to open this one. [Tears open last present] A t-shirt! What does it say?
Father: Well…it says, “Leukemia: it will really grow on you.”
Lisa: What does that mean?
Father: It means you better grab a jacket because we’re going to go see Dr. Bernstein. He’s going to be injecting you with more birthday presents.