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Readers Respond: What do you do when your teen lies to you?

Responses: 11

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Quick Links: All Discipline and Teens Resources | Quiz - Is your teen lying to you?

Teens lie for many different reasons, which can take you off the path of whatever the lie was about in the first place. So, what is your reaction to your teen when they lied to you? Share your stories, experiences and insight here.

What really works - fear or love?

My concern when I hear parents using withdrawal of 'privileges' as a way of controlling lying is that it makes not getting caught the main objective. I wouldn't feel that my parents were on the same side if they meted out punishment, so I wouldn't trust them. And the key issue is trust - can we trust our kids, and can they trust us? That would be my focus. How do we have loving, trusting relationships with our children - by spending time. Time doing things together, and chatting, and enjoying each other's company. I know that the teen years can become very peer focussed but as a parent to teens I make one-to-one parent- teen time a top priority. With a good relationship as a firm basis, lying can be dealt with directly - in an atmosphere of love and caring. Too often it sounds as if teen children are parents' adversaries. That's never going to work. Children want our love and they deserve it, for who they are, no matter what they do.
—Guest Rites for Girls

sneaking out

My daughter snuck out to meet up with a boy. She had been out all day with a good Christian family at FCA and a motorcross. She had spent roughly $100 of our money. But came home and snuck out. We caught her and she lied about it. She told us she was outside praying because she felt burdened. I chose to believe her but explained how unacceptable it was for her to be out alone at night in the dark. She scared us. Husband did not believe her and took the phone away. I searched her phone. Now I know that she lied. Not sure how to punish this one. She had just earned back our trust.
—Guest Cindy

An Opportunity to Be a Parent

A lie is an expression of disrespect and lack of self-confidence. Address the issues causing this behavior. But it can also be an expression of bad moments in the teen's day. For instance, I expect the homework to be completed but at breakfast table or worse on Sunday night before bedtime, I may find my teen with a lie as an excuse scrambling to finish the work. Help your teen recognize the lie. Communicating with your teen is an art. Always tell the truth; when you cannot afford to tell the truth, say I will not tell you or this will have to wait till later or I don't know if I can ever tell you but I love you and you have to trust me. As an individual with more access to your life than possibly any other person in your life, the teen will be exposed to all your actions and yet not be aware of the underlying reasons and principles in your life. Time is your friend: be patient and love your teen. Smile! "Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach." - Albert Einstein
—Guest 52359

My teenager keeps lying.

My son is 16 and he keeps lying. We have tried everything. We have taken things away for a month. Like the cellphone, ipod. We tell him we love him. He is in youth group but really does not go anywhere else. He has a few friends. He seems lonely. We are seeking counceling.
—Guest Ann

What I Do When My Teen Lies to Me

When my teen lies about something, she gets really upset. I think sometimes she doesn't think she is lying? Three things she likes the most - TV, iPod and visiting with friends - these things gets taken away until she can tell the truth.
—Guest gloria lewis

How it works with my sons

My sons are now approaching 18 & 21 this year. I've always been fortunate with them. I have only had to deal with the issues of them trying smoking & drinking (each on one occasion & no drugs)once. As a parent, I expected it. I have had to deal with lying as most parents do though I've learned over the years that because I have a very respectful and loving relationship with my sons; if I approach them with, "I'd appreciate your complete honesty, and I'd like to believe that since I've always been honest to you & supportive of you, if you are honest with me-you know this time won't be any different", then I ask the question. It must be a good approach- especially if it is a serious issue, they breakdown crying and pour their hearts out. I am so blessed to have a good relationship with both of my sons. BTW, they ALWAYS tell me they feel better getting the truth off of their chests.
—Guest Jennifer

I think it depends ....

Depending on the age of your teen, sometimes they don't actually think they're lying. Because the logical thought process and reasoning is different with younger teens, somehow, in their brains, they think they're being truthful, even though to our logical, adult brains, they clearly left something out (lie by omission), made an assumption that we understood what they meant, etc. So I think you have to take that into account when deciphering whether something is really a lie or not. Understanding this in terms of my teen has forced me to be much more specific when asking him to do things, to tell me things, to give me details on plans, etc. I have also had to be more specific when giving instructions, saying yes to an activity, etc. Luckily I haven't had too much problem with this yet. But the consequence will be that he will not be able to do whatever the lie was associated with the next time he wants to do it. Then we'll try again. It is 100% about trust as Kim said.
—4EqltyMom

Lucky 13

My 13-year-old doesn't seem to have a problem with our early curfew. During the school year he needs to be in by 8. In the summer he is allowed out till 9. If there is something special going on, like a football game, dance, etc. he must be home immediately following the event if it is later than 9. We are very lucky in the fact that he has decided on his own that there isn't much for a 13-year-old to do after dark anyway without getting into trouble. When he or his friends start driving the curfew may go up to 10:30 but that will depend a lot on where they are going and who he is with. We do have a city wide curfew for teens set at 11pm, so it will never be beyond that.
—Guest Trisha

Get Some Help

My simple is answer is get your teen to counseling. Habitual lying or any such behavioral issue is often the surface of underlying issues. She should go for counseling alone and you should make sure to have time with the counselor too to help improve the situation. Work together to fix it before it become bigger.
—Guest Fanny

Writing Essays on Accountability

I started to have the girls write essays on why do they lie, how their lie affects their parents, teachers, and friends. The older they got the more words they had to write. They learned that if they tell me that are at a friends house, I may or may not show up. They learned that when they lie it creates a trust issue that needs to be earned again. Of course they lost all privelages until their essay was completed. I felt strongly that if they are old enough to lie they are old enough to take responsiblity for their actions. I know this action works! My girls are in their 30’s, and now using the same accountability for their children.
—Guest Karen

Glad I'm Not Alone

Quite frankly I’m really glad to know I’m not the only one. What I do is really limit the privileges..and remind her it’s because we have no trust built up. She may be able to go to a friends after school – because I have to let her do something to build back up some trust – but she can’t stay overnight. She even told other kids…”one thing you don’t want to loose is your mom’s trust!” Our counselor suggested some time one on one, not for lecturing but for building a relationship, because in the teen years you can’t force them to obey or respect you they have to do that based on the love and mutual respect you share.
—Guest Kim

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