Adolescent Children and Lying: What Should I Do?
During adolescence, youngsters transition from being focused on their family to becoming focused on their friends. This may lead to a problem with adolescent children and lying as they tend to avoid responsibility and exaggerate things.
They may also make excuses for their mistakes and even resort to making things up at times. For this reason, we’re going to give you advice on how to address this problem in the article below.
When you first discover that your children are lying to you, the first thing we recommend is to stop and take a deep breath. Try not to react too harshly or with anger.
While it’s normal to get angry and to lose your patience when raising children from time to time, it’s not the best reaction. Keep in mind that normally children who lie are doing so to get your attention or to cause a reaction.
It’s important to build trust between you and your adolescent children in order to avoid this scenario. Ideally, you want them to feel comfortable confiding in you if they ever have a problem.
This is why you should always praise them when they’re sincere with you. It’s imperative that you stress the importance of being open and honest with them but always with a lot of composure and patience.
What can I do if my children lie?
In the section below we’ll provide you with some tips you can use to help avoid any lying behavior from your adolescent children. What counts most are the values that you’ve instilled in them. They need to feel secure so that they share their experiences with you – both the good and the bad.
1. Explain the difference between the truth and a lie
The first piece of advice consists of talking to your children about telling the truth and what it means to lie. It doesn’t matter how old the adolescent is, it’s very important to explain the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie. You should also alert them to the possible consequences of being dishonest.
Nonetheless, it’s also important your children learn to control when to tell the truth. They also need to learn not just to blurt everything out. Your children need to learn that they don’t necessarily have to share everything that crosses their mind just to be honest.
Balancing honesty with compassion and learning to read social cues is a sophisticated skill that you should begin to teach your children early. Many times, inappropriate words can cause a lot of harm to others, even though that wasn’t the intention of the speaker.
2. Adolescent children and lying: Negotiate rules and limits
Establishing the rules and limits in a consensual way is one of the most effective ways to reduce conflict. Don’t forget that one of the reasons that adolescents lie is because they think their parents don’t listen to them.
If they think the rules are unfair and there is no space to negotiate or to make exceptions, then in their mind lying is the only option.
For this reason, if your adolescent children come to you wanting to make an exception to a rule, it’s the moment to listen. Try to understand why they’re asking you to make an exception and what’s important to them in this scenario. Think about what’s at stake for you in yielding a bit and trying to find a way to meet on middle ground.
Clearly, compromising so that both sides are happy isn’t always possible. Nonetheless, if you never give your adolescent children any space to negotiate, they’ll eventually come to think there’s no point in even asking. They’ll resort to lying instead of trying to ask you.
“If adolescents believe the rules are unfair and there is no room to negotiate or to make exceptions, then in their mind, lying is the only option.”
3. Connect with your children
You should make connecting with your children a top priority. Creating a good connection where they feel secure in confiding in you is one of the best things you can do as a mom to a teenager.
Cleary, children who have good communication at home will want to share their feelings without the need to lie. For this reason, creating a good connection is one of the most solid and surefire measures you can use to instill some control against lying. But you have to have patience and you have to work at building such ties.
4. Adolescent children and lying: Let your children feel regret
The last bit of advice on the list can seem a bit far fetched, but you should keep it in mind. Ideally, those adolescents who do resort to lying and hiding the truth should be made to immediately own up to their mistake.
Keep in mind that a young person who is on the defensive will use manipulative techniques in order to argue and justify his or her actions and to avoid responsibility.
If that happens, it’s recommended that you pause for a few seconds before reacting. This will give the adolescent some time to realize what they’re doing in the heat of the moment and to regret what they said.
Finally, we remind you that lying is very common with a lot of children this age. If you catch your adolescent children sometimes lying you shouldn’t worry excessively. Do your best to catch such lies and correct their behavior in a calm and collected way.
The advice given above will be a big help if you want your adolescent children to feel secure in their relationship with you and to always value the truth and honesty.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
de Posadas, L. V. (2006). Identificaciones en la adolescencia; ser alguien… aunque sea de mentira. Revista Uruguaya de Psicoanálisis, (102), 32-40. http://publicaciones.apuruguay.org/index.php/rup/article/download/1583/1368
- Nuez-Abella, R. (2014). ¿ Por qué mienten los niños? Una propuesta de intervención emocional en educación infantil (Bachelor’s thesis). https://reunir.unir.net/handle/123456789/2481
- Sotillo, M., & Rivière, Á. (2001). Cuando los niños usan las palabras para engañar: la mentira como instrumento al servicio del desarrollo de las habilidades de inferencia mentalista. Infancia y aprendizaje, 24(3), 291-305. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1174/021037001316949239