Certainly, we all hope we’ve raised out kids with the moral worth to always tell the truth, but here in reality, lies happen. Teen lies happen even more often thanks to the teen years being such a rebellious and confusing time in life. The question is, how can you as a parent handle teen lies when they happen?
Acknowledge teen lies:
The first thing you should do when you realize your teen has been lying to you is to acknowledge the lie and let your teen know that you know. This opens the door for communication on their end. You’re giving them that get out of jail card to come clean. It’s important not to go into this conversation with threats of punishment, rather concern. If you open the conversation with something like, “I know what you did and now your going to pay for it.” You aren’t really saying, “Hey, talk to me, be open with me, and help me understand why you did this.”
Communication is especially important at this point. Find out why your teen felt they needed to lie to you in the first place, and try to help them move beyond the mistrust and secrecy. Avoid demanding your teen tell you anything. If you try to force a teen, or anyone else for that matter, to open up to you they likely won’t. Simply be there, be open, and be understanding. Understand that this whole process may take time.
Address Teen lies:
Once and if your teen has come clean, so to speak, it’s important to address the lie and why lying is never the best course of action, but not necessarily punish it the first time. Let your teen know the same way you would an adult why the lie hurt or angered you. Being open with your teen and treating them as the mature adult they are becoming will help ease tension and restore trust.
However, even adults have consequences for their actions and you are a parent, not just a friend. If lying continues after these three steps have been taken, try not to become angry and “lock your teen up” for their actions, but continue to express your feelings towards the lying and give reasoning behind them while adding in some form of punishment. Note that the consequences would have been less severe, or even non-existent, had there not been a lie involved reminding that you excused the first offense. The old “because I said so” explanation never does anyone any good. Be specific.
Take comfort that like most things in a teens life lying is often a stage. Some day you will have standing before you an amazing man or woman and all these small trying times will be distant memories to look back on and laugh.