1. You come across as angry. Who wants to talk to someone who is angry or mean? The way you talk to your teen can affect the conversation and how your son feels about you. Your son might say, “I can’t talk to mom, she’s always angry at me!”
2. You take on the role of interrogator. Interrogating means you’re asking questions aggressively or suspiciously. You’re kind of acting like he’s already guilty of something. Your teenager will notice you’re trying to dig things out of him and will feel the need to keep things from you.
3. You call your teen a liar. No one likes being called a liar, even if they are lying. There are different ways of getting to the root of a problem without name calling or labeling.
4. You act like a detective. Do you go through your teen’s room and “check” things out? He might have realized you’ve gone through his room or he actually caught you. That is a big violation of trust. “Checking” or “snooping” is a huge issue in your teens mind and he will get better at hiding things.
It’s hard not to assume but try not to. Give your son the benefit of the doubt and see his side of things. He could be telling the truth.
5. You give him very little respect. The old saying is, “If you give respect, you’ll get respect.” This is true. Respect goes a long way and will significantly reduce any lying.
6. You put unnecessary pressure. You might be giving your teen anxiety. Try to let things happen naturally. If you’re consistently asking about grades, relationships, college, or doing homework, he’ll eventually freak out. Ease up a little.
7. You’re not honest. If your teenager knows you’re lying you are not setting a good example. They’ll likely take up similar behaviors.
8. They just simply don’t want to tell you. You have to deal with the fact there are just some things your teenager doesn’t want to tell you. They’d rather tell their friends, and this is normal.
9. They don’t want to get into trouble. The easiest way to avoid being yelled at, lectured to, or escape consequences is to lie – or at least your teenager thinks so. Give your teen the opportunity to tell the truth no matter how bad and work with him to resolve the issues. Embrace it as best you can.
10. They do not want to disappoint you. If he feels he has let mom or dad down he might feel guilty or at fault. This might cause him to lie to keep you happy.
11. They want to establish some control in their lives. Your teen needs to feel like they can handle some parts of their lives by themselves. It’s OK to let them.
12. Bad communication. I think all of the above circles back to communication with your teenager. If you’re not able to have an honest and open relationship with your teen, there is a good chance he’ll close off or lie about things going on in his life.
So what should you do if your teen is lying?
- Collect your thoughts and think about what option suits the situation.
- Help your teen realize why lying is not OK.
- Enforce clear and reasonable ground rules.
- Give your teen the benefit of the doubt. They won’t always lie.
- Find the underlying issues behind the lying.
- Work on creating a dialogue with your teen.
- Make it safe to tell the truth in your house. Let your teen know you love him unconditionally.
Exploring the reasons your teenager is lying can open up new insights into what is truly going on in his life.
For more information on your teenager see teenagesons.com