Teens often lie to protect their privacy and to establish their newfound independence.
They shield the truth about issues they know would disturb us—such as online encounters and accessible alcohol, drugs, and sexual behavior. So how do we know when our teenagers are lying, and what should we do when we realize that they are? According to Anthony Wolf, a practicing child psychologist and the author of several books, including “Why Can’t You Shut Up? How We Ruin Relationships — How Not To,” most teens lie. “They [feel] they will either get in trouble if their parents find out, or if they tell the truth beforehand, they won’t be allowed to do whatever they intended to.” Lying, Wolf says, is part of the cover-up, so they can do what their peer group is doing.
#1 Stay One Step Ahead
“Learn to ask specific questions and get specific answers,” Wolf says. “Teens would rather not directly disobey their parents.” Wolf feels that most punishments, such as grounding and withdrawal of privileges, won’t stop teenagers from being dishonest. Staying connected through cell phones and email, knowing who your children’s friends are, and having a continuing open dialogue will foster an honest relationship. Don’t wait until your children are teenagers to talk to them about drugs, sex, alcohol, and relationships—all things they’re liable to lie to you about later.