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Tips on Dealing with Lying


By Julie Mitchell

 Tips on Dealing With Lying Podcast


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.


Readers' Comments

April Berkowski 07/30/08

My daughter knows that if I trust her she will receive more priveliges and freedom. It's up to her to earn and keep my trust. There will be times when a child doesn't want to deal with the reality of consequences or wants to manipulate us into getting something they want, so they will likely be dishonest. It's important to remain very present in their lives, pay attention, ask questions and model honesty and be available for them. Work on the relationship. There are times when I know my kid is lying and to get her to admit the truth, I will let her know that she can either tell the truth and only receive a consequence for the indiscretion, or she can lie and receive two for lying, one for the indiscretion. Use good judgement, don't make it personal and encourage them make good choices. They can choose to live honestly (and receive our trust) or to live dishonestly (and not receive trust and the freedom that goes with it). And don't be afraid to check up on them...they're your are responsible for their well being! It's not about being their's about being a parent.

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