Teenagers begin exerting their own voices and want to begin making their own choices. Their choices may not be the choice that you agree with and they may cover up their actions to avoid getting caught. If they are caught, they may attempt to cover up what they did and begin telling their parents a stream of lies to avoid getting in trouble for disobeying their parents rules. Most parents end up catching their teenager in their lies and can easily figure out the truth. However, as a parent this can be heartbreaking while putting a strain on a delicate relationship with your teenager. So how can parents get their young child or teenager to stop lying?
Disclosure: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not replace advice from a health care professional, licensed counselor, or psychiatrist if the situation warrants outside help.
Build an Open Relationship With Your Child
As your child is growing up, as a parent it is a great idea to teach your children that they can come to you about anything going on in their lives. Having an open relationship not only gives your child a sense of security but your child is more likely to come to you when they have a problem. A great way to encourage an open relationship with your child is to have dinner together as a family and share your day’s events. When your child is sharing their day, it is important that you listen to them and ask them questions about their daily activities. You want your child to feel that you care about them and how they are doing.
Children learn by example and they watch your actions more than you probably realize. Younger children might not realize when you are telling lies but your teenager can. If your teenager catches you telling lies to other people, they are more likely to tell lies as well. A parent must stop telling lies if they expect their children to stop. Remember the old saying, “Monkey see, Monkey do!” This is exactly what your child does and they will mimic your actions as well as what you say.
Don’t Pretend That You Don’t Already Know the Truth About Their Situation
Parents often times pretend that they don’t know that their teenager is lying to them in hopes that they will tell the truth. Instead, as a parent you need to confront them. When confronting your teenager it is best to do it calmly and don’t yell at them, instead talk to them in a normal tone of voice. Explain to them that you know that they are lying to you and explain your reasoning. Then allow them the opportunity to come clean. Never ignore the problem, it will make it worse in the long run. Also, never ask them to answer questions that you already know the answer to, this gives them the green light to lie to you. Confront them with the information that you know about the situation instead.
Avoid Name Calling
Never call your child a liar or anything else that can demean their self confidence. After all, you don’t like it when other people call you names.
Never Play the Blame Game
Avoid quickly pointing the finger at your child, even if you have evidence that your teenager is possibly guilty. Instead, you should ask your child about the situation and allow them the opportunity to explain their side of the story. When your child is talking, take the time to actively listen to what they are saying to you. What they say to you can help you determine if they are being truthful or telling a lie.
Give Them Credit Where Credit is Due
If your child tells you the truth, even partially, it is very important that you praise and reward your child for being honest with you. Create a sense of security for your child, praise them for telling the truth. Praising them for their honesty will help with future situations. In fact, you want to encourage them to be honest with you even if they normally tell a lie.
Set Appropriate Consequences
It is important for children to receive appropriate consequences for their actions. If your child knows that they will be punished, if they are caught lying, sometimes this alone will prevent them from doing the things that they know that they aren’t supposed to do. Some children will even think twice before acting on their decisions. It is also very important that you follow through with the consequences when they are caught lying because if you don’t follow through they will feel as if they got away with it and are more likely to continue the behavior.
Reassure Your Child That You Love Them
It is important that you remind your child that you love them no matter what and that you are disappointed with their actions. Explain to them that you set boundaries and expectations for them out of love.
When Should I Seek Professional Help for My Child’s Unwanted Behavior?
These tips are to help encourage parents to build a loving, open, and honest relationship with their child and to help prevent them from becoming a habitual liar. If you still have problems with your teenager lying, keep using these tips to encourage your teen to tell you the truth when they are caught in a lie. If your relationship isn’t as strong as it should be, take the time and nurture the relationship while using these tips. Hopefully, as you build your relationship with your child, the lying will begin to fade. If not, you should contact your child’s health care professional, licensed counselor, or psychiatrist for additional assistance.
For more information read: Why Do Older Children or Teens Lie to Their Parents?
Does your child lie to you? How do you handle your teenage lying to you?