Do you think that headline is controversial? Well, let me explain why teenagers lie. As parents, we all like to think that our kids are angels, they tell us everything, they share their experiences with us, and they would never ever withhold information from us. Well, that is simply not true – all teenagers lie!
Wouldn’t it be perfect if we had an obvious tell-tale when our kids are lying? Most parents are good at ‘reading’ their children when they are younger, but this becomes harder as your child matures.
Now.... it is worth mentioning that teenagers do not lie because they want to evade punishment, or because they are being bad. They lie because they are teenagers. They are growing up, they are full of hormones, and they have an air about them that says ‘I know best’. This simply means that they are testing the waters, they don’t want to agree on anything, and they certainly do not want to admit defeat in an argument, hence the odd lie sneaks in to make life easier for them.
Think back to when you were younger, and how intimidating and confusing the world was. Then remember that your teenager is only establishing their way into the world, they are trying to figure out how to fit into groups, and they are generally testing their boundaries. They want to have a voice, but they also want to avoid excessive questioning from a parent, therefore, teenagers will resort to white lies to appease the situation.
I hear so many parents tell me that their child does not tell lies, and then they are totally shocked when they find out that their teenager is withholding information or being secretive. This range from topics like where they went after school, who they were chatting to online, how much money they spent on a new phone, did they have a drink with their friends and so on. Teenagers need to make their own mistakes, but naturally they also have to discover that there are agreed consequences if they are caught in a lie.
But remember, teenagers do tell lies!
Find the balance between questioning your teenager about everything and not caring at all. Allow your child to find their own feet, and accept that they are growing up into adults, some faster than others! Set boundaries that are realistic and agreed with your teenager. At all costs, avoid becoming a dictator because if you control and oversee everything, you will encourage your teenager to develop into a liar in order for them to assert some control over their own decisions. Don’t judge your child if they lie, instead guide them to make better choices. Your teenager needs to feel that you trust them, and that you respect their choices.
Supported by you, slowly but surely, your teenager will grow into a well-adjusted young person who will have good intentions and who will, in time, understand that lying is not the way to go.
By Tina Elven