How to Deal With a Lying Teen

Whether it consists of little white lies, lies of omission or significant deceit, it’s hard to know how to handle a teen’s lying streak. How do you address it in a way that allows you to rebuild trust and move past this tough time? Here are several ways you can begin to confront your teen’s behavior.


Address it Outright

If your teen thinks they can get away with lying, they will continue to do so. Instead, it’s important to address it clearly and swiftly so that it doesn’t grow into a larger problem. Let them know you recognize when they are lying to you, that this behavior isn’t encouraged and that there are consequences for it.


Be Firm on Consequences

Lying has consequences and it’s important that your teen realizes this. If there are boundaries and rules you’ve established around the direct consequences for lying, be sure to firmly follow through with these so that your teen recognizes that they can’t get away with it. Educate them on how lying affects their relationships, explaining that it decays trust and hurts others’ feelings. Be sure your teen realizes the impacts of their actions.



Image Gareth Williams

Understand and Address the Root Cause

Teens lie for many reasons. They might be trying to fit in with their peers and have felt pressure to behave a certain way or do certain things. For example, they might lie to their teachers or you about completing assignments. They also might try to avoid a certain task or responsibility that they’ve been given such as chores or cleaning their room. Your teen might also fabricate something if there is a deeper, underlying trust issue between you and your teen. Try to figure out what is bothering your teen before addressing ways to solve the problem.


It’s important to understand this root cause so that you can develop a strategy with your teen for the future. If it’s a trust issue between you and your teen, it’s important to work towards solving this together. If it’s an issue with a peer, your teen’s positive friendships and help them to feel confident in who they are as an individual. Direct them towards making the right choices and encourage moments when they are honest and open with you.


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