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Responding to the Lies of Your Teenager

Updated on January 15, 2009

No one has ever said that parenting teenagers is easy. That is because it isn't. There are a lot of challenges that will come with parenting teenagers and lies are often one of them. Teenagers lie for a number of reasons and dealing with them is something each parent has to figure out for themselves. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Some Reasons Teenagers Lie

1. Most of us lie to keep ourselves out of trouble. It seems simple enough and we don't think about what will happen should we get caught lying.

2. We also lie to see how far the bounds really are. Lies can be used as tests, especially for parents. Teenagers may test your love, commitment, and even whether or not you will tell the truth.

3. Lies can also come because of anger. These are the hardest to deal with. Your teenager may lie because they are mad at you, their situation, or something happening in their lives.

Stick To It and Be Consistant

If you have provided consequences for lying it is important that you stick with what you have already laid down. By being wishy washy in your response you are sending mixed messages and making it clear that you can be walked on. This could cause more boundary questions and your teenager could question whether or not you are serious about what you say. Always be consistent and stick with what you say. If you have said that there will be a punishment for lying then make sure that punishment happens.

Punishment Options

Punishing teenagers is never easy. Gone are the days when you take out your belt and make it known that you are angry or that they have done something you feel is wrong. Now you have to figure out the best way to make a point. This really depends on your teenager and in many ways you. Some options include:

  • Grounding. This is similar to some options, but usually refers to forcing the teenager to remain at home instead of doing more preferable activities in more preferable locations.
  • Taking away privileges. This may be similar to grounding, but is usually directly related to activities that they enjoy. This could be their phone, their computer, video games, activities outside the home, or some other type of privilege.
  • Forced community service. While not a common at home punishment, a lot can be learned from volunteering and it can make for a great punishment. It is important that you choose a location that is well controlled and isn't going to offer an opportunity for your teenager to get in trouble. Working with people directly can also be a bad idea due to bad attitudes, but volunteering or community service can work well.

Underlying Issues

In the Reasons Teenagers Lie section there are three main reasons that teenagers lie. All of these reasons are covering up some underlying issue or issues. The first involves covering your butt and means that your teenager is doing something wrong and therefore lying about it. The second involves testing you and the third is about anger. With all of these, you have to go beyond the single fact that your teenager is lying and address the underlying issues as well.

It has been said a million times that kids never came with a book, even though they probably should have. You will make mistakes and that is okay (after all you are only human). Take each day one at a time and remember a few things when dealing with teenagers. First of all, not all of them are going to be the same and what works for one, won't necessarily work for another. Two, honesty is the best policy. Three, you need to stick with what you say. Other then that, it is a bit of trial and error. Good Luck my friend!


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  • drdspervez profile image

    drdspervez 7 years ago from Pakistan

    Good hub by you.

  • profile image

    queenie 7 years ago

    Big lies I can understand, but the lies over the little things??? I don't get it.

  • charmstotreasure profile image

    charmstotreasure 7 years ago

    Yep, often teens are testing their parents. Stand firm, folks - -and hey, have a sense of humor :)

  • profile image

    Michelle 8 years ago

    Oooook. How funny that I come arcoss this.

    Lemme just say, speaking as a "teenager" because I'm 19.

    When I lied to my parents (which I did quite often) I never did it to "test" the bounds. I did it because I wanted my way. To "test the bounds" (which I also did) I told my parents the TRUTH. Only I'd tell them things that I knew would make them cringe. And yeah, they both still love me. Blah blah blah.

    Take advice from a "older" teen. Your kids are gonna lie. Duh. Yeah it happens. Big deal. Get over it. When they start telling the truth be worried.

    P.S When your kid lies toyou and they somehow seemed to have gotten away with it, just have this additude... trust me when I say it'll bring you guys closer. MORE POWER TO YA KID!

  • frankiectlus profile image

    frankiectlus 8 years ago from Chandler, AZ

    Teens are a never ending battle of wills that usually leaves the last one standing the winner. Hopefully it will be the parent......

  • Arava7 profile image

    Arava7 8 years ago from Sunny Southern Cal

    Good and thoughtful Hub.

  • Amanda Severn profile image

    Amanda Severn 9 years ago from UK

    Hi Aiden,

    Interestingly enough I had a conversation about lying with a colleague today, but the person we were discussing was not a teenager, but a mutual friend who is approaching 60! Sometimes old habits die hard it seems!

  • Tom Rubenoff profile image

    Tom Rubenoff 9 years ago from United States

    Thank you, Aiden, for answering my request!