How to Handle Teen Lying
Janet Bertelli, LCSW
I can tell that my daughter in high school has been lying to me a lot recently and I am not sure where this coming from. I want to handle it the right way so that going forward she realizes that she doesn’t have to lie to me. It hurts that my daughter feels that she can’t come to me. I thought we had an open relationship. I wish I could understand why she is lying and how to stop her. How would you suggest that I handle this?
Dear Natalie’s Mom,
Teenagers lie to their parents for a variety of reasons. Some of the lies are related to developmental issues. Like preschoolers, they are trying to establish their independence. In order to establish a sense of control, they lie to feel that they can do what they want even knowing that it is against what their parents would want them to do. They also lie because they don’t want to disappoint you and avoid the consequences of their behaviors. Knowing how important getting into a good college is to you, they say everything is great in school even though they just received an “F” on a Geometry test that very same day.
While some lying is normal it still should not be ignored. How you as a parent react is the key. Staying calm and not overreacting is important and will show your child that it is safe to tell you the truth. Sitting down and opening up dialogue is often the key to finding ways to help you and your child move forward on a more trustful path. Here at Sage Day we provide family therapy for each of our students and their families. Having a professional to lend a third ear to what those lies are all about can be very helpful and valuable as families navigate the sometimes difficult territory of adolescence.
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