Teenage lies

This is more serious than lies told by young children. When your teenager lies, it’s important to maintain their trust so they don’t feel the need to be untruthful. Here we give some typical problem areas and our experts explain the best way to deal with them.

Teenage lies: ‘I went to Kieran’s house’

‘Really? Funny how you were spotted in town…’ Sylvia says: ‘Many teenagers tell lies when establishing independence. Explain you know what happened and they can go into town so long as they tell you. Point out it’s a safety issue. Negotiate what they can/can’t do.’

More serious lies: ‘I don’t smoke’

‘Sometimes children have to go through horrible things to come out the other side,’ says Sylvia. ‘All you can do is reinforce how important it is to tell the truthful, and keep talking to them so you’re there if they choose to confide in you.’

Habitual liars

‘Maybe they’re influenced by a best friend,’ suggests Sylvia. ‘Have a quiet chat. Ask your child if she can trust her friend if she tells lies. If they giggle when lying it doesn’t mean they don’t care,’ adds Gaynor. ‘They’re saying they can’t cope with the situation.’

Is it your fault?

‘Parents who are too controlling or expect too much of their kids can unwillingly encourage them to lie so they’re “good enough”,’ says Sylvia. ‘Set rules without being over-severe,’ adds Gaynor. ‘Build a warm relationship so they can tell you anything. And don’t lie yourself to “suit” your own social situation. If you can do it, why can’t they?’

Four signs they’re lying

*They don’t look you in the eyes.
*They get a nervous twitch or scratch themselves because they feel uncomfortable.
*Pupils get bigger or smaller.
*Their hands get sweaty.