Lying Teenager: Signs, Consequences And Tips To Deal With It

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Teens lying could be a benign event in most cases. However, it may become a concern if your teen does it often. Adolescence and teenage are when the child begins to feel the need for freedom and independence. In such cases, the teen may rely on lying to have things their way.

Although lying may seem like an ingrained habit, parents’ may be able to spot the triggers and counsel the child calmly to discourage lying. Read this post to know ways to identify if your teen is lying and how to deal with it proactively and positively.

What Are The Signs Of A Lying Teenager?

The signs of lying are quite obvious, and it does not require an expert to spot a lying teenager. Some signs that can help you know if your child is lying include (1) (2):

  • Gaze aversion: The classic sign of lying is not making eye contact. You may notice that whenever your teens lie, they look away from you or keep looking towards the ground. Avoiding eye contact makes anyone feel less guilty about their wrongdoings or dishonest behaviors.
  • Non-congruent gestures: While it may be easy to control the words coming out of the mouth, children cannot always control their body language. Most of the time, your teen may make certain non-congruent gestures, such as unusual animated hand movements, shoulder shrugging, or head shaking, when lying.
  • Facial expressions: The microexpressions, such as a sudden flash of guilt or fear in their faces, cannot be hidden whenever they lie. Some people are also proficient in detecting such microexpressions to spot a guilty or a lying person.
  • Rapid blinking: Unusual frequent blinking may be a sign that your teen is lying. Blinking faster while talking is also one of the common signs. People tend to blink more rapidly while lying to avoid feeling stressed or guilty.
  • Voice tone: Talking in a high-pitched voice is another classic behavior of a lying teen. You may notice your children using an unusually loud or shrill voice every time they lie.

Note: Children manifesting such behavior may not necessarily indicate them lying. People also tend to show such signs when they wish to conceal their emotions or when they want to avoid interaction, especially in the case of introverts. These behaviors should be taken in context for what is typical for your teen, especially if you have a teen who is frequently anxious, uncomfortable expressing emotions, or if your teen is on the autism spectrum.

What Are The Consequences For A Lying Teenager?

Lying can become a problematic behavior with consequences that your teen may fail to understand. These can include:

  • If your teen is lying all the time, it is more likely to become a habit. Those who develop a habit of lying utilize it whenever they need things done or want to have things their way.
  • A teen who lies frequently may lose friends upon getting caught. Your child may most likely be sad or stressed from the lying and guilt, besides losing a relationship.
  • A lying teen with other behavioral issues, such as quick reactivity and aggressiveness, may develop psychological problems in the long run.
  • If your teen continues to lie, it may ultimately become a behavior of compulsive lying. It is a disorder where people tend to lie as a habit, irrespective of the situation, without feeling any remorse or regret.

How To Deal With A Lying Teenager?

It is most important first to understand the underlying reasons why your teen felt it was necessary to lie, as opposed to telling the truth. You may try parenting methods to discipline your teen and deal with their lying (3).

  • Calm approach: Try a calmer approach towards your child’s risky behaviors, including lying. Instead of punishing your teen, use your parenting skills and start a healthy and calm conversation. This may cause them to open up about the truth.
  • Reason behind the lie: Most of the time, the lying might stem from someone or something they are protecting. It can be someone they are covering up for or something they have done and are afraid to get caught. You should find out the root of their lies and use your problem-solving skills to help and educate them accordingly, instead of scolding or threatening about punishing them.
  • External influence: There can be times when you find your otherwise good and well-mannered teen involved in risky behaviors. Here, you may consider external influences, such as friends or people your teen may be spending too much time with lately. Encourage your teen to distance themselves from them.
  • Strengthening of relationship: Yet another situation that puts your parenting skills to test. Parenting involves establishing an honest relationship with your teens to make them comfortable enough to share their happiness and worries with you. This can be done with regular conversations to help your teen feel more at ease with you.

Your teen’s frequent lying can be frustrating and concerning at times. But as parents, you need to stay calm and be mindful of your teen’s behavior, as lying may not necessarily be due to their need for freedom or typical teenage problems. It may also indicate underlying anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Hence, establish a strong relationship with your children by maintaining good communication with them.

Key Pointers

  • Teens may indulge in lying for having things as per their desires.
  • Identify certain cues like avoiding eye contact, changing facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice.
  • Take necessary measures to stop this habit as it could eventually lead to behavioral and psychological problems.
  • Establish an honest bond with your teen, speak to them calmly to comprehend the reasons and influences for lying.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. How can you tell if someone is lying.
    https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-can-you-tell-if-someone-is-lying
  2. How to know if someone is lying.
    http://community.bowdoin.edu/news/2018/03/know-if-someone-is-lying/
  3. Teenage Lying and Manipulation – How to Deal with it Effectively.
    https://finallyfamilyhomes.org/dealing-with-lying-teenager/
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Dr. Caroline Hexdall

(Ph.D.)
Caroline Hexdall, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in North Carolina who has supported the well-being of children, adolescents, parents and families in public university medical settings, public schools, private schools and in independent practice for over 20 years. She specializes in psychological services for individuals who are considered to be neurodiverse. Dr. Hexdall has, for the past 12 years, taught... more

Aneesha Amonz

Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. She has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences. In addition, she has an internship experience in Oil India Limited as an R&D project trainee. As a writer at MomJunction, Aneesha ensures her content is engaging and... more