Have you discovered that your teenager is lying to you ? Also, do you do it often? Or only at specific times? What causes can there be behind this fact and how to act when it occurs?
The truth is that sometimes those lies have to do with the search and need for their freedom and independence , and even their own identity, or with the fear of defrauding, of being judged, of not doing things right…
How to know why our son acts like this? And how to act, as parents, in case of detecting these lies?
My teenage son lies to me: why?
It is clear that each adolescent is a world, and that we cannot generalize the causes of lies if they exist.
However, we can list some of these possible causes , always knowing that we must analyze each specific case.
1. He is suspicious of your privacy
One possible cause of this tendency to lie is the suspicion of one’s own intimacy.
Thus, in this case, it is not that there is a bad intention behind the lies, but that what the adolescent wants is to protect his privacy , and sometimes to do so he resorts to lies (although it is not the most suitable way to do it).
And many times, this is directly related to a lack of trust in parents (next point).
2. Lack of confidence
Lack of trust in family can also lead teens to lie.
Thus, instead of telling the truth, they choose to invent some story that allows them to hide it, because they do not feel confident enough to reveal their secrets.
3. You feel insecure
Insecurity can also be the basis of adolescent lies. If they don’t feel safe with what they do, this can lead them to hide the truth, for fear of feeling judged, for example.
4. You know you’re not doing something “right”
When they know that they are not doing something “right”, or something “correct”, this can also lead them not to tell things , or to tell them distortedly, for fear of some kind of reproach or consequence from their parents.
5. He is afraid of disappointing
Finally, another possible cause of lies is the fear of disappointing the parents’ expectations.
This sometimes translates into so-called “white” lies, such as saying that you want to study medicine because your father is, when in fact you want to study drama, for fear of hurting your parents’ feelings or truncating your relationships . expectations placed on them.
My son lies to me… so what to do?
1. Investigate the causes of those lies
Everything we do has an explanation (although sometimes the reasons that lead us to act are unconscious, but that’s another topic).
Therefore, that your son lies is also explained for some reason. But why does he do it? Investigating these causes will be the first step in determining what to do in the face of these lies; maybe he does it because he’s ashamed of something? Why do you feel insecure?
Because he fears a negative consequence if he tells the truth? To discover it, three tools that can help you are: assertive and sincere communication with him, active listening and observation. You can also ask him directly ; “because you lied to me?”
2. Show him that he can trust you
Many times, although not always, our children lie to us because they find it difficult to trust us (and that is not “anyone’s” fault; sometimes they are dynamics that have been reproduced over the years and from which it is not easy to get out).
If you think this is your case, start cultivating that trust between you; this will help them to know the alternatives to lying. How do we do it?
Some ideas to start with: ask him directly about things and how he feels, explain how you feel, find time to share moments together, make him a confession (opening up too), keep his secrets, don’t pressure him, respect his privacy, his rhythm and its spaces, give it responsibilities…
3. Do not recriminate those lies
A mistake that we sometimes make is to reproach our children for lies, once we discover them.
It is clear that you have the right to be angry and feel bad if he hides things from you, but adopting an attitude of reproach and recrimination with him will not help you; on the contrary, it will drive you further away.
The alternative? Opt for understanding , dialogue and respect.
4. Opt for assertive and empathic communication
Thus, for example, you can try verbalizing: “I know that what you have told me is not true, and I would like to know why you have told this lie, how you feel…”, or “I wish you could trust me; If there is something that worries you , you can count on me whenever you need it”.
In short, use phrases to get closer to your child and understand him, so that he feels safe explaining things to you, without pressing.
The keys are assertiveness (saying and asking things without hurting) and empathy (connecting with how the other person feels).
5. Avoid feeling judged
Another mistake we make when our children lie to us is to judge them; Of course we can judge their attitude (since we consider it unethical), but let’s not make the mistake of directly judging them, as people and as a whole, since that lie does not define them.
They may not have acted “right”, but that lie does not make them liars; In any case, we can talk about their behavior , their attitudes…
It is clear that there are lies more serious than others, or that they hurt us more, and as parents we also have the right to be upset (and even to communicate that upset to our children).
However, sometimes it can help us to relativize and ask ourselves; Is that lie so serious? To what extent is it? Reflecting on all this, and doing it with them, can be beneficial.
7. Connect with your teenage self
It is important that we have this idea clear : adolescents do not become bad people by lying. Try to put yourself in his place to understand him, and not to judge him; remember when you were his age… Have you ever lied to your parents?
At what time? Why did you do it? Connecting with your adolescent self will help you acquire a more empathic and compassionate look towards your children.
By this we do not mean that you justify everything your child does, including lying, but that you try to understand why he does it, so that you can offer him alternatives to that action (perhaps, through a: “you don’t have to tell me everything , but the important thing I would like to know”).
Photos | Image 1 (freepik), Image 2 (freepik)