Why Do Adolescents Lie?

I was a teenager 40 years ago. I wholly admit I do not remember every detail of that tumultuous stage in my life. I was not adventurous so I had zero parties when the parents were away, I never smoked cigarettes or marijuana, I never sneaked alcohol, I never snuck out of the house and I rarely lied. I used to think I avoided all these things because I was a good kid but I think it was mostly because I thought my mom would kill me. Why are you laughing? I mean it – I literally feared for my life. 1. She was Korean so she totally believed it was okay to abort the baby up to age 30. 2. She was a bit crazy so I was never sure what she would do. 3. She threatened me bodily harm so often I lost count. 4. She has zero tolerance for anything that she thought was not up to her standards. So, I promised myself I would be the kind of parent a kid would come to. I did not want to parent via fear. It turns out psychology and parenting is really really difficult. I have one kid that impulsively lies (thanks ADHD) and another that rarely lied — until now. What is a parent to do? I don’t know. If you came here for expert advice you are in the wrong place. So like all non experts, I decided to do some research. (insert beep boop beep corny tv computer noises here) Okay, so not much had changed since I was a kid. Teenagers lie because they are STUPID – no seriously it is because their brains are still growing and because they want more freedom. The forbidden fruit always looks sweeter than the fruit that is allowed. Psychologists believe that teenagers do not understand the high cost of lying. They just know that it seems to be a simple solution at the time. They don’t want to do the chore so they lie and say it is already done. They want to stay up late so they say goodnight and then hide under the covers reading or watching something on their cell phones. They don’t want to look like a bad student so they lie and say they “lost” their homework or the Internet was not functioning. So when we discovered proof that our eldest was lying, we had a job to do. We had to confront her and talk to her about it. Unlike my mom I did not smack her around or scream. Instead I asked her point blank what she was doing. Of course she lied. LOL I expected that. I knew better than to take it personally. My husband and I tagged teamed and continue to ask her questions knowing very well that she would try to deny everything. Once we reminded her that her father had a degree in Computer Science she slowly came to the realization that lying about electronics usage was probably not effective. She did come clean after the third question. She was embarrassed and very apologetic. Is it wrong that I sort of enjoyed her shock? I know I am the adult but I kind of liked watching her squirm a little. Don’t worry – I didn’t let it last too long. We of course let her know we love her beyond measure. I assured her I was not angry but that she lost all her credibility. Her reputation up to this point was stellar. I really felt I could trust her to tell the truth. Now, she has to start all over again to regain our trust. Much like having a 55 average and struggling to bring it up to an A, getting caught lying means we are not going to believe her without questioning anymore. So I have the fun job this week of teaching both my kids about the common costs that liars pay. . .these are heady, mature subjects but so is lying. They get to hear about how liars are doubly punished and how they complicate their lives. It is simpler to tell the truth than to try to remember all your lies. There is lack of control when you lie. Who remembers all their lies? No one. I know they are terrific humans so I am not too worried about their future. However, it is my duty to make sure they learn these lessons early in life and not when they are adults in jail. Hopefully I will do a good job. Ya’ll, adulting and parenting is hard! Where is the Tylenol?

Published by bridgey1967

Loyal. Funny. Sensitive. Loving.

2 thoughts on “Why Do Adolescents Lie?

  1. Sometimes watching teens lie can be hilarious. It is hard to keep a straight “teacher” face.

    I have 2 nieces. The younger one got all the attention because she was a bit more than a handful. The older one has always been perfect. Clean room, nicely groomed, studious, took challenging courses, very serious. God, a little too much like me at that age. One day she dared to skip school. Of course she got a flat tire. She went to a garage to have it fixed. The mechanic was a friend of her father, but then again pretty much every mechanic knew her dad. He kept a poker face the whole time. Once she left, he picked up the phone and called to see if she was supposed to be out of school. Of course she lied when confronted. I’m sure her folks had a tough time punishing a straight A student who had never done anything wrong compared to the daily deluge of issues with the younger one.

    After a hands on lesson using wire, the final bell rang and I cleaned up the mess and went home. The next morning a student went to sit down at a desk and found a beautifully sculpted Johnson in the chair. It was brought over to me. I would have known who created it even I didn’t have assigned seats in every class. He was an extremely artistic young man in my last class of the day. When I took him outside the room to ask him if he knew anything about this- and held it up without a flicker of what I was really thinking on my face. He lied, and I grinned a little and said “really?” Then he laughed, turned bright red and confessed. I put my serious face back on and told him I would have to write him up. The rest of the day the other teachers laughed and marveled at his skill as I showed the the wire penis.😂

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