What? Teenagers lie? Yes, they do. Often. And often to their parents. But what should you do
about it? Well, let's talk about it today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed
marriage and family therapist, and I help kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead
two organizations, the group Private Practice Teen Therapy Center and the non -profit 501c3
organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. And every
Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. And let's
jump into today. My 15 -year -old is developing a real pattern of lying. He lies about things
I ask him to do, saying he's done them when he hasn't, and then trying to get them done when I'm
not looking. He lies about whether he's done his homework and how late he stayed up. These don't
seem like a big deal and I usually respond by raising an eyebrow to let him know I know he's lying
but I know I need to be more proactive. I'm really

worried about how this lying stuff will play out once he starts driving or can start going to
parties again where there might be alcohol. I want him to feel like he can be honest with me and
right now I feel myself not taking things he says at face value anymore. What's the best approach
and what should I say when I catch him lying? Thank you for your question. Every parent goes through
this in one way or another and the reason for that is all teenagers lie to their parents. Everyone.
There's not one teenager who doesn't lie and the reason for that is is because all adults lie
too. Now before you grasp your pearls and say, how dare you accuse me of being a liar? It doesn't
make you a liar but all humans lie, all humans are flawed, and I can guarantee you've lied because
all of us watching here have called in sick when we weren't sick. At some point, at one point or
another, we've all gone, oh, I've got a scratchy throat, I can't come in today, when you really
want to go to the beach. Or

when you're redecorating your house, remodeling your house, and your mother -in -law comes
over and starts giving you decorating tips that you didn't want and you didn't ask for. And instead
of saying, you know what, I don't want your advice, you have horrible fashion sense, Stop talking
to me. I know what I'm doing instead you say wow. Thank you so much I really appreciate your decorating
advice. Yeah, we'll take it. Well, we'll consider that We'll look into that and then you go to
your spouse and go your mother's driving me crazy, right? You'd lie to her and make her feel Warm
and welcome and engage in the process because telling her the truth that she's really irritating
Would make chaos and drama that the whole family and it's much easier to lie It makes everyone
feel better. Your teenager is lying for the exact same reason. If your teenager was supposed
to take out the recycling or supposed to do his homework, and you say, did you do the recycling?
Did you do your homework? The impulse

to say, yes, I did it, is before they even think. And now, they're stuck with this lie, right?
And so, if in their mind, if you believe them, and you don't check if the recycling is overflowing
in the kitchen, and you don't check his grades, then everyone wins. You're happy because you
think things have been done. He's happy because he got to play Fortnite. And no one... it's all
fine. Where at his fictional brain, unfortunately, he is not recognizing that it's gonna come
around and catch him. And this is part of practicing how to lie. Getting caught. We all have learned
this the hard way, right? We've all lied to our parents. We've all lied before. But as adults,
we get more judicious. We get more understanding of the consequences. We're able to think through
the consequences. Now, again, I'm not condoning lying. Honesty is almost always the best policy.
But I do know that humans are human, and humans will do human things, also. So, in these situations,
you don't want to set him up to

lie. Don't say, hey, did you do your homework? Because he's going to impulsively say yes. Especially
if your kid has impulse issues, he's going to say yes before he even thinks about the question
or the answer. And now he's Now he's got a lie more to keep the lie going, right? So, instead of
saying, did you do this? Say, show me. If he was supposed to take up the recycling, hey, show me
that the recycling is done. And have him walk over and show you that the recycling is done. Have
him show you his math assignment and his English essay. Make sure you go online, check the assignments
that are due, or look in his planner, whatever you have. Will he still get away with some lies?
Yes. you're not gonna catch everything. But if you can get more of it, and again it's not setting
him up to lie, is show me. And then once he's shown you, then you can move on. If you do catch him
in a lie, take a breath. If you react with anger, you're pushing him more towards lying again
because he's going to interpret

it as, oh I gotta lie to mom or I gotta lie to dad because they get so upset all the time. And this
is hard to do. Stay calm. Take your breath. If you need to take 15 minutes to cool down before we
have the talk, then take 15 minutes. But have the to talk and say, and just state facts. I asked
you to do your homework. The homework's not done. What do we do about this? Instead of focusing
on the lie, focus on what he didn't do first, and then you can focus on the lie second. These are
two separate issues. The practical thought side of let's get this done, and once you get that
done, then you sit him down on the couch or the kitchen table, or maybe when he's going to bed at
night, sit next to him in his bed and say, hey, we've been having a tough time connecting lately.
You have a tough time with honesty and trust, and I want to trust you. And I want you to trust me
so how do we work through this and he's gonna say oh You know and just keep the conversation going
keep you know It's not gonna

be one conversation of probably many conversations, but have an open mind Let him make make
sure that he knows this is a safe place to talk He's not gonna get in trouble Then just talk about
the lie and maybe all you need to hear from him is an apology of I'm sorry mom I don't know why I did
it Maybe that's all you need and just having that apology may be the thing that helps him be more
aware and more accountable to himself Another thing is make sure he's not catching you in lies,
you know, and you may have small little lies of, you know, I don't know what it is, but if he's catching
you in lies where you say, yes, I'm gonna do this, and then you don't follow through, yes, I'll
give your phone back Tuesday at 12 o 'clock, and then you back out of it, and you kind of manipulate
things, not give his phone back when you promised earlier, you're kind of letting him know that
lying is okay. Does he catch you lying to your friends or other fan members, you know? Does he
catch you lying to your

spouse that you're split up with? You know, the lie may be, you know, in your best interests or
in many people's best interests But he's not gonna be able to see and differentiate why you made
the lie. Why you didn't make a lie He's just gonna see the lie So make sure that you are being as
best you can Honest in front of him that he sees you're walking the walk and not just talking to
talk It's really complicated issue If you're having a hard time broaching the conversation
having a hard time connecting with this conversation without it turning into arguments and
fights. You may want to get help from a therapist or someone else, a third party can help broker
the conversation. But generally if it's just these small little lines about homework and recycling
this and that, generally these things can be worked out through connection and through taking
time and patience and talking. Anyways, thank you for your question. We have one more tips on
teens for the year. Next week we'll be taking the

final week off for the holidays. But thank you for your questions. If you have a question you'd
like me to answer, please email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. There's also
an article down below. You can read more about this topic in a little more detail if you like.
Again, my name is Kent Toussaint from Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling, and
we'll see you next week. And keep your questions coming. Thanks guys. Bye -bye.

WHAT, TEENAGERS LIE?! Yes, and often! But what should you do about it?
“My 15 year old is developing a real pattern of lying. He lies about things I ask him to do, saying he’s done them when he hasn’t, and then trying to get them done when I’m not looking. He lies about whether or not he’s done his homework, and how late he stayed up. These don’t seem like a big deal, and I usually respond by raising an eyebrow to let him know I know he’s lying, but I know I need to be more proactive. 

I’m really worried about how this lying stuff will play out once he starts driving, or can start going to parties again where there might be alcohol. I want him to feel like he can be honest with me and right now I feel myself not taking things he says at face value anymore. What’s the best approach, and what should I say when I catch him lying?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.