How to Tell if Your Teen Is Lying to You

Woman lecturing daughter
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Teenagers (yes, all of them) may lie about things to parents for a couple of different reasons. They want their privacy, they want more freedom and feel they deserve to have it, and they make mistakes that get them into trouble which they need to get out of by lying. While parents may take lying about these issues seriously, teens, on the other hand, do not think it is a big deal. It is a parent’s responsibility to teach their teen that lying is a serious issue.

But how can you tell if your teen is lying to you in the first place? 

Eyes Wide Open
First and foremost, the faster you get over the shock that your teen will lie to you, the better you will be at spotting when he/she is lying. Your teen will not be trying to hurt you by lying, so try not to emotionally attach yourself to that action.

Defensiveness
When someone lies, they get defensive and will not be happy if you chose to check-up on their story. It has been my experience when a teen is not lying, they offer ways for you to check up by giving you the phone numbers or names you need. They may be a little insulted, but they aren’t defensive. Being defensive and pitching a fit when asked to help you check the story is a sure sign something is amiss and the teen is lying.

Lack of Eye Contact
If your teen avoids looking at you when telling you a story or looks at you too long without blinking, this is an indication that he/she may be lying.

People tend not to look at the person they are lying to in the eye when lying, unless they know this fact and then they tend to look at you for too long. If you talk to your teen on a regular basis, you'll see a deviation in how he/she behaves while communicating to you during a lie.

Looking Down
Many times when a person lies, they look down.

When a person tells you what happened and it’s the truth, they tend to look up and ‘see’ the event happening as it did. But when someone is using their creativity to ‘make up’ what happened, they look down.

Touching of the Face
People who are lying touch their face and mouth. This type of body language is something that happens often when someone is lying. It isn’t easy to pick up until you know to look for it.

Pausing
There will be a pause. This one would tell me something is wrong when I had a teen on the phone. If I ask for details on what he/she was doing, there is always a pause before the answer. It’s time for the teen to make something up. This happens face to face too.

Fidgeting
People who are lying fidget. But this is also a sign of stress, so don’t go by this alone. Ask to check up on the story.

Avoiding Details
Teens who are lying avoid details, or have well-practiced details, and change the story in the second telling. Again, this doesn’t happen as often with highly intelligent teens.

Ask to check up on the story and see how he/she reacts.

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