iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 9:50am
I'd be interested to see if any of you have some strategies for dealing with a teen with a lieing problem. My husband + I are guardians of his little sister (age 13, going on 14). She has always had a lieing problem, which I somewhat have to contribute to her HORRIBLE parents and childhood, but as she gets older, she needs to be accountable more for herself. The lieing is usually over SMALL things that she doesn't even need to lie about. She is constantly lieing though! It's either about something small to get out of trouble or she'll totally fabricate something for no reason whatsoever! Part of me says, hey you're raising a teen + if small lies is your concern, than you're not doing bad at all. But another part of me says that even though they are small lies, they are CONSTANT + I feel that when and if she has something major to wiggle her way out of, she'll find it very easy to lie to us since its come so easy all along.

So, any advice on dealing with a teen liar?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: littleargie
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 1:16pm
There are no small lies.

Lying is the *one* thing in our house sure to bring down the wrath of Dad.

I start with this as soon as a child is able to recognize the difference betweeen truth and falsehood, so what I actually do with my kids is unlikely to work with one as old as this girl, but I can tell you that a starting point is that honesty and integrity can be linked easily with privileges and if you reward honesty, particularly when it goes against self interest (confessing a bad deed, for instance) and ignore the underlying act, you will encourage honesty.

My parents were world class foul-ups - abusive in every possible meaning of that word - but they did teach honesy this way - if I came to them with a problem, if they found out about it from me first, there was *never* any punishment for it, no matter what it was.

If I told them I was going to a party to get drunk and get laid, their response was most likely to be "here's a condom, don't make any babies" and "don't drive home, call us and we'll come get you."

I take that approach with my kids. It has two advantages. 1) I know what my kids are up to so I can prepare for the consequences and/or try to talk them out of whatever they're about to do and 2) it takes the "rebellion" factor out of *many* things (like drinking and drugs and sex) so that they're not as much fun (if Dad doesn't make a fuss, I can't use this particular activity to get his goat).

Good luck with it. I hate to use the term "damaged goods" with a kid that young, but she's pretty old to be learning this lesson. You're going to need patience and consistency and a lot of love to get through this.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
In reply to: littleargie
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 9:53pm
Don't slam me here. I don't have teenage children, but the horrible parenting comment made me think. As the mother of a child adopted out of an orphanage, I have read alot about attachement disorders. Lying or grandiose lying (lying when it's so fantastic everybody knows it's not the truth) can be one of the signs of an attachment problem.

I don't know anything else about your neice but you may want to read a bit on attachment problems if her parents were very "unresponsive" to her needs as an infant. Just thought I'd pass that little tidbit of information on.


Mary Beth