How To Deal With A Lying Teenager?
People sometimes lie in an attempt to reduce the degree of consequence or get away with something they wouldn’t want to face. Similarly, teens do lie for almost the same reasons and while they know it upsets their parents, teens would think it’s okay to lie as long as their folks won’t know about it.
Compulsive Lying in Teenagers: How to Spot Them?
Compulsive lying is said to be habitual rather than a mental health diagnosis. Taken from Psychology Today, a psychopathology expert and psychiatrist Robert Reich says that compulsive lying has no official diagnosis although it often is a symptom of various mental disorders. This negative behavior is often marked by consistently telling lies, especially during the adolescent years.
There are warning signs that can help parents determine whether their teen is a compulsive liar:
- Observe how often your teen lies. Compulsive liars habitually lie on an ongoing and regular basis. They often lie about everything or anything whether it be a small thing to even the biggest things they can think of to lie about.
- See if your teen appears nervous or uncomfortable, especially when you know that they are lying. If they feel or look more at ease when lying compared to telling the truth, then they are likely to be a compulsive liar – where they consider lying as a natural gesture.
- Compulsive liars lie out of habit not because it benefits them or they can get out of an awkward situation. They often lie in order to get attention which makes them appear much better in everything, these are obvious signs of having low self-esteem issues.
- Observe if your teen recognizes their behavior or if they even realize what they are doing every time they lie. Because lying is already a built-in practice for a compulsive liar, they naturally deny that they have done wrong.
- See to it whether there’s a consistency in what your teen says about the same topic. There is a difficulty for a compulsive liar to keep their details straight because they have already put in so many lies into what they have already narrated to other people.
Compulsive liars look for the thrill of misleading a person, they love the reaction they get from these people and would want to see how far they can get away with their lies. They also have the need to seek admiration from other people, to increase their self-esteem, control situations or wants to hide their own failures. These teens often suffer from antisocial personality, bipolar or personality disorders. If your teen shows a similar behavior as a compulsive liar, then they obviously need help.
Dealing with a Compulsive Liar
- A parent’s response to teens who compulsively lie should first try to determine the causes of their teen’s behavior and think about what you should say first. Screaming or shouting at them won’t help the situation instead it will only encourage more conflict with your teen.
- You need to show your teens proof about the different situations when you knew that they lied. This way, they will have to face whatever truth they have to face and help them to realize that they do have a problem.
- It really takes time to free your teen from the problems regarding their compulsive behavior. That’s why a lot of patience is needed to help your teen out, especially if they’re serious about trying to change.
- Convince your teen to get help through therapy or counseling. It’s best that help will be given if your teen finally agrees to get it. Forcing your teen will only disappoint you even further.
- If they still refuse to get help in spite of your efforts, then give her some conditions where it will be difficult for them to refuse. Sometimes it is more effective to convince people to get serious once they know that they will lose someone or something important in their lives.
While it is not easy for your teen to accept that there is indeed a problem, it might help if the family involved will support them as the teen goes through change. There are therapies which involve the participation of the family as your troubled teen goes through healing as well. Therapeutic boarding schools, for example, also provide not just individual therapy but also family therapy as well. They will be provided with an opportunity to learn how to improve their self-esteem, how to properly deal with people and go through behavior modification treatment. This can also be an avenue for the parents know more about what their teen is going through and how they can further help improve their teen’s behavior even after they have completed the program.