Subtle Ways You Teach Your Teen That Lying Is Okay

Subtle Ways You Teach Your Teen That Lying Is Okay

It’s safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of parents place great emphasis on teach their children to tell the truth. When our kids aren’t truthful, we admonish them or punish them. Sounds fair, right? But what happens when we lie to our children? Can we justify it? Parents can probably agree that blatant lies with the intent to cause harm is not appropriate. But there are plenty of times when parents tell lies to their teens in subtle ways. Unfortunately, these harmless lies are teaching our adolescents that lying is sometimes acceptable.

“I Know What You’re Going Through”

Our teens struggle with challenges and trials each and every day. Peer pressure, the need to fit in, body image struggles and stress each confront our teens at school and in their various activities. These issues have always been a part of teen life, yet the ways in which they are manifest are different than they were even 10 years ago. Generation X parents who have teens didn’t go through junior high school and high school with social media, smartphones, easy access to pornography and the ability to summon information with the click of a button. When parents tell their teens that they understand what their dealing with, they really don’t—at least in the sense that they faced the exact same challenges their teen is struggling with. Your teen knows this, too, so saying these words will have little effect. Instead, try something like, “Help me understand how you feel,” or “Here’s what kinds of things I dealt with and how I overcame them.”

Making Promises You Can’t Guarantee

It’s so easy to say things to your teens to appease them or try to get them to reassure them when in fact we have no idea whether what we say will actually come true. Parents are doing a disservice to their teens when they do this.

The comforting statement, “Everything will be OK” sounds like great parenting, right? Certainly parents mean nothing but good when they tell their sons and daughters this after the teens struggle with a difficult trial. The problem is, do you know everything will be OK? What if your teen has a terminal illness? What if they are being bullied incessantly? What if they suffer from severe depression? The list goes on. Of course, parents don’t want to tell their teens that life is awful and bleak and that they have no chance of finding happiness again. But something like “We’re going to work together to get through this is much better.

Other statements such as “You can be anything you want,” “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything” or “You will find true love someday” are statements you can’t control or assure.

Setting a Poor Example

When children our young, they watch their parents intently. This doesn’t stop when they’re teens. Seemingly little things like skipping out of work early without permission, disregarding traffic laws or not being truthful from a spouse tell our teenagers that it’s OK to lie if convenient.

The best way to avoid these subtle little lies is to communicate with our teens and be honest with them. Be aware of what you say and what you. Be open and truthful, and you can be more sure your teens will do the same with you.

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