Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My teen is lying

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Politeness 
10                       10                           10
Comment: Thank you for the response Kay. You are correct...he is a good kid....he just has a very bad habit...lying. He has a younger brother that can do no wrong. The attention theory seems to be a good possibility. I will try to lay off the negatives and focus on the positive. As simple as it seems......I could not see it without your help!. Thanks! Jim

Questioner: Jim

Subject: Teenage lying

Question: I have a 14 year old son that has been lying for as long as I can remember. He gets decent grades and does no seem to have any social issues at school.....he just lies about everything and anything! He will lie about school, homework, how many kids were at the football game or what he did while we were gone at the grocery store.

Big or small...he can't tell the truth! Punishment is likely a factor. It has been made clear that lying is my #1 problem with his personality and he has heard 1000+ lectures and they are always of a high tone in nature! He has also received a great deal of punishment through the taking away of privileges and activities. Still no progress. It may have started due to punishment or yelling.....but that's not what it is now. I have stopped yelling and punishing for 6 months now and still no improvement.

When asked a question that requires nothing more than a "no" or "Yes" answer....he will look to the side and develop some form of incorrect story or explanation right in front of us. We are baffled! Are there any resources that you can point us towards?
Please help!


Answer: Dear Jim:

Outside of your son's lying you are not indicating any other problems. I think he is pushing your buttons because you have made a big deal that this is a button for you.

There are many reasons why this might be happening. Let's discuss a few.

First he maybe trying to get more attention from you and realize that children do not care whether their one on one attention is positive or negative. He may also be tired of being good and this is way of letting off steam.

Negative punishments do not work. You need to catch him doing things right and then praise him for the activity you see him and want to encourage. I would also suggest plenty of one on one activities with him that he enjoys doing where he has your full attention.

Remember negative or positive reinforcement will increase good or bad behaviors always. Move more towards positive reinforcement by giving rewards for good behaviors and ignoring bad as long as they are not life threatening to him or harmful physically.

Best Wishes,

M Kay Keller