How To Tell If Your Teen Is Lying to You

We all lie. For parents, it is important to tell if their teens are lying. After watching and interacting with thousands of teens, parents and families, I’ve compiled a list of clues for adults, teachers and parents to look out for:

(Disclaimer:the following is a list of observations and does not always mean that the person you are speaking with is lying)

Verbal Cues

* Timing is off between

gestures and words. The facial expression that comes after a statement (I am so sad about this, pause and then the sad expression)

* Less full facial expression when talking.

* Out of proportion reaction.

* Responds to questions, yet asks none of their own.

Body Language

* Less physical expression and movement. Stiffness or mechanical movement.

* The teen takes up less physical space (shrinking down in order not to be caught).

* Their hand may go up to his face or throat, especially to the mouth.

* They turn their body away from the adult or person they are lying to.

* Playing with physical objects or actually placing a physical object in between the two of you as a type of barrier.

* When the subject of conversation is changed there is physical and emotional relief that you can see in the teen.

Verbal Content

* Responding to an accusation by offering a belief in general instead of this specific instance (ie Do you smoke pot? -I believe pot is dangerous.)

* Constantly adding additional details until you believe them and to fill silences.

* They use such phrases as To tell you the truth To be perfectly honest and Why would I lie to you?

* The answer is very specific, almost rehearsed about a casual event

* They repeat your question.

To Catch A Lie

* Use an open-ended question that is not accusatory but alludes to a possible behavior: Anything interesting happen at the party last night?

* Ask their opinion on a similar example: I would love your opinion on this. A friend of mine from college, recently found a lighter and some rolling papers in their child’s jeans. She is not sure how to approach it or if the papers were used for cigarettes or pot. What should she do?

Lying is a very natural, yet dangerous occurrence. Unfortunately it is part of growing up, but parents need to be aware of teens lying habits to keep them safe. I share these tips and hope they will be used in the right circumstance.

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