My preteen is lying to me…What can I do?

Adolescents and preteens tend to lie more than children and that is simply because they are at an age where they yearn for freedom. Lying is a quick and easy way to gain access to that freedom but it is very deceptive. Your preteen will realise that deceiving others soon proves to be increasingly complex and hurtful. Once the lying yarn has been unwound, then there is no end to the endless tangles and the mess caused. Read on to find out what you, as a parent, can do.

Preteen lying

The first step to dealing with lying, is to make sure there are consequences that are age appropriate. Telling them they cannot have ice-cream for example just won’t do it, at that age. These consequences need to be predictable, that means your child must know what they will be. They should also be proportional in size, to the lie itself, for example if the lie told is a minor one, then the consequence should be small and vice versa.

It is important to realise that the effectiveness of the consequences is not directly related to the length of the punishment. Consequences need to be long enough for your preteen to understand the seriousness of the situation, yet short enough for them to be able to earn back their privileges. Ideally, they should also be directly linked to the offense as much as possible. For example if your child has been staying up late playing on the computer and lying about it, then access to the computer should be denied, and an agreement should be made until the trust can be gained back.

Be reminded to always praise any positive behaviour, even if it is an expectation. It’s not always easy to do, especially if your child has disappointed you. Children who don’t get enough positive attention from their parents, will get it in a negative way.

In a nutshell, if your preteen is lying to you, it is important to balance praise and consequences. Establishing firm boundaries, your child is aware of, and sticking to them is a healthy, positive way to keep your preteen from lying to you again.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Image downloaded from and modified. 

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