How teenagers can stop lying to their parents

Anna2 asks: My mom is pretty lenient, compared to other kids’ moms, but lately I’ve caught myself lying to her about things, in order to get away with stuff (saying I misunderstood her rules about having friends over, or saying a band I like isn’t as “inappropriate” as they really are). I’m pretty scared. What should I do?

Hi Anna2 –

You are in a very normal, common place for a teenager.  It sounds like you actually have a very good relationship with your mom, but you’re wanting to make your own choices about your own life.  For example, you know which friends are safe to have over, and you know the difference between “appropriate” and “inappropriate” song lyrics.  So why should your mom insist on making those decisions for you?

Well, there are lots of reasons why.  And the biggest of them is that she doesn’t yet know for sure that you’ll make the safest choices.  You see, as a teen, you’re maturing very quickly.  But those around you don’t know you’ve hit a certain level of maturity until you’ve proven it to them.  Which might take a long time!

So my advice is to start proving it to her now.  And the best way for you to do that might be to tell her about the lies!  To sit her down (this isn’t a casual “walking out the door” conversation) and say “Look, Mom, I think it’s time for us to be honest with each other about this.  I really knew what you wanted me to do with my friends, but it was really inconvenient for me to follow your rules perfectly.  I don’t to lie or sneak around, and I know you don’t want me doing that either, so can’t we change the rules some?”  Or “I love this band, but some of their songs aren’t what either of us consider appropriate.  So instead of my not being able to listen to them at all, can we just talk about the lyrics and what is or isn’t right about them?”

Or… maybe your relationship with your mom isn’t ready for that just yet.  And maybe she’d just get angry and punish you.  So if that idea doesn’t work, we can look at Plan B.

Plan B is that you simply stop lying to her.  Now.  You don’t like how it feels, and you know she wouldn’t like what she might find out.  So stop.  Tell her the truth.

And that truth can then include that you would like to change the rules of the house a bit.  That you can have your most responsible friends over at certain times, or that you can listen to certain songs but only with her.  Whatever works, of course.

The trick, whichever way you do it, is to encourage your mom to see you as having matured, so that you can start making these choices with her knowledge, instead of behind her back.

Then, my friend, you’ll be able to have the happy relationship with her that you want.  But till then, yeah, it’s work!


Good Luck!


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