12-05-2019 03:41 PM - last edited on 02-13-2020 03:13 PM by Jess1-RO
Ask a Child and Family Professional
Question: How can I shut down my son's dishonesty?
It can feel very hurtful and frustrating when your teen is dishonest. It can also feel very hard not to take this dishonesty personally. But remember that whilst you might expect your teen to be mature and honest they are still working out how to function in the world. So this is a great opportunity for reflecting on what’s happening for your teen and with your guidance working towards growth and change.
The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s not helpful to label your teen as a liar. There is nothing to be gained by doing this, however it could damage your relationship with your teen and also impact on how they feel about themselves. Instead focus on their behaviour and let them know how it makes you feel. A great way to do this is by using “I” statements. For example, ‘I feel really hurt when you lie to me’. By using these “I” statements you are role modelling a healthy way of expressing feelings whilst also removing blame.
Also have a think about what might be behind your teen’s dishonesty. What might be motivating them to lie? Is it because they think you would stop them from doing something? Or perhaps when they have tried to talk about the truth with you it didn’t go well. If you want the truth you need to show your teen that you can handle it. Build your connection and communication with them. Show them that no matter what they have to say you can sit and listen to them. Show them that you can do this without judging them or blaming them. Show them that you can do this even when you feel angry or upset, and you don’t agree with something that they might have said or done.
If you can listen to your teen calmly then they will know that they can be honest with you and you can work together to make a plan to move forward. Also remember to be honest with your teen. This will show them that you trust them and that honesty is important to you. Because honesty and trust is a two way street
CW, Child and Family Professional at The Benevolent Society
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