When Your Child/Teen Lies

Lisa Cherry —  March 18, 2013

teen with painted face 7442246564_faff229a0a_zBy Lisa Cherry

Nothing upsets me more with my children then when one of them chooses to lie.

Mistakes, immaturities, broken windows, arguments....all of them produce a certain irritation to my parent world, but lying hits over in a league of its own.

Lying is a betrayal of trust. After I catch one of my children in a lie, I can’t trust anything else they say to me.  

Even if I could hook the one who lied up to a lie detector, it would not get to the root of the issue.

When someone lies, trust is damaged. And when trust is damaged relationships and privileges must be adjusted.

Here are 10 tips I have found helpful for discipling my children toward a lifestyle of integrity.


1. Set an absolute standard for honesty at an early age.
Truth telling must be the expectation in our homes, even when the world loves and practices deceit.


2. Model truthfulness in front of your children
. Face the music when you make mistakes. Never have your children lie for you about little or big things.


3. Teach the scriptures about God's standards of truth
. Jesus is truth (John 14:6).  The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13).  Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 12:22).

4. Teach them about the author of lies. The devil is called the deceiver (Revelation 12:9) and the father of lies (John 8:44). When people lie they are participating in the deeds of darkness and deception, and taking on themselves the work of the enemy. Warn them that he will tempt them to tell lies.

5. Allow them to experience swift, severe, and direct consequences for lying. At our house, lying carries double or triple punishment. It never pays, and it never works. I pray and ask God for the appropriate discipline (i.e. teaching and training) that will produce a logical consequence to the infraction. If we tolerate small lies, we are allowing the enemy to gain a foothold into our children's lives. Losing the car keys or losing their phone privileges seems huge at the time. But what a small price to save them from a lifetime of regrets!

6. If you catch your child in a lie, let them experience your sorrow.
They need to see your alarm and shock. Do not allow lying to become commonplace, thereby lowering your reaction. Express your deep concern for their future. Trace out for them the logical results if they were to continue along the path of deceit.


7. Watch carefully for signs of remorse and repentance for the sin in the behavior of your child.
Are they truly sorry or only sorry they got caught? It is very difficult to know for sure, but with prayer I have sensed the Holy Spirit's discernment. If they are simply sorry they got caught, you have not had your breakthrough yet. Prayer, discipline, and more teaching will be needed.


8. Release a repentant offender.
When a child or teen repents, it is precious. Do not hold on to the offense. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.


9. Forgive completely but force your child to re-earn trust one step at a time.
Explain to your child or teen that while trust can be regained, it is a function of repeated truth-telling over the course of time. Microwaved, instant trust is not logically possible. That is why truth-telling is so vital in the first place! Give them hope by laying a course or track before them.....but don't handicap them by making it too easy! Their future with God and their family is at stake.


10. Honor and praise truthful behavior.
Negative behavior obviously gets our attention. Let integrity receive the highest reward. Point out the praiseworthy behaviors of others.

If you notice a pattern of lying that does not respond to these common sense solutions, get help immediately. Get appropriate spiritual help from a trusted pastor or mentor. Pull out the stops in prayer and seek a path for your child's deliverance from this destructive and dangerous pattern.

The devil is working overtime to pull our children into a pit of destruction.
When our daughter, Kalyn, fell into a trap of deceit, it nearly destroyed her and our whole family. Thank God for His healing principles and His power!

What strategies have you used when your children have lied to you?  Click here leave a comment.  I want to hear from you.

Image source (Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License)

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  • Pamela Kuhn

    Excellent. I had a mother tell me how worried she was that her child was lying. Then she went to the phone and told the school her child was sick. It wasn't true--she wanted her to stay hoe to be with us. We are the example in all things to our children.

  • Selena

    I have had this problem, and I have been frustrated. It is amazing how the enemy sneaks in and tries to make some lies seem harmless. Thank you for this reminder/rebuke to not let any lie become commonplace. I am printing this and praying over it, with your permission.

    Found you via Titus 2sdays.
    Blessings,
    Selena @ glencampbellclan.blogspot.com