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My teen child lies. What should I do?


There are many reasons why people lie.

Some feel they want or need the attention, approval or admiration of other people. 

Others lie because they did something wrong and don’t want to suffer the consequences.

Then there are the lies that are fabricated to keep others from harm or punishment. There are lies to keep one from embarrassment. There are some that lie for no apparent reason. Some lie because they so badly want the lie to be true. Some lie to wrest control of a situation that they have or are losing control over.


Possibly the most popular reason for a child to lie is to avoid punishment.


How Important is Truth to You?

It is extremely important to God. 

The Bible says that Jesus is the truth (John 14:6) and is full of truth (John 1:14). It further says that truth came into the world through Jesus (John 1:17). It also says truth will set you free from sin (John 8:31).


How about lies?

The Bible says satan does not stand in truth because there is no truth in him. It says that lying is satan’s character and he is the father of lies (John 8:44).


Your sweet teen needs to know these verses; at least John 14:6, John 8:31 and John 8:44. They need to know that when they lie they are acting like satan. They need to know that their goal is not to avoid punishment but to avoid sin. Lies may serve to insulate them from punishment but the truth will set them free from sin all together.


Teach your child John 3:19-20

“The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light,”

Your child will need to be reminded that they exist to glorify God. They live to please the only true God, the creator of all things. Telling a lie to keep you from punishment is foolish in light of the sacrifice of His son to keep you from sin and restore an intimate relationship with Himself.


As with so many things, we must learn to see as God sees so we can then move in a manner that is pleasing to God. So teach your child to know what God says about truth and lies. Then help them to remember to live in light of what God says. 


“When you lie you are acting like satan. Satan is not your daddy. Why do you exist? Yes, you exist to glorify God. Before we continue this conversation, why don’t you take some time and pray and ask God to forgive you for lying and help you walk in truth, even if it means that you must be disciplined for what you have done. Then let's talk truthfully about what happened so that we can help you overcome sin not avoid punishment.”


Lastly, beloved parent, do not withhold discipline. The Bible says:


For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11


Your discipline of your child for disobedience or rebellion or a list of other sins, brings about peace and righteousness in their soul.  Don’t withhold it. It may not be pleasant in the moment but it is blessing them.


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