Your teen lies most often to escape punishment or to partake in activities he knows you will not approve of, such as attending an unsupervised party, according to psychologist and author Carl Pickhardt of Austin, Texas. If your teen has become a constant liar, the punishment you mete out needs to promote the values of truth-telling.
According to the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts, a program designed to help families, one effective form of punishment for lying teens is restitution. For example, say your teen lies to her teacher about the real reason she didn’t do her homework, and the teacher discovers the truth after calling to verify the information. As a form of restitution, you can require your teen to spend time after school helping that teacher clean her classroom, sort papers or do other tasks to help the teacher.
An effective punishment method for teens is to impose additional responsibilities when you catch them lying, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you ask your son to pick up your dry cleaning on his way home and he doesn’t, and he lies that the dry cleaner was closed, you can punish him by giving him more to do. Now he has to pick up your dry cleaning, pick up food at the grocery store and take his younger brother to baseball practice three times this week. He’s less likely to lie to get out of doing one activity knowing that from now on he’ll be required to do even more than you originally asked.
Taking Away Privileges
Everything your teen considers fun is a privilege, including watching TV, reading her tablet and playing on the Internet on her phone. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, consider taking those privileges away when she lies to you. For example, if she lies about being with her friends after you saw her walking into the theater with her boyfriend, you can take away her privilege of borrowing your car on the weekends or remove the Internet from her cellphone.
One way to punish your teen for lying to you is simply to punish him, according to the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts. By confronting his lies with the consequence that he has to stay home all weekend or that he cannot go anywhere but home after school for the next week, you’re giving him plenty of time to consider whether lying was worth it.