How to tell when teens are lying

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How to tell when teens are lying

Parents and teenagers have a lot of issues and sometimes teenagers are forced to lie about things. So parents need to be on a lookout for truth seeking or making sure they recognize some of the clues of lying and deceit. One of the easiest ways that parents can tell if their teenager is lying is differences between facial expressions and verbal content. So for example, when a teenager is thinking about what they’re saying and they’re concentrating very hard on telling the correct lie, they often forget to think about what their face is also saying. So if you see a teenager say something like, “I’m really angry at him,” what they’re saying is that I’m angry, but what they’re showing is they’re very sad. It’s important for parents to address the emotion on their face as well as the verbal content. And they can say, “You know, you’re telling me that you’re really angry, but you look really sad.” So just be on the lookout for verbal content and facial expressions, because that’s the easiest way to tell if your child is lying to you.

View Vanessa Van Petten's video on How to tell when teens are lying...


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Vanessa Van Petten


Vanessa Van Petten is one of the nation's youngest experts, or 'youthologists' on parenting and adolescents.  She wrote her first parenting book, You're Grounded, from the teen's perspective when she was just 17. After winning the Mom’s Choice Award in 2009, she launched her popular parenting website,, which she now writes with 120 other teenagers to answer questions from parents on everything from communication issues to cyberbullying. Vanessa's unique approach has been featured by CNN, CBS Miami, Fox New York, Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, and many more.  She was also on the Real Housewives of Orange County helping the housewives with troubled teens. Her latest book, Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I'm Grounded?  won the Moms Choice Award in 2012. 

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