Teen Alcohol Use: Is Your Teen Lying to You?
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, around eight million teens have used alcohol within the past month. This means that a large portion of teens admit to trying alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol use is not something a teen is likely to admit even in a blind survey. One of the ways teens cover their alcohol use is to lie about it.
Why do Teens Lie about Alcohol Use?
Before you can tell your teen is lying to you, you need to know why teens lie about their alcohol use. Some of these reasons are:
- To avoid getting into trouble
- To defend someone else
- Because they are upset about something
- Because they are protecting something
These are the same reasons why many adults lie. It is important to know these reasons because you can spot a lie by why the teen might be lying. If you are accusing them of drinking with specific friends, you are opening yourself up to be lied to. They want to avoid getting into trouble and they want to protect their friends.
Trust your Instincts
When you know someone well, you can instinctually tell when they are lying to you. Although trusting your instincts is sometimes difficult, it is important that you do so. If you suspect that a story your teen is telling you is false, it is likely that the teen is at least exaggerating or omitting the truth.
There are many forms of lying and teens know how to put just enough truth in it to be believable. Sometimes the lie is very close to the truth. It could be that when you ask if a teen drank at a party, they might say that there was alcohol there but they didn’t drink, that they just had a sip of someone else’s drink, or that they picked up a drink filled with alcohol by mistake.
How to Tell if Your Teen is Lying
There are things aside from your instincts that you can use to tell if your teen is lying to you about their alcohol use. A few of these things are:
- They are extremely defensive and get very upset if you choose to check on their story. Often they will not be able to offer any evidence of what they are saying but will still be defensive if you question them.
- Avoiding your gaze. This is classic lying behavior. Sometimes they will not look at you at all, other times they might look at your face but not your eyes. People almost automatically look away when they lie.
- Watch their body language. Although many people say that if you look up or down in a certain direction you are lying, this is not necessarily true. Looking away for a second is also an indication that they are thinking about their response. People who are lying touch their face, avoid eye contact, and sometimes fidget.
- If a teen avoids details or the story is too detailed chances are they are lying. Too many details are a sign that the story is rehearsed.
Unfortunately, no single sign is enough to tell if your teen is lying to you. If you suspect a lie check the facts.
When to Get Help
Once you realize your teen is lying to you about their alcohol use, it is important to know when to get help. Many treatment centers offer counseling and other services before there is a problem. For more information on these services call us at 800-839-1686.