Lying & Manipulating

Many of the teens we work with have learned to hide their indiscretions and get what they want by lying and manipulating others. The primary reason adolescents engage in this type of behavior is that it’s convenient and it often gets them off the hook or gets them what they want. In addition, many teens lie because they are afraid that others might come to the same conclusion about them that they have already reached about themselves: I’m not worthy. Because it has an immediate payoff, lying and manipulating is very habit forming so many teens have developed a pattern of communicating that is very difficult to change. Some teens have lied so often that they begin to deceive even themselves about what is real.

The staff members in our programs have a great deal of experience in working with teens who know how to “work the system.” With 24-hour supervision and a staff that understands troubled teens, the students quickly learn that it is very difficult to get away with a lie. An immediate consequence can help teens realize that lying doesn’t pay off. In our seminars, teens learn through an experiential process how self-deception as well as dishonesty and manipulation of others limit what they can achieve in life and the quality of their relationships. As teens begin to realize that others will accept them for who they are when they are honest and that they have individual worth, they begin to exhibit increased honesty and forthrightness with others. Teens have daily opportunities to give and receive honest feedback. As teens observe the positive results of this open honesty, they can discover for themselves that honestly really is the best policy.

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