30 Lies Every Teenager Tells Their Parents

"I promise I'll be home by midnight!"

30 Lies Every Teenager Tells Their Parents

"I promise I'll be home by midnight!"

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C’mon, we were all teenagers once. We know you let slip at least one lie to your parents—even if it was just a tiny, measly, inconsequential white lie. (And let’s be honest, there was probably more where that one came from.)

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence that examined teenagers’ lying habits, teens are much more likely to think that lying to their parents is justified when the situation is “personal” (ex: dating someone you’ve expressly told them not to). But it’s not as bad as you might think: the study also found that teens considered themselves to be less justified in lying, no matter the situation, when they had a “mutual” relationship with their parents, rather than a tense, strained parent-child relationship.

The fact is, they’re getting older, and their lives are inexorably on the path of change. As your kids hurtle through the self-discovery of the teenage years, it’s natural for them to want a little more privacy and to fib a bit in the process. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still spot a lie when it’s blatantly staring you right in the face. So read on to discover just how your teen might be trying to pull the wool over your eyes—and see just how many of these sound familiar to you.

boy driving car

1
“I wasn’t speeding—I never speed!”

Never!? Okay, you know that one has to be a stretch. Especially when the speeding ticket clearly spells out that they were going 75 in a 60.

teens on phones

2
“I didn’t have my phone with me.”

That thing they have their eyes glued to any time you try to hold even a five-minute conversation with them? They didn’t have that thing with them? Okay, suuure.

messy room

3
“I’m going to clean my room tomorrow, I promise.”

And this time is different from the past ten times they’ve promised this and then not followed through because…?

trill is a phrase people under 40 use

4
“Oh, yeah, Sarah’s parents are definitely going to be there. The entire time!”

By “there,” they actually mean that Sarah’s parents will be within the general vicinity—within a 100-mile radius, give or take.

angry teen

5
“No, I did not slam the door!”

It’s crazy how a draft only seems to appear in the hallway outside their bedroom door when they’re angry, isn’t it?

boy doing homework

6
“I finished my homework! Can I go out now?”

By “finished,” they usually mean it’s about half-finished—if that. If you think kids these days have it easy, see why you’re wrong and check out 20 Facts That Will Make You So Happy You’re Not a Teen Right Now.

teen holding cash

7
“I’ll give you back the change!”

Yeah, right. In reality, they’ll buy their movie ticket and popcorn, then pocket the rest of the cash and conveniently “forget” to give it back.

teenage boyfriend and girlfriend

8
“Oh, we’re just friends.”

Ah, sweet friendship. That’s the sole reason why your kid lights up with a huge grin every time their “friend’s” name flashes across their phone screen.

birthday on calendar

9
“No, I didn’t forget your birthday.”

They totally did, and it’s okay. You love them anyway.

teens walking together

10
“Everyone’s going.”

They expect you to believe that they will be the only kid from their high school not in attendance at this concert? It’s definitely an exaggeration, but they know the guilt trip it gives you will usually work in their favor.

car dent

11
“I didn’t crash the car!”

Yes, bumpers get hopelessly mangled and dented on their own all the time. The family car sure does have a nasty habit of driving itself.

teens at a campfire

12
“I promise I’ll be home by midnight.”

Didn’t you know 1:00 a.m. is the new midnight?

stack of books

13
“I already studied for that.”

That’s actually code for: “I opened up my notebook and thought about studying for that history test.”

teenager on smartphone

14
“I don’t spend that much time on Snapchat.”

Sure they don’t. And if it’s not Snapchat, it’s Twitter, or Instagram, or, well, pretty much everything but Facebook (because all the parents are on that one, now).

teen with piggy bank

15
“I need the money for gas.”

The car sure does seem to be running on empty at a consistent clip, no?

full trash can

16
“But I already took the trash out.”

Really? So the entire kitchen trash bag miraculously refilled with last night’s leftovers in the past five minutes? A likely story.

teenager eating pizza

17
“No, I didn’t eat the last slice.”

It doesn’t matter whether it was the last slice of pizza or cake…odds are that they probably did polish off that last slice, leaving the empty container for you to wash up.

beer pong

18
“I’ve never even seen alcohol at a party!”

Okay, now it’s pretty clear that they must be lying.

teens watching movie in bed

19
“I wasn’t up that late.”

Their definition of “late” is just different from yours. Obviously.

teenage boys playing video games

20
“Yeah, I was up pretty late…but I was studying the entire time!”

The entire time? Really? So they never once took a “study break” and ended up spending an hour watching YouTube videos on their phone?

teen in kitchen

21
“Yes, Mom, I did already start thawing the chicken.”

They tell you breathlessly on the phone, when you called from work to make sure they’d taken the chicken out of the freezer an hour ago, like you’d asked. Sure sounds like they’re in quite a rush to get to the kitchen.

teens doing homework together

22
“The teacher said it was okay if we compared answers.”

On every piece of homework she ever sends home? Really?

teenager on smartphone

23
“Yes, I was listening to you!”

They recite as they snap their head up from their phone, a deer-in-the-headlights look in their eyes. (Spoiler: you may have to reiterate.)

mom helping daughter Moms Should Never Say

24
“I don’t really know what happened.”

Chances are that, no matter the situation, they probably know a good bit more than they want to let on.

teens in convertible

25
“Can I go? Jake is a really good driver!”

A good driver, huh? Has the no-passengers-for-six-months rule even expired for him yet?

dog is hungry

26
“Yeah, I fed the dog!”

If they say this as they rush out the door to the party they’ve been looking forward to all week, chances are that Rover might need a little extra food tonight.

Woman on Apps

27
“I didn’t get your text.”

Yet they manage to get (and respond to) everyone else’s? Sounds like you might need to take this discrepancy up with the phone company.

teen listening to music and dancing

28
“I’m only going to be up for, like, five more minutes.”

They tell you as they’re hunched over their phone or computer screen, sending rapid text messages or engaged in a game of Fortnite. C’mon, you know better than that.

mother and daughter on couch

29
“It’s whatever.”

It’s most certainly not “whatever,” if their crossed arms and sullen look (pointedly directed away from you) are any indication.

teens hanging out

30
“Oh, uh, we were at Sam’s house…”

So they won’t mind if you call Sam’s parents just to confirm, right?

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