Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Don't lie to me!

Have you ever said that to your child or teen? If so, you're not alone. It appears that America's teenagers are lying and cheating more than ever. A study of nearly 30,000 high school students found,

Thirty percent of students admitted to stealing from a store within the past year, a two percent rise from 2006. More than one third of boys (35 percent) said they had stolen goods, compared to 26 percent of girls.

An overwhelming majority, 83 percent, of public school and private religious school students admitted to lying to their parents about something significant, compared to 78 percent for those attending independent non-religious schools.

"Cheating in school continues to be rampant and it's getting worse," the study found. Amongst those surveyed, 64 percent said they had cheated on a test, compared to 60 percent in 2006. And 38 percent said they had done so two or more times...

Boys were found to lie and steal more than girls. "

When I first started reading the article, I immediately thought, if this is true then can we really trust the results? I mean, if teenagers lie then how can anyone possibly know if they were lying or telling the truth when they took the survey? I should have stopped wondering and kept reading because it looks like we can't.

"As bad as these numbers are, it appears they understate the level of dishonesty exhibited by America's youth," the study warned, noting than more than a fourth of the students (26 percent) admitted they had lied on at least one or two of the survey questions."
But whatever the numbers, lying is obviously a problem and a struggle to overcome in many families. We've had our struggles with a few of our children; but by the grace of God we're working on it and thankfully, there have been no criminal allegations!

There are no easy solutions, especially as they mature into their teen years when lying can lead to significant long-term problems.
Our goal as parents has been to impress upon our children that bad news does not get better when you lie about it. It's better to be upfront and handle the consequences than lie and try and hide with the hope that no one will ever find out.

But I have to admit, the society doesn't make it easy or provide clear boundaries. Especially when you watch politicians, national leaders, and even friends and relatives lie and appear to get away with it. From an eternal perspective, no one gets away with it; but the consequences are not always immediate or obvious leading many to conclude that they did.

I'd like to think that homeschoolers would be above lying or cheating, but the recent Homeschool Blog Awards showed us that even adults will cheat to win. Sad, but true.

Has lying been an issue in your family? How have you handled it?

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