My 15 year old son has broken my trust. He asked to play an online game, and was told no. When checking internet history, I found he had played during school time. When I asked him about it, he lied.

The immediate consequence was removal of internet service on the school computer. I talked with him about how easy it is to break it and how difficult it is to earn back and how soon he will be grown and need to have integrity at a job.

This is not the first time he has lied, although, the other time he came to us and confessed. I am just wondering if there should be further consequences.

Answer by: Kristina Miller

Although all teenagers will test their boundaries and do things that don't seem like "them" from time to time, it sounds like you're doing everything right: Reasonable monitoring of behavior, giving him the chance to admit a mistake, consequences when he lied, and a discussion about why the behavior is wrong and unproductive.

It sounds like from your description that although he has done this before, it's still pretty rare and he has always proactively admitted his behavior to you in the past. This is all good. Simply stand firm with your consequences, and keep the dialogue open with your son about it. Perhaps even look for an opportunity to show him extra trust or extra responsibility in a way that will be meaningful to you both - maybe by allowing something that you never allowed before because he was too young, or taking away a restriction that you had always had for him.

For instance, as silly as it sounds, as a kid I always wanted to be able to mow the lawn, but my parents wouldn't allow it for obvious safety reasons. Finally one day, my dad took me out and showed me how to use the lawnmower, and let me do the whole yard. I felt very trusted, special, mature and responsible, and it made me take my duty very seriously. Demonstrating trust in his decision-making will reawaken him to his responsibilities and his maturity, and he will want to act accordingly. ONLY taking away responsibilities may make him feel less responsible and therefore ACT less responsible, but a combination of reasonable rules and consequences, along with a recognition of his increasing independent decision-making capabilities, will strike the right balance.

It sounds like you're doing everything right. Don't worry, just keep on truckin'!

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