I have a 16 year old I am raising...I am 29 and have a 7 year old son. She is my baby cousin...her dad had a stroke and is being taken care of by family in another state. Her mother abandoned her with me to go be with a boyfriend in another state. She has been with me since she was 11.

Since that age she has been acting out. Nonstop boyfriends and lying about them. Last year, she was spending the night at her "best friends" house...who turned out to be a boy of course. She made a fake phone number to pretend to be the parent of said boy so I was texting her instead of a real parent.

This year, she stole the car and wrecked it. Lied about what happened until I investigated and found broken glass, etc. in the driveway.

I've grounded her numerous times, taken away her cell phone, etc. NOTHING IS WORKING. I'm 29...I'm at my wits end. No one else in the family is willing to take her in because of all the issues she has. I know it all stems from being abandoned and from having a bad mom...I've tried so very hard to provide her everything she needs...a nurturing environment and also assuring her that I would never abandon her like her mother did. I try to be loving, caring, etc. I don't know what else I can do...

EDIT: It wasn't just her also who came to stay with me...it was her and her brother who is now 18 and out of the house. He acted out also with drugs and lying but improved his behavior, graduated and got a job. He's doing well. Nothing I do is helping with the girl.

My question is what can I do to get her to stop lying? She lies even when she knows I know the truth. How do I get through to her? What do I need to do besides the usual things like talking, taking away things, grounding, etc.

  • 1
    She's talked to a school counselor on a weekly basis since then...I can't really afford a therapist. Also, since her mother never legally signed her over to me...I don't have insurance on her to maybe help if they would even cover that. I've tried to sign up for assistance but since she's not legally "mine" they wouldn't help for medicare.
    – Elizabeth
    Dec 7, 2016 at 17:05
  • 2
    I am not sure about custody where you are, but it seems to me (and I don't KNOW) that it is in the interest of Child Services and the rest of the family if she stays in your care. There is usually medical and financial help given (to varying degrees) for fostering or family custody. A good friend of mine who raises her granddaughter because her own daughter is a drug addict, gets help -- a therapist and money for classes and activities. In Canada, she also gets Family Allowance. So this is a comment and not an answer because I lack information -- where you are and if your custody is legal.
    – WRX
    Dec 7, 2016 at 17:14
  • 1
    Her mother never signed her over to me so she's not legally mine. I'm in Tennesee.
    – Elizabeth
    Dec 7, 2016 at 17:17
  • 2
    @Elizabeth do you have any reason to believe that you would not get custody if you attempted to get it? Legal Aid might be of help if it is too expensive to get a lawyer. From my own pov, custody would tell the 16 y/o that you are concerned, you do care and if you are awarded custody -- actually in charge.
    – WRX
    Dec 7, 2016 at 17:26
  • 2
    @JonK CYPS / CAMHS are currently under considerable pressure, and it's unlikely OP's child would get a referral, or would have to wait many months for a referral. There are 3d sector orgs who might help. Winstone's Wish help children who are bereaved, for example. TIC+ might also help.
    – user19912
    Dec 8, 2016 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


I have not had this particular problem with my kid but have had a minor version it with a few students and parents of students. If I thought a person was lying, I'd ask them to send me a note or an email, so that I'd have their information in their own words. Perhaps your 16 y/o might be reluctant to write down a lie. Most people are concerned with that. If she won't write it, you write with her standing there -- try not to change any of her words. "Kid's name said: I did not go out with my boyfriend." Date it and ask her to sign it. Usually a person won't sign a lie. If she does sign it, post it on the wall or fridge. I'm guessing the lies will wear on her and she'll slow, if not stop.

I am definitely no expert on this. My students were special needs and could not lie to save their lives and that is where most of my experience comes from.

I suggested this to a friend but she posted the 'lies' on social media. Please do not do that. Shaming will not work and breaks all chances (IMO) to build a bridge between you. Keep it in the immediate family.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .