Why Do Young Adults Lie to Their Parents? 9 Popular Reasons

Why Do Young Adults Lie to Their Parents? 9 Popular Reasons

Are you a parent asking why do young adults lie to their parents? Or maybe you are a young adult with this problem, seeking to understand and find ways to help you stop lying to your parent. Whatever the case, you are not alone. There are so many reasons a young adult would lie to their parents. Many will stem from parental pressure and others from habit or other situations.

In this blog post, we will learn why young adults lie to their parents and explore what psychologists have said are effective ways to avoid lying to parents.

While it is more popular to experience 10-year-old to teenage kids lying to their parents, young adults often lie to their parents for no apparent reason. We uncovered that adolescents would lie for very different reasons than young adults. Below are reasons why a 10-year-old will lie to their parents.

So, Why Do Young Adults Lie to Their Parents?

Many individuals agree that young adults lie to their parents for many reasons. Still, unlike the ladolescents tellents, they usually have a deeper reason for telling lies.

Most young adults don’t lie because they want to but because they are afraid of being cornered, may face retribution, do not trust the listener, are hiding something, or are worried they won’t measure up to expectations.

Below Are the Top 9 Reasons Why Young Adults Lie to Their Parents

To Avoid Embarrassment

Some parents tell everything they know about their young adults to their friends, siblings, co-workers, prayer club members, and basically to anyone that will listen. Sometimes this becomes highly embarrassing to young adults as they feel they don’t have a private life.

Telling everything you know about your young adult is a huge problem, as most parents who do so feel that this is harmless. Of course, they don’t want to humiliate you; tust want to sound interesting, right? On the contrary, it causes anger, embarrassment, anxiety, lack of trust, isolation, introversion, and even depression.

Learn what to do if your parents tell all your business here.

Young adults may turn away support from a parent that tells all their business to avoid embarrassment, but even worse, they may meet your curiosity with lies.

Your Expectations For Them Differ From Their Actual Goals

When parents have unreasonably (or excessively) high expectations for their young adults and they fall short of these expectations, you can expect them to lie. Sometimes parents can be a little too much. They tell their young adults they can do anything or be anyone, and they push them into careers and lifestyles that the young adults are not interested in, and expect them to thrive in these environments.

Young adults, like the rest of us, are only human. Sometimes they have a tough time thriving in these situations. But, guess who is checking in at all times? The parents of course! To avoid parental conflict, young adults may lie about their progress. Sometimes, they may have changed entirely their situation, but they don’t want their parents to be disappointed, so they lie and pretend.

As a parent of a Young adult, you can avoid such situations by letting your young adult be the driver of their own lives and careers. You can be the support person in this vehicle, showing them how to navigate through challenging areas. The goal should always belong to the young adult.

Lack of Trust

If you are a parent asking why young adults lie to their parents, have you ever considered how you may be contributing to these lies?

When your young adult does not trust you, it is almost impossible to get information from them. Some may resort to outright lies.

Trust sets a foundation for people to be vulnerable in front of each other. Young adults go through many experiences as they try to establish themselves.

Shem are just experiencing their first real jobs, which may not be what they had hoped for. Others be unableable to find a job or afford housing or may have been terminated from a new job, performed too poorly at their college work resulting in being kicked out, or may have an addiction, or friends with bad influences, and so on. These are things they may not wish to share with a parent they don’t trust.

If parents create a relationship with their young adults where they can come to the parents with challenges they face, they most likely will not have a reason to lie.

Fear of Disappointing Parents


Recently I experienced a young adult (let’s call him John for this post) who had dropped out of school because he couldn’t keep up. His parents wanted to find other ways to help him start a career. His mom helped him find a certification program in Information technology, where he did exceptionally well and found a new job in a coveted organization.

Sadly, John was terminated before he passed the 30-day probationary period. He never mentioned this to his parents, even though he lived at home. Instead he pretended every morning that he was going to work until he found a new job six months late

Many young adults do not want their parents to be disappointed in them. Some of them have decided to pursue their lives and careers in ways that are different from what their parents may recommend.

Fear of Consequences or punishment

Fear of inevitable consequences is a great reason young adults lie to their parents. It’s not surprising that young adults would lie to their parents. After all, they’ve been lied to by their parents when they were growing up. And they’ve probably experienced some form of punishment for telling the truth. So, they might assume that lying to their parents will lead to similar consequences.

Young adults may also lie to parents who have some amount of control over them to avoid consequences. For instance, some parents may offer benefits to their adult children, such as helping out with rent and other bills, but if they learn that the adult child is doing something tdisapproverove of, such as alcohol abuse, they may take away their support.

They Are Involved In Things That You Will Disapprove Of

It is easy for parents to disapprove of what their young adults are doing today.

After all, we have one whole generation of differences to contend with. Plus, older adults have forgotten what it was like to be a young person.

For instance, my husband hates that my young boys have long hair, and in defense of my young men, I like to arm myself with a picture of my husband spotting an afro and platform shoes when he was about their age. When he says, “young people should look like me,” I am quick to remind him that whatever my boys do today is part of shaping who they will be tomorrow.

I consider looks to be one of the less harmful things young adults get into that parents may disapprove of. There are many things young adults can get into today, such as addiction or misuse of drugs, alcohol abuse, fraud, joblessness, homelessness, plastic surgery, mental wellness, a significant other, pregnancy, dropping out of school, and so many different scenarios.

While some of these items are harmful, and some are not quite so, they may not receive the full approval of their parents. Knowing that their parents may not be on board with these activities, for those involved in them, is another reason why young adults lie to their parents.

They Don’t Want to be Compared to Others

Where “so and so” is an agemate, cousin, sibling, friend, colleague, or child, your parent’s friend, hearing that so and so, did this, and so and so received an award, or got a great job, or went on to med school, or started a million dollar business from his basement, is never good news, especially when the information is coming from one of your parents, No!

It is not (as should be) a time to celebrate this individual, wish them well, or hope for more blessings on their path, as the news is given only to bring you down. To remind you that you are performing below expectations, to remind you that you should be doing a lot better, to remind you that you have not borne the fruits of the seeds invested in your life. In other words, to remind you that you have failed your parents.

Nobody wants to be reminded that they have short-changed their parents though the rest of their lives. So what do young adults do to avoid this? They Lie.

Some Young Adults May Lie to Their Parents Out of Habit

Why Do Young Adults Lie to Their Parents

If your young adult has always lied, they may have no new reason to do so. Many people lie because they are used to it and because it has worked for them in the past.

Many young adults will lie to their parents if doing so keeps them out of trouble in their younger years. If you are a parent that punishes your child when they tell you the truth, they will most likely continue to lie to you.

If your young adult is a habitual liar, you may want to help them understand that telling the truth would not hurt them. You can also seek professional help to make them understand the habit and to help them break out of it.

A Few Final Words

If you find yourself asking why do young adults lie to their parents, then it is likely you are dealing with lies at home. Lying is never fun, and many times, some consequences follow. If your young adult is a liar, make sure that they understand that the effects above result from lying and a poor attempt at hiding them.

Christine Udeani, JD
Christine Udeani, JD

Christine is a dedicated mother of six young adults and a teenager who has made significant contributions to the online world through her writing and entrepreneurship. She attended Northwestern University, Strayer University, Thomas M Cooley School of Law, NWCULAW, and holds degrees in business, Law, and Communications. She shares tips and experiences to help young adults and their parents with this generation’s issues.

Find me on: Web | Twitter


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