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5 Red Flags That Say Your Kid Is Hiding Something

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How do you know if your child is hiding something? Well, it’s easy when kids are little. I remember playing hide and seek with my sons as toddlers. As long as they couldn’t see me, they thought I couldn’t see them. Plenty of times, I had to pretend I couldn’t see entire legs sticking out from under the bed. Now that they’re eight and nine, they’re a little sneakier, but they’re still horrible liars, thank goodness.
As they get older, I know they’re not only going to be tempted to be more deceptive, but they’re going to get better at it. I pray that they’ll always want to come to me, but if they don’t, I know these 5 red flags are good indicators that they’re hiding something.

1. Detachment

If a child is hiding something—misbehavior or something hurtful or embarrassing—it’s easier for him or her just to be alone. After all, if you’re in a different room, you can’t ask questions that might force your child to lie or fake being OK. All kids have moments when they don’t want to be around Mom and Dad, but if you notice a sudden change in your child’s involvement in family life, keep an eye out for some of these other signs.

2. A Shorter Temper

Anger is a secondary emotion, which means that typically, there is another feeling underneath it. Fear is a common root of anger. If your child is hiding something and afraid of what will happen if you find out, that fear could surface in the form of yelling or aggression.

3. More White Lies

How do you know if your child is hiding something? Listen for more fibs. Often, kids who are hiding something big will tell little lies more frequently because they think they can get away with it. They also lie to keep you far from reality. Your daughter’s lie about her teacher canceling recess could be to avoid having to talk about the group of mean girls who won’t let her play with them.

4. A Changed Relationship With Technology

Kids who normally socialize with the family or play a sport but suddenly spend an increased amount of time on an iPad or phone might be using the technology to cope with a problem. They’re avoiding questions that will cause them to have to lie, or they just don’t want to think about the problem and feel guilt or shame. Frequently cleared history, changed passwords, and apps you haven’t heard of could mean there’s something they don’t want their parents to see and it’s time to monitor their online activity.

5. An Unrecognizable Kid

A friend who caught her daughter shoplifting said to me, “This is just not the kid I raised. I feel like I don’t even know her.” She was referring to the shoplifting, but in hindsight, there were other ways her daughter was morphing. She had a new set of friends, dressed differently, and didn’t laugh at her dad’s jokes anymore. All kids go through changes in style, interests, and even attitude, but if yours makes several of those changes at once, it’s possible something else is going on under the surface.

How do you know if your child is hiding something? What does he or she do to cover it up?


What’s something you have a hard time talking to me about?

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