Helping Teens to Feel Comfortable Telling the Truth

Mar 01, 2017

“Power is very evanescent. But knowledge is a tremendously compressed charge which waits for the future.”

Jacob Bronowski
Author of The Ascent of Man

Helping Teens to Feel Comfortable Telling the Truth

TISA Description of the Problem: Teens often feel “on the spot” with
interviewers and it is quite easy for them to feel a need to shade the
truth. The following simple tip can help get at the facts.

Tip: After one of my teenage clients offers answers to questions such as,
“How are your grades?” or “How are things going at home?”, I often ask some
variant of one of the following questions:

1. “Would your parents agree with that?”
2. “Would your teacher agree with that?”
3. “Would your parents see it that way?”

TISA Follow-up: Clarifying questions, such as suggested in the above excellent tip, make it easy for younger clients to provide more valid information without feeling challenged. Another simple variant is, “Would your Mom say the same thing?” In applying the above tip I have found it also to be useful with adults by substituting in words such as spouse, boss, colleague, or children.

Tip provided by:

James E. Campbell
Metropolitan Psychiatric Physicians
Phoenix, Arizona

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