Teenagers don't necessarily lie. But they are definitely economical with the truth. Everything's on a need-to-know basis - i.e. you, the parent, don't need to know.
'Where r u?' I text at midnight.
'On way home,' comes the reply - an answer so light on detail that it's hardly worth having.
So why are teenagers so cagey? Why do they keep everything so secret?
'It's because you ask so many questions,' says my 16-year-old daughter. 'You want to know everything about my life.'
Of course I do - because you don't tell me anything. If you threw me the odd scrap from time to time, I might sound less like Jeremy Paxman.
Teenagers do, of course, have good reasons for keeping their parents in the dark. A parent who hasn't got a clue what's going on can't tell you off. Keep details to a minimum and your mum can't lose her temper ('You got a detention for doing what?') or ban exciting activities ('How are you going to get home at three in the morning?).
The trouble is that this dislike of giving out information becomes a habit, and teenagers stop telling you about perfectly innocuous things like parents' evenings at school, or needing to have their sports kit washed and dried by Thursday. This makes life really difficult. Recently I have taken to wandering about the house, saying, 'Is there anything I need to know?' like a needy hippy in search of spiritual enlightenment.
'You worry too much,' says my 17-year-old.
I do, he's right. But maybe, with a bit more information, I might worry less.
Just give me the chance to test out the theory.
Read more of our popular Surviving Teenagers columns here.
Are you a parent of teens? Does this sound familiar? Share your views below.
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