I write young adult fiction as most of you know and I enjoy it because it gives me a chance to explore the tough times that teenagers go through, such as being accepted for who they are.
Some of the things I come up with are from watching my own children. Just today, my ten year old who is struggling with math and division in particular. So this morning included in her normal complaining about waking up at 7 in the morning is that her stomach hurts, and her head hurts. After giving something for the headache, she is sitting on the couch complaining that she has to run today and shouldn't run on a sore stomach. I told her it will be fine by the time you run. She continued to complain... anyways, to make a long morning shorter, right before she left I mentioned to work on her math. She stopped complaining and looked at me and said, "I hate fifth grade math."
I smiled, knowing that I hated math in fifth grade too and told her that the only way to deal with it is work harder and spend more time with it. She knew that was what was needed, and acknowledged it as such. The rest of the ride to school, my wife mentioned that she didn't complain once about being sore, or any pain. I nailed the real reason she was not wanting to go to school. It was the fact that she has to do something difficult.
I think this is a good example of a youth using everything they can to get what they want (Staying home) but when you confront them with the real issue they will usually come clean. (Hating math.) What do you have your characters do when they are trying to hide their true feelings? Do you make them try to manipulate those around them with sympathy, or do you delve right into the meat of the problem. I think having them bounce around the real problem would make it more believable for the youth reading your story, what do you think?