How to Deal with a Child Who Cheats

Although it seems to be prevalent in schools, no one likes cheating.

When children cheat, there’s often a reason for their behavior. Cheating is the effect of another problem, so you’ll have to figure out what makes cheating seem preferable.

By knowing why the behavior exists, you can learn how to deal with a child who cheats.

Sometimes, kids will provide you with the clues you need to help them make better choices. If your child gives you one of these answers when you confront him about cheating, try one of these recommended strategies.

“I’m doing it for you”

Children who cheat often do so to please their parents.

While that may seem like a contrary statement, the cheating child is trying to find a way make her parents proud. Because of the pressure to do well in school and extra-curricular activities, children are tempted to cheat to assure their success rather than risk failure.

What you can do: Reassure your child that you love her regardless of her success. What’s important is that she tries her best.

“I don’t know”

Ambivalence can be frustrating, but it can also be a warning sign that your child isn’t motivated at school.

Saying, “I don’t know” when confronted about the reasons for cheating is your child’s way of telling you that they discovered an entertaining diversion: cheating.

Sometimes kids want to see what they can get away with, and cheating is a way to pass the time. Children who are bored may be more tempted to cheat than peers who are appropriately engaged.

What you can do: Talk to your child. Ask open-ended questions that will help her formulate thoughtful answers as you talk about how cheating hurts more than just the cheater.

“I didn’t feel like doing the work”

There are more demands on kids in school than ever before. Knowing what’s important and what’s not can take years of experience, but kids seem to innately be able to separate busy work from lessons that matter the most.

It’s possible that cheating offered a way to take care of the busy work with the least amount of commitment, effort, and time.

What you can do: Talk to your child’s teacher about ways you can help to make learning easier and more fun than cheating.

It’s a good idea to discuss the consequences of cheating, but try to avoid belaboring the issue. Instead, let your child know that cheating is not okay. Brainstorm ideas, including cutting back on some activities or taking up a new hobby as ways to reduce the temptation to cheat

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