Is Your Child Tempted to Cheat?

According to educators and other experts, cheating among school children is on the rise. Is your child tempted?

By FamilyTime


In high schools and colleges, educators say, cheating is widespread. The pressure to succeed, to get top grades, and progress to the next level of higher education has taken such a toll that some students resort to unethical shortcuts and outright cheating. 

Unhappily, say the studies, many students don't feel much shame. They justify their underhanded tactics in numerous ways.

Cheating on tests, papers, and homework is filtering down to middle school and elementary aged students, too. A similar attitude prevails among the younger kids, who may believe it's "not that bad" to cut corners.

The Internet makes cheating easier than ever, but it is far from being the sole culprit. Many factors figure into it, including greater emphasis than ever on getting into high-level classes, scoring well on standardized tests, and, ultimately, being accepted at college and graduate school.

Set An Example
The best way to insure that your child does not cheat is to live an honest, decent life and to subscribe to a code of ethics and values. In other words, set a good example.

From a very early age, kids notice if their parents don't feel it's wrong to lie or to cheat -- even in small ways. Don't brag about getting away with things (like the wrong change at the market, or claiming a 13-year-old is really 12 for a cheaper movie ticket), try to obey traffic laws, and don't lie.

Talk to your kids about the importance of living a life of integrity. Point out instances in the news or among acquaintances of dishonest living. Let your kids know you don't think it's cool or clever to outsmart the law or society.

Signs of Cheating
There are some signs to watch for to determine if your child is tempted to cheat or has been cheating. It's hard to imagine your own child cheating, but you won't do him any favors if you suspect he's having problems and you don't investigate the reasons.

Look for significant improvement in a subject that has long caused difficulty. If your child suddenly does beautifully in history or math and no longer complains about the homework or the subject matter, take a good look at her homework, papers, and other assignments.

If your child suddenly spends far less time doing homework than previously -- without a noticeable slip in grades -- ask him why. Insist on checking the homework and on doing it with him now and then to decide if something is awry.

If you think your child might be cheating, talk to her directly about it. Don't buy the "everyone else is doing it" argument. Try to unearth the root causes.

If your child is caught cheating in school, address it immediately with the student and the school. Find out why he felt it necessary to take "the easy way out."

If you get the impression your child feels immense pressure from you and her teachers to succeed and so resorts to cheating, reassess your attitude. Talk to the teachers and let them know your concern.

Keep a close eye on your youngster after the incident, and encourage his academic progress. Praise any improvement; offer to work with him on homework and test preparation; urge him to seek extra help from the teacher; look into hiring a tutor if the work is too hard. Recognize that he might never excel at a foreign language, but, hey!, he's pretty darn good at math.

How to Prevent Cheating
Encourage your child's progress in school. Reward her for hard work, effort, and improvement.

Don't over emphasize final grades, test scores, and grade point averages. These are important, but if you believe education is about far more than the final result, your children will learn to value it, too. And to enjoy it!

Talk to your kids about their classes, what they are learning, and what they are reading. Show an interest in the process -- not just their grades.

Let your children know you won't tolerate cheating or lying.

Mastering subject matter sufficiently so that the student learns to think, reason, and to have confidence in her ability to contribute to society in positive, constructive ways is the most important outcome of an education.

Straight As, achieved by ill-gotten means, don't guarantee any of this!