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Parenting Solutions: Cheating (page 4)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 31, 2010

What To Expect By Stages And Ages

Preschooler   Very young children do not understand the meaning of cheating and why they should stick to the rules, so they are prone to "bend" them in their favor. If you catch your child cheating, let her know you are aware of her tactics, and use gentle teaching (not punishment). Don't label the child a cheater, but instead emphasize why it is important not to cheat.

School Age   These are the years when cheating may start; kids begin to break rules to win competitive games, and there are also more opportunities to cheat. Boys cheat more than girls.14 These kids are now beginning to understand right from wrong and fair and unfair, but not until the later school years will they really understand why it's wrong to cheat, though they may feel it is acceptable depending on the task. Although cheating is not unusual, act quickly so that it does not become a habit. Older school-age kids begin to feel pressure to "keep up" with extra activities (sports, lessons, chores, friends) and homework, so they may use cheating as a shortcut. If cheating becomes frequent, it is usually because of stress or another emotional issue that should be dealt with.

Tween   The ages of ten to fourteen are peak cheating years largely due to the emphasis on grades and test scores and mounting academic pressures.15 Two-thirds of middle school students report cheating on tests, and 90 percent copy homework. 16 Cheating is often considered "cool" ("Everyone does it!"). Tweens may be intimidated into cheating because of their need to "fit in." Internet-related cheating and plagiarism become the quick way to do a report; kids also text test answers via cell phone or download answers to MP3 players. Over half the middle school students in one study confessed to having cheated on an exam in the past year.17

More Helpful Advice

Bringing Up Moral Children in an Immoral World, by A. Lynn Scoresby

Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues That Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing, by Michele Borba

Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity and Other Essential Virtues, by Thomas Lickona

Teaching Your Children Values, by Linda and Richard Eyre

The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead, by David Callahan

The Moral Child: Nurturing Children's Natural Moral Growth, by William Damon

Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from Wrong, by William Kilpatrick

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