Cheating at Games
Watch how children play board games or card games and you'll be surprised by the competitiveness, sometimes deteriorating into cheating. Kids under the age of 5 generally don't attach any moral value to cheating. They're just playing. And the kids they're playing with often won't hold a grudge. Kids between the ages of 5 and 7, however, will get a bit more sneaky with their cheating -- quietly taking an extra turn in a game or purposely miscounting when moving a playing piece across a board.
At this point, the kids usually know they're doing something wrong, but they don't really care, explains Lawrence Balter, PhD, a child psychologist in New York. By the time a child is 8 years old, however, he's well aware that cheating is wrong. If a child this age continues to cheat, it may be the result of a feeling of inadequacy or underperformance more than a desire to win. And now there's more at risk than just getting in trouble; older children who have habit of bending the rules are often labeled as "cheaters," which can irreparably damage their relationships with their peers.