The Cheating Child

Preventing Future Cheating

While the majority of children cheat from time to time, there are things a parent can do to prevent their child from repeating this behavior. Here are some guidelines:

  • Set a good example. Take a good look at your own life. Do you or your spouse "cheat" from time to time? If a cashier gives you too much change, do you return it? Have you told little white lies on your income taxes? Be aware that those are the moral values you are teaching your child. Be sensitive to the examples you set.
  • Stress that winning isn't everything. Because our society puts so much emphasis on winning, parents need to counteract that message at home. Make sure your child knows that performing honestly and losing is more honorable than cheating and winning.
  • Lower your expectations. A large percentage of children who cheat are motivated by a desire to meet their parents' expectations. Let your child know that you love her and are proud of her even when she doesn't win the spelling bee or gets a bad grade.
  • Nurture your child's desire to do the right thing. Kids like to feel good about themselves and what they're doing. Encourage your child to value honesty, to feel pride in a job well done, and to foster love of learning and knowledge for its own sake.
  • Let your child see you sweat. Kids value hard work because they see their parents working hard. If you don't cut corners, your child will learn not to.
  • Teach your child how to cope with failure. Let your child see that you too have ideals -- and sometimes you fall short of them. Talk with him about how you cope with failure, so he learns how to handle it, too. It's fear of failure that leads many kids to cheat.

Sources: National PTA; Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5-12 (Bantam 1999); American Academy of Pediatrics; Lawrence Balter, PhD

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment