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What should I do if I think my child is cheating?

Michele Borba
Psychology
If you fear your child is cheating…

Breathe. Know that these days most kids admit they do. But how you respond will make a difference if he continues or not. Often the highest achieving kids are the students under the greatest pressure to cut corners.

Work out what’s really going on. Why is your child resorting to using this behavior? Are expectations too high? Is he overscheduled? Is he not capable of the work? Does he lack good study habits? Is everyone else in the class cheating? Is peer pressure too high?

Work out a solution. The key is for your child to know that you understand he’s under pressure but cheating is not the answer. Take time to work together and figure out how to remedy the problem so cheating isn’t the solution. (i.e. If there is no time to do homework so he copies, then cut one of those darn activities. If he is lazy and doesn’t want to do the work, then eliminate those extra privileges such as television). Create a solution so the cheating problem doesn’t escalate.

Speak with the teacher if needed. If you need to approach your child’s teacher, do so cautiously. You want to keep her as an ally. First, get the facts about the cheating incident from your child. After you hear your son or daughter out, talk to the teacher about your concerns. Listen and gather information. Is your child turning in assignments? When are test days? Are the tests cooperative or is each child expected to do his or her own work? Is your child capable of the work? Also, ask the teacher to clarify her test and homework expectations to your child so your son or daughter is clear as to what constitutes cheating.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.