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Why do kids cheat?

Michele Borba
Psychology

Though there are a number of reasons kids cheat, the key to stopping it is to determine why your child is resorting to using this behavior. Here are a few:

  • Weak honest quotient: Character is taking a backseat; conscience is under-developed or under-nurtured; or honesty isn’t stressed in the child’s home or school environment.
  • Stress: Push to excel is huge; pressure to get those grades (and maybe secure that needed college scholarship) is higher than ever in today’s economic crunch.
  • Dishonest examples: Expectation to be honest not emphasized by the family or school; the coach pushes the “score” at any cost, the teacher looks the other way; the parent who stresses the “grade” at any cost.
  • No time: The kid is so darn overscheduled that there is no time to study.
  • Fear of failing YOU: Fear of letting down or disappointing a parent is strong.
  • Pressure: It’s a hyper-competitive or high stakes learning environment.
  • Low skill level: Academic expectations are too high; expectations are too high or the child is incapable of work (due to lacking the skills or ability).
  • Peer pressure: Your child is in with a group that eggs him on; the other kids cheat; he’s in an environment where everyone else cheats.
  • Laziness or ease: The child has been allowed to get away with cheating; the Internet makes it so much easier just to cut and paste; Cheating is the shortcut to success.

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