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Does Your Child Cheat?

Christine Carter, Ph.D., in her post “Raising Cheaters” , states that “we are raising a generation of cheaters.”  Children today are exposed to cheating on nearly a daily basis:  in sports, at school, and also in politics and business.  One study reported that more than 60% of students in 9th and 11th grades say that they cheat in school, and another stated 75-98% of today’s college students report that they cheat, up from 20% in the 1940s.  Why the increase in cheating, and why do children cheat in the first place?  For one thing, there are so many different ways to cheat than just the old standbys of copying somebody else’s work, obtaining test answers from a student who has already taken the test, or writing down information and peeking at it during a test.  In Christy Callahan’s article, “Is Your Child a Cheater?,”, she lists some of the newer technologically-driven ways to cheat, such as using hand-held devices such as cell phones, iPods, or calculators to store answers , and using the internet to find pre-written papers or to participate in chat rooms where answers are being shared.

However the method, Dr. Carter suggests that there are many reasons why children cheat:

  • Students today are under even more pressure to achieve
  • Peer influence
  • Knowing others are cheating may make non-cheaters feel disadvantaged and dishonesty can then become perceived as a necessary and acceptable way to get ahead
  • Academic environment: when children believe their school or classroom stresses performance goals, there tend to be higher incidences of cheating
  • Concern about looking incompetent: students who self-handicap (like blaming others and making excuses when they are intentionally not trying their hardest) are more likely to cheat
  • Feeling like there is little chance of getting caught, or that if caught, the penalties are inconsequential
  • Having poor study habits and time management skills

Besides the above reasons, Dr. Carter believes that cheating is more about our current societal views on perfection and fixed mindsets, and both can contribute to the increased reporting of cheating.  So how can parents and children discourage cheating?  Dr. Carter’s advice is to:

  • Foster the growth mindset (for more information, she links to several articles about this in her original post)
  • Tell your children where you stand on cheating
  • Make sure your own behavior models the importance of trustworthiness and honesty
  • Foster a love of the learning process
  • If you find that you child has cheated, find out if it is an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern of dishonesty
  • Emphasize effort over performance

Ms. Callahan also adds the following tips:

  • Know your child’s assignments and take an active interest in homework and prepping your children for tests
  • Talk to your child’s teachers to get a better picture of what is happening at school
  • Be positive no matter the grade
  • Avoid paying for good grades
  • Reward effort and learning

Both Dr. Carter’s and Ms. Callahan’s tips for fostering a learning environment and discouraging cheating are valuable.  For even more parenting help, have your child take the Kidtelligent Assessment!  This unique assessment not only gives you indispensable insight into your child’s personality, it also offers parenting suggestions and tips based on your child’s distinctive personality traits, including tips on how to deal with tough parenting issues.  To learn more about Kidtelligent, go to, and follow us on Facebook at

Sarah is a guest mom writer for Kidtelligent. If you are interested in submitting an article to be shared on the Kidtelligent Blog and Facebook please email us at