4 Ways to Teach Kids About Cheating in School

1. Don’t Cheat Yourself

Kids learn more from observing your actions than they do from what you say. If you teach your kids not to cheat at school, but then talk about getting paid for hours you didn’t work, increasing your tax refund by questionable methods or bringing office supplies home from work, you are teaching your kids to cheat. Your kids will ignore your spoken lessons about cheating and follow your example instead.

2. Address Cheating in All Areas of Life

Whether you are playing a video game with your kids, playing a board game or playing basketball, stress the importance of sticking by the rules in all aspects of life, including school. Talk about the greater sense of accomplishment you receive when you achieve something by staying within the rules. Share how cheating cheapens the result. Discuss how cheating can hurt your reputation in the world, which in turn can hurt your future opportunities. For example, cheating on a test can have an impact on your reputation and cause you to lose favor with teachers, principals and friends. When an important opportunity arises, such as taking a special trip with your school, you may miss out on the opportunity because you can’t be trusted.

3. Share Stories of Success and Failure

Share the story of someone you know who failed to make the most out of school and is paying for it today. For example, you might tell of a man who graduated from high school by cheating on tests and copying papers, but never learned how to read and write for himself. After graduation, he had a hard time getting a job because he couldn’t fill out job applications without help. This person ended up in a low-paying job, struggling to survive. Share the story of someone who didn’t cheat and reaped the rewards. If you have personal stories having to do with your choice to cheat or not and their results, share them with your child.

4. Set Clear Consequences for Cheating in School

Set aside time to talk about cheating in school, how important it is to do all of the work to graduate and how the goal of going to school is to learn, not just turn in the required work. Ask your child what type of punishment would be proper for someone who cheats on a paper, weekly assignment or test. If your child’s idea of consequences seems appropriate to the offenses, set those consequences as punishments for cheating in school. If your kids continue to cheat, strengthen the punishments as needed.

About this Author

James Kitchens has over 15 years of experience counseling individuals and families struggling with relationships, money management, personal well-being, career choice and other life issues through seminars and one-on-one consulting. In addition to his work as a freelance writer, Kitchens is an ordained minister and co-founder of Clear Vision Ministries.