6 Tips for Raising Kids Who Don't Cheat

Doing Good Newsletter


cheating kids

According to researchers, the number of students who cheat at school has risen dramatically in the last 50 years. One survey found that an astounding 95% of high school students admitted to some kind of cheating. What's responsible for the rise? Culprits could include ease of technology, poor societal role models, too many tests, a competitive society and pressure to excel. Here are tips to help keep your children focused on integrity and combat the pressure to achieve at any cost.

-Jenny Friedman, Executive Director


Make a Difference.....

  1. Doing homework and projects for your child sends the message that grades are all-important. Instead, emphasize the importance of learning, effort and mastery.
  2. Be explicit about your values. "I'd rather you get a bad grade than cheat" or "Learning the material is more important to me than your grade on the test." When your child does fail, help him or her learn to cope with the disappointment.
  3. Set a good example. Show integrity in your own life, and talk about the times you've been tempted to cheat. Explain why you chose not to and the difference it's made.
  4. Emphasize the impact of cheating on others. Help your child understand that it's unfair to those who studied for the test, spent time completing their homework themselves or practiced hard to win a game. Describe the value of having a reputation for honesty and being a person others can trust.
  5. If you do discover your child has cheated, dig a little. Ask questions to learn why they felt they needed to be dishonest. Then address those pressures with your child.
  6. Acknowledge that cheating is tempting (it makes what's hard seem easy) and that having integrity can take guts. Point out instances when others have stood up against the pressure to be dishonest and how much you respect their courage.


Talk About It.....

Most students say they've never had a serious talk with their parents about cheating. Perhaps it's time to have that conversation. Here's how.

  • Begin the conversation when your child is in elementary school, before cheating has become widespread in the classroom.
  • Accentuate the positive. Instead of focusing on the dishonesty of cheating, talk about why integrity is so important to you.
  • When discussing school, ask questions that don't put an emphasis on grades, such as: "What did you learn?" or "What was the most interesting thing you found out about whales when you wrote your report?"
  • If your child receives a bad grade, express concern that they may not have mastered the material rather than dwelling on the grade.

Learn About It.....

The Empty Pot by Demi (ages 4 and up). Simply told and beautifully illustrated, this story shares the beauty of telling the truth.

A Day's Work by Eve Bunting (ages 4-7). A young boy gets a lesson in honesty and integrity from his grandfather.


Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.
-H. Jackson Brown Jr., American author