Kids Who Cheat

woman sitting next to table and right hand on ear
Photo by George Dolgikh on

A student teacher exploded into our government class the second semester of my junior year of high school. Her goal was to be a teacher and she wanted to do it well. Suddenly the quantity of our homework tripled and each class was a lecture, minus the smile and typical jokes from our regular teacher.

Then she assigned us a paper. I don’t remember what it was about, but even then I enjoyed writing and papers were a lot easier for me than studying for a test. So I did it.

Meanwhile, someone in our class found a source of already completed research papers and sold them to about half the class.

Well, the dedicated student teacher was not fooled. I still remember the awkwardness of sitting through the class as she explained plagiarism to us. Those of us who hadn’t copied the paper felt like we were being scolded for something we didn’t do.

Not the best memory of high school.

Cheating is not new. Cheating has been happening since the beginning of time (or shortly afterwards).

A new study by ABC news which was reported this past year surveyed 12-17 year olds about cheating.

Seventy percent said they knew someone who cheated.

One in three say that they cheat themselves and that number jumps up to 43% for older teens.

Twelve percent say that most of the kids in their school cheat.

Many kids say they cheat because their friends cheat and get away with it.

A third of parents have talked to their kids about cheating.

Three in 10 say they would cheat if the teacher doesn’t really care about them.

Sixteen percent say they would cheat if the class didn’t matter.

As believers we want to teach our kids to have integrity. So what can we do?

***Recognize that we must do just that – teach them. Paul clearly stated to Titus that honesty is a priority for training our kids. (Titus 2)

***Pray with your kids. Pray that they’ll have the courage to live honestly and to make good choices.

***Explain what plagiarism is. Some kids don’t know or don’t know it’s wrong. That goes for research sites that offer papers either free or for a price.

***Don’t help your child cheat by doing her homework for her.

***Talk about those who are hurt because of the cheating: The Lord, the child, you, the teacher, classmates. Cheating could even have future ramifications in getting a job, being honored with an award, getting a scholarship …

***Don’t pressure your child to get good grades to such an extent that he cheats to save himself from your anger. (At the same time, you need to encourage your child to do the best job he possibly can.)

***Use board games to explain the concept of playing honestly. Play together as a family (or class). Don’t let a child take eight letters instead of seven because he’s young. Teach the importance of rule-following from a young age.

***Support consequences of cheating. If your child receives a zero because he cheated, don’t argue with the teacher.

***Let your child know that allowing someone else to copy her answers is just as wrong as copying someone else’s answers.

***Teach honesty as a godly characteristic and exemplify honesty in your own life.

Here are some verses (and there are many others) to study together. Genesis 18:19; Exodus 20;16; Leviticus 19:11; Psalm 51:6; Proverbs 6:16-20; Proverbs 10:9; Proverbs 12:22; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:9-10 and Hebrews 13:17-18.


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