Why Kids Cheat

By Joey & Carla Link

April 10, 2024

Every parent will have to deal with their kids cheating either in school, work, playing games, trying to take something from someone else or by trying to short-cut a chore or job you have given them. 

In recording our 84th podcast “Help, My Kid was Caught Cheating” we were surprised at the true definition of what cheating is. It’s not just about copying off the answers from the kids sitting next to you in 3rd grade. The true definition of cheating is to behave in a dishonest or unfair way in order to get what you want; misleading others through lies or trickery; undermining rules to get an unfair advantage.”

The part that surprised us was “misleading others through lies or trickery”. I don’t think we have ever thought that lying to get your own way was a form of cheating. It puts an entirely different perspective on that word, doesn’t it? 

The goal of cheating is to gain an unfair advantage. I think if we asked anyone in our family why they cheat at table games I think they all would say, “So I can win!” That doesn’t sound like they think it is wrong, does it? 

Take a few minutes to think how many different ways each of your kids tries to gain an unfair advantage over a sibling, friend or even you. From trying to talk a sibling out of a toy because he/she wants to play with it, to trying to trade their piece of cake with another child’s because theirs is bigger, to copying a paper found on the Internet and turning it in as yours, when opportunity presents itself, not only kids, but adults as well will cheat. 

The parent’s goal, should not be that the child is trying to cheat to gain an unfair advantage. Rather, mom and dad should be looking at the motive of cheating. What caused them to cheat? Without dealing with the motive, you will feel like you will be swatting at the leaves on a tree. Trying to deal with every time you think each of your kids/teens could be cheating will drive you nuts. Instead, train them to the virtue and character of honesty and loving others as much as they love themselves.

To dig deeper into how to deal with this, we hope you will listen to the podcast we mentioned above. In it you will meet a mom whose 8-year-old son cheated on a test at school. We talk about the 8 steps she and her husband took to deal with their son. You won’t want to miss their story.

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”  

Luke 6:3

Search Parenting Made Practical in your favorite podcast app to listen!


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