How to Discipline Your Children When They Get Caught Cheating

By Candice Coleman
Parental pressure can lead children to cheat at school.
Parental pressure can lead children to cheat at school.

Though parents hope for a child whose grades are earned fairly, cheating at school is a common problem. Shifting how you approach education and grades could convince your child to work without resorting to cheating. While you may be angry and upset upon hearing that your child has cheated, parents have several tactics at hand to nip the behavior in the bud. Your child's teacher or principal may have some advice on how to handle a child who was caught cheating as well.

Talk to your children about why they have cheated. Stay calm - no matter how upset you feel, the point of the conversation is to get answers. Your kids may cite several motivations for cheating - like feeling pressured by parents or teachers or feeling competitive with classmates or siblings, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A child who feels overwhelmed with homework, or finds it difficult to complete, may also resort to cheating.

Ask your children what can be done to reduce the desire to cheat. Parents who show preference for a child who scores higher on tests, or who criticize a child who is struggling in school, may be encouraging cheating, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Changing your behavior and putting more focus on learning, rather than high grades, could shift the perspective of cheating children.

Explain the seriousness of cheating. Kids who cheat are more likely to have low self-esteem and to continue struggling in school, according to psychologist Carl E. Pickhardt, writing for the "Psychology Today" website. They may also risk failing assignments or facing disciplinary action if teachers and principals find out about ongoing cheating.

Discuss alternatives to cheating. Children who feel overwhelmed may find that talking to a teacher about the problem, rather than cheating, could be more effective, according to Parents should also make an effort to set an example -- not fessing up to the cashier when you get extra change at the store could show children that it is okay to cheat in other ways.

Suggest that your children see a counselor or visit a child-guidance clinic if they find themselves unable to stop cheating. Some kids may find that the pressure to do well makes it difficult to stop cheating, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Discussing a cheating problem is often the most effective way to discipline children. Since many children are motivated to cheat because they are struggling or feeling pressured to do well in school, other disciplinary measures may not be effective, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.