The Reasons Behind Why Kids Cheat in School

Students cheat for a variety of reasons, here are just a few of them

Cheating is often times the result of peer pressure.
Kids who cheat may feel the need to succeed at any cost. Photo: Rob Gonyea,

You hope your child will behave at school, and follow all the rules you've established, as well as the rules the school has established, but that's not always the case. If your child has been caught cheating at school, or if you suspect your child may be cheating on his homework, tests, research papers, or other projects, you need to get to the bottom of the situation. Below are common reasons why your child might be cheating on his or her school work, or helping other students cheat their way through a test, project or class.

If you catch your tween cheating it's important that you take the time to figure out the motive behind the behavior so you can help get your tween back on track.

Cheating and Tweens

They're Highly Competitive: Some kids just have to finish first at everything, including their studies. A "B" isn't good enough for them, and they'll do anything to get a perfect grade. These children may cheat because they can't accept anything less than a 100. Or, they may be trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA or straight A's on their report cards. If your child is a perfectionist, you may need to help him or her learn to adjust to imperfection every now and then. Help your tween learn to deal with disappointment, and find ways to help your tween de-stress or deal with anxious moments.

It's Fun: Some kids cheat because cheating can be a thrill to them. They enjoy fooling the teacher and outsmarting classmates, and they think it's fun to get away with something.

If your child likes to take chances, he or she could be cheating just for the amusement of it all.

They're Worried About Punishment: Kids may cheat for some pretty obvious reasons, too, such as being punished by parents for a bad grade. No preteen wants to lose cell phone privileges, or stay home on the weekend because he or she is grounded.

Simply put, kids may cheat because they're afraid their parents will punish them if they come home with a bad grade. It's also possible that a child may cheat simply because he or she doesn't want to disappoint their parents, or let them down. Parental approval is an often overlooked reason for school cheating, but one that all parents should consider as a possibility.

They Don't Understand the Material: It's possible that a child cheats simply because he or she doesn't understand the subject matter, and is afraid to ask for help or admit confusion. These kids may embarrass easily, and they may cheat simply because they don't want to draw attention to themselves for failing to comprehend the material.

They are Over Committed: Kids today are involved in numerous activities after school. Many children run from one commitment to another, with no time left in the day for studying or even for down time. These commitments may cause children to cheat at school, as they have no time to prepare for tests or complete their homework. For many of these kids, they feel like they have no other choice.

Peer Pressure: Peer pressure also plays a role in why kids cheat. A friend who isn't doing well may convince your daughter to let her copy off of her test.

Friends can make a child feel compelled to cheat, even if they know better. Kids may also cheat to help a friend who is struggling in a class, or go through a hard time at home. 

Everyone Else is Doing It: It's sad, but it's possible for a child to cheat at school because he feels like he might as well, everyone else is, after all. If cheating is widespread across the campus, children may join in just because they feel there's no reason not to.

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