Receiving a telephone call from school administrators informing you of your teenager’s misconduct at school is distressing and embarrassing. When a teenager gets caught cheating at school, it warrants your full attention. It’s imperative that you send your child a clear and firm message that you will not tolerate cheating.
It’s time to have a serious conversation with your teenager. First, communicate your own principles about cheating to ensure your child understands how you feel about dishonesty, according to the Gloversville (New York) High School website. Without condemning or displaying anger, tell your child that cheating creates an internal condition inside the cheater, requiring a disconnection from conscience to lie and sneak, advises clinical psychologist Carl Pickhardt at PsychologyToday.com. This internal condition can be hurtful to oneself.
Meet with School Officials
It’s likely your child’s school will schedule a parent-teacher conference to discuss the cheating and connected consequences. Attend the meeting and approach the meeting in a spirit of cooperation. If your child is present at the meeting, listen to his explanation. Listen to the consequences that the school will institute to address the cheating. Most schools have a honor codes in place that prescribe specific consequences.
Whatever the consequences meted out by the school, support them as the parent, recommends Linda Morgan with the North State Parent website. Disagreeing with or arguing the consequence could send your child the wrong message about the seriousness of cheating and the need for this behavior to change. Resist the urge to add home punishments to school punishments, counsels Morgan. Your overreaction could squander the opportunity for a “teachable moment” that will help your child move forward with more ethical behavior.
After leaving the cheating episode behind, keep lines of communication open and monitor your teenager’s academic conduct, according to the Gloversville High School website. Check the history of the computer your child uses for homework to ensure your child is not visiting websites that provide research and reports to students. Ensure that your child isn’t struggling academically, which could lead to the temptation to cheat, advises the Kids Health website. If you find your child needs extra help, provide it yourself or check with your child’s school about private tutoring.
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