Diagnosis

These next questions will help you better understand why your kid is resorting to this attitude.

Why. Reflect seriously on why your kid might be cheating and thinks he should be allowed to get away with it. Usually when attitudes such as cheating or lying suddenly emerge, they are set off by feelings of rejection, jealousy, frustration, hurt, or anger toward an adult. Perhaps you are putting incredible pressure on your kid to be academically successful and get into a prestigious college. It could also be a fear of punishment or of letting a parent down. Other possibilities are overperfection-ism, fear of failing, being unprepared or never prepared. Perhaps no one holds him accountable, or cheating is encouraged by his peers, or honesty has never been emphasized. What is your best guess as to why your kid cheats?

What. What type of issues or things does your kid usually cheat about: school, homework, games, sports, chores, household rules, or expectations? Talk to other adults who know your kid well.Are they seeing the same pattern? What do they think is the underlying cause?

Who. Does he cheat with everyone or just with his friends? Siblings? Teacher? Coach? You? Are there some individuals he does not cheat around? If so, who? Why doesn't he cheat with them? Does your kid cheat as a means of aggravating, irritating, or teasing someone such as a sibling and enjoy watching her brother get upset? If so, then you need to address the issue of sibling jealousy and insensitivity. Or does he cheat only when he is on the playing field with a particular friend who always tries to put him down? There is no excuse for cheating, but why your kid is resorting to the attitude can bring up other issues to deal with as well.

When. Is there a particular time of day, week, or month he cheats more? Is there a reason? For instance, might it be test time, a competitive event, or homework that is due? When did the cheating start? Could there have been something that triggered this? Write down your thoughts.

Where. Are there certain places he is more likely to cheat (at school or day care, home, a sporting event)? Why?

Now take a look at your answers. Are you seeing any predictable patterns? Do you have any better understanding of this attitude and where it's coming from?

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