That’s the sad finding of a survey conducted by Who’s Who Among American High School Students.
Teens from all races and incomes say they cheat. Students with high grades are as likely to cheat as those with poor grades. In fact, 80 percent of high school juniors with at least a B average said they had cheated.
Unfortunately, two types of parental attitudes may make the cheating problem even worse, according to teachers.
The first is putting pressure on children to be the best, rather than to do their best. One teacher has noted, “Many parents tell me that they will not accept a grade lower than an A from their teen.”
But there is a second attitude that may be even more damaging. When teachers do catch students cheating, parents will often defend their child’s actions—even when they know their child is guilty.
Some of these parents are worried that their child will have to report the punishment on a college application and may not get into a selective college. Other parents simply refuse to believe that their child could have cheated.
What should you do if you discover that your teen has cheated? Perhaps the most important step is not to rationalize. You don’t listen to your teen when he tells you that “everybody” gets to stay out all night. (Even if it’s true, you’re likely to say, “But our family isn’t ‘everybody.’”) That’s the same attitude you need to take toward cheating.
Talk with your teen about your values, and let her know that cheating will not be tolerated. Let your teen suffer the consequences. It may be the most important lesson he learns this year.
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